Sunday 20 December 2015
Speaker: Pastor Julie Woke
We thank God for 2015. There are just 11 days to the end of 2015 and we have one more Sunday before the new year. The curtains are fast closing on 2015.
From predictions, it appears that 2016 will be economically tough for most people across the globe. The refugee situation is expanding, Growth in China has slowed down, oil prices have crashed and the income of countries that depend on exporting crude oil has halved compared to what it was this time last year. Shale oil producers in America are running up debts in billions of dollars and some have declared bankruptcy.
Many Businesses are struggling, some companies are retrenching. Investment decisions are being postponed because of the uncertainties in various markets. The exchange rate in Nigeria is moving so dramatically these days that in a single day, the Naira lost N5 to US$. The exchange rate continues its upward journey and it does not look like it will come down in the short run.
People ask “Will money fail in our time? What does the future hold?” At times like this, peoples’ hearts are failing. But the people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits. Daniel 11:32. It’s the time to draw closer to our God and dwell under the shadow of the Most High. We are not of them that draw back in fear unto perdition.
I believe that in the same 2016, as the global economy is shaking, people will buy new cars, build new houses and dwell in them, get married, get admission into schools, get new jobs, start new businesses that will flourish and grow. Some people will do what they have not been able to do for years. 2016 will become someone’s reference year for when their visitation came! Hallelujah!
Today, I want to bring you a word of encouragement. Do not be afraid. The Lord your God is with you and He is mighty to save. He is for you and He will help you.
In the Bible, we see many references to “seed”. In the beginning, at creation, God made the seed-bearing plants and seed bearing fruits. Genesis 1:11-12. In
Genesis 3:15 we see the promise of the Seed of the woman that will bruise the head of the serpent.
Genesis 17:21; 21:12-13 talks about the seed of Abraham.
Mordecai is described as the seed of Abraham (a Jew) in Esther 6:13
The seed is also used to describe the Word of God (Matt.13:1-23 in the the parable of the Sower).
Things to note:
1. Inside each seed is potential. But we must choose to sow/ plant in order to release that potential.
2. The seed is the next generation, the future.
3. A seed has power in itself such that under the right condition, it will sprout, grow, mature and yield a good harvest.
Let’s share together some of the ‘seeds’ we will need to walk victoriously through 2016 and beyond:
1. Seed of discipline.
Discipline is hard work. Discipline comes through training, self control and repeated practice. Discipline is the secret of most great men, vibrant businesses, churches or even nations. We must become people that are disciplined in our thoughts and in actions.
Financial discipline – we must plan. We must budget. A budget plans how the money will be allotted and spent. Nigeria is concluding on her 2016 budget. If the country plans, so should individuals and businesses. We must get into the discipline of spending money based on what we had planned to do. And budget to spend less than you earn.
Spiritual discipline – bible study, quiet time, fellowship, prayer and fasting etc. We need more of God and His presence in times like this. It is not the time to face life on your own.
Moral discipline – self control over appetites and taking decisions to cut off areas of wastage, leakages, excesses and indulgence. Develop the ability to say ‘No!’ when you have to.
2. Seed of thanksgiving, praise and worship.
This is the cure for complaining and murmuring. We will not be counted among the murmuring Christians. We choose to appreciate God for the small and big things everyday and to give thanks in advance. Let’s praise Him for what you are still expecting Him to do. Let there be a continuous flow of thanksgiving. Hebrews 12:28; 13:15.
3. Seed of love.
Love is action. Love is doing. Love is expressed. Loving others is a sign that we know God. It is the evidence that God is in us. 1 John.4:7-8.
In the last days, men will find it difficult to love others. Men will be lovers of themselves. To break this natural selfish flow, we must constantly ask “what am I doing for others?”. Let’s share with those in need. Hebrews 13:16. We should show love especially to those who can’t repay us directly.
Love is being patient, being kind, being gentle, being considerate, being compassionate. 1 Corinthians.13. Sow love. Show love.
4. Seed of your substance – In Tithes, first fruits, offerings.
Please don’t be tempted to stop tithing or reduce your giving. Giving is the seed that has your prosperity and multiplication inside it. You have to sow in order to realise that prosperity.
In the time of famine, Isaac was still sowing; and he reaped a hundred fold because God blessed him. Genesis 26:12-13.
5. Seed of faith and trust in God with the expectation that he will bring us through victoriously.
Hebrews 11 lists the heroes of faith. Their names got there because of what they went through. Their stories did not end until they had obtained a good report. We also must maintain a confident trust in God even in tough times. Hebrews 10:23; 35-39.
6. Seed of godliness/ righteousness Malachi 3:16-18
A book of remembrance was opened. What was in the book? I believe it has:
– A record of those who do things with a consciousness that there is God whose sees and hears and rewards.
– A record of people who have consistently showed integrity in their dealings with others.
When people talk about us, especially in our absence, what are some of the words we want them to use in describing us? For me, it should include: Honest, God fearing, integrity, truthful, humble, peaceable, kind etc.
My take therefore, is:
– Let us handle people and things knowing we are accountable to God. God has a record.
– Don’t cut corners. It only makes the journey longer. – Choose the path of righteousness because ultimately, that is what pays.
There are many things we would have learnt in 2015. Some of the experiences you had was to enable you draw lessons which you are to apply in the coming years. So don’t throw away those lessons you have learnt.
Martin Luther King Jnr. said “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward”.
We are moving forward!