The Promise Keeper

Heb 10:23 (ICB)
Let us hold firmly to the hope that we have confessed. We can trust God to do what He promised.

As I study the scriptures, one of the things that stand out for me is the fact that God always do what He says He will do.
He keeps his word and brings it to pass in the life of the individual, family or nation not because of what they have done or not done but because that is His character, that is who He is.

The Lord is a promise keeper!

For some of us, we might struggle to accept or believe this completely because we live in a world of disappointments where people are not used to keeping their word.

Some of us had been let down in the past, now we struggle to trust others no matter how genuine they might be, unknowingly we approach God's promises with this attitude.
Though we agree mentally that God is good but to place our trust in His word completely is an uphill task for us.

Today I want to share Mary Magdalene's story with you. I studied it, asked the Lord questions about it and because it has blessed me , I want to share it with you believing it will bless you too in Jesus name.

Jesus knew he was here on earth for a reason and for a limited time, he also knew that after his mission here on earth had been accomplished, he would be crucified and he would resurrect on the third day and so he talked about it all the time to his disciples.

He gave them his word that he would resurrect. Matt 26:32.

To you reading this, it might not really mean much to you but the Lord knew that the days following his crucifixion would be long and dark for the disciples. They would suddenly be a lone sheep among wolves as the religious leaders who had always criticised and condemned them and the Lord for not observing the Sabbath day, not following Moses law among other issues would come for them.

The Lord knew all they would face, He knew it would look like they had been abandoned, he knew fear and doubt will grip them so he prepared them and gave them HIS WORD.

Let's read Matt 26:32 and see what the Lord said exactly:

'But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee'

That was the word he gave them before he was crucified.

Now Mary Magdalene wasn't one of the disciples, she must have heard the Lord talking about his resurrection when he spoke to the disciples and she believed him and held on to every word and waited patiently till she saw the manifestation of that promise.

Lets see what happened in John 20 (This was after the Lord had been crucified and buried)

  • verse 1-2, Mary Magdalene had been to the sepulchre on the first day of the week following the Lord's death and saw that the stone used to cover it had been taken away so she ran and called two of the disciples of the Lord as she assumed someone had taken the body of the Lord away. At this junction, her thoughts were probably running riots with the enemy whispering and telling her the Lord lied, for how will the promise of resurrection come to pass if his body was no longer there?

  • verse 3-5, the disciples came running with her, one stooped down, looked inside the sepulchre briefly but didn't go in.

  • verse 6-8, the other disciple went in, saw the clothes the Lord was buried in, believed but went back home and left Mary Magdalene there. May I at this junction say that James 2:19 tells us demons also believe and tremble so to just believe the word of the Lord isn't enough until you put action to your believing and that's what Mary Magdalene did.

  • verse 11, the Bible tells us 'Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping and refused to go home'. She remembered the Lord gave his promise that he would rise again and that's all that mattered, hence her refusal to go home like the disciples. Surely if the Lord said it, he would do it! He is a promise keeper!

Then something happened!!!

She stooped down and looked into the sepulchre, the same sepulchre the disciples looked into and saw nothing and decided to go back home, Mary Magdalene looked into it and saw two angels.

Hebrews 10:36 (NLT) tells us 'Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

The question is 'were the angels there all the time? probably, but only Mary got to see them and that's all that mattered not only that, she also got to see the Lord Jesus first in his resurrected body.

Mary had the promise of the resurrection like the disciples, believed like them but added action to hers, the Lord said he would resurrect on the third day, surely he would resurrect and so she stayed put by his sepulchre, waiting for him to resurrect, nothing wavering.

James 2:22(NLT) says ' you see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete.

The Bible was referring to Abraham here who obeyed God and actually was going to offer Isaac as a sacrifice on the altar as he believed God was able to raise him from the dead should he sacrifice him.

The disciples were probably not fully persuaded so they went home.

Brethren, Jesus can be trusted.

Whatever he has said to you, he will do it.

To put your trust in someone or something is a huge step to take and the Lord Jesus is the only constant one we can trust to stay the same.

He told his disciples in John 14:6 that he would send another comforter to them and he did. In Acts 2, they received the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

He told Mary & Martha in John 11:23 that their brother would rise again and he did.

When the Egyptian pursued the Israelites, Moses said the Egyptian they saw that day, they would see them no more and they never did. 
1 Cor 10:4 says Jesus was the rock that followed them in the wilderness.

Need I say anymore, the Lord keeps his word. What has he said to you, what promise are you holding onto?
Mediate on Hebrews 10:36 and receive strength and not faint.

He told Thomas in John 20:29 'Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed'.

You will receive what He promised you for He is a Promise keeper.

Lessons from Joseph

Through the study of God's word, I found out that true prosperity exceeds material possessions. Material possessions are good but contrary to general belief, true prosperity is not just about that and so just because you don't have them now does not mean God is not with you.

God wants you to prosper but that is not limited to material possessions only.

The Bible called Joseph a prosperous man while he was a slave! Genesis 39:2.

As I studied about Joseph, I gleaned some treasures from the scriptures and came up with what I have titled 'lessons from Joseph', do read on............

Joseph was born like every other child. He lived with his family and went about his normal day to day activities and there were no problems until God showed him a dream, he then decided to tell his brothers about the dream.

The dream as we now know from scriptures was about his future, his destiny.
Joseph didn't make up the dream and it wasn't his idea. It was God's plan for his life.
Jeremiah 1:5 (MSG) says 'I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations'

One key thing to note here is that it wasn't the time that Joseph had the dream that God designed the dream.
It had already been planned and designed by God before Joseph was conceived in his mothers' womb.
The dream was just an opportunity from God for him to have a glimpse of the beautiful plan he had for Joseph's life.

Now that God had showed Jospeh a glimpse of his beautiful future, Joseph had two choices.
1. To follow the dream.
2. To do his own thing.

Joseph followed the dream.

Although we know that not long after God showed him the dream, all hell was let loose as things began to work against him, however against all odds, he trusted the Lord and held on.
Joseph could have doubted the dream or murmured against the Lord as all he experienced was contrary wind. First of all, it was his own brothers who sold him to slavery. He could have rebelled against the Lord at this junction and asked why him? for with human eyes and mind, it seemed the end of the dream.

How will the dream come to pass?, from being the most loved son in your own family and country to being sold off as a slave into a foreign country, it was definitely the end of his dream or so it looked.
His dream revealed he will reign but how would that happen now that he was a slave in a foreign land.
He could have employed human reasoning to analyse the dream and talk himself out of it but as young as he was, he held on to the dream knowing that only the plan of God for a man is what makes a man to succeed in life.

You might want to ask then what the definition of success is?
Success is not fame, money, power or societal status symbol, success is doing what God created you to do, simple.

God the Father said about God the son in Matthew 3:17, 'this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased'. It was written about Jesus before he was born in Matt 1:21 that he will save his people from their sin and that's exactly what he did. According to God, Jesus succeeded because he did what he was created to do. God the Father had to publicly declare that he was pleased with him.

Are you doing what God created you to do? Have you found out what it is or you just follow whatever life brings your way?
This brings us to the lessons from Joseph......

Lesson 1 - Not all adversity is evil.
Some adversity that come your way which are beyond your control and not your doing might not necessarily be evil. When adversity come your way, trust God that he will see you through.
Joseph was sold into slavery, it was beyond him, he couldn't  have done anything about it but He trusted God in it.

Gen 39:2 tells us God was with Joseph. This is the most important thing.
Joseph never knew that the beginning of that adversity was the heralding of his reign into leadership. He had to be sold into slavery for the dream to kick start.
He didn't write the dream and so he couldn't have dictated the terms of the dream or how it will unfold.

There is a plan God wrote about you!

It was already written before you were formed in your mother's womb. God is the architect of that dream, the terms were written out by God. He knows how it will happen, he might show you in part as he did to Joseph, he might not. Whatever he decides to do, what he planned about you is to take you to an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

Therefore when adversity which is beyond your control comes your way , remember God is with you, no matter how unpleasant it may be. Isaiah 43:2
God never leaves his children, he is always with you.

Lesson 2 - He served before he could be served
Most believers struggle with serving others or those God has placed over them as leaders. They want to see abundance of blessings right now not realising God is well organised, a great planner and He has laws in place that must be followed.

For example when a farmer plants a seed, he waits a while before harvesting and everyone of us understands that but when it comes to spiritual things, even after we have planted, we don't want to wait before we harvest.

God could have just made Joseph a Prime Minister straight away, but he made him serve Potiphar first, then the keeper of the prison after he was wrongfully accused and put in prison.
Apostle Paul talked about not putting people with no experience in leadership. 1 Tim 3:5-7
Some people struggle to manage their family, yet they want to manage the church of God.
You have not served your family but you want to be served in the church of God.

Heb 5:8-9 tells us that Jesus learned obedience through the things he suffered. Jesus had to become a man first before he was exalted and sat at the right hand of the Father.
He served his disciples, he served people before he was lifted up.

He showed us that THE WAY UP IS DOWN!! Be a servant first!

Serving teaches you humility, obedience, taking instruction from people humbles you, not everyone can do that, however anyone heading towards greatness has to learn to serve.
Joseph served faithfully and because of this, God kept prospering him, Gen 39:21-23, both in Potiphar's house and in the prison.
He passed the test of faithfulness and so God could allow him to lead a nation.

Wherever God has placed you either in your secular job or in the church of God, serve faithfully. Whatever is in your hand to do, do it diligently. Give it your best, don't render a poor service.
In the world today, we complain when we get poor customer service, what do you think it's on God's
mind concerning the way we handle whatever it is that is committed into our hands.

If you don't serve, you won't be served and remember that your destiny which is designed by God is for greatness, so serve faithfully so you can be served when your times comes.

Lesson 3 - Prosperity is not just financial
In Gen 39, the word 'prosper' appeared 3 times about Joseph. The Bible tells us that God prospered Joseph yet he was a slave!
How can a slave be prosperous if prosperity is all about money?

True prosperity is the blessings of God upon an individual.

Joseph's masters recognised this true prosperity upon Joseph and so they handed over everything to the one who had the golden touch. That's wisdom. They were his boss but they saw God was with him, they recognised he was blessed and they knew if God be for a man, who can be against him? Gen 39:3-6, 22
Today even believers fail to recognise what true prosperity is and so it's easy to be discouraged. You look at people with financial wealth and you become depressed because you don't have as much as they do!

Do you not know there is a grace to prosper upon every believer?

How do I know this? 1 Peter 1:23, the bible says we are born of the incorruptible seed, you are wired by a seed that can never know corruption. After you became born again, your DNA changed from limitation to endless greatness, you became unstoppable, what is in you cannot be destroyed, you cannot be relegated into the background, you became a force to be reckoned with so you will prosper but recognise that true prosperity is not just financial.

Lesson 4 - After climbing the mountain, there are usually many more
On your way to greatness, you will climb mountains!
Climbing mountains is not a family curse, Joseph kept climbing mountains but they brought him closer to the dream. It wasn't smooth sailing at all but he kept on.
You will encounter mountains but you will have a good story to tell, why? because God is with you.
Joseph had a good story to tell when he revealed himself to his brothers. Gen 45:3-8

Lesson 5 - The dream was created to be fulfilled
God is not an entertainer. He didn't create your specific dream and revealed it to you for entertaining purposes.
What has He revealed to you? Did you take the revelations seriously or you brushed them aside?
God knows the end from the beginning. He made you to succeed and you will succeed. He made your children to succeed and they will succeed.

Go seek God and ask Him more about his plans for your life. Talk to the Lord about what He has shown you.
The dream kept Joseph going through all his trials.
He must have been encouraging himself believing the plans God had for his life will surely come to pass and they came to pass as we see in Gen 41:42-43.

Joseph reigned and people bowed before him.
You also must believe God's plan for your life as they will surely come to pass in Jesus name.

Understanding Times and Seasons

Ecclesiastes 3:1

To every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

Each of the four divisions of the year (spring, summer, autumn and winter) are marked by particular weather patterns and daylight hours. In winter it gets dark quickly, summer time is brighter, springtime- things begin to flourish and bloom, autumn is when the leaves start to shed off the tree so each season is characterised by a particular feature or features.

We can also say seasons are times characterised by a particular circumstance so for example we might say things like 'it's raining season' because it rains all the time. Also when there is abundance of a particular fruit in circulation we say it's that fruit season.

These seasons were created by God  and nothing can stop them from taking place every year.
Let's read Gen 8:22 to buttress this point.
While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Now, as I explained above, when fruits are in season, we see it in abundance, what about the times we don't see it in season, does it mean that particular fruit doesn't exist? No! It does exist, only it is not in season.
We will never say for example rain will never fall again because it is not raining season. We just wait for the raining season. Even farmers study raining season and plant their seeds at the right time.

Now when the bible says ' to every thing there is a season' this overrides people's assumptions and assertions that some things will not happen for you because they don't see it manifesting now in your life or in the time they want to see it.

The question then is that thing you want from God that hasn't happened, does it qualify as a purpose of God for your life? If it does, then there is a time to it. Wait for the time.
If you want fruitfulness, increase, promotion, you want to flourish in what you lay your hands upon, it will happen, wait for it.

In Luke 1:5-6, Zacharias and his wife Elisabeth were godly people who served God, yet they had no children. As a matter of fact, the Bible said they were both righteous and blameless, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, yet nothing was happening for them. It was not their 'sin' that held back their miracle.

Verse 7 said they had no child but when their season came, verse 13 tells us the angel said to Zachariah 'your prayer is heard and your wife shall bear a son'

Does it mean God just heard their prayers that day that the angel visited? No! God had heard them when they first asked for a son but to every thing there is a season according to scriptures. Their son, John the Baptist had to be born at the right time. He was a forerunner to Christ!

To every thing there is a season.

It certainly was not impossible for God to make the mother of John the Baptist conceive him 50 years earlier but because there is a time to every purpose under heaven, John the Baptist had to be born at the right time closer to when Christ will be born.

Are you here reading this and you have concluded your time will not come because things have happened for others and not you, remember to every thing there is a season.

My season is not your season, your season is not my season.

A palm tree takes 4 to 8 years after planting before it starts bearing fruit while corn takes 60-100 days.

You would have planted and harvested several batches of corn while the palm tree is still underground, nothing above the ground to show that all your effort in planting it is working but there is something going on underground.

But am I by this saying you should just fold your hands and do nothing while waiting for your season? NO!

The corn still has to be planted then the season of harvest will happen.
The palm tree still has to planted then the season of harvest will happen.
Zachariah and his wife Elisabeth continued serving God and their season happened. They never gave up on God. They refused to be discouraged. They were still righteous and loving God.

You can't fold your hands, be lazy and do nothing, as a matter of fact such people when their season comes around, they might not recognise it because they were not expectant.

Prophet Habakkuk says in Habakkuk 2:1, as for him he will stand upon his watch to see what the Lord will say to him, he was prepared for his season. He was expectant.

Caleb said in Numbers 13:30, let us go up at once and possess the land for we are well able to overcome it, he knew God had said they will possess the land, the promise didn't happen straightaway but he believed it and was eagerly looking forward to it and so when the season came round, he was able to recognise it with the eyes of faith regardless of the opposition - the giants.

The other children of God heard the same promise from God that they will possess the land but they were filled with fear, no expectation at all, didn't even try to put in any effort to believe and go try to fight the giants, listen to what they said in verse 31:
'But the men that went up with him said, we be not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we'

Therefore even though it was their season to possess the promised land, but they never experienced it because all they saw was the giants.

This brings us to the question 'What do I need to do so I experience my own season?

1. Know that to everything, there is a season. It is a law of God that cannot be broken. You have a     season.

2.Don't compare other people's season with yours. Our journey in life is different and so our seasons  will not necessarily happen at the same time.

3. A lazy man will never see harvest.
   Be prepared to work harder than others. Some only pray and do nothing, they will not see harvest. Go the extra mile, do what others are not prepared to do.  This will train your mind and eyes to recognise godly opportunities that others might not easily see when they come around because you are expectant and waiting for it.

4. Believe God, trust his word concerning your situation, never give up. Remain righteous.

5. Your season shall come, believe it!