July 23, 2023

Flourishing in Difficult Times

Flourishing in Difficult Times

TRINITY HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH

 

SUNDAY SERMON

23rd of July, 2023

Topic:                         Flourishing in Difficult Times

Preacher:                   Pastor Yinka Omolohunnu

Text:                           John 16:33

 

MESSAGE

The Bible tells us that we will have tribulations in this world but it says we should be of good cheer, why? Not because the tribulations do not exist or are not there but because Jesus has overcome. I will be exhorting us this morning on Flourishing in Difficult Times. We don’t need a prophet to tell us that we are in difficult times. We don’t need to go far to know that these times are hard, perilous and tough. The truth is, it will get tougher. I know we are praying that things will get better… it’s been a while that I’ve been hearing ‘E go beta’ but the truth is, ‘e no go beta,’ however, ‘e go beta’ for the children of God.

The world is passing away and systems will keep failing – that’s the truth. When one government gets it in one aspect, the other aspect will suffer. We can’t have one government that will solve it all. ‘E go beta’ is a good prayer but it is imperative as children of God to understand the times and know how to live in the times because when you are waiting for the government to fix everything, that will never happen. However, God has given us in His Word secrets to flourish in tough times. Jesus says, ‘Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’

Some of the things to do in difficult times so that we can have a good life.

  1. Live by Faith: This is basic and very important. It is by faith that the elders obtained a good report and it is by faith that you and I can obtain a good report in this perverse and dwindling times. It is by faith! If you want to engage the problems of this world naturally, you will keep getting frustrated and depressed. It can only be by faith. The Bible says, ‘Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith’ (Hab. 2:4); ‘But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith”’ (Gal. 3:11); ‘Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him’ (Heb. 10:38). So, there is something common to these bible verses – ‘the just shall live by faith.’

We have been justified to live by faith and it is only on this ground that we can flourish. The devil is too smart for us to trash him, it is only by faith that we can defeat him. He is older and more experienced than us; the devil can outsmart any man that is not led by God. We walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). We have been called to walk by faith and that is the only way to earn virtue.

Recently, I was asking my wife about some money because she is the treasurer of the house and she said, ‘There is no money’ because we have spent it on fuel. I asked how and she started calculating. At some point, I said, ‘It is enough.’ If we go by the situation around us, it would seem like we are carrying the world on our head. It is only faith that gives us virtue. One of the things we must understand is that we must live by faith.

Rom. 4:16 downwards tell us about Abraham, the father of Faith. Do you know, you and I need faith to enjoy grace? Grace is a channel to faith and we need grace to run this race. If you want to obtain everything by works, it’s difficult. We need grace. Even if you are rich and have all the money, you can’t afford all you need because you are not going to fend for yourself alone, your relatives will come to you. Sometimes, there are things that we cannot even afford but there’s grace for us. Yesterday, I was going somewhere when I saw an okada rider. I called him and it turned out he was someone I knew but he wasn’t going in my direction. He moved past me but lo and behold, he came again and took me to where I was going for free. I wondered that such thing could still happen in this present economy – that’s grace. Abraham was a man of faith and so, he was not moved by the challenges that he suffered. So, if we want to survive and flourish in this time, beloved, please, live by faith. Tell somebody, ‘To enjoy grace, you need faith.’ Ephesians 2:8 says, ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.’

  1. We need to trust God and put Him first: One of the scriptures that we looked at in the Grace Devotional, Proverbs 3:5 – 10 says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding… So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.’ It’s true but it starts from trusting the Lord (Prov. 3:5). Some trust in chariots, some trust in horses, some others trust in consultations and all manner of things but this is a very good time to trust in the Lord. On the street, trust Him; trust Him with everything. And you know what? If you trust the Lord, you will pray regularly. I always say, ‘I can’t get anything right on my own’ and that’s true because the Bible says, ‘Without me, you can do nothing’ (John 15:5). If you trust God, you will pray all the time and about anything. You will pray before you open your mouth, before you go out and before you do anything. If you trust God, it will be reflected in your prayer. Prayer won’t be what you come to once in a while; you pray every time because it’s an indication that you trust God.

Trust God! Do you know why you also need to trust God and put Him first? Because there are certain things that He will do to bring blessings unto us but if we try to follow our own understanding, we will miss them. Remember, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your hearts and lean not on your own understanding,’ in other words, don’t incline your heart to follow your understanding. There are many things we don’t understand that will just happen. The Bible says, ‘”For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord’ (Isa. 55:8). The ways of God are ways that are beyond comprehension, so, we need to trust Him. That Yoruba hymn says, ‘Jesu ni balogun oko, e maa se je ka f’oya… bo ti wu k’iji na le to, yio mu oko wa gunle,’ that is, ‘Jesus is the captain of the ship, I don’t need to fear. I know that whatever storm may come, there will be safe-landing.’

There is no better time to trust God, just lean on God and you know what? Trusting the Lord is always for our benefits. If you look at the story of the woman in 1 Kings 17:10 – 13 – the widow that God sent Elijah to. When Elijah told her to go and get him water… do you know that water was not even an easy thing to get at that time because there was no rain. Elijah told her also that she should make a cake for him and the woman complained at this point but thank God that Elijah quickly prophesied, ‘…The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth’ (1 Kings 17:14). The woman trusted God and she experienced a miracle. But eventually, that woman’s son died. Even though the woman was adequately supplied, the son later died but thank God for the prophet. If that woman had not trusted God, the prophet would not be there to raise up her child.

Pray this prayer: My father, the powers that have conquered those before me will have no edge on me.

The prophet, with the power of God, broke the evil pattern and stop it in the life of the woman. May you be the one to stop any evil generational pattern in the name of Jesus. Trust the Lord and put Him first, even in your finances. I know it is difficult and look somehow, but don’t fail in your covenant obligations, just continue. It’s a show that you trust God when you tithe, because even the ten percent cannot solve the problem around.

  1. Hold fast to your confession (Heb. 10:23): Don’t begin to confess what they are confessing. And you know, you must watch your company if you want to guard your confession. Don’t just be in the gathering of those who complain, as you do that you are setting negative forces in motion. Take note that there are two realms: there is the realm of light and that of darkness and every of your word mobilises one realm. Every word you speak mobilises one realm and the idle ones will be judged for it. So, you are either giving angels or demons command, you have to choose one. Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Even Psalms 103:20 says, ‘Bless the Lord, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word, that is, Angels are always waiting to hearken to the Word of God. Let your confession be the word of God. The word of God is the truth, the situation is the fact but the truth will always prevail. Don’t deny the fact but bring the truth against it and the truth will always prevail.

So, hold fast to your confession and the Word of God. This is why you need to study to show yourself approved. Hold fast your confession and don’t change it. The Bible tells us in Heb. 11:3 that through faith we understand that the world was framed with the Word of God… that is, what we are seeing is not made from a physical entity, they came by the Word. The Word is creative. Watch your confession and hold fast to it. When people are complaining, you praise the Lord instead. You may look at it and ask how it is possible but just do it.

  1. Don’t draw back in the Fellowship: There are certain things that will not happen except we come together. God is not bound by time nor by location but he operates by time and by location. In other words, He says, ‘By this time, I will do this.’ He is not bound by time but then he uses time in His operation. Same thing goes for location. He told Elijah to go to the brook. Why didn’t he just tell Elijah to sit down somewhere? He said to him to go to the brook and when the brook dried up also, He told him to go somewhere else. Thank God for online meetings but when we neglect coming together, we miss certain benefits. Paul said in Romans 1:11, ‘For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift…’, that is, without seeing them, he can’t impart unto them. Fellowship!
  2. Choose to Rejoice: The joy of the Lord is our strength, that’s just it. I tell you, every time you choose anything over joy, it’s like a car that’s being drained of fuel. Joy is like a fuel in our journey. There is a difference between joy and happiness. You need something to make you happy but for joy, you may not see anything. For example, if you call it rejoicing anytime you see an alert, that’s not rejoicing, that’s just being happy. What if it was a debit alert you saw? Joy does not really mean something you see – ‘though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible…’ (1 Pet. 1:8).

Joy is a choice. Habakkuk 3:17 – 18 says, ‘Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labour of the olive may fail and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls – yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.’ Now, this is joy, not when an alert enters your phone. Joy is not when your husband or children make you happy and you say you are rejoicing in the Lord, that’s just being happy. Rejoicing is when you don’t see all these things and you still sing for joy and people think you are made (Phil. 4:4). Rejoice in the Lord!

Flourishing is doing well. For you to do well in your body, soul and spirit, you must choose to rejoice and in the course of time, those concerns will become testimonies. Rejoice! 1 Thess. 5:16 says, ‘Rejoice evermore.’ We have a million and one things to make us sad, sorrowful, look morose, complain to God and become depressed but we must choose to be joyful. You see all manner of things at the office, on the road and everywhere. People are so frustrated that if you want to exchange words with them, it will become something else. You cannot drive on the road and not be insulted; they will insult you but just rejoice. People are frustrated but just rejoice.

Praise the Lord! Irrespective of whatever, in spite of the challenges, just rejoice. When somebody told me that fuel is now N617, I laughed and she asked why I was laughing, I said, ‘What would I then do?’ and she was surprised. It concerns me more than her but I am the one laughing. Choose it, it’s a choice. Choose to rejoice.

I pray this morning that everything that the devil has mobilized to take out your joy, God will defend you in the name of Jesus Christ. Every mobilization from the pit of hell to ensure you are depressed and sorrowful, the Lord will arise on your behalf. Your time of joy has come. Everything causing you sorrow has disappear, God has taken them over for you.

Prayer

Lord, I choose to rejoice. In spite of everything, I rejoice according to your Word. Father, I will not lose my joy.

Ask the Lord. Say, ‘Father, I receive your grace to obey your Word; to be a hearer and doer of your word.’ Thank you, Lord Jesus.

Call to Salvation

Peradventure you are here and you don’t even understand what we are saying about rejoicing. You cannot rejoice in Jesus if you don’t have Him. You don’t have Jesus in your life are are not sure about your walk with God? You have not yet made a decision but you want Jesus to come into your heart and be your Lord and Saviour today, say this prayer: Lord Jesus, I surrender to your Lordship. Today, I receive you as my Lord and Saviour. Please, wash me clean and grant me the ability to truly rejoice as I obey your Word. Thank you for saving me. In Jesus Name I prayed. Amen.

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