Saturday, December 18, 2010

When God is silent.

Peter had known about Jesus ever since he was a child; his parents worked diligently with the church ever since he was but a little child.  He heard about Jesus everytime at Sunday school and one day, when he was 8, he gave his life to Christ.  He loved the lord so much and promised to go all the way with Jesus even if he is faced with death.

The time to fulfil that promise to God came; the government forbade the worship of Christ in their city and threatened to kill everyone who even spoke his name.  The church went into hiding, the precious name of Jesus was spoken in secret and his name was whispered only in darkness.  Peter could not understand the hypocrisy and challenged the church.

No one listened to him and everyone called him a fool, they said to him “it is wisdom to obey the law, don’t be stupid child, go home to your parents”   He was only 15, but he knew what they were doing was wrong.  If his Jesus were here, he would never be defeated by the fear of death, his Jesus that faced the Pharisees fearlessly in the bible and challenged them to their face?  He must be ashamed of his people for denying him.

Peter remembered the story of Shedrach, Messiach and Abednego, and how God rescued them when they stood for him even in the face of death, he thought about Ruth and how she said fearlessly “If i perish i perish” in a quest to rescue her people and how God won the battle for them, in his heart, he knew what to do.  He didn’t tell anyone, even his parents, because he knew they would discourage him.

Early one morning, with shaking hands and unsteady legs, Peter went to the market square and with a loud voice he screamed “Jesus Loves You”.  The market fell silent immediately, and all eyes turned on Peter.  Some looked angry, some sad, some pitiful but none showed love or recognition, Peter’s heart broke at the denial written on the faces around him, the same faces that sneaked to church in the dark and professed love for God.

It wasn’t long before the officials heard about the scandal and Peter was snatched from his home and isolated.  His parents pleaded and said he was only a child but when the officials accused them of feeding the child with such words as he could have only repeated what he heard constantly, they denied him out of fear of being killed.  His parents withdrew into the darkness to pray for their child.

Peter was made to face many court gatherings and asked to deny Jesus and apologise for his outburst at the market square, but he refused.  He was threatened with fearful punishments, even death, but he refused to deny Jesus.  In his heart, he knew Jesus would save him and even if he didn’t he would never deny Jesus.

Peter’s parents felt ashamed for what they had done but fear paralyzed them and they kept consoling themselves with the thought that God would save their child just like he saved his people in the bible.  They enlisted the entire hidden church to pray for their son.

One day, it was announced that Peter would be given a final chance to deny Jesus publicly or be killed.  Everyone gathered at the market square to witness the event.  Some came to mock the stupidity of the child, others came with pitiful hearts hoping the child would save himself.  The church members came with hushed silence, hoping that God will work a miracle and save the boy.

When Peter was brought out, everyone fell silent and only a few gasps and sniffs were heard in the crowd.  He wore the same cloth he was wearing when they snatched him a month ago, he looked lean and a bit tattered, but in his eyes was a sparkle that no one could understand. 
“We bring you out today to give you another chance to deny Jesus in the presence of the entire community or be killed.  Peter, do you deny Jesus this day?” the official asked.

Peter looked up and saw his parents in the front row, his mother’s eyes were swollen and his dad held on to her as she shook in his arms.  He looked into the eyes of other people he could recognise and saw them plead with him to deny Jesus.  Then he turned his eyes to the heavens and said “How can i deny the one who loves me so dearly and would never deny me”.

There was uproar and the official tried to quieten the crowd.  “This is our judgement, just as you have disobeyed the laws of the land, you will be beheaded this minute”.  The crowd went wild again, some people shouted “He’s only a child, leave him alone”.  However, the law had spoken and had to be carried out.

As the soldiers prepared to behead Peter, he cried.  He knew if he denied Jesus, he would be free, he would go back into hiding and everyone would be happy, but he knew it would haunt him for the rest of his life.  The hidden church prayed silently in their hearts that God would work a miracle and save Peter, just like he did in the bible.

When it was all set, Peter was asked to say his final words.  He looked up to heaven, kept believing that God would save him.  The church had faith; they also believed God would save him.  Peter looked into the eyes of everyone and sang from the depth of his heart.

Jesus i enthrone you
I proclaim you as king
Standing here in the midst of all
I raise you high with my praise
And as i worship build your throne
And as i worship build your throne
And as i worship build your throne
Come Lord Jesus and take your place.

Peter meant the song to be a prayer to God, he knew his stand for God was an act of worship to God and he prayed that God would use it to change his community and take his place in the land.

Tears fell from his face as he raised his hands to the king.  When he was done, the soldiers snatched him and cut off his head.  There was no rolling thunder, or sudden earthquake.  There was no loud voice or an invisible hand to stop them from killing him, there was only the sudden realization that Peter was dead.  Peter’s mother knelt down and held the soil tight with her hands; she let out a heart wrenching cry that poured the pain in her heart.

The crowd dispersed and Peter’s body was handed over to his parents for burial.  The church gathered in the darkness and no one could speak of what had happened.  No one could understand why God did not save the child.  However, their hearts were heavy with a burden and strength built up within them.  They talked about the song Peter sang and acknowledged how he was the only one who had truly worshipped God, and his sacrifice was the highest form of worship to God.  They were ashamed for their denial and how God had gotten their attention only with the death of a child.

That act of worship had kindled a flame in their hearts and they knew they could not keep going into hiding.  Many other hearts were being stirred in the city, Peter’s song was working miracles, he’s death was bringing people back to God.  There was a revival in the land, the church came out of hiding and other people joined them to proclaim Christ in one accord.  There was a battle, the government was overthrown and someone else replaced him. 

All this happened because one little boy truly worshipped God.  Worship goes beyond songs, it is a lifestyle, it’s in the little sacrifice we make for God, the obedience, the faith, the love we show to everyone around us, and it’s in trusting him.

Most of all, what if God had saved Peter, there would have been no revival, everyone would have gone back to hiding, taking the gospel along with them.  Every bad thing that happens to Christians is not for shame or discouragement, God always has a plan.  He sees the big picture, he knows everything.  His plan is always for good and not evil.

Peter died so that there can be a revival in the land, whatever has happened to you is for a purpose, if you can rest in his presence and stop hating him and pushing God away, you will see his purpose in that situation.  We cannot always understand the ways of God; we can only trust that he will never do anything to hurt us, he always seeks for our good.

It will be painful, but God wounds that he might heal.  Just worship the father, let him fill you with his love.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


 13Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

Do you know what I have been through in this life?  Do you even have any idea?  I was abused at the age of 12 by my father. I grew up in an orphanage because my mother never wanted me, I never had straight A’s in my academics, no one wants to be around me, I have been in and out of the hospital all my life… life really isn’t worth living, don’t seat there telling me God loves me or there is a God because you can never understand how I feel, neither can God.

Have you ever been around such people or even uttered such words before?  I know I have.  I have been angry with God, my parents and everyone around me because I just could not understand why life was so cruel to me and why my life was so difficult.  Then I read the story of Paul in 1 Corinthians 11.  Paul had a long list of all he had been through in life and yet, he still moved on and held on to his faith in God.  He never questioned God but always praised God for all he was going through.  Paul was just like you and me, he was a great if not the greatest apostle that lived.

From further study, I discovered his secret in Philippians 3: 13-14.  Then it dawned on me that all I had been through had to be for a reason, God is not one known to make mistakes.  The enemies knew the influence Paul had over the people, they knew that people believed him and soon he would turn the people against them so the enemies had a conference over Paul and decided to make life hell for him.  Their ultimate plan was to make him forget who he is in Christ and depart from the path God had destined for him to walk.  If they had succeeded and Paul forsook the pursuit of Jesus because of all he suffered, we would never have all the great epistles he wrote or God would have found someone else to take up the work.
Bishop T.D. Jakes said “If you are going through hell in your life, it’s not the time to give up; rather it is a time to persevere.  It only means that there is something really great God has planned for you and someone (definitely the devil) doesn’t want you to get there.  I can assure you that the heavens are having constant meetings over your life to help you pull through”

We must realize that the devil does not want us to become who God wants us to be because if we do, we will become a threat to his kingdom.  Being the coward that he is, he begins to attack us with different issues, especially when we are growing up.  You get abused (physically, emotionally, sexually, verbally) and lose your self esteem, you never pass examinations and you are tagged a failure, your mother dumps you in an orphanage and you label yourself a reject and all other things that mess up our minds.  If we give in to these labels and give up, we make the devil rejoice because he would have taken care of another threat to his kingdom and their activities.

I encourage you today to press on, forget all that you have been through and hold on to God.  Do not be another trophy the devil can boast about; rather strive to be a vessel God can rejoice over.  You may be at the brick of breakthrough just when you decide to give up.  Joseph persevered even when he was accused falsely by his own brothers and Potiphar’s wife and thrown in prison and he helped his father and brothers when there was famine and paved way for the children of Israel to prosper in the land of Egypt.  Paul persevered in prison, through strokes of cane, starvation and a lot of things he listed, but he never gave up and today he is one of the greatest apostles that ever lived.  He’s teachings are a major guideline that Christians follow.

I dare you to persevere; your breakthrough is just by the corner, do not let the devil cheat you… Press on and be who God wants you to be.