Greeting the congregation as usual and formally acknowledging the supremacy of the Lord, Wise Man Harry proceeded to deliver his message. In his prefatory remarks, the wise man dwelt on pleasure and how it enslaves people’s minds from God. In his words, pleasure takes people’s minds away from God. All high places are slippery and the higher they are, the more slippery they become. He entitled his message, The Most Charming Of Temptations and asked his listeners to open to Matthew 3: 16, Matthew 4:1-4 and 8-11 as his proof text. As he put it, after the declaration of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Saviour of the world, He was tempted. That, the wise man elaborated, means that no matter how close to God anybody is he can still be tempted. He also made the point that it was not Jesus Himself who sought the temptation but it was entirely the brainchild of satan. However, he reminded his listeners that God prepares His people for temptation before He calls them for any assignment and cited Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego to add flesh to his point. He cautioned that when we tempt the devil to tempt us we provoke God to withdraw His power and leave us to our own strength. Satan, he maintained, uses our situation to tempt us. In the case of Jesus, satan knew that He was hungry after forty days and nights of praying and fasting and used food by way of bread to tempt Him. As the wise man remarked, temptation is an opportunity to choose temporary pleasure rather than permanent gain. However, Jesus told satan that man does not live by bread alone by which He meant even though He might be hungry, He was not desperate about food. If He were desperate about food, He would have turned the stones into bread. A man may lack bread, yet be a candidate of Heaven. Citing John 14 :27, the wise man spoke of two sources of peace: the peace given by this world and the peace given by God. He rated the peace given by God more valuable as it meant love, blessing, joy among others. The world, according to him, also gives these but with conditions attached to them. Drawing his listeners’ attention to the way satan tempted Jesus, he remarked that satan tempted Jesus to idolatry because the glory of the world is the most charming temptation to the carnally minded. Many people become wealthy in a twinkle of an eye but the source of their wealth is questionable. When satan gives you something which gives apparent peace with the right hand, he takes away from you what your life depends on with the left hand . As children of light, the wise man cautioned, we must know that anything we have, satan has the counterfeit. We have the original grace but satan has the counterfeit. The blessing of this world is a fading thing so is the light itself on which it is bestowed. Are you worried about tomorrow? Anxiety about tomorrow is the cause of corruption, killing and stealing. What are you out for? Jesus was not out for material gain but the work of His Heavenly Father. Let us live for eternity and we shall see that all is available in time, the wise man advised. When you make God your heart’s delight, you shall have your heart’s desire, the wise man submitted.
RELIANCE ON GOD
Speaking on the title, Reliance On God, Prophet T. B. Joshua reminded his listeners that the greatest gain satan aims at in tempting good people is to overthrow their position as children of God, to cut off their dependence on God. This is why, he maintained, we seem to ignore God when there is trouble, when the goings are tough. What situation, he asked, are you in as a child of God? Is it sickness, poverty, hardship or rejection? Reading Daniel 6 :1, the prophet told the congregation that the grace on Daniel was for the full time ministers and layman, the strong and weak, the men and women, the intellectual and uneducated and so on. The prophet extolled the virtue of praising God even in the absence of anything cheering, stating that, thank you, is a response from a happy heart. We too, he advised, can say thank you even when our situation suggests otherwise. One of the strategies of satan is to get people to doubt God’s goodness. Satan wants you to continually ask for what you do not have. He does not want you to say thank you for what you have. Doubt comes when we fail to remember what the Lord has done for us and concentrate on what we do not have. In doing that, we may be slipping into unhealthy doubt, he warned. He read Psalm 94:19 to augment his point. There are many people in the Bible, he said, whom we call pillars of faith but who had some doubts as well. It was not that their faith was less but that their faith was challenged in some new way. A case in focus was John the Baptist sending disciples to ask Jesus whether He was the expected Messiah. God does not mind doubt if we seek answer from God in the midst of it. Allow your doubt to move you closer to God, he advised his listeners. Reading Habakkuk 2:1, he urged the congregation to be patient and let God answer their questions on His schedule, not theirs. It may seem painful yet it is not, as a Christian, to be sick in body. One may be sick yet be a friend of God. It is not unto destruction. It may be to prepare him awhile for the journey ahead of him. Christianity is a relationship, not a religion. Relationship with Christ does not mean hard times will not come. There are hard and good times in our relationship with God. Jesus came to restore the relationship between God and man. Religious people believe that they must go to Heaven to see God but when they are sick they are not happy with God. Our hardship however, is not like others’. Ours is meant for the glory of God. We can serve God in the new way of living in the Spirit. Everyone can say Jesus is Lord, but not everyone can say by the power of the Holy Spirit. Religious people do not work by the Spirit; they know and teach the Bible but they do not live by it.
THE WAY OUT
If you are wrestling with doubt, you should attend a living church and stay close to other living Christians. You should resist the temptation to isolate yourself because doubt feeds on loneliness. In Acts 7:59, Stephen looked up to Heaven, ignoring the bodily pains and said Lord, do not charge them with their sins. He then fell asleep. The fear of being stoned did not scare or frighten him into abandoning his faith. The more he was stoned, the more he confessed Christ and the stronger he became in his faith, belief and conviction. This means while in trouble, the more you confess about the Lordship of Christ, the better. Today however, we seem to ignore God when trouble comes. Stephen saw his pain as a reason for believing just as he did his good times. The Lord said in 2 Corinthians 6:2, I will never fail or abandon you. You should never doubt your salvation as a Christian, the prophet urged his listeners. Satan, he maintained, will try to snatch you away but he will not succeed. You should never doubt God’s desire or ability to help you. When you are struggling with doubt, you should remember the way and manner in which God has worked in your life. As you recall God’s track record in your life, it will help to strengthen you and give you a new hope. Your situation will not impair you; on the contrary, it will improve you. Your testimony should be the goodness of God, but nothing else. In defending himself, David simply testified to the goodness of the Lord in his life. He said the Lord rescued him from the mouths of lions and bears in his tender age. When Daniel was to be arrested, he went to his upper room to say, ‘Thank You’ to his God, which is a response from a happy heart. We can be happy even when there is nothing to be happy about. This should be the attitude of every Christian.
SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS TO DISABLED PERSONS
Many physically challenged people who already enjoy The SCOAN Scholarship Programme thronged to the platform to express gratitude to the man of God for helping them enter the four walls of the university and to happily receive the monetary values of their scholarships for the semester. The first spokesman of the physically challenged students, Mr Salami Lukman articulated the gratitude of the entire group to the man of God for footing their education bills and ensuring their physical comfort in their various educational institutions.
He particularly thanked the prophet for willingly coming to their aid regardless of their faith or backgrounds. He also expressed his desire to enrol for a Master’s degree in Law, having come second class upper in his first degree. The prophet willingly embraced his ambition and gave him the sum of N371,000.00 as fees for the Master’s degree programme.
Others who spoke for themselves and on behalf of the group were Mr Rotimi, also a lawyer, Mr Abiodu Solomon and Miss Kudirat , who introduced herself as a student of English in one of the universities. A total sum of 10.2 million naira was disbursed to the group. The next group of students for the scholarship programme is expected in about two weeks for their financial support.
EXHUMED SURVIVOR GIVEN N500,000.00
An elderly man introduced as Elder Enelanyo Inain who was 78 years old and his family mounted the platform. One of her daughters narrated the trauma Elder E. Inain underwent in his community where he was half buried by the members of his community on the suspicion that he was a wizard. He was said to be responsible for the sickness of a chief in the town. He was given the option of curing the chief or facing the alternative of being taken to the forest for murder and burial. In disregard of his confessed innocence of witchcraft and the sickness of the chief, they carried out their plan of attempting to end his life.
The community took him to a forest and told him to dig his grave. When he could not do so because of his age, they dug the grave for him and forced him to assume a sitting position in the grave. They covered the entire body with sand and left only the head above the ground so that he would die before evening. He was rescued by some people about 7 pm, when he didn’t die and was banished from the community. At the time of the confession in The SCOAN, Elder Inain was taking refuge in the home of his daughter away from his ancestral community for fear of being killed.
In reaction, the man of God expressed shock, like the rest of the congregation, and confirmed that Elder E. Inain was not a wizard and was innocent of the accusation levelled against him by the community. The man of God consoled him and urged him to forgive the community. He additionally gave him the sum of N500,000.00 and asked the children to tidy up his house at home and give him good food. He also promised to impress his innocence on the community that have banished him from the town because of the erroneous accusation so that he would be reintegrated in the community.
WOMAN DELIVERED FROM ADDICTION TO ALCOHOL
Mr and Mrs Barnabas mounted the platform to give a testimony of the deliverance of Mrs Barnabas who had been under the bondage of the spirit of drinking alcohol. She was fished out by the Spirit of God as the prophet laid hands on the congregation. At the instance of the prophet, the woman confessed that the addiction to alcohol was the reason for her coming to The SCOAN after she had tried many other places. After taking alcohol, she would abandon her husband, children and responsibilities as a wife and misbehave everywhere in the town to the embarrassment of the family. She confessed that she was aware of her problem but that she found it difficult to deliver herself from the spirit until she finally came to The SCOAN. In his contribution, the husband affirmed that he was aware of that habit in her before he married her, thinking that she would outgrow it but unfortunately that was not the case and she even worsened it by adding another habit of taking snuff. They were happy that after her deliverance, she no longer relished in those negative habits. The couple thanked God and the prophet for her deliverance.
YOUTH WORKER TO PROCEED FOR PhD
Miss Oduwole Olayinka, a youth worker in The SCOAN had been given a scholarship to do her Master’s degree in University College London after she graduated from the University of Lagos, Nigeria where she came out first class in Electronics/Electrical Engineering. Of the four universities that admitted her for the Master’s degree in her chosen field, she opted for University College London, being the best among the four institutions. As a lover of education who wants only the best for his sheep, Prophet T.B. Joshua happily encouraged her to embrace the offer by paying all the prescribed fees and providing for her flight, accommodation and comfort for the entire period. A year after, Miss Olayinka mounted the platform to thank the man of God and gave a very brilliant account of her studies in University College London where she gained distinctions and emerged the best student in her multinational class. Reacting with joy to her brilliant result, the man of God assured her of his readiness to sponsor her for a PhD programme. It was thanks galore from Miss Olayinka to the man of God and the church for the life-changing gift.
ANOINTING WATER ENDS A LIFETIME OF CAREER FAILURE
Mr Francis from Bayelsa, Nigeria climbed the platform to testify to the goodness of the Lord in his life through the Anointing Water. His life, which according to him had been held down fourteen years by what he called ‘near to success syndrome’, assumed a new status after he received and ministered the Anointing Water to himself and his credentials. His lifetime yearning for recognition in his state came into reality after he prayed with the Anointing Water. His recent appointment and swearing in as Commissioner for Works and Transport in his state was clearly the work of God in his life through the Anointing Water, he told his listeners.
ANOINTING WATER REIGNS
The Anointing Water has been sent out all over the world changing lives, changing people and changing nations from what they were to what they want to become. It has been tales of deliverances and healings everywhere on the globe the Anointing Water was ministered. The video clip in the last Sunday service revealed the Anointing Water at work in New York, USA. Among the many that benefited from it, a woman rolled on the ground in deliverance after the ministration and confessed that during the prayer, she saw many entities packing their bags and walking towards the door, leaving her free and delivered. The entire Christian world cannot thank the Lord enough for intervening publicly in our lives to change us for our comfort and salvation through the medium of the Anointing Water.