Nigerians have been charged to be hopeful and believe in God to make real their desires for good living, even in hopeless situations they might find themselves.
A gospeller and faith preacher, Rev. Akinlolu Raphael, said this on Sunday, October 25, 2020, while ministering as a guest minister at the Biazo 2020, a four-day teaching and prayer conference of the Charis Family International Church, which held at its church headquarters in Mokola, Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State.
In his sermon at the church presided over by Pastor Tunde Jaiyebo, who is also the president of Charis Ministry Training Institute (CMTI), the ministerial teaching school of the church, Rev. Raphael, taking his scriptural reading from the Book of Luke 18:35-43, citing the case of blind Bartimaeus, whose Jesus Christ restored his sight, said there is no hopeless situation which can’t be resolved by faith.
The Biblical reference for the yearly programme with the theme: “Radical Change, Creating a Mighty Army from Dry Bones,” was taken from the Book of Ezekiel 37:1-12, which narrated an encounter Prophet Ezekiel had with God, who instructed him to prophesy into the dead and dry human bones through which life was restore into them.
Speaking further to the congregation and other category of Nigerians and others, especially those believing in Christian faith, who connected to the church programme online, in his message entitled: “Power to Change your Story; Power to make Radical Change to your Life,” Rev. Raphael said, “God has the power to change your story. No matter the circumstance in your life, there is power to change your story.”
He charged that, “God does not do things arbitrarily,” rather, “He operates with spiritual principles and the secret to do this is not hidden to us,” as according to him, God has prepared His servants too to educate His children on how to appropriate every good thing already prepared for them.
“God has different callings in the kingdom to bring the children to what He has prepared for them. God is good to all that call upon Him. The Bible is the breadth of God, the more time you spend with Him, the more of Him you know. There are no impossibilities with God. There are great possibilities and potentials of God in your life waiting to be unleashed. Your condition presently does not define you,” Rev. Raphael said.
The cleric admonished that the present untoward condition of any child of God is not his condition, just like he said that Bartimaeus’ blindness didn’t make it God’s plan for his life, rather, he said, Satan is always out to steal what belongs to the children of God, adding that, whenever Jesus steps in, the needed radical change will occur.
“Immediately Jesus stepped in, Bartimaeus received his sight. It has always been his sight but Satan stole it. When he had an encounter with Jesus, Bartimaeus wasn’t asking anything outside the will of God. His sight was what God has provided for him but was stolen by Satan. So, meeting with Jesus, his sight is a possibility for him waiting to be released.
“Bartimaeus could have just settled for his situation, as there were some other blind men around who settled for theirs. In the Book of Mark 10:46, he was called blind Bartimaeus. Blindness has become his identity. It doesn’t matter what man calls you, it is not the will of God for you. You too can experience a radical change.
“In Luke 18:43, we were told that “Immediately he (Bartimaeus) received his sight, and followed Him (Jesus), glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.” As we can see, he received his sight because it has always been his,” Rev. Akinlolu said.
According to him, in the Book of Colossians: 1:12, 13, 14, the inheritance of saints in light, that is the children of God has been highlighted. And as such, the minister said, it is only left for Christians to take a step of faith and take their portion to effect the needed radical change in their lives.
“Bartimaeus received his sight and followed Jesus. Now, he could fulfill the purpose of God in his life. Before this period, he was grounded. But now, he could fulfill his purpose, he has a reason to praise God. People then praised God with him. If your time comes, people will praise God with you. Let your story change, the same people that didn’t want to do things with you will come to rejoice with you.
“People are waiting to celebrate with you. Your story will change. Where you have been rejected, they will look for you. Isaiah 60:15 says, Though you were once despised and hated, with no one traveling through you, I will make you beautiful forever, a joy to all generations.
“Also, in Psalm 126:1, the Lord is turning your captivity. There is a possibility of your life changing. It is not just the story of a man as we have heard, but what happened can be replicated in anybody’s life. And let’s know that Jesus was never moved by emotion, He did what he saw His Father doing,” Rev. Raphael said.
To experience a radical change from uncomfortable situations and have a new story, Rev. Raphael shared with the congregation what he called: “Five Critical Power Components Needed to Change your Story,” as according to him, “many things we are asking God to do, He has done them.”
The first he called: “The power of hope,” the “hope,” which he said can also be called “vision,” and referencing Luke 18:37-39, he said, the blind man’s desperate cry shows that he did not accept his condition as the will of God.
“He lost his outside sight, but he never lost his inside sight. There is no way you can connect with God if you lose hope. Like in the case of Abraham, he hoped against hope, when God told him he and his aged wife, Sarah, would still have a child. Ephesians 1:15-18, the latter part says, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling.
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for. Some people try to exercise faith but have no hope. When you are hopeless, you expect nothing. Some people have died for Christ, because they had hope. There is no hopelessness in Christ. Psalm 43:5 says we should hope in God.
“In John 5:7, we read of the story of an impotent man who had stayed with his infirmity for many years, hoping a man will come and help him to the pool where he could receive his healing, but no one came, but that man, Jesus, showed up after 38 years, he had been waiting. Your miracle begins when your hope is strong enough. Job 14:7 says, ‘there is hope of a tree,’ so, if there is hope for a tree cut down, there is a hope for you as a child of God,” Rev. Raphael said.
The second power, he called the “Power of the cry of the righteous,” he also said to be the “Covenant relationship through prayer, saying, ” hope” in God will propel his children to cry to Him for help.
The cleric said: “Prayer is leveraging on your circumstance to reach out to God. Those who wait on the Lord shall have their strength renewed. Take prayer from the region of religious obligation, but change it to a covenant relationship.”
The third power, Rev. Raphael called: “The power of divine returns, or power of mercy, which according to him is people engaging God in their losses through prayer, as he said that is “turning your prayer to something,” adding that, “it is not enough to know how to ride a car, but you need to feel the engine to know how it works.”
“The power of God’s ability,” is what he called the forth power, saying, it is not a power or ability alone, but what you are willing to do, as he made reference to Luke 18:40, citing the case of a man with infirmity, but which Jesus asked of what he wanted Him to do for him. “Let the power of God be engaged in your life, your story will change, according to Luke 1:35,” the minister said.
The last, which he called the fifth power: “The power of receiving,” also said to be: “The power of faith,” which according to the cleric, as a Christian, quoting from Luke 1:37, which states, ‘For with God nothing shall be impossible,’ he said, “it is your responsibility to receive.”
“You engage the power of faith, when you are sick and you are thanking God for healing not minding how you feel. The first time you say it, it has happened in the realm of the spirit, as the Bible says in Mark 11:24, ‘Whatever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them. If there is a willingness to give on God’s side, there must be a willingness to receive on our side too,” Rev. Raphael said.