THE FLOURISHING 4th of July, 2008
There are blessing and there are blessings, there are blessing that will sink a ship. There are blessings that you will need your neighbors to help you carry them. That kind of blessing is coming the way of someone tonight. Now we want to talk about the flourishing and our discussion is in two parts, in the first part we want to define flourishing then in the second part we want to find out to find out what you must do in order to flourish? Some of you have heard me define flourishing before. If you have heard it before it will be a good revision, if you have not heard it then you need to pay double attention.
In the material worlds there are different levels, there is the level of those who are the poor, the bible say people in this level shall not cease in the land. Thank God, He did not say you would be one of them. Therefore, I am believing God for you that you will not be in the level of the poor. I will not talk much about these groups of people.
Then there is the level of those who are surviving. In Lagos we call them the book me downs; they are doing a job but the money will be gone before the end of the middle of the month so they will go to sellers of beans or garri and say please I will pay at the end of the month, give me food and book me down. I pray that if you are in that level before the end of this month you will leave that level in the name of Jesus.
Then there is a higher level than that; the level of the comfortable. Their salaries carry them through the month; they even have left over than they need. They are the people that open savings account and you will not know they have a problem unless there is a crisis. It is not a bad level, but I am still believing God for you that you will even leave that level this month.
There is a higher level than that called the level of the rich. This is where we will begin to talk a little. An example of that is given in Genesis 24 v 34 - 35; the servant of Abraham was speaking and said I am Abraham servant and the Lord has bless my master greatly and then has become rich in silver , in gold , in cattle etc. who are the rich? I have a friend, we normally travel together and whenever we go to the stores to buy things. While am looking for things that are old sale; 50% reduction, 40% reduction. My friend will be pushing his cart and anything that he sees that he wants he picks it and drop it in and so I said to him “you are not even checking the price?” He will say there is no need. That is what I call to be rich. There are some of you today, before the end of this month you will be in the category of the rich.
However, there is a higher level than that is called the wealthy, the bible describe this people in Ecclesiastes 6v2. It says the people in this category lack nothing. It said whatever their hearts desires they have. My son who spoke before me gave you an example in Genesis 26 v12-14 that is the story of Isaac who sow in the land and reap in hundred folds and waxed great and he began to move forward and kept on increasing until he became very great and the whole nation envied him. I also gave an example of a wealthy man to my children not long ago, I said I had an uncle now dead, he was a wealthy man. When we go to him and say uncle, please give us a thousand naira at a time when the naira was almost equal to pounds my uncle will say I do not have. We will say uncle how can you say you don’t have? uncle please there is a project, we need ten thousand naira, he will say I don’t have, but when you go to him and say uncle please I need hundred thousand naira, he will say you are now talking, how can you be insulting me by asking for one thousand, ten thousand naira. One day the principal of a school came to see him. The principal said please sir we need school hall, he answered and say yes is that all, what about house for the boys and girls. The principal said yes we need that too, he said add it, how about you the principal , do you have a house, he asked him to add it to the list, there is somebody here when they ask you for one thing you will give four.
Then there is a level higher than that it is the level of the flourishing, you can read about these people in 2Chronicle 1v15 the bible say in the time of Solomon, silver and gold became like ordinary stones. In the treasure house of Solomon, he insisted that only Gold must be brought in. silver must be kept in the back yard. The people called the flourishing are the people that lend to nation. We are talking about somebody that the whole nation will come to and say we cannot balance our budget; please can you lend us some money? these are the people called the flourishing. I prophesy to you in that name that is above every other name very soon you will begin to flourish.
Let me give an example of someone in that category. I went to visit a friend, he invited me to come and conduct bible study in his house. He invited people of his caliber into his house for bible study. and there was a young man, I don’t know how he manage to sneak in, because he wasn’t wealthy, he was only rich, he had only ten petrol stations at that time, after I had finish preaching, he came to me and say sir, I was so bless by your teaching, I want to give you a gift, he gave me ten thousand dollars. I took it from him and bless him saying; next time it will be much more. The following year the same young man was there again, when I have finish teaching he came to me and said last year I gave you a gift and you prayed a strange prayer, you said next time it will be much. I didn’t understand what you meant then but between last year and now my petrol stations had increased from ten to one hundred and ten. He gave me another gift, I that I won’t tell you, so I took it from him and I said next time it will be more, but this time he said a big amen from his heart. Today no need counting the number of his petrol station in Nigeria, he has petrol stations in the UK, he has several others I don’t want to mention, otherwise you may guess who the fellow is. That is an example of somebody who is flourishing.
I decree into somebody’s life tonight that next time I want to give an example of somebody who is flourishing it will be you.
THINGS YOU NEED TO DO IN ORDER TO FLUORISH
Now that you know the meaning of flourishing, what do you do in order to flourish? This is where you need to place close attention, I am going to teach and not preach tonight because you must flourish. Are you tired of poverty? If you are tired of poverty, let me hear you say I am tired of poverty. So read carefully and do not miss anything.
A. DIVINE FAVOUR : In Luke 5v2-3 you will see the first thing that you need to begin flourish; the bible say and Jesus came to a lake, saw two empty ships and chose the one that belongs to Peter. Why is it peter’s boat that he chose? The first thing you need to flourish is called divine favor. In Romans 9v15-16, God said I will show mercy on whom I will show mercy and compassion on whom I will show compassion. So He says therefore it is not of whom that willeth nor of him runneth but of Him that showeth mercy. The elders have a saying that it is not it is not lack of food that makes a cat not to be as big as the dog, in other way, struggling does not necessary lead to prosperity.
I am going to tell you some stories to show you what favour can do for one, because favour singles you out for help, for assistance, for things you don’t deserve.
The first time I was to travel out of Nigeria, I had to leave from Nigeria to Canada, Nigeria Airways was to take me to London, and then from London I will take British Airway. Nigeria Airway was late so by the time we got to London, British airway had gone. I have never been outside Nigeria before I don’t know what to do. The lady at the British Air way counter said don’t worry, she wrote certain things down, book me into an hotel, gave me ticket for food, she showed me the bus that will take me there. I thanked her but as I collected these materials from her she picked up the telephone to phone Nigeria airways to tell them that she has booked their passenger into a hotel. I didn’t hear what the other was saying but I noticed there were arguments, I didn’t wait. I hurried quickly and went into the hotel, what happened in the hotel I had told you before.
When I came back the following day, I discovered that all of us who was to travel by Nigeria airways who needed to catch British Airway to Canada, all slept at the air port. God singled me out. God is going to single you out for favour.
But that is not the end of the story; we got to Canada in the night, it was very cold and there was a long queue where we want to register. We went to the world conference of mathematician, the lady at the end of the table got up and came along the line, when she got to me, she asked for my name, I told her, she asked for where I came for, I told her Nigeria and she went back to her seat, not long she came back with a big cup of tea and sandwiches and gave them to me in the midst of everybody.
That day i didn’t invite anybody, I eat the sandwiches drank the tea and as was finishing, she came back, she had helped me done my registration and gotten somebody to lead me to where I would stay. There was a long queue, but God singled me out. God will single you out for favor. The story continues, I am telling you all these because what happen to me is going to happen to someone. When we finish our mathematical jargon, they took us to government farm to go and see the big cows and so on. There they gave us food and I feel like sitting on the green grass to enjoy my food, but when I touch the ground it was very cold, there was a white man standing by, he said “you want to sit down?” I said yes but the ground is cold, he removed his jacket spread it on the ground and said I should sit down and I said sir? And I heard God speak “son sit down” so I sat on his jacket and he sat beside me and we began to discuss mathematics.
Favor will send the kind of help that you don’t deserve, I don’t know who I am talking to but there is someone here tonight, God is going to show you favor. I can continue the story but am sure I have made my point. The first thing you need if you are going to flourish is divine favor. If God is going to chose one boat it will be your own.
B. HARDWORK: the second thing you need after God has shown your favor is hard work, in Luke5 v 5 peter said, we toiled all night, lazy people don’t work all night. Lazy people don’t work hard so they don’t flourish. In John 5v17 Jesus Christ said my father worketh hitherto and I work. God is a hard worker, so it will be unlike Him to cause a lazy fellow to flourish. In Proverbs 13 v 4 the bible says the soul of the sluggard desireth but has nothing. Proverb 6 v 9 -11 the Lord says concerning the sluggard, he says a little sleep, a little slumber so your poverty will come like a traveler. I have seen a lot of people who want to flourish but don’t want to work hard; it is not going to be. I go around the camp for example, at 10am in the morning some workers are still eating breakfast they have not done anything since morning, at 4pm they say they have close. People don’t flourish like that. Those who are going to flourish are those who work hard, those who toil all night, those who are going to reach the top are those who are going to spend all their energy working hard. Hebrew 11v 6 says God is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. Proverbs 22 v 29 says seeth thou a man diligent in his business, he shall stand before kings and not before mean men. If you don’t want to work hard then there is no way God can cause you to flourish. What He does is that He opens doors, if He opens door and you don’t enter it, the doors will close.
When I was a lecturer in the University of Lagos several years ago, one day my dean came to me and said I have heard from the student that you are the best lecturer of mathematics. He said we want to begin a corresponding course so I have chosen you to be writing for those people, they would pay you so much. I thanked him, not long after this he told me there is a course for technical students they need somebody to teach them, he said he want me to go and take them and all these are in addition to my normal duty. One school, Lagos Anglican Girls Grammar school they need mathematics teacher I want you to go and teach them 3hrs per day for so many days they will pay so much. One school CMS Grammar school Bariga they need somebody to teach them HSC advanced mathematics, I have recommended you, I said yes sir.
Work was added but naira was added also at the end of the month what I got from my little here, little there is more than my salary at the end of the month and at the same time I was still coaching my volley ball team of the University of Lagos yet every weekend I will travel to go and preach. See a man diligent in his work, he will stand before kings. You will soon be dining with presidents in Jesus name, but you will have to tighten your belt and be ready for hard work.
C. WORKING RIGHT: The next thing you need after hard work is working right. Working hard is not as important as working right otherwise the laborer at the wharf will be the richest in the world. Peter was fishing all night but he was fishing at wrong place, God had to show him that he should move into the deep where it is better to fish. The Almighty God is going to guide someone into the kind of job that God has meant for you. In John 21v1 Peter and his friend fished all night. When Jesus came on the sea, He told them to cast their net to the right, they were initially fishing on the left side, the fishes are on the right side.
I pray for someone tonight, that place where your breakthrough is God will show you in Jesus name. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9 v 26 he said I will not fight as someone beating the air. It is not just enough to be struggling; you must work hard in the right direction.
Do you know if you are willing to pay the price, God is willing to move you from where you now to the top? When I was a lecturer in the University of Lagos there was a typist to a professor, the people use to call him Prof and he would smile. One day it occured to him that he was a typist but they called him professor and he said then professor I will become and he began to attend evening class. Little by little he did his GCE, later he entered the University of Lagos, before I left he has gotten his PHD, I told this story years ago on this campground. One of my children who use to be a casual labor with electrical department heard the story and said ah! I mustn’t die a casual labor, if a typist can become a doctor, then I can become something, I didn’t know he took that decision. Then he began to work, he began to study quietly. One day I just discovered I didn’t see this boy anymore and then I went to the University of Ibadan, who did I see, it was my small boy that casual labor. When I asked him what he was doing there, he then reminds me of the story of the typist. Today he is not only a graduate he is a senior officer in our electronic department. It doesn’t matter where you are now, you don’t have to die there. If you make up your mind that you are going to sit with kings, if you are ready for the work, if you are ready for the price. My God is able to pick you up from the dunghill and set you among princes. I prophesy to somebody tonight, before you die the whole world will hear about you.
D. SIMPLE OBEDIENT: The next thing you need if you are going to flourish is simple obedient. God told Peter launch into the deep and throw your net, he said master we have toiled all night but at your word. Brethren God knows more than you do. He says in 1Chorinthians 1v 25 he says the foolishness of man is wiser than the wisdom of men. Isaiah 40 v 28 it says there is no searching for His understanding. If God asked you to do something, don’t argue with him, you don’t know anything compare to God. If God says this is the way and it look like a bush to you, He is wiser than you.
In Isaiah 1v19, the word of God said if you are willing and obedient you will eat the good of the land, believe me honestly there is a lot of good in this land Nigeria, there is a lot of money. It is only that it is going into few hands. I decree tonight you will eat the good of this land. When God ask you to do something and you don’t understand, just remember what I said tonight; simple obedient. When I became born again, I had a lot of problem with the issue of tithing, I said what are these people talking about, hundred percent is not enough, now you are asking me to give ten percent. How will ninety percent covers what hundred percent cannot cover? Mathematically it doesn’t make sense but when you are dealing with God, don’t use your little brain. He is too big for you understand with your tiny little brain, it took me sometime before I say okay, after all he saved my soul and suddenly things began to happen; the first thing that happen when I paid my tithe was that. I got to office and my head of department, the late Professor Chike Obi, called me and say Adeboye? don’t you need money for your research and I don’t even know there was any money for research. He said you need money to travel to go and collect data, he said I should go and apply, I asked him how much? And he said the amount I couldn’t believe I was hearing right. When God decides to help, you don’t try to understand how. The man who is going to give me the money is the one asking, me to go and write. The one who will help you will send for you.
E. SIMPLE COMPLETE OBEDIENT: The next thing you need if you are going to flourish is simple complete obedient. Your flourishing will be determined by how complete your obedient is. In Luke 5 v 4-5 Jesus told Peter let down all your net, Peter said at your word I will let down the net, Jesus told him all your net but Peter said one net. Look at what will have happen; one net caught enough fish to sink the boat, suppose he has thrown all the net. Only God will have told us how many fish will have remain in the river that day.
I know there are people here tonight if God should listen to your prayers, your prayer will be God just build me a house, buy me a car, even if it is a second hand that is enough. Whereas the almighty God whose name is Jehovah El-shaddai; the God more than enough. He can raise you up to build a whole city. God can raise a single person up who will be responsible for the transportation of those coming for Holy Ghost service. God can raise a fellow who singlehandedly can finance the convention, the congress and the university.
How much of God’s blessing do you want? Little or as much as he can give? It will be determined by your level of obedient Deuteronomy 28 v1-2 because when you are dealing with God you need to pay attention to detail, maybe this is where mathematics has been a great help for me, if you are going to get the question right then you must pay attention to detail. You must pay attention to words like “some”, “all”. You can see all these in the chapter above.
Let’s take another example of Luke16 v 38, give and it shall be given unto you. Everybody knows that but you say I give and I have not been paying attention to the detail of how to give 2Chorintians 9 v 7, God loves a cheerful giver. Some of you when it is time for offering you will begin to frown. You may as well keep your money in your pocket because it will not produce result. How are you to give when you are given? Give cheerfully, 2Choritians 9 v 6 says I must give persistently, it says don’t worry you will reap if you faint not at all. Give Him cheerfully, persistently, bountifully and watch God. He has never failed before He is not going to start failing now.
Malachi 3 v10 talks about your paying your tithe, some of you have said I have been paying my tithe, He says bring your tithe and not send it, He is not a beggar bring it humbly. You are bringing something to the one who made heaven and the earth. He said bring all, he didn’t some of it, he didn’t say part, he said all. Many of us think God cannot calculate, he knows all the mathematics in the world, some thinks they are clever than God. It is His tithe and am using part of it to do His work. If power holding sent their bills to you and ask you to pay in such and such bank; on your way, you saw an electric pole and use part of the money to repair the pole and you pay the balance into their account. What will happen at the end of the month is that they will cut your light. They will tell you to bring all their money and pay into their account. The Almighty God says bring all the tithe into my house. Everything that has been standing between you and your breakthrough God will remove it.
The next thing you need is holiness. What has flourishing got to do with holiness? In Luke 5 v 8 after Peter drove in two ship fish, the bible says he fell down at the feet of Jesus and said depart from me oh Lord for I am a sinful man, what he is saying is that this kind of miracle do not belong to sinners Psalm 92v12 says the righteous shall flourish like a palm tree. The Lord is not going to give you money that you are going to spend on sin. He is a holy God.
Not long ago, somebody I know said I should pray for him that the God will prosper him like never before and I know the fellow very well I said why? What for? He said I want to prosper and I said so that you can marry wife number five. God is not going to waste his money on those who are going to live a sinful life.
The flourishing we are talking about is for those who will live a life of holiness, those who will do the will of God. In Proverbs 15 v 27 the bible says if anyone is greedy of gain, he troubleth his own house. The Lord will not cause the greedy to flourish that is why 419 people are successful, they come to you and they say they have discovered how you can be rich overnight. They tell you a beautiful story of somebody that left two boxes of dollars and they say they will wash one in your presence and they will say and we will share it half, but they need chemical to wash it and you will begin to look for money to wash it, when you get it, they will tell you the first bottle broke on the way, they will say go and bring more money and very soon you will begin to sell your house. If there is anyone caught in the trap of 419, God will set you free, the lord will deliver you.
The blessing of the Almighty is for the righteous, those who will do clean business, those who will do work in God’s own way. In the business of God there is no question of don’t let anyone hear.
But some ask about sinners that are prospering? Proverbs13 v22 the wealth of the sinner are laid up for the just. Ecclesiastes 2 v 26 all the sinners that you see are gathering wealth for the righteous. Let me assure you that wealth is going to change hands. Whether you believe it or not that is what is going to happen. All those who are keeping my Father’s money whether they like it or not, they will realize it. I told most of you that came for Holy Communion yesterday that for more than 130 years the children of Israel served the Egyptian without pay but in a single year the salary they should have pay for 130 years, God compel them to pay. Listen to me my children begin to do the will of God and very soon wealth will begin to change hands. The next thing you need to flourish is Total Commitment Luke 5 v 9-11 the bible says when finally they came to the beach, Peter forsook all and follow Jesus. Those who are going to flourish are not those who will serve God for a while, they are those who will serve God now and forever.
Psalm 92 v13-14 says that he that is planted in the house of the lord shall flourish like a cedar in Lebanon, He said even in old age they shall be fat and fruitful. They that be planted in the house of the Lord not casual visitor, those that are 100% committed.
Psalm 23v5-6 this is a good example of flourishing, over flowing cup of blessing and He went to say goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, because I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Brethren, mighty blessings are on the way but it is for those who will serve the Lord all the days of their life.
Conclusively, in order to flourish let me categories everything into two parts. First you must be willing to flourish because God will not compel you to flourish, secondly you need wisdom, you may ask what has wisdom got to do flourishing?. It is one thing to know what to do, it is another thing to do it .
Wisdom is the correct application of knowledge Proverbs 4 v 9. Wisdom is the principal thing. If you embrace wisdom you will get everything. We have all be listening we have learnt that in order to flourish you need divine favor, you must be willing to work hard, and work rightly, you have to obey and obey completely, you must be committed and you must be holy.
We have heard all that but some people heard it before tomorrow morning they will have forgotten it, but the wise one will begin to think of how they can put all these things to effect, they will begin to say if I need God’s favor, is there any way I can see God’s favor? Which is very simple, if you know what God wants and you give it to him, He will begin to favor you.
I told you at the beginning, that God Is seeking for worshippers, if you turn yourself into a worshipper, it will not be long that God will visit you. When we talk about hard work and know you are one of those who have been lazy, then you will decide that enough is enough, if it is hard work then am going to work hard, when we talk about working rightly, you will cry to Almighty God to show you the right work to do, if it is obedient simple and complete, you will say Lord from now count on me. If it is holiness, I have been living in sin what as is the result, Lord from now I will live holy. If it is commitment, Lord from now on in living or in dying I am yours that is wisdom.
The Lord taught us that when you are sowing not all soil are the same. Some are by the way side, some are on the rock, some are among the thorns. But He said there are some good soils, some 30 folds, some are 60 folds, and some are 100 folds. Wisdom will say unto me let me go and sow on 100 folds.
Brethren, the day has come when you will begin to flourish. In every man’s life there is a night that is the beginning of a new dawn. In every man’s life one night will come, after that night glorious morning will come, but the unfortunate thing is that some people miss their night. In everyman’s life there is a sermon that you will hear that sermon and things are never the same again and I am a living example. Tonight is a special night for somebody. I pray to Almighty God that you will make the most of this night in the mighty name of Jesus.
Pastor E. A. Adeboye