WITH JESUS, YOU CAN NEVER WRITE A MAN OFF.
FEAR OPENS THE DOOR FOR THE devil TO EXECUTE HIS EVIL PLANS.
MERCY WIPES OUT THE MESS OFF A
MAN’S LIFE AND MAKES HIM LOOK SPOTLESS.
ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ASSIGNMENTS OF THE devil IS TO RIP YOU OF HOPE.
THE GREATEST TESTIMONIES OF MERCY WILL BE BETWEEN YOU AND GOD
THE devil IS NOT CREATIVE. HE NEEDS TO KNOW YOUR FEAR TO DESIGN YOUR ATTACK
FEAR IS CREATIVE. WHAT A MAN IS AFRAID OF HAS A WAY OF COMING
YOUR FEAR IS YOU GIVING THE devil THE STYLE TO FASHION AGAINST YOU
WHEN YOU TAKE AWAY FEAR AND WALK IN FAITH, YOU HAVE LEFT THE DEVIL STRANDED
THE devil WAS STRIPPED OF EVERYTHING CALLED POWER WHEN JESUS WENT DOWN
THE devil WANTS TO MAKE YOU THINK EVERYTHING GOD SAID IS A LIE
DON’T WAIT UNTIL THERE IS A VERDICT SAYING IT IS OVER BEFORE YOU UNDERSTAND THE POWER OF JESUS
WHEN MERCY WASHES YOU, YOU NO LONGER BECOME A PREVIOUS OFFENDER.
PEOPLE WHO JUDGE OTHERS ARE USUALLY THE WORST OFFENDERS.
MERCY TAKES AWAY THE TRACK RECORD OF OFFENSE.
GOD’S POWER THAT IS BACKING YOU IS STRONGER THAN ANY FORCE THAT MIGHT BE AGAINST YOU.
– Apostle Femi Lazarus on ‘SCENT OF WATER’ at Supernatural Sunday Service|| SLC Global || 26th November 2023 ||
We are in for an amazing time in God’s presence. Amen! I’m starting a new body of series. You don’t seem excited. You people ‘sha’ like ‘Black Tax.’ It’s time to stop the taxing. Alright, let’s get into a new work and I’m struggling this morning to fight tears because I don’t step out just to preach for preaching sake. Everything coming out means so much. Church Gist. I have seen people reach out to me and ask and say “mehn’, you guys have strong ‘PRs’ (Public Relations) in Spheres of Light Church.” Well, Jesus is the One behind it. That’s the truth. I’m not a pushy person. I have drive (strong drive). If you work with me, you will be on your toes but it’s just been Jesus. Amen!
So we start a new series. (I like the media to put the series up on the screen so that everybody can have access to it.)
Series: ‘SCENT OF WATER.’
Somebody say ‘Scent of Water’. Let’s check the Scripture. Let’s turn our Bibles to the Book of Job 14. The Book of Job is the one right to the neighborhood of the Book of Psalms. Are you there now? Church Gist. I want to give you the background of the Scripture because when we quote the Scripture, we quote it in a way that it symbolizes hope but the way it was written, it actually connotes hopelessness. I want us to see the way it was written and I want us to have an understanding. Job 14:1-10.
What the Bible is actually saying here is that “a tree has more hope than man.” It’s actually trying to connote hopelessness. That’s the literal interpretation. We are going to do contextual study. That is the context of that Scripture. Church Gist. So Job is trying to say “see, some things are hopeless – when they happen, forget it, you are done.”
When you read the Bible (basic understanding of Scripture) there are few questions to ask “who is talking?” That is the first question. It is not every word in the Bible that is the Word of God. Men spoke, the devil also spoke. Confused people spoke too. So, these things were documented “for our edification, for comfort, for reproof, that the man of God will be thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Church Gist. So when we read the Bible, we now check “which of these things is the Word of God?” How do we check? We check in the light of the redemptive work of Christ. There is a way a man who has experienced that redemption speaks.
So what we have just read here is Job saying “a tree has more hope” and we would have just concluded the case there and say “that one!” Until we saw in John 15 (what I’m going to try to do today is to introduce this Subject) then Jesus came and said in verse one, what is the first statement? “I am the true Vine and my Father is the Husbandman (the word there is the word farmer). Church Gist. Hold on a minute. So Jesus came to introduce Himself as the Vine – a plant and we are after His Kind and He demonstrated it. He died for 3 days and at the scent of water “pam”, He came shooting out of the grave. John 15:1-2…so we are part of that vine. Say it again “we are part of that vine.” By the time we are done with this teaching this morning, you will know Jesus spoke to you. Amen! Just follow. Say it again “we are part of that vine.”
So let’s read the Book of Job 14 again so we can say “Job, you didn’t get complete information.” When you said “there is hope for a tree though it be cut off, the root wax old in the earth, the stock is still in the ground at the scent of water it will rise,” you say “but man is of a few days, when he is cut off, he goes.” Church Gist. You have not seen a man in Christ. He is engrafted in the Vine. Even if you bury him, you have only buried a seed, he will get back again. (Laughs) Amen!
So let me ask “what is death?” Death means separation. When you separate life from a person or from a thing – that’s death, simple words. I’ve been called a couple of times, at one point, I had to wipe out pictures on my phone because there are pictures of bodies and coffins. “Oh, Apostle, we just lost so, so and so person. We believe God can raise this person. Oh, we pray!”
One of those situations, I got a call from a young lady. She said “my sister has been trusting God for the fruit of the womb for 7 years, now she died giving birth to that child, I know God can raise her.” I said “take me to where she is” (I was on a video call with her)…When you see a dead body, the person just looks like they are sleeping but they are gone. Church Gist. Death actually means that all hope is gone. It means that all hope is lost and that is why when a person dies and they carry the person, people still feel there’s a bit of hope – “okay, something can still happen, a miracle”…but the moment they pour the sand and cover the grave, people seem to understand “this fellow is gone, there is no coming back” and they use words like “until we meet again.” What that means is that as far as this earth is concerned, gone…and that was the case of Lazarus. They’ve cried, they’ve done wake keeping, they’ve eaten ‘puff puff’ the way we do in Nigeria. Imagine the person you ate the ‘puff puff’ 3 days ago, he is now coming tomorrow and says “vomit that puff puff”. (Laughs)
What I’m trying to show you is that “with Jesus, you can never write off a man.” You can not. That this person’s life is finished, your life ‘kpafuka’ (finished). Not when Jesus is on the throne. This person can never…”what can you ever amount to?”
Let me give you an illustration because the scent of water there is not water. If there is any literal interpretation to the word ‘scent of water’ is mercy. Church Gist. So I want to explain (hold on) because a root has no nostrils to smell. So let me explain.
Imagine that you have a neighbor who has trusted God for the fruit of the womb for 20 years (how many years? 20 years) and finally God blessed that neighbor with a child. Oh, they’ve danced and did naming ceremony. The naming ceremony was so elaborate like a wedding and one of those days, your neighbor called you and said “Makali, please I just want to get something (from) the next compound, help me carry this baby – please dance with this baby.” Church Gist. You said “thank you, okay I will do” and you are carrying the baby and in the process of carrying the baby, you fell and the baby’s head hit the ground and the child died. The child didn’t faint, died! Breath ceased, no pulse and you are checking time – 3 minutes for the mother to return. You cried all the tears you could cry. “Oh God, if you can do this for me, I will serve you, in fact I will stop living iny house and start living in Church” and just about 5 seconds for the mother to enter, the child cried. How will you share the testimony? “That you won’t believe, this child died o”…and you look at the head, no scar, no bruise. You are there, you are in awe.
What I am trying to show you is that “the greatest testimonies of mercy will be between you and God.” People will look at you and describe that you are getting the results you are getting because you are fasting and praying. Church Gist. You will say “hmmm, only God understands” – that’s mercy. Mercy wipes out mess and makes a man look spotless.
There are cases in life that look hopeless in fact they don’t just look hopeless, they are actually hopeless. I have seen people that get to a certain point and look at their lives, look at their results, look at everything, look at shame, look at…and they conclude and they take their own lives.” They say “there is no point.”
Listen, one of the most important battle cries of the devil is to rip you of hope (write it down). One of the most important assignments of the devil is to make sure you become hopeless. Church Gist.All the battles you are facing, all the challenges you are facing, all the problems you are facing, every challenge, the accusations you experience in your mind, the kind of statements he is telling you, the kind of things the devil is saying to you – the idea of everything is to tell you “throw in the trowel, you are finished.”
Somebody was telling me (I think the fellow)…the devil has been telling the fellow “you will die, you will die.” The fellow said “Apostle, we need to pray.” I said no, the one who has the ability to kill you will not tell you he wants to kill you.” Church Gist. The devil speaks through demonic voices to the hearts of people because he needs their consent to execute…he needs you to be afraid and when you are afraid, fear opens the door.
There are fastings and prayers that they are more signs of faithlessness than faith. Yes! You saw yourself in a vision that you were eating in the dream, then you started 3 days dry because he didn’t meet a body of revelation on ground. That’s why…and you notice the moment you finish fasting the fast, that same night, they will come and serve you ‘Akpu’ (Cassava flour) in your dream and they will not still put water.
When we were on campus, one of my friends had a dream and then…you know, we’ve been eating messages back to back, head was hot. The devil came to the wrong person, gave him ‘Amala’ (Yam flour) in the dream. He got up, I just saw him talking in the middle of the night. He said ‘Devil, you are stupid, you and your father-in-law. You dared to serve me ‘Amala’ (Yam flour), you didn’t put water. I’m going to sleep now, if they born you well, don’t put water’. That’s somebody’s body of revelation. Another person starts running ‘Please, I ate in the dream’ and because you believe that, that means retrogression, you will retrogress. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Church Gist. The devil speaks because he needs your permission. Yes. When I go to minister in programs, I tell them ‘If the devil is powerful, I must not get home’ They’ll say ‘Ha! Why will you talk like that, you’ll tempt the devil’ Because that’s where you are in revelation.
I saw a video. You know this thing they’ve been doing ‘I’m not the blide (Bride), I’m the blide’s (Bride’s) sister. I’m not the blide (Bride), I’m the blide’s (Bride’s) elder brother’. (Laughter). I saw one, the funniest I have seen. The guy went to steal a phone, so they caught him. Church Gist. This one said ‘I’m not the Thief, I’m the neighbour of the person whose phone was stolen’ ‘I’m not the Thief, I’m the friend of the neighbour’ ‘I’m not the Thief, I’m this’ Then the last guy came with swollen face ‘I am the Thief’. Then, somebody slapped him behind his head, ‘Speak’, but if that same thief was holding a gun, he is (was) powerful. The devil was stripped of everything called power when Jesus went down. The Bible says He spoilt principalities and powers. Do you understand?
Maybe I need to do something here a bit. You are not dying! There is no such thing as ‘We don’t know what 2024 holds because people just die anyhow’ Not you! Let me tell you something. Fear creates…fear is creative. What a man is afraid of has a way of coming. Job said ‘What I feared greatly, has finally come’ Meaning that, the devil is not creative. He needs to know your fear to design your attack. That’s why they are called ‘Weapon fashioned’. He is a fashion designer. He suits you based on what you order. Church Gist. Do you understand what I’m saying? When you want to give clothes to a fashion designer, you say ‘I want this style’. Your fear is you giving the devil the style to fashion against you. Yes…and once you are afraid, he spots that thing that you fear the most, then he designs it. When you take away the fear and walk in faith, you have left him stranded. Then he starts throwing suggestions, ‘I’m going to kill your wife’ ‘We already died in Christ long ago’ ‘I’m going to kill your child’ ‘Ha! We are hidden in Christ and Christ in God’ Do you understand what I’m saying? Then he gets confused.
– Say: I’m not afraid. Say it again, I’m not afraid. Say it loud and clear, I’m not afraid. Oh yes!
Okay, so the devil’s battle cry is to bring us into hopelessness. That’s what he wants to do. I mean, God placed man and woman, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. From the beginning, God gave instructions ‘Don’t eat this, the day you eat it, you will die’ The devil came, he said ‘Eat it. God knows the day you eat it, you will be like him’ Then they ate it, then God came in the evening, ‘Adam, Adam, where are you?’ He said ‘We heard your voice in the Garden and we hid ourselves for we are naked’ What was the question God asked? He didn’t say, ‘What did you eat?’ He said ‘Who told you?’ Can I? I’m going to be a bit offensive towards religious beliefs this morning. Meaning that sin is not capable of everything. In fact, sin is not the end. Sin is a means to an end. Church Gist. They ate the fruit, so they can now believe the devil. (He) said ‘Who told you?’ This kind of nakedness, this one is not from sin, this one is from a knowledge…and why did he tell them ‘You are naked’? So they can know there’s no way back. The glory that was covering you, you have been stripped. You are just ordinary. That’s the idea. That’s what he wants to do. You’ve made a mistake, the devil now said ‘Okay, now that you have done this one, your life is finished. There is no more future. You that God said He wants to use, is this the kind of person that God uses for the Assignment? That He wants to use you? Okay’
You know, we do say some things like if Mary and Joseph had been sleeping with each other, they could not give birth to Jesus again, we would have to look for somebody else. That is actually half truth. I’m not ready to say the complete one because they will not understand. Do you understand what I’m saying? The reason why Jesus came is to make sure that even out of your mess, He can create a message. Let me leave it. Are you following what I’m teaching? Alright.
Sometimes, your life looks like you may never become the person God spoke about again. Everything that God ever said looks like it is flashing, looks like it is now a dream and sometimes, you are responsible for the mistake that has brought you there. Church Gist. Somebody is now sitting in a hospital with a medical report and they are saying ‘This is colon cancer’ and doctors are saying ‘Well, with the rate of spread of this cancer, it’s very aggressive and you have less than 2 weeks’ Don’t wait until there is a verdict saying it is over before you understand the power that is in Jesus. Don’t wait. You don’t prepare in a battle, you prepare for it. Do you understand what I’m saying? You don’t prepare in a battle, you prepare for it. Okay?
One moment, 1 Samuel 16, David was anointed as the King before his brethren, it was a magical moment. The next moment, he was killing Goliath, powerful moment. Shortly after that, he was a fugitive, never to know peace for the next 13 years of his life…and you know the amazing thing? All through the time David was running from Saul, God never spoke about the Throne. He never did. All through the time Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, 13 years also. All through the time from Potiphar’s house to prison, back and forth and all that. For those 13 years, God never said anything about the vision He showed him…and you know what the silence of God does? The silence of God can be so humbling. He starts doubting ‘Did God really say this?’ Are there things God said before, problem has come now, God has not repeated himself because He has not changed His mind and you look at it and say ‘Maybe the vision I saw that day, maybe because I saw it on my birthday, I was so happy’ and that’s what the devil likes, to make you think that everything God has said is a lie. Okay?
There are moments that things don’t just look dead, they are actually dead and there is hopelessness. Everything looks dead. Let’s touch a few things. Okay? Are you ready for this? Job 14:7,8. If you are there say, Amen. I’m going to wait for you. So, this Tree was not just cut, they killed the roots. Everything is dead. When you come around the Tree, what you see is death. That’s the only thing. No sign of life, no pulse. Church Gist. Sometimes, it’s around a vision, dead. Sometimes, God says some things about your life, then the devil seems to lead you through a situation where what you are seeing now is death. You know, when somebody dies, they say that the vision is dead. The person has died with the dream and sometimes, people die before they die. This is you, you still have breath in your nostrils, but what God said about your life, it is now appearing that it can’t come to pass again. Okay? So, we want to look at examples. Are you with me? I’m going to give you 10. I don’t know if I can cover all the 10. Examples of cases of cut down trees. We want to look at the examples. Let’s make it practical so we can know what the scent of water is reviving.
What are the examples of cases that connote hopelessness?
1. (It’s going to be very practical.) You have a calling – a very strong one. You are anointed (just look at this case). God is going to use you. He has shown you from your teenage years that you’re going to go to the nations, travel round the World with the Gospel but now on campus, you have impregnated a woman. Somebody is carrying your baby. There is shame. They even called you in Church publicly and said “we are going to be expelling Brother ‘so and so’ from Church on the grounds of immorality.” Church Gist. You may not know what this looks like. Just imagine somebody that even those who are blind in the spirit, know in another 10 years, this person will be shaking the World and suddenly the news starts flying around “he has impregnated Sister so and so” and the guy and the girl look at all the things that God showed them, all the visions and conclude “it can’t be me anymore.”
Let me share a story with you. Years back I got a call – this is about some years back (quite a while). Somebody called me that my phone had been ringing and I checked -14 missed calls. Church Gist. “What’s going on?” I called the number back. One of my mentees was weeping on the phone – “Apostle where are you?” I said “I’m at home.” She said “there is fire on the mountain sir, wherever you are please, come.” I said “okay, I’m coming – meet me in Church.”
When I got to Church, I saw the girl and I saw a young man beside her. “Okay, what’s going on?” When both of them saw me, the guy prostrated, the girl went on her knees – she was crying. I said “what happened?” She said “this is my boyfriend (my fiance), he came around yesterday. As he came to do”…The guy came for missions (he followed their Church for missions) in that area. So he planned to visit her. Church Gist. “No! It’s a true life story, don’t think they coined it. I was in that environment.” As he came to visit her, as they were talking, then it began to rain. If they said it rained and me too I’m there and I didn’t see rain, then I will know that this is ‘lamba’ (lies) so I will have to check but it didn’t rain in my house. It actually rained.
So “she said the guy couldn’t go again and they waited for the rain to stop but the rain did not stop.” So out of compassion, she said that “you just take the duvet, sleep on the floor, I will sleep on the bed” and then “goodnight, bye bye – goodnight, bye bye”…and you know the way that thing is. One spirit will say “get up”. So eventually both of them saw that they were not sleeping. “You are not sleeping?” (The other person) Says “sleep is not really coming, you too – you are not sleeping?” Church Gist. “Ah, okay!” Eventually, this one said “is that place convenient?” “No,no!” “Okay, you come and sleep here. I will face the wall, just face the other side.” You know the remaining part of the story – your mind! What if the Holy Ghost fell that night?
Long story cut short, they had sex and then so they said “they have failed God, this this”…I said “if God was going to kill you, you would have died immediately.” Now, He has forgiven you. I spoke with them and told them “this is now the right way to go about it – this relationship lacks accountability. There is a need for accountability and then (you should) pause it for a while. Church Gist. Everybody should go and grow and then focus. We didn’t manufacture husband for you and wife (for you) but pause this thing for a while if not in the place of sympathy, you will still come back again and it’s still going to happen.”
So after some weeks, she called back and now she was wailing. “What happened?” She said “she has not been seeing her menstrual flow.” Go and look for it. Where did it go? I don’t know how to look for it. She now went for a test and it said “she is pregnant.” I said “wow, that’s serious.” She said “yes sir.” “Sir, what do we do?” What do we do ‘keh’? (Laughs) It’s becoming we, I’m not…I told her, I said “you have to call the guy and tell him that this is the situation and you have to talk to your parents – you have to talk to them.” She said “yes sir.” Church Gist. I said “I would have loved to follow you but I am a young man too, so it doesn’t look like I’m the one who did it” and they have already broken my head, I’m just a pastor. So I said “you too talk to your mum and then let her know what is happening” and then she did. The first thing the family did was to take her off school. They said “you wanted to study, you wanted to become this…never!” The mother too was attending a Church where she had to report to the Church and to my amazement when the mother reported to the Church, they suspended the mother for the pregnancy of the daughter.
So, this girl was withdrawn (I think she was in ‘part 3’ then – Accounting precisely). She was withdrawn from school. Now she was back at home, staying in the mother’s shop in front of the house everyday, selling the provisions and then…the mother has been sent out of Church. Church Gist. Everyday they remind her of how much of a bastard she was. She has brought shame on the family. The boy too has told his own people. He too was in ‘part 3’.
One night…(I have shared this story before and a blog coined it in a very dubious way so I am very careful.) I lost my peace. I was praying (with) the Book of Lamentations (I think chapter 3) and I found myself groaning. We have opened up to everybody that needs to be opened up to so we are not asking that anything should happen but God, the child coming is a proper child but the timing is wrong. This girl’s life is paused. There is no hope of getting her education again. Everybody is angry. Church Gist. Help Lord, intervene! As at that point, she was already about 3 months gone, going to 4 months (around 4 months). (Lord) Intervene, send help! I don’t know what to ask for. I just know that the timing is wrong. You know the kind of prayer you are praying and you say “hope you understand? It’s not like I am saying…I don’t know.” You are trying to make God understand – the One who knows you and your friend. You say “God, you understand what I’m saying, I’m not saying that but I’m just saying – I don’t even know what to say but the timing.” Whether you believe it or not, it’s a true story and I will never add anything to any story. For what?
I just told her the following morning “can you go run your scans again and check the test and do everything?” It didn’t make any sense because she has gone through the first trimester, vomiting everything, different results, blood test, urine test, scan. They’ve detected heartbeat, they’ve seen the sac and she went to do ultrasound. Church Gist. She called me right there. She said “Pastor, these people here said they are not seeing anything.” How do you mean? I said “go to another place.” She called again. She said “they are not seeing anything o.” Go and do blood test – PT (Prothrombin Time). She called. She said “it is negative ooo.”
You can’t even…how do you want to testify? What is your testimony? There are things that happen, you just say “okay, God (do I say thank you or not? Because…okay God”) because there is no word. Church Gist. You want to query what I have said that “don’t mind them, the girl has gone to abort.” The person who has told everybody that should be told, what is she to be afraid of again?
They just didn’t see anything. About 2 years ago, I stumbled on her picture online getting married – I shook my head. The scent of water!
When mercy washes you, you don’t become a previous offender. Mercy takes away the track record of offense and nobody can query God. Anybody that has anything against that should go and tell God. In fact, if you have anything against the story I’ve just shared, go and report to God. Church Gist. I don’t know anything about it either. Somebody say “mercy”…and you know what I have found out? Those who judge others, they are the worst offenders. Those who say “you got your life – shhh, shhh”. The pharisees! Imagine it!
A fellowship pastor has impregnated ‘Gen Sec’ (General Secretary) and the people that he was preaching to are now the one saying “pastor how?” Now the guy stands face to face looking at every calling, every instructions, everything God ever said at any point and says “so they are now gone, it was all a mirage, so I will never become this man I saw again – it will not be me” and of course, we have doctrines and philosophies that seem to back that “that when a vessel is busy messing up, the replacement is warming up.” Church Gist. What about the Scripture that says “unto Him that is able to keep us from what?” Jude 1:24. Let me give somebody an assurance “you won’t fall!” I say “you won’t fall!”
You must understand that the power behind you is more than any force that can be against you. Those who are waiting for you to crash will wait in vain! You know sometimes in families, they look at you and say “one day, you are going to get pregnant” – that you, “you are a bad child” and the ones they are calling the friends… they say “look at your friend, look at that one’s life.” That one they are comparing you with, that is the one doing bad stuff. Church Gist. “We know you are not going to”…It is amazing that some parents have concluded that this child can’t amount to anything. But who is he that says it when God has not spoken?
So we are looking at cases that connote hopelessness. Somebody who is called to sexual purity ministry has been impregnated. You say “life nor balance.” What will you almost say? Pick another calling, it can’t be you anymore.
I’m careful. I want to say something but I’m careful because…but let me advise “We need to understand how the power of redemption is been communicated.” Jesus told Peter, He said, “Peter, the devil has sifted you like wheat but I have prayed for you.” He said ‘When you are strong, strengthen your brothers’ Do you know what that means? Peter, the devil has desired you and because of that, there are mistakes you are making and that you will still make, but in the place of making that mistake, the anointing required to help those in it is coming on you. Your mistakes and those process is now a waste when you get there and lie. ‘You see, the life I’ve lived, I’ve lived (a) triangle life all my life on campus, to hostel, from hostel to fellowship’ Meanwhile, when a snake strikes a person…the Israelites were in the Wilderness, they had snake bites because they rebelled against God. God said ‘Mould that same snake, those who look to it, will be healed’ Somebody is saying ‘We need to investigate Apostle Lazarus’s story because to teach dysfunctional background is not ordinary’ Oh yes! My story is not so nice. Church Gist. There are things you can’t teach because you read Bible. The power to bring anybody out from that journey is vested on the One who has survived it…because sometimes, I look around and I’m sorry, I say this humbly. I feel we are shallow. A person can come to Church and know that ‘My solution is not here because they don’t know what it feels to be in my shoes’.
Let me share a story with you. When I lead people…somebody says ‘I want you to mentor me. I want you to be my spiritual father’ When I lead people, one of the first things I want to know is, you tell me your story so, I can know whether we journey against it or we journey towards something better. One time, I got a call and they said ‘Apostle, your daughter is pregnant’ I said ‘What?’ ‘She’s pregnant’ Ah! I wept. One of my amazing spiritual…I wept. Pregnant? I sat down. Church Gist. I ran my calculations. I said to myself ‘Anybody who has gone through this girl’s journey and survived it will only do so because the fellow didn’t survive it alone. Let me tell you, people have accused me for this. You may not know what it feels like not to have a place called home and the only refuge you have is under those who will take advantage of you. When you deal with such people, you don’t tell them ‘You are fornicating. You are going to hell’ Shut up. Provide refuge.
I spoke to one of my mentees…robbers came…and I have the liberty to share because she shared it herself publicly. Robbers came to her house, they robbed the family and when they were done robbing, they raped her in the presence of her father. At gunpoint, they will kill you if you stop this. She said to me, ‘They were committing the act when I found out my purpose’ It just occurred to her ‘I have been anointed to bring out those who are abused’ Church Gist. Do you want to know what life means in the hoods? Imagine a man like T.D. Jakes who has been teaching people, breaking the works of darkness, black Americans, anybody, emotional traumas, issues. Pioneering ‘Woman, Thou Art Loosed’ for years and you hear that your own daughter is pregnant out of wedlock. A preacher’s daughter. ‘If he is preaching well, why is his home not fine?’ and I watched with tears, the day he called that same girl out and he said, ‘I hand you this Mantle’ and I said it is never over. I’m going to be ministering with her by February and I do have questions. How did you survive it? You know, sometimes when you go through such, the problem is not what comes from outsiders, but what comes from the Church. ‘We’ve always known. Look at her. We’ve always known. That man, dey ditch everybody, pampers his own children’.
I’ve come to tell you, the words of men can not convince God to end His plan towards you. They can’t convince Him. He can’t change His mind. He said, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love’ Sir, I’m not teaching to endorse sin. When will you get it? But there are messages you can’t preach just because you know the Bible. Do you have an idea? So, the Bible said, ‘For we do not have a High Priest, who can not be touched with the feelings of our infirmity, seeing that He was in all point tempted like we are. Yet, without sin’ He was faced, buffeted with everything that buffets us. Church Gist. If anybody’s vision, purpose, ever died because they made mistakes, it’s because they didn’t know the love of God. It was not because of the mistake. They didn’t know His love…and you know, I think one of the most difficult things to know, to understand, is the love of God because it’s unbelievable. It doesn’t make sense. Do you understand what I’m saying? I’m saying the love of God does not make sense. It looks like it contradicts the Bible you have read about a vindictive God…that somebody can fall so bad and become a gay and God is still saying ‘I will use you’ Everybody now knows this Person…’I will use you’.
You know, I used to have an outreach to prostitutes years back and I went to a place with a group of friends and what we do is that, we pay them for their time, ‘So that we are not just taking your time. How much do you collect? Okay, don’t worry. Take, now I have your time. Sit down. Tell me your story’ and there was this girl I met called Joy and by the time she started talking, she had not spoken for 3 minutes, she busted into tears, crying, saying ‘Is this my life? I was in FCS (Fellowship of Christian Students) in Secondary School. I didn’t want to go like this’ When she narrated the (story), I said ‘Yesu’ (Jesus). Church Gist. She said ‘I did not successfully learn anything. If I don’t…the problem at home is even…let me just leave some matter’ I looked at her, I said ‘Joy, how old are you?’ She said ‘About 24’ ‘Joy, do you like this job’ She said ‘Why would I like it? But who go help us?’ I said ‘You know what? I’m going to give you money. Alright? We are going to make sure you learn this and learn that’ Do you understand what I’m saying? The last time I heard about Joy, she had already finished university. Listen, I’m saying that, with God, you can not write anybody off.
I’m going to teach you about the ‘Elder brother syndrome’ because those who sit down and say ‘We are the ones’ I don’t want to say many things because I see online, I see people make boast about their strength and I’m like ‘Ha! When I see people talk like that, I just say ‘May you never make mistakes’ ‘It is only those whom I’ve shown mercy, that will obtain mercy’ I hear many things, people just (talk, talk, talk) I just say, ‘No problem. What you are saying is nice, but may you never make mistakes’ That’s why (when) people like that make mistakes, they go and kill themselves because they know what they have (said). Do you understand what I’m saying?
The mistake you make is that, you feel you owe everybody the story of your past. Who told you? Because you have not forgiven yourself. When God forgives you and you fail to forgive yourself, your problem is pride, because you feel, ‘How can a whole me? I fell. A whole me. I was the prayer Secretary’ and then? You fell, get up! Get up again and continue. Dust yourself.
Tell your neighbour: Dust yourself. Say: Dust yourself up. Get up and walk! Continue! Fire on! Move!
2 Samuel 11:1-5. The sweet Psalmist of Israel. The anointed of the Lord. The King, Priest and Prophet. Mighty David was walking on the top of his roof and he beheld a woman and before you know it in verse 5, she was pregnant. Not just was she pregnant, she was a married woman. I have always said this, that God…are you with me? Are you sure? God bringing Solomon from Bathsheba was not an afterthought. Somehow, in the eternal scheme of things, it seems Uriah was actually going to die. Yes…and it was not God robbing Peter to pay Paul. Church Gist. I don’t want to go into that yet. Okay? But what David did was to go ahead and do it himself and he continued with his Kingdom until Nathan came and said ‘There is a man in Israel who has plenty sheep and he has a neighbour that has one and when this guy got a visitor, he went to pick his neighbour’s sheep, slaughtered it for his visitor. What do you think we should do for such a man?’ David said…you better be careful how you judge something you are guilty of. He said ‘That kind of man? It should be taken from him 5 folds, 6 folds and he should restore. In fact, he should die’ and Nathan looked at him ‘You are the Man’ He understood. ‘I have sinned’ and the Bible said ‘He rent his clothes’ and that’s the ‘Davidic’ spirit. To be broken, to be contrite before God. Psalms 51:16. The Elder brother of the Prodigal son thought being a good son is (was) about being flawless. Psalm 51:17. Let me tell you this, when he wrote this same Psalm 51 was when he wrote ‘Take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation’ It was in the same Psalm. This was the Psalm of David when he was crying for restoration about the case of Bathsheba and Uriah. So, he is now giving us a clue, that there is something I learnt that is not documented in the Book of Psalm. I now learnt another dimension of worship when my pride was bruised, when I became what I mocked. He said, ‘I now discovered that heart shattered lives are usually ready for love’ That is, somebody who is not working to condemn and castigate people whose…Bishop T.D. Jakes said something that rescued my leadership journey for life. He said ‘You cannot be a leader until you begin to see a part of yourself in the people when they make mistakes. It reminds you of where you were’ That was the thing that changed my life. People do something, I just remembered, ‘Oh my God. When I didn’t know much, I did this also’ I just saw the shift there. Alright? So, he said heart shattered lives (are usually ready for love).
Listen to what I’m saying. You may be a preacher that doesn’t mean you can do the work of restoration. Not everybody who is sound is trusted by God to restore a dying generation. There is an audience that is not in Church and the reason why they are not in Church is because they believe that there is no more hope. If you hear their stories, you will say “the blood of Jesus is not powerful enough to wash this kind of sin.” Church Gist. Somebody comes to stand before you and says “I ran away from where I was, I just killed 14 people – an entire family.” You will almost call the police but to think that both lying and that one (killing) before God are the same.
Say “I’ve been forgiven much.” Look at you! It doesn’t look like you have been forgiven – you were born a ‘born again’. (Laughs)
Say “I’ve been forgiven much. I forgive much.”
I’ve shared my story with you. I started trying to have a girlfriend (I think I was about 18 or 19). I went to meet my pastor. I was a very irresponsible person. I went to meet the Pastor after Sunday Service. I said “Pastor, I think there is a sister in Church I want to marry.” He looked at me (imagine an 18 year old boy) and said “wow, Femi, sit down, sit down!” I sat down. I brought my chair. I said “that is her name, I like her.” Church Gist. My pastor looked at me and he did something that saved my life. He didn’t say “you are young, you are this”…He said “Femi, I trust you, I know you are matured, I know you are this…I’m going to pray along with you and let’s see how it goes.” I said “thank you sir.” Actually, I just came to inform him for the records. So if he didn’t say go ahead, I would’ve still gone ahead. Do you understand what I’m saying?
So, I went ahead and I can never forget that pastor, sometimes you just have to allow people to experience life. You remove the cage. Sometimes their journey is actually in the wild, that’s where they will get their anointing from and come back. I don’t want to say more than that. Church Gist. Of course, the relationship didn’t end well and when I went to my pastor “it broke”, he said “wow, I’m so sorry about that. Brother Femi, God will console you, He will help you” as if he didn’t know.
I’ve just given you one out of 10. If you were there the day Nathan was telling David “you are that man” and the bloggers should see it, what do you think will be the headline? Church Gist. The end of an era. How are the mighty fallen? The fall of a giant. The big crash of an elephant.” But that was when his life was just starting.
If we understand the Gospel and the power of redemption, people will not commit suicide and I have said it. I’m speaking as the one who has attempted suicide several times. I shared my story one time I was going to commit suicide, I’ve drank ‘jik’, drank different things – I wasn’t dying and we were watching a movie and I saw a woman committed suicide in the movie and I liked the method. So as she did it in the movie, I just said “huh!”. They didn’t understand what I was saying. I was like “finally I have found the way to die.” The name Lazarus is not just for fun. Lazarus was not my former name. Femi Lazarus that was not the initial name, if I tell you about the former one, you will shout. Just leave it. It’s not your business. So I went inside to do it. I took my bath. I got the boiling ring from the kitchen, put it in my armpit. I plugged it into the light and I switched on the boiling ring – NEPA (National Electric Power Authority) took the light. Church Gist. Everybody in the parlor shouted “NEPA, nonsense, this this…God has just saved a life. That was the day I slammed the boiling ring on the floor and I shouted “who are you up there? They won’t let me live, you won’t let me die (there’s story o). Who are you? What nonsense is this? Let me die!
God brought a friend my way who began to teach me the Bible at another level. Then I now loved another way to die. I want to be a martyr now. Church Gist. Let them kill me for the Gospel because that other one, I’m doubting if I die like this, I will go to hell fire. I don’t know ‘this’ this…but this one if they kill me, they will even give me a crown.
So, I started plotting the wicked places we can preach. So we went to preach in a place in Kano. I knew that you can’t go there with the Gospel, they will kill you. So I convinced him to follow me but I just became hungry for evangelism all of a sudden. We got there and I was looking and scanning for a person that looks wicked like an extreme moslem that I can talk to and can stab me. Church Gist. So I saw some two guys, their trousers were not touching the ground. I said perfect! So I went to meet the guy. I was preaching Jesus to him but I was preaching in a way that “I want you to be offended.” “So you get what I’m saying? If you don’t give your life to Christ, you will die and waste away” and the guy was looking at me and was smiling and when I was done preaching (true life story – my story), he placed his hand on my shoulder and said “Femi, you came to kill yourself.”
How do you have a guy in this regalia that can speak fluent English like this?…and when the hand touched my shoulder, I fell by the roadside. They had to pack me. I was shaking like leaf and each time he talks, it was like a wave was coming through Him and he listed all the attempts I have had to kill myself from the beginning till this point and the last food I ate and the reason why I ate the food. Church Gist. At that point, my friend that we went together drew back like “ah, so that’s why you came!” I was wondering, who is this? How do you meet such a person in the lowest moment of your life?…and he spoke to me. He gave me words of things that will happen in my life, things I could never believe at that point. When he was done talking, I said “can you help me? I need you in my life. Give me your number.” He looked at his friend that they were standing together and they laughed. They said “we don’t use phones.” Okay, what is your name? I need to see you again. He looked at his friend, smiled, and they alway looked at each other.” He said ”well, you can call me Emmanuel”. I said “okay Brother Emmanuel, thank you.” I said “Brother Emmanuel, give me your address so I can come, I can be learning the Bible from you. He looked at that one. He said “address, address, well, okay. Come to number so and so street.” (I said) ‘Thank you.”
The following morning (first thing in the morning) I jumped on a bike – number so so and so street. I got to that street, I came down with excitement. The address he had given to me – when I got there, it was a Church. I knocked, “please, I’m asking for Brother Emmanuel.” Pastor came out, they just had vigil. You can see it is a small Church and we are few. There is nobody called Emmanuel in this Church but this is the address he gave me. Church Gist. “How can you meet this person and you don’t know how you will see him again?”…and I climbed a bike with disappointment on my way home and I heard that voice “and His name shall be called Emmanuel.” It occured to me. Who did I meet? How? Let’s leave the rest.
What I’m telling you is that, “your greatest deliverance can be at the lowest phase of your life.” That’s why we can’t handle this thing like we fell from Heaven.
We are looking at the examples of cut down trees.
2. Let’s look at the example of Abraham. When you know you have an assignment to represent God to a generation but now your life has gone the exact opposite of that assignment. Let me explain.
Many of us call Abraham the Father of faith, the Man who depicted and represented the blessing. The blessings of Abraham! Abraham blessings are mine – but it is deeper than that. The significance of the blessings of Abraham, the significance of what was on him was Christ. “In your seed, shall the nations of the Earth be blessed” – that seed was Christ. Church Gist. What God was simply saying is that “I have found you and I’m going to be using your loins as the conduit pipe for the redemption of man. So the whole thing that was special about Israel, while their story stood out in the Bible was because God already handpicked that Nation.
He gave birth to one ‘Isaac’ then another one ‘Ishmael’. Isaac gave birth to 2 ‘Esau and ‘Jacob.” Jacob gave birth to 12 the 12 tribes and then the Nation of Israel was formed. Jacob himself was later renamed Israel from the loins of Abraham. But the devil also made sure that if from your loins, the Messiah, the Seed, the Root of the Messiah will come. Church Gist. One day Jesus will be called “the Son of David”. We will make sure that the direct opposite is also from you and what did he do? All you had to do was to sleep with Hagar once and he did it and she conceived an illegitimate seed called Ishmael…and Sarah began to maltreat her and God gave a verdict “the child you have given birth to will be blessed, he will be a great man but a wild man he will be. His hands will be against every man and every man’s hand against him” and we know what Ishmael has given birth to, that today when you look at…this school of missions, I saw the picture of a missionary that was stabbed 300 places and they left the knives there. When you look at the bombings, terrorism, doing different kinds of things in the name of religion…when Abraham looks at Isaac, the devil also reminds him of Ishmael – “this is also your fault” and sometimes that’s what the devil wants to do. He knows God wants to birth something through you but he is also interested in using this same you to birth the opposite and there are times that the devil has birthed the opposite first. When your life is now contrary to the purpose and everybody knows, cut down trees!
So I wrote here “you know you have an assignment to represent God to your generation and now your life is totally in the opposite direction of that assignment just like death is totally opposite direction of life. So the devil likes to take men directly opposite their assignment. That is why he desired Peter. Why Peter? Of all the people that should betray Jesus, why was the devil interested in Peter? Because it will hit differently, it was his friend. In fact, the devil at some point didn’t mind Jesus dying or not dying but let’s get him offended, let’s get him disappointed. Church Gist. That the person I love so much has…the same Peter despite the fact that Jesus said “I have prayed for”, the skillfulness with which he denied Jesus, if he was the one who betrayed Him, he will be more creative. Judas was learning.
Be careful of boasting about what grace did. You don’t have a formula for it – it’s grace. Lift your hands and say “ it’s just grace.”
Let me ask you a question. Why have you survived the things you have survived? Because now you speak like a saint. The Bible says “he that breaks the hedge, the serpent will strike.” The fact that the serpent has not struck you, does that mean you didn’t break the hedge? Church Gist. You did make mistakes but it looks like God bent principles (for you). You only came out now to tell the rest “if you do this, you will die.” Was it not mercy that spoke for you?…and when you look at Abraham, the same man, father of many nations, including the ones that are now killing his own people.
There is a funny story in the Book of Acts of the Apostles 7:59. This was where they killed Stephen and stoned him to death. You know, those who killed Stephen, killed him in Jesus name. Are you aware it was not the Romans that killed Jesus? It was the Church. Hello? You don’t understand. What I’m saying is that the same you who has received the mandate to do this, is the same one who is capable of doing the worse. Be careful when the devil is giving you an idea that is contrary to your mandate. God wants to use you. He (the devil) says ‘I’m interested in using you also’ That thing God wants to use you (for), you will undo it. That’s the devil for you. Acts 7:59,60. Acts 8:1. This was Saul. Saul that became Paul. The same One that will write two thirds of the New Testament. Look at what he was doing. Church Gist. Sometimes, you’ve given up because your life began in the opposite direction of what you will do. I am saying, this same you that hate pastors, you are called to be one. ‘I can never marry a pastor in my life’ Marry what you will marry, God will call him. I am saying sometimes, you are only louder than God. What He will do with you is what you are saying ‘I can never do’ You will discover later. Purpose becomes clearer with time and exposure. Give it time. Never you get to a point where you say ‘My life can never go in this direction because of this, this, this’ Listen. Are you following what I’m saying?
When this Ministry started, I used to tell people, ‘The day we ever become a Church, you can leave’ That was how much I hated…Church? Me? Pastor? I wanted to make money. Do you understand what I’m saying? I would disciple you people, no problem, but this Church thing? Not me and sometimes, what you are saying with all energy, that thing you are saying ‘I can never…’ is what you will still do. Relax. If you will not calm down and chew scriptures, life will calm you down and you will now learn it.
Let me put this story in a coded way. One time, we were on campus. We were telling a sister that ‘What if you and’…you know people just talk anyhow. ‘What if you and Pastor Femi Lazarus just marry like this? Oh, what a Kingdom combo (combination)’ Who sent them? The sister said ‘Over my dead body’ I didn’t know I was that bad. ‘Over my dead body’ I’m preaching now, the Husband too is preaching. Church Gist. Better be careful. When you know you don’t have complete information, don’t be loud because you will have to swallow your words with time and when that time comes, you will either have to defend your pride, by living contrary to that life or you swallow your pride. You can defend your pride and end, or swallow it and drive. Never live a life where you want to defend what you said yesterday. You spoke with the information you had. Now, a better information, speak again. ‘I didn’t know much when I said it. Now, I know better’ Okay? Do you understand what I’m saying?
If you had seen Saul that day they were killing Stephen, he said ‘I hate these guys’ but that’s what he will become and the same Saul will now later be flogged that same place. They flogged…they even thought he was dead. They left him and thought he was dead. When he woke up, he now wrote something, he said ‘From henceforth, let no man touch me, for I bear in my body the marks of Christ’ When you read that scripture, you will think what he is saying is that ‘I bear in my body the marks that is, the blood of Jesus’ No, no, no! The mark there is cane, ‘koboko’ (whip). Church Gist. He said ‘My back is scarred. Nobody should touch me again o’ So, one time, was it Felix or Agrippa that was talking to him, the guy spoke, he said, ‘You white washed sepulchre. You are talking?’ He insulted him. Saul, he has bad mouth o. (laughter) Don’t say I said it. Meanwhile, his life started in the opposite direction of where his life would go. I’m saying sometimes, your life started, your purpose will catch up. Never say ‘I can’t become this’ Only God knows tomorrow. Never you say like that.
Let me tell you a very funny story. One time, I liked a sister. We were both serving together. She was the Mama, I was the ‘Prayo’ (prayer warrior). We were having smooth conversations, there was just one thing we couldn’t get over with, the fact that I said I’m in Ile Ife (Osun State, Nigeria), that is where God had said I should go back to and I don’t see myself leaving. She said, ‘No, everything about my life is in Ibadan (Oyo State, Nigeria) and I don’t see myself leaving’ We couldn’t get over that conversation. Today, I’m in Abuja (Nigeria). She’s in Rwanda (East Africa). ‘Yeye people’ How do you speak like you are the one who designed tomorrow? And when your life begins from the opposite direction of your purpose, you are so convinced because that is the life you have always known. Church Gist. There are many turns you will take in life you don’t know yet. ‘I can never leave Nigeria’ Says who? You are at a level, with greater light, you will have something to say. Do you understand? Or those who have left Nigeria, ‘I can never be back to Nigeria’ One time you just noticed, every time you collect your salary, you lose your peace and ‘Why am I losing my peace?’ God is saying ‘Go back home’ Are there people who are outside the Country that would do better in Nigeria? Yes and vice versa. That we balance it.
Praise God…and sometimes, when it looks like that, you want to look at people and say ‘Is there any hope for me?’ There is! I said there’s hope! Praise God.
I have to start tying it up now. I have 10 here. I’ve done 2.
Can you imagine someone who is called into marriage ministry and misses it in marriage? That’s 3. Seeing yourself from when you were young that marriage for you is a ministry. Now, you married the one who never accepted that ministry. Nobody ever ministered to him in that direction. This guy is a bully, or this girl is something else. You are counselling people and helping their marriages and yours is nothing. Is there hope? Or somebody who has always known that ‘My marriage will be for the healing of nations’ but now, the marriage itself is an injury and not just that this person is behaving badly, this person does not seem to have the appearance of one who will change because he is not even listening. He gets worse.
Let me code this story. Okay? One time, somebody…they were always having problems. Prayed with the girl, prayed. We don’t know what else to do, we can only pray and counsel and one time she got back home and the guy said ‘I’m sorry. I had a vision when you were on the way. I saw the Lord Jesus telling me that ‘You are not treating your wife well. I repent from today’ Anybody who was once bad can become good. Don’t write them off. Anybody can become good.
Let me share a story with you. A man, he had I think, 7 children. I think the second to the last born, was the problem. Black sheep of the family. The boy was so much of a problem. One time, the man said he wanted to go and fast. He fasted, marathon fast, that he was going to curse the boy, then the boy should go and die. God waited for him to finish his fasting. Church Gist. He wanted to declare words. I don’t know why people do that. As he was about to do that thing over the son, God said, ‘You cannot curse my servant’ The boy was drinking, he was clubbing ‘You can not. You can’t curse a man I blessed’ He got back home, looked at the boy God said ‘You’re my servant’. All the children came to greet him. That one didn’t stand up. He greeted that one, ‘How are you doing’ ‘Hmm’ He looked at the boy ‘You, it’s not your fault’ The boy kept misbehaving, he looked at him ‘Servant of God. God will use this thing?’
Listen, one time, one of his people he has raised called him from America and said ‘I have a leading to train any of your children. Just give me one and I will train the person for you’ and he wrote all the names of the children and that boy, he wrote his name as the last like a mistake. Just like you signed, ‘This one is not a name’ and the Man highlighted that one and said ‘This is the Person God said I should…’ and the father was scared, ‘This one that is misbehaving in Nigeria, when he gets to America, what will he do?’ The boy got to America, that was where he gave his life to Christ. He was the one who brought his father and mother to America. They were on plane the first time because of him. Church Gist. God used that boy to transform the family. I’m saying, don’t write anybody off. As at the time he was sharing the story, the Boy was already a minister, still doing other things. That’s life. Okay? So, you look at it, ‘This is what my life is about, but how do we…’ Are you aware that there are people who can’t do their ministry because their lives bear a different testimony? They look at other people who are doing marriage ministry and say ‘I know I have this calling too, but if not for who I married’ Never shut down that assignment because it doesn’t make sense. Never. Go back to it. In the middle of it, while you are faithful, at the scent of water, spring back to life!
The sons of the Prophet went to cut trees. Listen, this is the wisdom…and while they were cutting trees, the axe head fell and they screamed ‘Alas master, we borrowed it’ and Elisha said ‘Where did it fall?’ They said ‘Here’ He said ‘Get me a stick’ and he took the stick and dropped it there and the axe head that fell floated back up. Church Gist. What does that mean? The devil attacks what gets the job done. He doesn’t fight anything in your life if that’s not what will get the job done, but it can float again. Bad marriages can be restored. Okay? Never look at your spouse and say ‘No, no, no. ‘This is the way my own life is, this is the way I’ve chosen it. We have married this person. This is what I have to live with’ No. It will change. At the scent of water, it will come back to life again. Don’t go back and relegate yourself and say ‘This is the…’ Sarah had concluded that ‘It is ceased to be with me according to the manner of women’ but that was when God was just getting ready. That was when God was saying ‘I’m just getting..’ and when Abraham was 99 years, God appeared before him and said ‘I am El Shaddai, walk before me and be perfect. I’m just getting started’
Let me show you a last scripture before I leave. Matthew 5:3.
Can you please rise on your feet for the reason of the Word as we wrap up this service? and what we are going to do now is, we are going to speak life to every dead situation. Are you ready? Matthew 5:3. You say ‘I don’t know what to do again’ You are at the exact spot where God can help you. Church Gist. Heaven doesn’t help those who help themselves. Heaven help those who have come to the end of themselves. Heaven help those who are helpless. If you can help yourself, there’s no point of God doing anything.
I sense that the time has come for the help of God to spring forth. That thing you look at your life and say ‘I can never, I wish I still have the opportunity to become this’ God is saying, you will become much more. You will become much more. Much more will happen. Some people feel that ‘this addiction has crippled everything I could have become’. God is saying, ‘I’m just getting started’