I was taken on a journey down memory lane, as I prepared the message for our annual end of year crossover service. I remembered in particular, the Western Movies that we used to watch when we were kids in the 70s; I remembered my favourite shows – Bonanza, and also The High Chapparal, with Billy Blue.
There was one signature scene that was the recurring highpoint in a lot of those movies that came to mind:
Picture this scene –
Just before a gunfight broke out in a saloon, there was very often, the inevitable villain or sheriff that would burst in through the double swing saloon
doors, with twitching hands nervously hovering over the holstered Colt, as the protagonists attempted to intimidate and psyche out each other.
This standoff would usually be accompanied by the sound of the saloon doors creaking unnervingly as they continued to swing listlessly to and fro on
their hinges, against the backdrop of the eerie silence that enveloped the bar, and the edgy anticipation of the patrons as they braced themselves
for the impending mayhem that was likely to soon unfold.
This was the scene that played on my mind as I thought about the outgoing year 2015, and the New Year 2016. But one thing was prominent in my mind's
Those Swinging, Creaking Saloon Doors.
The doors can symbolically represent our dreams and aspirations; the gateway to our destinies, swinging in and out and back and forth on the hinges
of hope, but still remaining in the same place; listlessly moving to and fro against the backdrop of the creaking sound we hear, which is the doubt
in our mind gnawing away at our heart, and mocking what remains of our audacity to dare to believe that any change could still happen in our lives.
Past experiences and "rational" reasoning desperately fighting to extinguish the dying embers of hope that faith had once birthed.
This perhaps is the feeling that yourself or some of us reading this may have about 2016.
With bated breath and ponderous steps, you gingerly toddle into the new year, unsure of what lies ahead of you; the relief of exiting a challenging
year that has now thankfully come to an end, contrasting sharply with the uncertainty of the promises of the new year you are entering into.
Your mind is a flood of swirling emotions; laboured thoughts filled with questions about your tomorrow: What will happen this year; will things
ever change? What does this year hold for me? Will things ever get better? What if things remain the same; or even more scary, what if things
Hope gives way to despair, giving way to hope, giving way to despair again; an unending loop, a familiar encore - life imitating art; our very
own "Groundhog - Day" existence.
My dear friend, this ought not to be so!
You can forget about trying to understand the prose or the drama from the scene that I spoke about above, but please understand and firmly hold on to this Gospel Truth that I write to you from here:
Our God has a great pedigree of making good on His promises — He is FULLY invested in your success.
That's the deal that Jesus brokered for you on the cross of Calvary!
Listen to what the bible says in the book of James (James 2:2-8 NET):
"2My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything. 5But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him. 6But he must ask in faith without doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed around by the wind. 7For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8since he is a double-minded individual, unstable in all his ways."
I believe that God has been bringing many people that He is going to use mightily in this coming season, to the place where they will have lost
all confidence in self, and had to bring the flesh and self to the cross in total Surrender. A place of emptiness and brokeness, where we had
no choice but to make room for God to fill the vacuum that is left in us and to trust and depend entirely on the Holy Ghost, to inspire the
wisdom and the strength to navigate through the labyrinth of the maze of confusion and sometimes even despair that we have been wading through.
That was the story of many Christians last year – a sense of dissatisfaction and restlessness about the status quo that I believe the Holy
Spirit instigated to create a hunger and a yearning for more of Him.
I believe also, that this season will begin to manifest the fruits of our travails in prayers and the times that we have spent in patiently
waiting on Him, as we learn to lay down our agenda and let Him work His will in us.
I am very excited about this year; there will be a great harvest of souls returning to the Lord and fresh converts added to the body. As dark
as things may have been or indeed are going to be , that is the cue for true believers to really arise and shine with a reflection of His
glory Make sure you are one of them that God will find useful and available for this end time move of His Glory.
In closing, hear this admonition from the Lord to you today from 1Pet 5:8-11.
"8Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, strong in your faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are enduring the same kinds of suffering. 10And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11To him belongs the power forever. Amen."
Have a prosperous and Holy Ghost inspired new year in Jesus's Name.
Pastor Wale Oladimeji
WEEK IN FOCUS: Click Here For Daily Scripture Reading and Prayer Focus for this week.