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The refiner

11 July 2013, 14:38 Onyeji Dominic

God created man to be fruitful and wise, and nature requires him to be progressive and dauntless in his endeavors. Nigerians should stop chasing shadows, deceiving themselves in pretense and make believe.

There are raw and crude opportunities lying everywhere in Africa. Enlightenment and sound education remain as refiners needed to tap into the opportunities. We cannot tap into opportunities when our futures are not bright and hopeful. Negligence, ignorance and a mediocre life are things makes the mind retarded, and retardation is the biggest hindrance to progress, success and breakthrough.

Go to the wise and pay heed to candid advice. They will tell you that there is nothing like hope and bright future outside bounds of sound education. Nigeria will certainly remain in darkness and blackout until everybody takes educationvery serious. If you doubt, ask Prophet Malachi in Bible. He will whisper it to you that Sound Education plus Righteousness is equal to Jesus, and Jesus is the refiner in Bible. (Malachi 3)

Meanwhile, let’s go to Scriptures and look things up. I am using the version of the Bible called “The Living Bible” (TLB). The book of Malachi 3:13 says, “Listen, I will send my messenger before me to prepare the way. And then the one you are looking for will come suddenly to his Temple – the Messenger of God’s promises, to bring you great joy. Yes, he is surely coming says the Lord of Host. “But who can live when he appears? For he is like a blazing fire refining precious metal and he can bleach the dirtiest garments! Like refiner of silver he will sit and closely watch as the dross is burned away. He will purify the Levities, the ministers of God, refining them like gold or silver, so that they will do their work for God with pure heart.”

Prophet Malachi received this message for the Israelite at a period in history, when they were serving God expectantly. They had ulterior motive for serving God this time. They were in serious mess and needed the Messiah to save them from their predicament, and knowing that God is holy, they decided to give him a sincere, hearty service in order to get His intervention to their problem.

This means that the Israelite were not sinful at this point in time. They were like devotees, giving sincere services to God in order to please him. They knew that failure in observing God’s holy services and commandments would hinder their divine breakthrough. The message from Malachi at this time reveals that their righteousness was provoking God to act on their favor.

The problem they had along the line was delusion. They did not understand the scheme of things, the plan of God on how their breakthrough would materialize. The prophecy gave them the assurance for the divine intervention. But the procedure for the manifestation was not understood.

They were expecting God to fight their battle. But the prophecy came on the contrary, indicating that they were to go through hell and get refined by the fire in order to achieve their heart desire. This means that they were in ignorance; certain things were standing against their breakthrough which they did not know. One of the things, according to the prophecy, was lack of preparation.

The prophecy was a mental portrait. It is picture of the people’s mind, revealing rationally that the people of Israel were not prepared to war against their enemies who besieged them from all angles. They did not know that their lack of preparation disqualified them from victory. The prophecy was actually saying that Israelites were not mentally fit for the breakthrough or victory that they were expecting from God. It was obvious that they needed the first messenger to get them prepared for the coming of the second Messenger who they earnestly desired.

Let me use myself here as an example. As a young secondary school student those days, I expected divine breakthrough in academics. I was given to believe that breakthrough or success comes as miracle. We had a lot of sermons and Christian literature those days dealing with divine breakthrough. Most of them gave us the impression that miracle is the bedrock of success or breakthrough in life.

The preachers and authors were people we respected so much, men that were globally recognized to be great men of God, famous Pentecostal preachers including Benny Hinn, D.K. Olukoya, Ed Warfield, etc. Their sermons and books those days gave us to believe that breakthrough was a product of divine act of grace and favor, and that all we needed to hasten or provoke the miracle were spiritual exercise of faith and fervent prayers.

Ed Warfield was known in the world as renowned man of God. He said it expressly in one of his sermons title, “Divine Breakthrough”. According to him, “Breakthroughs do not begin when they are discovered; they have a much earlier origin. Breakthroughs always begin at the point where we set ourselves to seek the Lord through extended, intensive prayers coupled with fasting and humility.”

The scriptural backing used by Ed Warfield to buttress this point is Daniel 10: 2-4 & 12. He believes that everything God does is birthed by warfare and confrontation because while the Biblical Daniel was praying, warfare was being conducted over the nation even though Daniel was unaware of the battle or even his part in it. Ed Warfield added that the presence of Jesus provoked warfare everywhere he went. So, if we pray for His presence to come, provocation will come with Him and we will partake of all the warfare that He provokes.

The general opinion of this Ed Warfield’s sermon was that the church should faithfully depend on miracle, expecting breakthrough to come from God after we most have prayed earnestly for the discovery and victory. This was the impression we got when Ed Warfield said, “Also remember the battle line in natural warfare and how it is broken through. The obstacles to breakthrough: self, others (false battlefields) and the enemy. The REAL battlefield is one of intercession, fasting and humility. It is in this arena of confrontation that we reveal our heart of breakthrough. It is here that God reveals Himself in ways not before experience. The nature of spiritual capacity of a church changes dramatically when God of battle presents Himself in its midst. Warfare may not be our choice, but we are in a battle whether we went it or not. We need to stop fighting battles designed by our flash or enemy and align ourselves with God on His battlefield and prepare for breakthrough.”

Benny Hinn is another globally recognized preacher and author who supports that the body of Christ should expectantly depend on God for success (breakthrough). He is popularly known as a great miracle worker and most of his sermons and books centered on financial breakthrough and sowing of special seeds in Gods kingdom. In one of his books titled, “Your Coming Financial Breakthrough”, Benny Hinn said, “Sow today and activate the law of the Supernatural harvest that is coming your way! Sow your seed with mighty expectation for today and future! As you plant your $30.42 during the coming months, I will send you a special gift – Mike Murdock’s book, ‘365 Wisdom Keys’. It is a practical book that can change your life and help you find your financial breakthrough! Sow your seed with mighty expectation for today and future, for our Lord Jesus said, ‘Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaking together, and running over, shall men give unto your bosom. For with the measure that you mete whithal it shall be measured to you again (Luke 6: 38).’ ”

I’ve said it once that the main problem we had those days was delusion. My writing here is not only addressed to Christians. But truth remains that misconception is generally a big problem in Christendom. It is one thing that has eaten deep into the body of Christ, affecting both the preachers and the congregation.

The preachers deliver the sermons out of wrong conceptions and the congregation gets the wrong impressions and misread the messages completely. Majority, if not all, are still falling victim to delusion (false believe), living their lives in make believe. I still see them everywhere, lingering in the same problem of delusion in the church these days.

In the case of Ed Warfield and Benny Hinn, the problems of false conception were obvious. Most of the scriptural terms they used were not rightly interpreted or explained. In that sermon titled, “Divine Breakthrough”, Ed Warfield said, “We need to stop fighting battles designed by our flash or enemy and align ourselves to God on His battlefield and prepare for breakthrough.” 

The explanation he gave after revealed that he lacks the intricacy of the clause, “prepare for breakthrough” as used in the context. Men of God are meant to be rational, having the ability to dig deep into the Word. Ed Warfield used the word, “prepare” without knowing the deep meaning of it, and his interpretation created wrong impression in us those days. He asked us to prepare for breakthrough. But the question, “How do we prepare?” was not answered because himself did not know what the preparation was all about.

The problems I encountered in academics those days were due to delusion which originated from misleading sermons and religious books that were written by shallow-minded preachers and authors. They caused me to misread the scriptures and the erroneous conceptions gave me to believe that success in academics would come as miracle. I became zealous and expectant, devoting most of my precious time to God’s work in illusion, believing that my sincere, hearty devotion would provoke God to favor with success in academics.

They gave me to accept that success would come as miracle and at last, I saw my life sinking deep into the pit of hell due to lack of adequate preparation in academics.

The children of Israel in book of Malachi 3 had similar experience in their days. Their own was the case of physical war. Scriptures and prophecies revealed that they were besieged at that time by physical enemies round about. And instead of them to prepare for battle and face the challenges squarely, they went about dreamily, expecting that the Messiah which God promised to send would come and fight their physical enemies. They got the shock later when their enemies defeated them in the battle. But unfortunately they did not learn their lesson.

Here the lesson was very simple. But the Israelite did not understand it. They did not understand that the first messenger in the prophecy of Malachi was to come in form of failure (defeat in war) and that the purpose was for them to learn their lesson and get prepared adequately for subsequent wars. They were void of wisdom and insight unlike people in school of thought who see failure as agent of destined preparation.

They did not understand that failure is a Supernatural force that makes one to prepare adequately for the future. Their lack of adequate preparation led to failure (defeat in war) and they did not know that the failure was divinely set to refine them. God wanted them to see need for adequate preparation. That was why they had to fail. The same thing applies to us in real life. We shall continue to fail in life until we see need to face challenge squarely, preparing adequately to over problems of life. God is not a miracle worker like that.

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