Pastor Kunle Osunkunle @ Sunday First Service
The Fountaineers were welcomed into the month of May with the theme “Great Grace,” as it coincided with International Worker’s Day on a Sunday. Preaching at the first service, Pastor Kunle Osunkunle, who spoke on the title, The Prevailing Word of God, stated that God is always doing exceedingly abundantly above our requests, but our responsibility is to trust Him and know that He is always at our side. God’s presence, he said, does not exempt us from the trial of the enemy, but their trial will always be in vain. Citing Jeremiah 20:11 to validate his word, the pastor added that when God is on our side, we are super loved. He said, while this might not be obvious due to the present prevailing challenges, we only need to be still to know that He is God. He expounded that the joy of the shepherd is to seek a pasture for the sheep, and thus our obligation as believers is to follow Jesus, knowing that He has promised never to abandon us.
Referring to last week’s promise in Psalm 46:1, he espoused that one thing the devil always attacks in the life of a believer is their joy, knowing that when he does, there will be no strength to forge ahead. But the good thing is that our strength is anchored on the joy of the Lord. Pastor Osunkunle noted that the strategy of the devil is to use the externally obvious to create fear in the heart of the believer. Nevertheless, the visible is only temporal, while the unseen is eternal, and the only constant is Jesus, as stated in Hebrews 13:8.
The clergy emphasised the importance of anchoring oneself to God and His word, saying that doing so would keep the believer afloat no matter how strong the tide. Citing Hebrews 6:19, he reemphasized that our anchor is fixed firmly in the presence of God. Enumerating what he described as the resume of God’s word, he hinted that;
– God’s word cannot die; that is why it is life itself.
– God’s word cannot fail; it passes one hundred percent of the time (Isaiah 14:24)
– God’s word cannot lie; it is truth itself (Titus 1:2).
– God’s word cannot be chained.
– God’s word cannot be broken.
– God’s word cannot be finished; its value can never be reduced.
– God’s word cannot be troubled; it is rest itself (Isaiah 26:3).
God, he said, can always be trusted and his reputation is never in doubt.
To bring his sermon to a wrap, Pastor Kunle Osunkunle stated that as good as God’s promises are, our responsibility is to believe them, meditate on them, pray and sing them; noting that a life that does not enthrone the word of God will forever have its throne in contention with the enemy. Recounting the story of Jesus crossing to the other side with the disciple in Mark 4:35-41, and how Jesus (the Word), who was fast asleep, was woken to rebuke the storm, he therefore advised that it is not enough to take the word along with us, it has to be activated. “If you are created by the word, it is only the word that can sustain you; and as you continue in it, there will be prevailing strength. You are an overcomer,” he concluded.
“THANKSGIVING THE GREATEST WEAPON AND SHIELD ON THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN”
Pastor Akin Osibanjo @ Sunday Second Service
At the May 1 Sunday second service, Pastor Akin Osinbanjo, who spoke on the topic, “Thanksgiving: The Greatest Weapon And Shield On This Side Of Heaven,” described thanksgiving as the link between prayer and answers to prayer. Reading from Philippians 4:6, the clergy noted that prayer without thanksgiving is like making a phone call without dialling the last digit; or imputing the incorrect password to a transaction. Such calls or transactions would never go through.
Pastor Osinbanjo also explained Thanksgiving as the precursor to the extraordinary. “It moves the hand of God and keeps hope alive,” he said. He went on to give examples of how Jesus always gave thanks after every prayer. The raising of Lazarus from the dead (John 11:38–44) and the feeding of the 5,000 (Matthew 14:18–21) are two examples.
The clergy also described thanksgiving as a weapon for battle (Psalm 92:1-2). He explained that one of the secrets of David’s great success in battle was his spirit of thanksgiving. 1 Chronicles 23:25-30 tells the story of David employing people who raised thanksgiving to God day and night. “Whatever battle you face, thanksgiving will help you succeed. It will do the miraculous,” he said.
He went further, noting that thanksgiving acts as a shield and repels demons and evil spirits. A Biblical example he gave to highlight this was the story of King Saul, who was tormented by an evil spirit, but whenever David played the harp, the evil spirit left Saul, giving him peace. (1 Samuel 16:14-23).
Reading from the Books of John 6:43 and 1 Corinthians 10:10, Pastor Akin Osinbanjo urged his listeners to replace murmuring and complaints with thanksgiving. He warned that murmuring could invoke the wrath of God, citing examples from Numbers 14:1-3, 26-29, when the children of God murmured against God and Moses. “Whatever your murmurings are, that is what God will do,” he admonished. He did, however, encourage his audience by quoting Lamentations (3:39–41), which instructs us to lift our hearts in thanksgiving to God rather than complain.
In his words, “When you change your attitude, your altitude changes. God will remember you when you change your countenance from complaining to thanksgiving.”
He further asserted that thanksgiving is the will of God. He said this whilst reading from 1 Thessalonians 5:18. “Give thanks when things favour you and when they don’t favour. Give thanks even in a hopeless situation. Learn to say thank you for everything. Learn to be grateful to God for everything,” he said. Quoting from a message on thanksgiving by the senior pastor of the church, Pastor Taiwo Odukoya, Pastor Osinbanjo reminded the church that gratitude is a currency that will be spent in eternity. “The two greatest words this side of heaven are “Thank You”. With over 9,000 seconds in a day, one second a day is not too much to say thank you.”
The clergy reminded the congregation to thank God and acknowledge Him. “We must acknowledge the Giver. Thanksgiving is a debt we owe God,” he said. Another reason he said believers must give thanks is to preserve the blessings from God. According to Malachi 2:1-3, if we don’t give thanks, our blessings can turn into curses.
In conclusion, the clergy noted that thanksgiving should never be seasonal, but should be in all seasons.
NAVIGATING YOUR VALLEY SEASONS
Pastor Gbolahan Lawson @ Thursday Showers service
Believers have been enjoined not to see challenges as punishment from God or afflictions from enemies but as part of God’s plan for spiritual maturity and advancement. This admonition came from Pastor Gbolahan Lawson, assistant pastor at the King’s Dome, Egbeda branch of The Fountain of Life Church, during the April 28 Thursday showers service.
Speaking from Genesis 8:22 and Ecclesiastes 3:2, Pastor Lawson said that God created different seasons for a reason, noting that a day does not make a complete 24 hours without the night, just as a year cannot be complete without the different seasons of harmattan, winter, summer, and spring. He further noted that just as sowing or laying a foundation for a building is not always fun, challenges are not always fun, but if believers can understand that season and use it well, they will rejoice in the end, just as a farmer rejoices during harvest. “The good and tough times come together just as there can’t be harvest without showing,” he said.
Likening these different seasons to life, the clergy said that there are times in life when everything feels so good. He referred to this season as the “mountain top season.” The other season of life is what he referred to as the “low valley season,” where things don’t seem to go according to plan. In his words, “The mountaintop season is very beautiful, but the valley season is a stressful season. As much as you would like to spend more time in the mountain top season, there must be a low valley season.”
Pastor Lawson further explained the different valley seasons in a believer’s life to be in the areas of relationship, health, career, finances, spiritual valley or delay, disappointment, and betrayal of any sort. He added that believers sometimes find themselves in these valleys due to their own doings, while at other times, external factors are the cause. He was quick to add that God, who is a merciful Father, would still bring them out of it after He building character in them.
He said, “We get ourselves into some valleys, but God is a merciful God who will still bring us out of those valleys. One of the reasons valleys are inevitable is for character to be formed. Even though you love the harvest and the mountain tops, character is not built there. Character is formed in the valley.”
One major reason people generally get agitated about the challenges of life, according to the clergy, is a lack of knowledge about the future. He explained that if men knew the duration and expiry date of challenges, they would not be perturbed or get agitated. “If you knew how long your challenges would last, you wouldn’t be troubled. You are troubled because you don’t know. But what I know is that you are coming out of that valley because our God is faithful and merciful,” he added.
Speaking from Isaiah 43:1-5, Psalm 23:4-5, James 1:5, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Lamentations 3:22-23 and Psalm 84:5-6(TPT), the clergy told the congregations that understanding their sonship in Christ, not entertaining fear, having patience, seeking wisdom, trusting God, and praising Him (counting their blessings) are what to do when they find themselves in the valleys of life.
In his words, “Because you’re in a valley season of life doesn’t mean you’ve offended God, but it’s part of the plan. So don’t forget that God is with you. He’s God in the mountain and God in the valley. There are things that could happen that would make you afraid, but fear not. God never promised believers a life without problems, but through it all, He will bring you out.”