The blessed man of God looks on admirably as the Voices of Cherubim sing and praise the Lord.
By Samuel O. Doku (Washington, DC). To be courageous in any undertaking means no matter the obstacles and dangers one’s path to success is paved with, one refuses to quit until success crowns one’s efforts. And to be persistent means one perseveres to succeed eventually despite all the odds stacked against one.
On Sunday, Senior Pastor Georges Ntemi’s sermon was predicated on success and persistence. Noting that the sermon was a sequel to last week’s preaching in which the thematic framework of his homily was self-esteem, Senior Pastor Ntemi began with a brief anecdote in which a clever wife told her husband to be preparing coffee for her every morning.
When the husband wanted to know the source of the sudden demand, the wife told him that the Bible says so. His curiosity being obviously aroused, the man wanted to know the text in the Holy Book that says so. The wife amusingly responded, “He brews.”
The blessed man of God then took his first reading for the morning from Hebrews 12: 2-4 where Paul writes on the need for Believers to unhinge ourselves from sin and the sinful maneuvers by others, especially those around us.
“Jesus is the pioneer and perfector of our faith, so put your trust in Him. There are people who will discourage you; there are people who will bad-mouth you; there are people who will back-stab you. Unhinge yourself from them and their sins and persist because success comes with persistence,” said the apostle of God.
Senior Pastor Ntemi observed that sometimes people want to have things go their own ways all the time. “Nothing comes the way we want it. In the School of God, there is no skipping of classes. You have to take all courses in the School of God. Persistence is the time spent between God’s promises and His provisions. Persistence is going to a place of failure and saying, ‘I’ll start all over again.’ Look back and say, ‘you mountain of failure, move out of my way.’”
The consul of God surmised that Believers should know that our purpose in life has been designed by God and not by any human being. “In the midst of your tribulation, ask God to hold your hand and take you to where you need to be. Persistence is Moses going back to Egypt and rescuing the Israelites from slavery. Persistence is very important because life is made up of endurance, not of big beginnings,” said the blessed man of God.
Mentioning a series of anaphoras in which Biblical figures persisted and succeeded, the apostle of God noted, “Persistence means sacrifice; persistence is the Hebrew boy saying to the king of Persia, ‘we won’t bow down to you. Persistence is Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego saying to Nebuchadnezzar, we won’t bow down to worship your god; persistence is Daniel saying to king Darius, ‘I won’t bow down to you, and I’m not afraid to be cast into the lion’s den.”
The senior pastor continued: “Persistence is not bowing to failure and getting frustrated. Persistence says I know my God the creator of the universe lives, so He won’t forsake me. However, if you think you can live life without any problems, think again because your problems will only end when you die.”
The blessed man of God also seemed to have some African leaders in mind who pay lip service in their political campaigns to lead their respective countries to progress by building new infrastructures and improving on existing ones, but they do nothing when they come to power.
“Talk is cheap. Some talk about implementing big projects, but later, when they are asked about the projects they promised to implement, they talk about life not being easy. You need to be persistent to be able to carry out your ideas and plans,” said the apostle of God.
He noted that the church is not a place of abeyance where people come to sit down and cry. “The Church is the dwelling place of the spirit of the living God, so you persist and trust that the Lord will be with you in all things. Rejoice that the devil has not overcome you. Rejoice.”
Furthermore, he aligned Noah’s survival during the deluge to his persistence. “When Noah was building the ark, people thought he was crazy, so they were ridiculing him. But persistence kept him working. God told him not to worry because one day he would benefit from it. Don’t mind what people say about you; the prize will be bigger one day. Have no time for distraction, backstabbing, and negative thoughts about you.”
He narrated the story of a commencement speaker, who knowing that many of the graduates won’t remember almost all the pieces of advice he would give if he gave a lengthy speech, simply told the graduates that he fought to be where he is, so they should “never give up; never give up; never give up.”
Senior Pastor Ntemi added that “persistence is the cure for life. Your goal has been given by God, so don’t listen to others, but in all things, be persistent. Don’t look at your life in the rear-view mirror. You are suffering today, but you will enjoy tomorrow. What is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. If God has given you a purpose, He would strengthen you to keep fighting on. You will succeed.”
From persistence, the consul of God lamented about selfishness in others that perpetually makes them think about themselves first without giving any considerations to the plight of others. “You are doomed for hell if all you think about is yourself.”
He reminded the congregation about the story of Cain who after murdering Abel and God came to ask him about the whereabouts of his brother, he asked God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” “Don’t be like Cain. Be bold and courageous like a lion and soar like an eagle in your desire to help others, and your reward would be great,” said the blessed man of God.
The apostle of God observed that God has given each of us the talent to succeed, so we should not limit ourselves, but we must persist in all things to ensure success.
“Persistence is Joseph looking back at his life; persistence is Jacob wrestling with an angel of God and holding on tightly to him until God confessed prosperity into his life after God had changed his name to Israel and told him, ‘from now on you are blessed,’” said the apostle of God. Among the Scriptures he cited to support his sermon were Ephesians 6, Luke 9, and Ezekiel 1: 10