THE GREAT JOY OF THE LORD IS YOURS!
By Rev. Lere Payimo.
“…behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people”. (Luke 2:10)
Using the above scriptural statement as our guide, we shall be examining few things in the mind of God for everyone he created in His image and likeness.
The first thing here is “Great Joy!” And the question goes: from where?
The preceding verse shows message delivered by an angel of the Lord “… the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them…”. (Luke 2:9) This shows it is from the Lord.
And then “To whom?” To all people “… which shall be to all people.”
So we can say Great Joy from the Lord to all people. This shows God is a God of Great Joy Psalm 16: 11 says “…in His presence is fullness of joy…”, He has it in abundance and then releases it to all people.
Precisely, we could see the joy referred to as GREAT JOY from God which is to ALL PEOPLE, another version puts it this way “… that is meant for everybody, worldwide” (The Message Version). It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from. All people, that qualified you and I ever before we all came to being!
Maybe, looking at your life you feel there is nothing to be joyful about:
There is a provision of God called “OIL OF JOY” meant to terminate your mourning according to Isaiah 61:3 “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning…”
Maybe you think no one understands what you are going through at all:
Jesus said I know! John 16:33(Amplified version) I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]
Himself encountered the cross while he was here on earth but he endured because of the joy behind it. Hebrew 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross…” This means Jesus went to the cross for all people (you and I inclusive) to take the joy behind it and give it back to us.
Two important things to note about joy:
Joy is a free gift from God to all people (…which shall be to all people.)
Joy produces the strength needed for each day through life.
Let me say here: “To be joy-less is to be strength-less”.
Nehemiah 8:10 says “… for the JOY OF THE LORD is your Strength”
Do not let anything take that joy from you, it is yours by redemption.
I am praying for you:
Everything that militates against God’s joy in your life is from henceforth terminated by the power of the blood that Jesus shed for you on the cross!
May you enjoy the strength that the joy of the Lord produces every day of your life in the name of Jesus the Christ of God.
Amen and Amen!
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THE MUSICIAN – THE MINISTRY OF MUSIC – THE MINISTER OF MUSIC
By Rev. Lere Payimo.
First and foremost, let me establish this that distinction is only guaranteed in any field of endeavour when there is full access to details. You cannot possess what you can’t access. Therefore, full access into the details God’s view about the above subject is what guarantees your excellence in that field.
Who is a Musician?
This is important because many musicians don’t even know who they really are and this in itself has left them with identity crises.
A “MUSIC-IAN”: Please note that “MUSIC” comes first and then – “I A N”.
Some simple definitions of Music out of the available many would be helpful for us this regard though.
Music = (i). combination of sound (instrument/voices) that is pleasant to hearing.
(ii). An expression of moods on instrument and voices arranged to captivate the soul.
Musician = A Music Maker or someone with the abilities
A Musician/Music Maker is somebody who plays, performs, conducts or composes music. [Microsoft Encarta dictionary].
This naturally could be done by anyone who is either talented or trained for it!
THE MINISTRY OF MUSIC
What is ministry?
Here is my simple definition: Ministry is a divine assignment or divine mandate or task.
That said, how then does music become ministry?
I would say Music becomes ministry when it is tailored towards achieving divine assignment or divine mandate or task.
A ministry focused music is beyond just making any kind of sound but rather a Spirit-filled sound that creates an atmosphere for God’s glorious presence.
God in these last days is looking for ministry-minded musicians; “MUSICIAN WITH A DIFFERENCE”, just like in the days of old.
Let us examine this is the experience in 2kings 3. A Prophet of God was consulted for instruction by three Kings in distress, one of whom he was not quite comfortable with. He had regard for one of these Kings who was a man of integrity though and he decided to seek the Lord’s face on their issue. To everyone’s amazement, the Prophet requested for “A MUSICIAN”! What has Music to do with such a case as this? I presume he understood that he needed a conducive atmosphere, an atmosphere of God’s presence where he would clearly hear His mind of the critical issue, thus his request for not just any musician but a “MUSICIAN WITH A DIFFERENCE”, a ministry inclined musician whose music is Spirit-filled enough for God to dwell in. That can’t definitely be just anyone with any sound I suppose! He actually got one and it would be interesting for us to know that the Scripture never gave the name of that particular “MUSICIAN WITH A DIFFERENCE”! What a humble Minister of Music he was!
“But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when THE MINSTREL played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him”. (2ki 3:15)
“and he said, thus saith the Lord, make this valley full of ditches”. (2ki 3:16)
“But now, get me a player of music, and it will come about that while THE MAN is playing, the hand of the Lord will come on me and I will give you the word of the Lord: and they got a player of music, and while the man was playing, the hand of the Lord was on him”. (2ki 3:15) (Bible in Basic English)
When your music becomes ministry, it is then you become a Minister of Music, not just by title but as a result of your encounter with God Himself.
For better understanding, let us briefly examine the three major elements of true ministry in relation to the ministry of music.
Let us examine them one after the other.
“And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but HE THAT IS CALLED OF GOD, as [was] Aaron”. (Heb 5:4)
Understand that God is only committed to what he has called you to do. Therefore, CALL in this context could be said to be a force of the voice of God that places a man where God designed him for. However, it is also worth noting here that CALLING has three phases:
CALL TO SALVATION
CALL TO DISCIPLESHIP
CALL TO MINISTRY.
There above three are very important, but my emphasis is the third one which is “CALL TO MINISTRY”. When you operate at this level, your music becomes ministry-oriented.
VISION: This could be said to be a privileged sight from heaven’s angle of perception.
Another word for this is “INSIGHT”: which I will say it is the ability to see the inside of something from God’s angle. God is always interested in how man sees, He desires that man sees things the way He does. In Jeremiah chapter one, God asked in verse 11:“…What seest thou? … Jeremiah responded: “…I see a rod of an almond tree”. God was so pleased with Jeremiah’s accurate response: 12 “Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: …”.
This gives clarity regarding God’s expectation about how man should see. What is your vision of yourself? Do you see yourself from God’s viewpoint or otherwise?
Remember, seeing is becoming! What you see is what you become.
Also, in MK 8:24, Jesus dealt with a case of sight physically to show us how important is for to see well.
“And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought”. (Mar 8:23)
AND HE LOOKED UP, AND SAID, I SEE MEN AS TREES, WALKING. (Mar 8:24)
After that he put [his] hands AGAIN upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. (Mar 8:25)
From the above scriptural illustration, it could be clearly understood that Jesus was interested in that man’s perfect sight. This shows us the importance of perfect sight to God and it also applies to seeing things rightly even beyond natural sight.
Therefore, God’s desire for a Spirit-filled musician is that he would see himself the way God sees him and then functions accordingly by creating the atmosphere for God’s presence.
Let me say your GIFT is your LIFT. “A man’s gift…” (Prov 18:16)
Neglect not THE GIFT THAT IS IN THEE, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. (1Ti 4:14)
Remember that GIFT IS GIVEN. Your MUSIC is a GIFT from the LORD. In Joh 3:27 we read: “John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except IT BE GIVEN HIM from heaven”. (KJV)
John answered, A man can receive nothing [he can claim nothing, he can take unto himself nothing] except as it has been granted to him from heaven. [A man must be content to receive THE GIFT which is given him from heaven; there is no other source.] (Joh 3:27)AMP
To maintain one’s stance as a Minister of Music with a difference, one must TREAT HIS/HER MUSIC AS GOD’S GIFT with this in mind: “… THE GIFTS and CALLING OF GOD [are] without repentance”. (Rom 11:29)
For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.] (Rom 11:29) AMP
With the understanding of these ministry elements in mind, it is important to note that a called minister of music appointed by God operates under the anointing of the Holy Ghost.
Appointment into ministry is invalid without the anointing of the Holy Ghost.
Anointing is the measure of God’s power on any individual. In act 10:38 we see the importance of the anointing of the Holy Ghost even on our Lord Jesus Christ.
HOW GOD ANOINTED JESUS of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. (Act 10:38)
There is a need for constant empowerment by the Holy Spirit for any musician who is ready to function in line with the mind of God.
BUT THE ANOINTING which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as THE SAME ANOINTING TEACHETH YOU OF ALL THINGS, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. (1Jn 2:27)
Let me conclude by saying, may you be exhorted dear musician that meeting God’s expectation becomes your priority.
Would you like to pray the following items of prayer?
I NEED YOU LORD MORE THAN EVER.
TRANSFORM ME LORD, TRANSFORM MY MUSIC.
LET ME BEGIN TO FUNCTION IN LINE WITH YOUR WILL OH LORD.
I BREAK LOOSE FROM EVERY POLLUTION OF YOUR GIFT
These I ask in the Name of Jesus the Christ of God. Amen.
Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; THAT THY PROFITING MAY APPEAR TO ALL. (1Ti 4:15)
ARK OF MERCY.
(THE SHIP GOD USES FOR MERCY)
Humanity has always been the central focus of Divinity; this remains an unbroken truth that is ever abiding. (What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? Psa 8:4, Heb. 2:6). God’s love for man has kept him at the center of His thought (For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.Jer.29:11).
Genesis chapter six gives us a picture of God’s pain about the detestable ways of the human race which was to him absolutely unbearable. More so, is His visit to a righteous man called Noah by name. In His conversation with him, it reflects God presenting His new plan of using an ARK, what an initiative! However, the abominable ways of the human race are not my focus but rather the awesomeness of God and His wisdom displayed when He introduced the first ARK for the purpose of saving the lives of both men and even animals. What a great and “Mercy-Full” God, who was ready to execute judgement and at the same time show Mercy by the use of an ARK!
Please examine with me in Genesis 6:13-16:
And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.
And this [is the fashion] which thou shalt make it [of]: The length of the ark [shall be] three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.
A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; [with] lower, second, and third [stories] shalt thou make it. (KJV)
For the sake of clarity and better understanding in today’s English term, let me relay the same scripture from ‘The Message” version of the Holy Bible.
God said to Noah, “It’s all over. It’s the end of the human race. The violence is everywhere; I’m making a clean sweep.
“Build yourself a SHIP from teakwood. Make rooms in it. Coat it with pitch inside and out.
Make it 450 feet long, seventy-five feet wide, and forty-five feet high.
Build a roof for it and put in a window eighteen inches from the top; put in a door on the side of the ship; and make three decks, lower, middle, and upper. (MSG)
Aren’t these structural engineering and construction details he gave to Noah amazing!
Thanks to Noah for his obedience to God and attention to the minutest detail of carrying out His instruction for the Construction of the first ever ARK (Gen 6:22; 7:5).
In the seventh chapter, we saw the judgement executed on the misdemeanor of humanity and Mercy displayed to the man that found grace, Noah, and his team via the ARK.
One may like to ask; what is the implication of my reference to the “Noahic” experience with respect to God’s doings in our present days?
I had just realized that God works in amazing ways and His eternal principles remain valid forever. From that Genesis point of view, you would agree with me that The ARK never existed before God personally introduced it.
What is an Ark?
In the simplest term as stated by one of the Webster dictionary definitions: “2. The large floating vessel, in which Noah and his family were preserved, during the deluge”.
And the previously stated second version of the Bible makes it much easier to understand: 14. “Build yourself A SHIP from teakwood. Make rooms in it…” (Gen. 6:14)
This establishes the fact that SHIPS came to being from the mind of God with the first main purpose of serving the Ministry of MERCY even in the face of judgement. What a mercy-full God!
A further insight deep down the experience of Noah and his team was that of the first voyage with their God-inspired Ship. Voyage? Yes, voyage! The seventeenth and the eighteenth verse of the seventh chapter show this clearly “…The waters increased and lifted the ark …and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters.” And that lasted a hundred and fifty days in all (Gen 7:24), that is approximately five months!
I could humorously have imagined what a great experience it was on board M/V-NOAH & SONS! (I guess I could so name the SHIP in terms of today’s Maritime structure). Since it looked like a voyage, I also would like to presume that there were many departments on board to make it more interesting such as the Galley/Dining and the Clinic to mention but a few, though I can’t guess who the doctor was anyway!
However, it is very important to note that as clearly established from the scriptures above, God had a purpose for the Ship he committed into the hands of Captain Noah and that agenda which was of Mercy was perfectly fulfilled.
Let me categorically state here that Ships had been used in diverse ways all through the scriptures ranging from the Old Testament to the New Testament. For instance, at the time of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostles (And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him Mat 8:23). Also, while Paul the Apostle went about his several missionary journeys (Act 21:2. And finding a ship sailing over unto Phenicia, we went aboard, and set forth). Additionally, I wish to establish from the above scriptural points of view that there seems to be no record of any these ships being used by God as an instrument of mercy to mankind like of Noah, perhaps it wasn’t yet revealed to anyone then but rather kept secret for the appointed time in God’s plan. (The secret [things belong] unto the LORD our God: but those [things which are] revealed [belong] unto us and to our children forever… Deu. 29:29)
More so, I strongly believe that there stands the plan and purpose of God for every dispensation, this time inclusive. Therefore, in the program of God to show mercy by making man His hand extended, He has raised many ministries to undertake the task of showing His love to the people in need, especially the world’s forgotten. To this end, I am glad that God has chosen the Ministry of Mercy Ships to carry out this for His glory from the perspective of free qualitative Medicare, various transformational surgeries among others, making use of the Ship (MV Africa Mercy)! It looks more to me like God has raised such a ministry like this as another avenue of physically showing His Mercy to numerous man-kinds beyond what He did in the days of Noah, thus my conclusion that in our days Mercy Ships inside which lies “Hope and Healing”, is The Ship God Uses for Mercy.
To every volunteer, I would like you to be encouraged and feel privileged as the one God needed to carry out His divine mandate of Mercy in “The Ship that He Uses” (And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God… Heb. 5:4). And to the Founding Fathers and the Leadership of Mercy Ships, thanks for listening to God to receive His mind and for properly executing it in this uncommon dimension of ministry over these decades. May we continue to find grace to keep extending His mercy as well as His kingdom.
By Lere Olupayimo
Lere, a Pastor, Music/Worship Leader, itinerant minister and missionary with Abi his wife both serve the Lord on the Africa Mercy. Lere serves as the Mercy Ministries Coordinator and Worship Leader while Abi serves as Human Resources facilitator (Technical).