What has heaven cost you?
Mark 10:28-30, “Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. 29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, 30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.”
Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people, who must have attained perfection through continuous encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ in the course of rendering unconditional services to the Almighty God. For any individual to meet with his Maker in heaven, a level of sacrifices must be made in the process of attainment of that feat. In the lead scripture, Apostle Peter recalled how they, the apostles of Jesus Christ, left everything they had, including family relationship, for the sake of the gospel. Nothing good comes on a platter of gold; hence the early disciples made sacrifices for the sake of the gospel, because they had faith that they would enter into eternal life in heaven. Whoever is in expectation of making heaven must open up for certain sacrifices. It is a clear fact that denying oneself of certain things is not new in the gospel history. The Bible is awash with records of people who, for the sake of heaven, left whatever they had laboured for, and followed God. The example in the lead scripture is a clear case.
The account of Abraham’s walk with God is another typical example. The Bible states in Genesis 12:1-5 thus, “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. 4 So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came”. In total submission to God’s Will, based on the love of God and eternal life, Abraham left his country and his people and followed God. Ordinarily, he wouldn’t have willingly gone to an unknown country. But the fact that the instruction came from God, he obeyed without questions. He has made a big sacrifice for the sake of heaven. God is interested in the affairs of whoever serves and obeys Him without application of human wisdom, but following God foolishly. In Luke 14:26-29, the Bible says, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him”. Our encounter with God and our Lord Jesus Christ opened ways for new relationship with other people that are also heaven conscious. If our biological parents, siblings, etc, are not living their lives according to God’s Will hence are unbelievers in Christ, we will be forced to disassociate with them. This was exactly the case with Abraham, as His parents were idol worshippers. For the sake of heaven, we must leave behind our relations, friends who are not in this heavenly race with us. People, who, for one reason or the other, are still believing in other gods. The same applies to relations who still drink alcohol, smoke tobacco, commit fornication and adultery or other sinful activities. The Bible warns that we must not be equally yoked with them, no matter how dear the relationship may be.
Again, you must subject yourself to conducts that are pleasing to God and not yourself. You no longer seek your own pleasure, but what pleases God and the body of Christ. These are self-denials a believer in Christ makes for the sake of heaven. In Acts 15:25-26, the Bible says, “It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
People have taken some risks, put their lives on the line for the sake of heaven and love of preaching the gospel for the salvation of perishing souls. Heaven is a beautiful place; the eternal abode of the saints, which every believer must desire, and work towards entering at the end of earthly life. It must cost you something. What has it cost you to ensure you are there at the end of this life on earth? The Bible says in Hebrews 11:13-16, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city”. For all faithful believers, God has prepared a city more beautiful than the best city on earth. We all desire to enter it, but it must cost us something. It will be an effort in futility for a believer who wants to make heaven but cannot change from his old self into new life in Christ. You find it difficult to wake up early in the morning to go out and preach the gospel. You still keep old friends, drink alcohol in secret, commit fornication and adultery and still come to church service as a believer. Also included are women who are still paying attention to their hair by wearing attachment and weave-on, earrings and bangles; yet they desire to make heaven. We must jettison our old lifestyles and allow God’s Word to permeate through us for the spirit of God to always lead us. By this, our lives will be perfected and we will make heaven at last in Jesus name.
Testimony Of The Lord’s Doing From Abject Poverty To Supersonic Blessing
In Proverbs 10:22, the Bible says, “The blessings of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it”. God knows how and when to touch on the lives of the people that serve Him with all their hearts. He does not allow His people to continue suffering in shame. God proved this fact in my life as He catapulted me from abject poverty to supersonic prosperity. By the grace of God, I trained as an Accountant and was working in a company, but the salary was nothing to write home about. It was not enough to feed my family much less saving for the rainy day. I was living in a public compound derogatorily called face-me-I-slap-you. At that time, even the poor called me a poor woman. I was borrowing money from people. I was preparing pots of soup for my family with just N50:00. When my children fell sick, there would be no money to take them to the hospital or to even buy drugs for them. There was a woman that took it upon herself to mock me everyday, but I was bearing it all because of poverty.
Based on the paucity of the take-home package from my place of work, I threw in the towel and started a phone call business under a bridge at Ikeja. While doing this, my younger sister invited me to a programme at the Lord’s Chosen. I came, and when I listened to the undiluted Word of God from the man-of-God, I decided to join the ministry. I held unto God and continued faithfully in the ministry. While making the commercial phone calls, my husband and I also started selling recharge cards. As God would have it, someone gave us some handsets to sell. We then started selling mobile handset phones. Unfortunately, on the orders of the then Governor of Lagos Babatunde Raji Fashola, the place where we were selling phones was demolished. I then moved to Arena Market in Oshodi. By the grace of God, someone gave me some clothes for sale and I started selling clothes. The man usually travelled to China every week.
By holding unto God, the cloth business started to thrive. Then I asked the person supplying me the clothes what it would take to travel to China to import clothes, but he refused to tell me. Fortunately, from another source, someone told me that with N2m, one could go to China to buy whatever he or she wants.
When I got this information, the money was not available but I started preparing. Eventually, I raised money, went to China and imported some clothes. At that time, the reigning fashion was spaghetti sleeve and bumper shorts. Some people started mocking me again, saying even the Chosen people do not buy the dresses I import. I stopped for sometime, but when I started again, I had connection with a white man who supplied me the clothes. From this point, the business started growing. I travel to China regularly and off load containers every week. Right now, I have over 30 shops in Arena Market. Recently, I took inventory of my stock and by the grace of God, my goods are worth over N1 billion.
Today as God may have it, those children trained with N50:00-pot of soup are competing with the children of the elite in Covenant University and University of Lagos. God has remembered me and I am blessed among the blessed.
I encourage everyone and urge all to continue, because continuity brings freedom, as our Pastor usually advises us and as you do so, God will visit you at the point of your needs.
I pray for our General Pastor and his family, pastors and members of Chosen worldwide, heaven at last. May the name of the Lord be glorified!
Sister Mary Okafor, Ilupeju, Lagos State.