WHEN ATHEISTS LOOK AT DEATH, THEY THINK IT IS AN ENIGMA, WHEN THE UNBELIEVER LOOKS AT DEATH, THEY THINK IT’S AN END.
FOR US CHRISTIANS, IT’S AN ENTRANCE. PASTOR NOMTHI HAS ENTERED.
MANY TIMES THERE ARE QUESTIONS THAT HEAVEN DOES NOT SEND YOU A TEXT MESSAGE TO ANSWER, YOU HAVE TO LOOK TO GOD AND HIS WORD.
– Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo AT PASTOR NOMTHANDAZO ODUKOYA’S FUNERAL SERVICE.
FOUNTAIN OF LIFE CHURCH, LAGOS.
Praise the Lord everybody. I really believe the Lord gave me a word to encourage the body of Christ, Fountain of Life Church and Pastor Taiwo but when Pastor Tolu came here and sang that song “I can only imagine”, I had to hold back my own tears. I was saying to myself “you were sent to encourage and now you are crying, the tears are not because we are sad but because we know the believer’s hope.
The scriptures say “oh death, where is thy sting” particularly when it comes to Simangele Rosemary Nomthandazo Odukoya. That name Nomthandazo means the mother of prayer, a woman who really prays.
Anytime I meet her, I will always try to throw the little Zulu I know at her because it is a language that really intrigues me. When you meet her you know you have met a woman of prayer, you know you have met a woman of deep humility, a woman who is outstanding and a testimony to the glory of God.
When you meet with her you know this woman had been planned by God to be part of the journey of the man who met her and made her his wife and who she gracefully gave sons.
When you see her with his children from his past experience, you see oneness and a woman who God raised to be very different. Thank God for her.
Spirit of the Lord, bless us today. Give us a word in season. Minister to our hearts in Jesus name. Amen.
This morning, I felt very strongly that the Lord wanted me to speak to Pastor Taiwo and Fountain of Life that He is the God who turns grief to grace.
The loss of a loved one can expose us to a certain level of grief. It makes us wonder why we have to go through certain valleys.
We wonder why we were the ones chosen to go through that very valley. We go through different stages of grief and anger. Why? Why? Why? Many times there are questions that heaven does not send you a text to answer.
You grow from Why? Why? in frustration and anger to guilt, “if we had prayed enough, if we had waited enough”.
Then you come out of that and you know that when it comes to prayer, we prayed, we waited and we knew that we had sought the face of God.
Then you go through shock and numbness, and you are even arranging everything out of being slightly absent minded to trying to handle things because you are still in shock. From shock you go into confusion, and from confusion into disbelief.
When I came in this morning and I saw Pastor Nomthi on the screen, the infectious smile. My tears didn’t start that song, it started with the face I saw on the screen. I tell you she is in a better place than you and I could ever imagine.
In our grief we go through hopelessness, we go through the feeling of despair, we feel physical pain because when people don’t manage grief, it gets into every part of life.
Then we begin to experience some degree of relief, some degree of restoration particularly because we are believers. We are people who know our God so the Bible becomes where we turn to when we don’t have all the answers.
1 Samuel 16:1
It is not a crime when we go through pain, it is not a crime to grief when we lose things. It’s okay to express our emotions, it’s okay to express a release. When we bottle it all up, it might have all the consequences. One thing you need to know about grief is that it will not last forever. Joy is coming in the morning.
Weeping may have been for a while but joy is coming in the morning. “How long will you mourn?” is a question that God asked, Yes, it’s okay to preserve memories of people who brought you joy, people who we can almost not imagine that we have lost them.
Sometimes we wake up and we have photographs and we are asking them a thousand and one questions “why did you leave me”. “I wish I had brought closure to certain arguments we had” “I wish I said sorry”.
You need to understand one thing, God says to you today “How long will you mourn?”. God allows us to go through some pains because he thinks and knows that you can handle it.
They have being a few battles I have been through and I am wondering, God why can’t you just divide this thing into ten and pass it to some other people but because He knows He has called you Pastor Taiwo to be a mighty warrior, a great champion, who is going to become an encourager of the Body of Christ.
A man who out of the ashes of his pain will come forth a resurrection, will come forth the glory and grace of God. Grieving must not end in flagellation, where we begin to flog ourselves. “I must have done something because if not then why this”.
Grief is not only the passing of loved ones, we grieve when we lose things. Matter of fact, the passage which we read today Saul was not dead yet but Samuel was grieving. He was mourning because this was the man he ordained as King of Israel. But God said don’t mourn, bring closure. I know it’s painful but I am taking you somewhere. Fountain of Life is going somewhere and the devil can’t stop it. The world will hear from this church.
1 Samuel 16:1
Pastor Taiwo fill your horn with oil and go, Fountain of Life, it’s time to fill your home with oil and go, start the ministry you have not started before, go to places you have not met before. Let the world know that they will hear great things out of this house. Before you fill a horn, it means you shed the blood.
There cannot be a horn until an animal is sacrificed. There had to be some blood, there had to be pain. You have to stay active like it’s not getting to you. Go forward and fill your horn. If God didn’t tell Samuel, he would have stayed there and mourned for ever but God told him no!
I am one of those who have taught that Christians cannot go until we are 120, but we have got to reach the place where we understand that closure comes when people have completed their assignment. There are people with a long number of years who did nothing.
Methuselah who was the longest living man, he lived for 969 years and the meaning of his name is “He shall die”. From the day his mother gave birth to him, his name was “He shall die” so he left no impact, he made no memory other than a long life. Today I have come to challenge all of us to fill your horn and go. There are still souls to be touched, other things to be done. Fill your horn and go.
2 Samuel 12:20
David rose and washed himself, the child Beersheba gave birth to had passed. He was fasting before the child passed but the moment the child passed, David rose up.
1 Peter 5:8-11 (MSG)
The child dies and everyone expects David to fall apart but David does eight things And I leave those right things with Fountain of Life, with Pastor Taiwo, with the Body of Christ and with myself.
1. He rose
It’s time to rise. It’s time to rise and do awesome things. Let her look down and be glad that the church is really marching on. David arose from the ground, refuse to stay down. Carry yourself well let the world be wondering, let them say why is this happening to them. We rise. For every one here who has had something to grieve about, a business, a child, a spouse, it’s time to rise.
2. He washed his face.
Wash away the pain, wash away the challenges of yesterday, wash away the things that have held you down. Wash the things the enemies want you to wear. A face that says “oh look at the things we are going through”. It’s time to realize that this sister only moved from this chapter to the next chapter. Somebody say wash your face. Wash away the pain and the sorrow. Yes! We grieve but how long are you going to mourn? He rose and he washed.
3. He anointed himself
The oil of God is going to come on this house in a dimension you have never seen. There is something about God, it is the place of crushing that the greatest oil flows. Why you may buy olive oil out there, we use it to anoint priests now. The oil that was used to anoint priests in the old testament was not just olive oil. It was the one from the crushing of many seeds.
– So after you have been through there is going to be a flow of the oil of God in this house.
4. He changed his clothes.
From today we tear the garment of pain, we remove the garment of mourning in the name of Jesus. When Jesus called Bartimaeus, Bartimaeus removed the garment of limitation and ran to Jesus. David changed his clothes.
– I pray for you that every cloth that is a semblance of pain and limitation is coming off you in the name of Jesus.
5. He ascended
It’s time not to stay down anymore, but to ascend. He rose up and he went up to the House of God.
– I pray for this house that there will be such oil of God in this place. The testimonies of Jesus Christ in this place will reach the four corners of the earth.
6. He worshipped
This is not the time to question God, it’s the time to worship. It’s the time to know that this God weaves and when the weaving is over that we know where He is going. Several years ago as a young pastor, that was in 1978 I jumped on a flight the United States to go study Theology and it became obvious that, I was part of the Foursquare Church and their Bible school in Los Angeles had arranged for VISA on arrival with the Immigration but I arrived at Chicago not Los Angeles so I was advised to go back home after twelve days in America. I was angry, they had done Send-off for me. They had said bye bye and now I am sitting in the plane going back to Nigeria.
I was grieving and angry, I became a split personality and I was angry at God and I was witnessing to the lady beside me. I was going through grief but I was also going through being a believer. What I didn’t see then was part of the weaving of God, if the journey had been successful and I had stayed there I would have been out of sync with the Master’s program for my life. I want you to know that there are some things we don’t fully understand but you will see the hand of God in the end.
– I pray for this house that worship will come out of your experience.
7. He went home
Go home to the presence of the Lord. Go where you have God speaking to you and say “I know how to take care of what belongs to me, I could have healed her but I choose to call her home”. He is her Daddy and has called her home, what can you do? She went home. She had seen the other side and she preferred it. You who are here today, don’t allow the things you saw here today make you say, I don’t even understand this God. Go home to His presence and love Him more. Worship Him more, totally surrender to His will.
8. He ate
David sat and celebrated. Today let us celebrate our Pastor, Pastor Nomthi Odukoya not in mourning. It is necessary, it brings healing. Grief must not continue. It’s time for you to call for celebration, for rejoicing and for encouragement.
– We pray for Pastor Taiwo that grace will rest upon Him and rest upon this house in Jesus name.
– Psalms 34:18, may the Lord heal your heart.
– 2 Corinthians 1:2-4, I pray for anyone grieving you here today that the Lord will comfort you and you will be a channel of blessing.
– Matthew 5:4, I pray for Pastor, I pray for this Church that God will comfort you. God will make you find joy in the middle of all that you have seen.
2 Timothy 4:7-8
The writer wasn’t the 70 or the 120 we would want. Paul wrote this in 68 AD, he was himself not more than 68 himself.
– As you love the appearing of the Lord may you be upheld.
– May you be kept by his power.
– I pray for Pastor Taiwo that the joy and the comfort of the Lord will come upon you.
When atheists look at death, they think it is an enigma, when the unbeliever looks at death, they think it’s an end. For us Christians, it’s an entrance. Pastor Nomthi has entered.
God bless you.