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THE NEXT LEVEL (Living in Abundance, Jn. 10:10b. Dec. 2011)



Levels are heights in comparison to a set standard/ reference or starting baseline.

I once had an interesting science, chemistry, professor in college. This fellow was one of those that would exalt themselves so highly above every other individual. He somehow believed that every other person was either a fool or of a much lower capacity/capability to comprehend basic scientific reasoning. His ego was so high that he felt he was the only one that had the ability to understand the very intricate details of complex numerate science. He made the subject of organic chemistry so scary that the average student became afraid of the subject. Incidentally, for some reason, the Courses taught by this professor happened to be compulsory subjects that students in the natural, applied and biological sciences must do, at some point, before graduation.

One day this professor came into the class to review the performance of students after a major examination on his subject. Most students who passed, of course, had poor passes and lower grades and they were all happy that they managed to pass after all. The professor continued the review of the scripts, student by student, until he got to a particular candidate that he had scored an overall zero because the student, according to the professor, performed woefully. The professor was reviewing the answers to each question to justify why the whole script deserved a failing grade of zero. Suddenly he got to this answer and screamed at the top of his voice; “what? You mean this was this fellow’s answer to this question and he still scored just a zero? No! No!  This script actually deserves a worse score than zero. In fact I should have scored it a minus zero”. Suddenly he took out his red pen and wrote a huge negative sign in front of the original zero. Somehow the class pleaded with him to leave the original score of zero but the man bluntly refused. The student ended up with an adjusted failing grade of minus zero (-0).

Years later the action of that professor got me thinking; as undesirable as a failing grade of Zero is, on a numerical scale it is actually, the beginning of positivity. One who is at the zero mark, even as low as it is, should make efforts to move ahead to the next higher level(s). It takes lesser effort to move to a higher level when you are starting from any positive point, even if it is a situation of zero where one is at the least level than to start from a situation of a minus zero where one has virtually lost everything to everybody and is in debt to virtually everyone concerning all.

It became clearer to me that, depending on the choices we make, there is a possibility that some who are presently at positions that could be generally considered the worst could actually go further down, lower where all would be lost, while some others are soaring to awesome higher levels/grounds. In other words the next level could either be higher or lower depending on our actions/inactions, perceptions and convictions. Even when we think that position/ height we are at now is insignificant or that we have hit the bottom things can get really better in the upward direction or they can get worse, in a direction, downhill, that was thought to be previously impossible.

As 2011 ends and 2012 is about to begin in a few days, I would rather want us to examine the lives of some key characters in the scripture who moved from one level to another. There are those that moved from a lower level to a much higher level and there are those that moved from a higher level to a much lower level. As we study these Bible characters my candid advice is that you pay attention, look at each case critically. You may somehow locate your character/personality, tendencies in any of the examples and that can help you to determine what you may need to do or what you may need to be careful with even as we move into 2012. As we examine the lives of these people, of old, my prayer is that almighty God in his infinite mercy will give us the ability to freely and correctly assess ourselves to see in what direction we may be headed in order to either re-enforce and move forward or to make amends, turn back and head towards the right direction(s) in the mighty name of Jesus Christ.

In Gen 26:1-4, 12-14 we read the story of Isaac. There was famine in the land and Isaac went unto Gerar. God spoke to him and instructed him not to go to Egypt. He rather instructed him to remain in the land of ‘famine’ and wait for the blessings of the Lord of Hosts. Isaac obeyed God. He didn’t mind what the doubters, gossipers and ‘wise men’ would say. In faith he sowed in that land. When harvest time came, Isaac reaped a hundred fold. He waxed great and even became very great and the Philistines envied him. The man had great possession of herds, flocks and servants. Isaac moved to the next level in abundance simply because he obeyed God.

Elijah was about to be taken to heaven and Elisha was with him (2 Kgs 2). It was a time for one chapter (Elijah’s) to close and another chapter (the ministry of Elisha) to practically take off. The sons of the prophets were watching from a distance and they kept discouraging Elisha. They literally told Elisha that it was purposeless and fruitless to follow a man whose ministry ‘in their own eyes’ had come to an end; They virtually told Elisha that it was stupid and risky to keep crossing the Jordan with a prophet who was heading to a terminal direction of no return. Elisha didn’t allow the sons of the prophets to de-focus him. He didn’t listen to them, he kept moving with his master. In the end Elijah was taken to heaven in a chariot of fire. At that very last moment Elisha got his wish; Elijah’s mantle that had a double portion of the anointing. It was after this encounter that Elisha’s ministry basically moved to the next level; for the first time he was able to make the waters (obstacles) to part as a result of the immense powers deposited in the mantle of Elijah. In the same chapter he healed the waters and the barren land. Elisha later cursed some people that mocked him and two she bears instantly came out from the forest and destroyed them. All that was possible because Elisha had a clear understanding of where he was going and bluntly refused to listen to the voices of discouragement, the voices of pessimism as was typical of the voices of the sons of the prophets. It is important that we also note that the first set of people who witnessed the awesome anointing of Elisha at the next higher level were the same sons of the Prophets. What they saw was so overwhelming that they had no option than to bow to Elisha. If Elijah had allowed himself to be distracted he wouldn’t have reached his divine destiny at the next level.

In Gen. 41:9-14, 39-44 we can, again, see the story of Joseph particularly the report of Pharaoh’s chief butler. Joseph had earlier interpreted the dream of the butler and told him that Pharaoh would set him free. Time passed and the butler had forgotten about Joseph. The Almighty God had to cause Pharaoh to dream. God made it such that no magician, no fortune teller, no one with any power of divination could interpret the dream. It was at this point that the butler remembered Joseph and they had to call him out from prison for the interpretation of the Kings dream. God used this particular encounter to cause Joseph to ultimately move to the next level; from the prison to the palace. Joseph became the prime minister in Egypt on the account of a miracle God had performed in the past, a good seed that God had caused Joseph to sow in the past that would somehow have gone unnoticed. In the coming year every good seed you have sown, will bear good fruit. Go will cause all those who are supposed to remember your good work for promotion to do so in the mighty name of Jesus.

A similar story to that of Joseph is found in Esther 2:21-23, 6:1-12. Mordecai, queen Esther’s cousin, had foiled a coup plotted against the king by Bigthan and Teresh. No reward was given to him. All they did was to write the account of that in the book of records. However, a day came that the King could not sleep and he caused the book of records to be read to him. Where else did they read but the section that contained the good, but forgotten, work that Mordecai had done. Who else did the King ask what should be done to a man who had performed such a heroic act but  Haman the number one enemy of Mordecai. God made the King to confuse Haman such that the evils that Haman had plotted against Mordecai did not only turn against Haman but they rather became stepping stones unto the promotion of Mordecai; the man moved to the next higher level while his number one enemy, Haman, perished. In the next year concerning every good work you had done in the past, that some have tried to cover or destroy, the almighty God will cause the book of records to be opened. It will be such that God will use the same people who had plotted to demote you, as a platform for your promotion in the mighty name of Jesus Christ. Earlier in Esther 2:7-17 God had taken Esther, an orphan, to the next level when he granted her favor to become the queen that replaced Vashti.

In Acts 9:3-21 we read the encounter then Saul and now apostle Paul had with the spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul was on his way to Damascus when he suddenly encountered the Lord. The man Saul was indeed a bad man; He was a determined persecutor of the Christians.

However when the time came for him to move to the next higher level in God he was physically arrested by Jesus Christ. He suffered in the process; He was struck down on the road and temporarily made blind. Paul who was not originally one of the 12 apostles was so mightily used by God that he alone wrote a very significant portion of the New Testament as in the epistles. My prayer for some who God had been calling to a higher level in his service and ministry and they had continued to resist is that your experience wouldn’t have to be like that of Saul in the mighty name of Jesus. All you will need to do, in 2012, is to surrender your life completely to Jesus and make yourself available to him.

As some, of old, were moving to the next higher levels others were rather going in the reverse directions; heading to the next lower levels. In Judges 15:15-18, 16:1-4 we read the story of Samson; mightily used of God. Samson was so anointed that with the jaw bone of an Ass God gave him victory over 1000 enemies. God also caused water to flow from the same jaw bone of an Ass to quench the thirst of the man of God. Samson judged Israel for 20 years. However in Judges 16:1-4, Samson became his old reckless and randy self. He made two terrible mistakes that sealed his destiny at the next lower level(s). In Judges 16:1 he slept with harlot and in Judges 16:4 he met Delilah. We all know how badly his story ended. A word is enough for the wise!

Naaman went to see Elisha (2 Kgs. 5:9-27). He went with two things; leprosy and lots of gifts. The man of God refused to see him but rather asked him to go to Jordan and take his bath 7 times. Elisha obviously didn’t care about the gifts Naaman brought along with leprosy. Some other greedy fellow rather wanted the gifts; Gehazi the servant of Elisha was so greedy that he had to lie.

In the end he got the gifts in addition to leprosy that he brought upon himself and his generation. The pathetic aspect of Gehazi’s misery was that he had the prospect of moving to the higher level of anointing as Elisha did. Rather he brought demotion upon himself due to selfishness, lack of vision and greed. A word is enough for the wise!

Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon (Dan 4:30-33). He woke up one morning, had a good look at everything in his kingdom and boasted in himself. He attributed all of the prosperity to the works of his hands. That same day God made him to join the assembly of the beasts of the field. Our God is a jealous God. He will not share his glory with any man (Isa 42:8, 1 Cor. 10:31). In 2012 if you have to move and reign at the next higher level you must determine to give God his glory. You must give to God that which belongs to him. Don’t take his glory. Don’t ascribe to yourself the miracles that you received by the grace, favor and majesty of the almighty God. Let me also add here that you shouldn’t keep, to yourself, that which belongs to God. One of such key things that belong to the Living God, that can either promote or demote anyone even in 2012, is Tithe (Mal.3:8-12). Don’t eat your Tithe. It belongs to God! It is payable to your local church. Anyone who eats his Tithe is inadvertently taking the same position as Nebuchadnezzar. When you pay your Tithe, you are also returning all the glory to God; he will open the windows of Heaven and pour you a blessing such that there wouldn’t be room enough to contain it. When you pay your Tithe God will shut the mouth(s) of devourers concerning you and yours. Remember that it doesn’t matter how much money you are making if there is a ‘hole’ in your pocket that pocket would never get full. In 2012 resolve to be faithful with your Tithe if indeed you desire to move to the next higher level(s). A word is enough for the wise!

Friend, 2012 will surely be a year of the next level. There will be no stagnancy. People will surely move up or down. Its either one is moving forward to the next higher level(s) or one in moving backward in the reverse direction to the next lower level(s).

The good news is that God in Deut 28:13 said it is our portion, as children of the most high, to be above only and not beneath. My prayer is that, in righteousness, holiness and obedience to God we all shall qualify to move to next higher level(s), even next year and beyond, in Jesus mighty  name, Amen!

If you have not given your life to Christ please do so now for tomorrow might be too late.

Happy New Year!

God bless you and your beloved family

Pastor Fidelis Nwachukwu

RCCG Throne of Grace Parish

32 E. Washington St

Hagerstown MD 21740, USA

Email: rccgthroneofgraceparish@ymail.com

Website: http://www.rccgthroneofgraceusa.org




Posted on Tuesday, December 27, 2011 at 04:23pm