(From a testimony sermon of Bro. Julius Adewumi 12/1/95)
"No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly" (Psa.84:11)
God sometimes look at our walk with him for us to get our prayers answered.
Reflecting upon the testimony a sister gave concerning her daughter who got a scholarship in the college I realize that for some folks whose parents are wealthy enough to pay their way through college, they may not appreciate the award of a scholarship, no matter how little the value.
For such students, if scholarship comes okay, and if not okay. But when young people are standing by themselves and if they have to sponsor themselves through college by part-time work and so on, they really appreciate the value of an academic scholarship.
When we were in college in Nigeria, we had to pray and say "God, I better get one scholarship soon, or I wouldn't be able to finish the college education". This is my own testimony: When I was in my first year in college (Preliminary class it was called), I was praying throughout the year that "God, please help me to get a scholarship". Because I knew without a scholarship at the end of that year, I wouldn't be able to continue my studies. My situation was such that I lost my mom when I was thirteen. My big sister, who finished junior-high and was working as nurse-aid, and my daddy managed to pay my fees through high school. After high school, there was no hope of further education unless by a miracle of a scholarship. I got a job as an accounting clerk for eighteen months, and saved a little with which I paid for part of the first year in college. I actually used faith to enroll in the college when I listened to the testimony of a graduate from college who told me how he and many other students had to struggle through college by begging the university each year to allow them to sit for examinations, with promise to pay school fees later. Sometimes they had to appeal to the State Governor to intervene for the "indigent" students. I jumped into college with similar hope that God will help me through the financial problem.
What I want you to learn in this testimony is that God also will look at how we walk with him for answering our prayers sometimes. The bible said "No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly." (Psa.84:11).
During college freshmen orientation week we were told that all students who made "A's" in all their courses would automatically receive scholarship at the end of the "preliminary" year. (In those days, "preliminary" class was for selected high-school graduates to complete a two-year "higher school certificate" curicullum in one year which was needed as entry requirement to any university degree). If you easily make "A's" in your courses some people will think "hey, I must be smart!" No you are not smart. It's just the grace of God. Don't take such talents for granted. Thank God for the achievements. In my testimony, from the orientation week, I was praying that I might get "A's" in my courses and thereby obtain the scholarship, while I was also seriously studying very hard. Now, at the end of the year, even though I had prayed, when the scholarship was to be announced there was problem.
Young people, listen to me! I'm trying to point out to you by this testimony that if you don't do your own part with God, you may be disappointed by God. God has the right to withhold the blessing you have been praying for. In fact, God told the Israelites, that they have to keep the commandments of God so that God might fulfill the promise He sware unto Abraham. You may say "but He promised!" Yes, but He doesn't have to give it to you; He can give it to another generation of believers. Abraham's promise was not given to Moses' generation because of their offences in the wilderness; God gave it to the next generation. Let's do our own part in obeying him! Every word!
After you have prayed, walk uprightly before him so that He may give to you what you have asked for. College students, young people, do you want scholarship? Pray and ask, but then walk uprightly before him. He will help you get it. Remember that verse always "No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly." But if concerning things that pertain to God, you are very lazy: when you should attend bible study you are not interested; when you should give offering, you are not giving it; when you should attend prayer meeting, you are not attending, when you should witness for Jesus before your friends you were shy; God also have the right to fold his hands when he should help you, because you have failed to help God's course in the prayer-meetings, in the freewill offerings for the work of the Lord, and so on. Sometimes it takes God to work out some things. When we were in Nigeria, if you have no highly-placed personality in the government offices to work out the government scholarship for you, no big brother or cousin in those high positions, you are on your own! It takes God therefore to get you a miracle.
In my testimony, at the end of the preliminary year, I was expecting scholarship. I applied for the general scholarship also which the government usually announced at the beginning of each academic year. We always believed no one could get such unless one had "long legs". I looked through the list in the daily newspaper and my name was not listed. When we resumed college in the second year, I went to check my grades and I was told I did excellently. I was not told the exact grades but I deduced I must have made "A's". But no scholarship was announced. For some weeks nothing was said about the scholarship for those who made "A's". And it was because of me! Listen closely! If you do not do your part of a bargain with God, God knows how to withhold his side of the bargain. I said it was because of me that the announcement was not received. Before the summer vacation I prayed and asked the Lord to help me get a summer job which I needed desperately in order to get some money to buy new clothes. Remember I was sponsoring myself. Since I left high school, I had passed the stage for my daddy to buy me clothes. I needed new clothes, that was how poor I was; but there were some students in the same college who were even poorer than I was. That gave a little consolation. If only I could get vacation job, I would use the money to take care of clothes, pocket-money and so on. But I vowed to pay tithes out of the salary. I finally got summer job and I had the money. However when the first set of government scholarships were announced in the newspaper and my name was not listed, it became apparent to me that I would need more money to pay for school fees also. Therefore, I decided to keep my money and to not pay the tithe. Now that was my part of the bargain which I was refering to above. That was the mistake I made.
Back in the college, I usually attended an off-campus church. Few Sundays have passed and my conscience began to bother me that I ought to fulfill my vow and pay the money to the church. One Sunday I made up my mind and put the money in an envelop and paid the tithe to the church. The Lord waited for me to fulfill my part of the bargain before acting on my behalf. You have got to do your own part in any bargain with God. In fact the bible said, it is better to not vow than to vow and not pay. Now the grace of God is keeping us as believers. But there is still a bargain involved: "if you abide in me and my word abide in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done unto you" (Jn.15: 7). Doesn't that sound like a bargain? You've got to abide in him to get what you ask for! If even little kids make promise to God, watch over it! Whether you say "Lord I will serve you more", you better serve him more!
The second day, Monday, another list of recipients of another scholarship was posted by the university which scholarship I had applied for also. But my name was again not listed. I saw the name of one of my classmates in the list. I got angry and thought if the awarding of these scholarships was on merit as announced I knew I did better than the classmate according to classroom performance. I suspected my application was late because the departmental head did not
sign the application in time. With a holy anger, I went to the scholarship department to report the head of department's failure. The man in charge of the scholarships laughed when I told him I knew I did better than the classmate who was given the latest scholarship. He asked: "how do you know that you did better than him; what did you make in the grades?"
"I think I made AAA" (Math, Physics, Chemistry), I replied.
The man said, "if you made AAA, you should have received the National award".
Since I was not sure of my grades, and had not heard anything about any National award, I said "well, maybe I made AAB".
"Anyway, I will call your head of department to find out why he didn't sign your forms in time", he concluded.
I was about to leave when a thought came to me to enquire further about that "National award".
I asked the man, "About that National award, was there no one given the award from the faculty of engineering?"
"Of course" said the man. "There were six students from engineering in the list".
I wondered about that, and I felt how will I like to know those six students, at least to give honor to those whom honor is due, so as to respect such students.
I asked him again: "Please may I know those six students?"
"It was already posted three weeks ago", he replied as he looked around for a copy of the list.
"No body in the engineering faculty knows about it", I told him.
He called the clerk and asked him: "Didn't you say you posted this national award on all notice-boards?"
"I did", the clerk replied, "but some students tore down the posters!"
The man pulled out his desk-drawer and opened a file.
He asked "what is your name?" I told him my name as I also peeped into the list in the opened file. "There is your name on the list!"
I was amazed and too excited to shout. I had to be the one who caused the announcement to be reposted because none of the twelve or sixteen recipients knew about the award before it was reposted. And I believed it was because I delayed to pay my vow which I mentioned above, that was why the announcement of my scholarship was buried. I believed some demons were following the posters to tear them down so that I would not hear about my award. Few weeks passed and the Spirit of God was convicting me: "you cannot promise God something and then refuse to give it!" When I gave back what I owed, the Lord led me to uproot the announced scholarship. If I have been given an award, and I didn't know about it I couldn't go collect my money, or the refund since I have paid fees for the semester. None of the people who received the award knew about it either.
What I am saying to you in this testimony is that your own promise may not be tithe or money, it may be you have promised to be obedient to the bible; you have promised to serve God more; you have promised to attend prayer meetings where the believers are interceding for the body of Christ; you kids have promised to obey your parents according to the bible. In all of these promises to walk uprightly before God, you are held accountable to fulfill your own part of the bargain. The Lord's word is "if you abide in me and my word abide in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done unto you." Do you want your prayers to be answered speedily by the Lord? Fulfill your own part of the bargain. Abiding in him means obeying all his words;
In my testimony, his word is that if you vow you must pay the vow. When I delayed to pay, He delayed the award. When I finally paid my vow, God released the award to me.
Similarly, folks, we asked you to come to prayer meetings, bible studies and so on. If you are a reluctant participant, not too interested in the gathering, or it seems to some of you teenagers that you are only forced to be in the gathering by your parents, God sees the reluctance also. How then do you expect Him to cheerfully grant your requests when you are not cheerfully serving him? But if you show interest in the worship and attend prayer meetings cheerfully, or give offering cheerfully, God looks at such things also in answering prayers. He knows how to block things, and He knows how to kick the devils off from blocking your blessings.
Therefore if you have asked for something in your prayers, such as scholarship, or financial miracle and it is not forthcoming, maybe you want to search yourself and check: what have I been doing wrong Lord? What have I been leaving undone? Those are the things you want to search for, and they are very important. Children, think about how you participate in these things of God, because God looks at those attitudes of yours also in granting your prayers.
This testimony is directed to students. All of us can learn from it anyway. But you students, in the future, when you will need college scholarships, remember this exhortation, God answers prayers; God also look at how we walk with him in answering our prayers. Therefore I challenge you to get enthusiastic about the things of God. Attend prayer-meetings enthusiastically! Attend worship services enthusiastically! Let God see that you are interested in things He is interested in.
God bless you.
Bro. Julius Adewumi
Gospel Distribution Ministry