GET YOUR STUFF FROM THE GENUINE SOURCE Now, may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 15:13). One of the major fights in the business world is trying to stop the unfaithful people who produce counterfeit or fake products, which outwardly look almost like the original, but they are under-standard, and sometimes unfit for human consumption. Funny enough, fake products are cheap! This has being a major issue, especially in Africa. The Bible is the absolute book that guides us where to get our stuff from the genuine source. There is a lot of counterfeit and fake products from the kingdom of darkness, the world and flesh. Apostle Paul’s prayer in Romans 15:13 reminds us the importance of looking for ‘original-spiritual-eternal products from the right and the only source, which are hope, peace and joy. He begins by addressing God as the God of hope. This means that He is the author, the source and the object of our hope. He is the sure foundation whereby we can build our hope. This reminds me of the great song written by Edward Mote, a pastor at Rehoboth Baptist Church in West Sussex over 170 years ago – “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness … all other ground is sinking sand”. This hope is through Jesus Christ on account of his death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead. The Bible says, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col.1:27). Ask yourself then, is your hope sourced from God, through Jesus Christ? Second is joy. This joy is from God. It is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in us. It is not from what we see, receive or hear from outside, this is the joy that overflows from the inside and in every situation of life. It is the ‘original’ joy. This is the joy that was in Apostle Paul, regardless of all the persecution he was going through. While in prison in Rome, he wrote to the church in Philippi, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Ph. 4:4). The Bible says, ”The joy of the LORD is your strength” (Neh. 8:10). This joy gives us a delight anticipation of having the assurance that the hope which we have in Jesus and his Word is yea and amen. Are you experiencing this joy of the LORD? Third is peace. This is peace of God (Rom 15:33). It is sourced from God through Jesus only because He is the Prince of peace (Isa. 9:6). It is given to us when we believe in him, and make him the Lord of our lives. It is received through faith alone. The Bible says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1). Jesus proves the uniqueness of his peace by saying, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (John 14:27). This peace of God would enable us not just to have his peace in us or have peace with him, but also to have peace with others, especially those whom we think ‘it is impossible’ to have peace with them. Do you believe this? Live it. Lastly is the assurance of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit in our daily life. Before Jesus began his public ministry, He was filled with the Holy Spirit right after his baptism. He knew we can’t do without him. He commissioned the church to be his witness, but before doing so, to receive power from the Holy Spirit. No one can ever live and enjoy the Christian life without the Holy Spirit. No one would have true hope, joy and peace without him. Let this be our heart desire this week and days to come – to get the original spiritual products – hope, joy and peace, from the original true and only source – God through Jesus Christ, through faith in him and dependence of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Amen.