"You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
"But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
"God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
You worship what you do not know. Do you really know what or whom you worship? Really? Or do you worship because you think singing a song really emotionally is worship? Raising your arms up, singing really emotionally, even with tears rolling down your cheeks…..yes, sometimes these can be signs of a true worshipper, but they are not evidence of true worship, is it? I’ve seen people cry and even fall unconscious at a Michael Jackson concert. Earlier days, it used to be the same at Elvis Presley's concerts. Those could be signs of a true fanatic or evidence of sheer insanity. And there are others who genuinely love the music and the atmosphere, the lyrics and the gyrating tunes. All kinds of people, fanatic, insane or otherwise, all enjoy the Michael Jackson concert without really “knowing” Michael himself. Neither did they know Michael nor did Michael know them and probably didn't care either. There are many today who literally worship movie stars, singers and sports celebrities or at the least "adore" them without knowing them in person.
Likewise, there are many who praise, shout and applaud Jesus for various reasons. Some because of the atmosphere, lighting, sound and performance of the band. And some others because they just saw a sign or a miracle happen or possibly they themselves got healed of a sickness and then some others because everyone else in the building are doing it and they just want to impress others. But then there are some others who worship because they really know their God. They know Him intimately and personally. They know Him enough to confidently say that they talk to Him everyday. They know He listens and even talks back. They hear the loving voice of their God talking back to them. Jesus said "My sheep know my voice".
In John 4:23, Jesus mentions “true worshipers”. This implies there are fake ones. The Father in heaven seeks true worshipers who worship in Spirit and in truth.
When we sing and praise and worship what we do not know, that’s not really worship. But if you do know Him intimately, you cant help but praise and worship Him. You suddenly realize there’s not much you can do but worship His Majesty. He is awesome. He is so Majestic. He is so loving. He is so compassionate. He is so forgiving and gentle. He is kind. He is full of wisdom and power.
Have you considered Him? Have you sat back and thought “Why did Jesus do what He did for me?” Who am I that He should care for me? He didn’t have to. He is God. He could have easily wiped us out of the planet like we wipe a white board clean and started all over. But that would go against His nature. He is a God of love. Perfect love.
When I got saved, I was transformed inwardly immediately, but I wasn’t perfect. I genuinely wanted to be, but I soon realized I couldn’t. I began to be able to "see" the sinful nature in me and I began to loathe my sin in me. I could see Him as a Holy God and me; an absolutely stinking sinful man in His glorious presence. I wanted to be clean, but the more I tried, the more I realized how weak I was and how much of a slave I was to sin. There’s nothing I didn't try, but I found myself failing, seeking forgiveness, failing, seeking forgiveness, failing, seeking forgiveness again and again. Until I realized, this is exactly why Jesus came. So that there may be no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Read Paul’s dilemma in Romans 7. The more I confessed Jesus' Lordship over my life and the more I confessed His righteousness over my life, the weaker sin became. The more I believed in His life in me, the less conscious I became of my sin in me. Eventually sinful habits began falling away from my life like dried bark off of a tree trunk.
That’s why I love Jesus so much. Apart from Him I am nothing, you are nothing and I hope you realize that. Because when you die to yourself, you are more alive than you think you could be, because His life flows through you. There is nothing I can do to make Him stop loving me. There’s nothing I can do to make Him love me more. There’s nothing I have done to make Him love me less. What can you do to such a God? Except fall down and Worship!!!
We humans have a problem. It’s called EGO and PRIDE. We struggle receiving a free gift. We always attempt to try and pay back somehow. But what can you pay God?...So when you consider Him and His love, there’s nothing you can do, absolutely nothing, but praise Him, Worship Him, Adore Him and live each moment of your life with perpetual gratitude for your salvation. Lets not try to pay Him back with our pitiful efforts to portray a holy life. Let's simply accept His free gift of righteousness and accept the fact that we cannot do anything except worship Him with heartfelt gratitude. That’s worshiping Him in Spirit and Truth.
The next time, you are at church and when you begin singing, pay attention to the lyrics, close your eyes, imagine you are singing every word of it to Him and Him alone, remind yourself of how He has saved you, rescued you and blessed you, fill your heart with thankfulness and start singing. Even if you run out of words, just make a tune and hum it along or if you speak in tongues, start worshiping in tongues. Nothing in this world or in the world of the evil one can snatch you from the love of Christ. Be rest assured you are safe in His powerful hold. He will see you through all your hardships. He will carry you through and turn your sorrow into joy. Keep praising Him and worshiping Him. He builds His throne on the praises of His people. Your worship will cause Him to rest in you and if He is in you, what do you have to fear?
Be blessed friends. I Love you all in the Lord. Should you need me to pray for you, leave a comment below and I will definitely pray and come back to you.
Biblical Humility is a lot different to what most people think humility is.
For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name [is] Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy [place], With him [who] has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
He promises in His word to dwell with him who is of a humble spirit, and also to revive the spirit of the humble. Is not this glorious? A continual revival. It must be so. His dwelling place must necessarily correspond with Himself with respect to life. The God-life is there, and the spirit of the humble receives continual sustenance. To understand Biblical Humility, there is no better representation than our Lord Jesus Himself. Jesus demonstrated true humility. We call it "Biblical Humility" just to differentiate it from what the world calls humility.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.”*
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble."
Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
Better [to be] of a humble spirit with the lowly, Than to divide the spoil with the proud.
"who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end--
"And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you [and] test you, to know what [was] in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
The LORD lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked down to the ground.
When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble [is] wisdom.
What is Biblical Humility? Of course we see many verses in the bible teaching us to be humble. Is it something we do by making a choice? How do we humble ourselves? How do we know if we are humble or not? Jeremiah says “Our hearts are full of deceit and desperately wicked.”
"The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
To really understand Biblical Humility, its important to understand pride. How does God view us?
The verse in Deut 8:2 and 8:16 –
Deu 8:2"And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you [and] test you, to know what [was] in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
We know we are under grace now, but all the more because He loves us, He chastises us. Sometimes when we go through things we don’t understand and feel miserable about it, …in the end, we come out better and more humble.
Secondly, our salvation itself…how precious is it to you? We need to get an in depth understanding of our salvation. We are absolutely wicked in all things. There is NO GOOD thing in us. We should be able to realize and see the sinfulness in us, even to an extent of despising ourselves, (Jesus said,…he who does not hate his…..even his own life, cannot be my disciple). But there is a healthy approach to despising yourself instead of descending into depression. The more we despise our sinful self, the more we love Jesus. The more we see how much we have been forgiven of, the more we love Jesus. He who has been forgiven much, loves much. Pride is when we have forgotten what we've been forgiven of.
When we rest on His grace, and not on our ability concerning ALL things in life, He becomes our source of life, peace, joy and gladness. He becomes everything in our life. He becomes our LIFE SUPPORT just as a dying patient in an Intensive Care Unit would be totally dependent on a life support to stay alive. And that makes us humble because our complete identity rests upon Him.
Have you noticed, whenever there is self effort involved to accomplish something, there is also along with it, lack of peace, anxiety, fear of losing, determination, wanting to win, wanting to succeed, etc..That’s why when things dont work out the way we expect them to, we feel miserable and think of a clever strategy to try something new. We explain it away with words like "we need to ask God for wisdom", etc.
True biblical humility brings us to a place where when we pray, we are not anxious about the outcome. We are willing to embrace whatever outcome we have, because our trust is in Him and we absolutely know that He knows better and He will always make it good. True biblical humility comes when you get to a place where you have no confidence in the flesh. When you get a revelation of "Apart from Him, you can do nothing."
Two individuals came to Jesus, each with a deep spiritual problem. One found life, but the other lost it. What was the difference?
The first person was a rich young ruler who approached the Lord with the most burning question of his heart: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18).
He was not seeking a religious debate as so many others did. He honestly wanted to know. When Jesus listed five of the commandments, the young man replied that he had a perfect record in keeping them all. Christ simply responded to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor . . . and come, follow Me” (Luke 18:22). Scripture tells us that the rich ruler went away sorrowful (Matthew 19:22).
The second man (Luke 19:2 – 19:8) was also rich, but he had gained his wealth by shamelessly defrauding others. Zacchaeus was a well-known crook. When Jesus came to his house, He said nothing to the man about selling his house or giving his money away. Amazingly, Zacchaeus freely made the decision to give half of his possessions to the poor and restore four times the amount he stole to everyone he’d cheated.
What was it that compelled Zacchaeus to respond so differently than the rich young ruler?
When Zacchaeus saw Christ, he saw the pearl of great price. He saw in Him everything, all things, completion. Zacchaeus realized that all things pertaining to life is in Christ alone. He realized, If I have Him, I can easily give away everything. What else do I need?
But when the young ruler saw Jesus, he didn’t see the pearl of great price. If we could know what his thoughts were that day, I imagine most of them were focused on what he would be giving up, more than what he would gain in Christ.
We very often make the same mistake as the rich young ruler. We truly want to follow Christ and experience His abundant life, but we focus on what we may have to give up and are afraid to let go of those things we have relied on for so long. The things of this world gives us a "false sense of security" which we cling on to. We call it "being wise" "being practical", and other terms to explain it away. Ever tried "being foolish for the Lord"? Ever tried "letting go of things this world clings on to"?
I challenge you to try it. Try walking out into the street, pick a random person who appears to be lonely. Invite him/her to lunch. For a change, don't worry about the money you'll have to spend. Don't worry about what your friends will think. Just be foolish and do something contrary to the world. Treat the person to a sumptuous lunch. Just sit with the person and talk about life and love the person. If you get a chance, talk about your faith in the Lord and what He has done for you. Bless the person and leave. Tell me thereafter that you don't feel more alive!!! Examine yourself thereafter. If you are cringing at the money spent, then you know where your heart is. If you are feeling alive and joyful like never before, praise the Lord. You've got it!!!
I believe the Lord looks for that “one thing” we grasp so tightly and depend on. It could be anything: our strength, our abilities, our education, a meaningful relationship, our years of Christian experience, our connections, the good reputation we have established, our position, our extraordinary discernment and other spiritual gifts, our plans for marriage or the things of this world like the rich young ruler.
As long as we hold on to that one thing in which we trust, we will never be able to surrender fully to Christ. Such lack of intimacy with the Lord results in frustration and discouragement on our part. In addition, that one thing will be a constant hindrance for the rivers of living water to flow freely out from us and give life to others.
How do we recognize the “one thing” still lacking in us? We will know it by the discouragement, tension, bitterness, frustration and irritation that fill our hearts, when that “one thing” is tampered with. God will open our eyes, and we will recognize it if we truly desire to. We will then have the grace to surrender it to the Lord, not by looking at what we are letting go, but by looking at all that we have in Christ— the pearl of great price.
You see, if “our riches,” that which we value most are, the Lord and what we have in Him, then no raging storm can cause any disturbance. I believe the Lord wants us to live in a continual state of seeing Him as "all sufficient" and being content in Him alone. Those whose life is full of joy and in the unhindered presence of the Lord are the ones who experience a continuous feast on Him. Nothing else will matter to them, and abandonment to Christ alone is their obvious choice.
Not of this World
Examine yourselves [as to] whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?-- unless indeed you are disqualified.
What if you were alone in a remote village with not as much access to TVs, Radios or the Internet and you read this book called The Holy Bible? What conclusion would you come up with? Shut yourself out from all the preaching, teaching and evangelism you get from TV, crusades, conferences, seminars and libraries. If you started with this book The Bible, reading it cover to cover for yourself multiple times and compared what you understood with what you see in Christianity today, would it thrill you or disturb you? Do you see similarity in faith of the early Christians and today's Christians? Yes of course there is a difference in culture, technology and knowledge, but at the core of it with regards to our inner self, are we more Christ like today or were the disciples in the bible more Christ like than us?
When so many around us do a so called “Christian” life that can be observed and when there is so much abundance of preaching and teaching on TV, Radio and the internet and when there are so many books written by "famous" preachers easily available for downloads or in book shops, why read the Bible? Just copy what others are doing, especially the popular preachers because they seem to have got it all together isn’t it? Why not just listen to some podcast in the car for a few minutes each day and a short prayer every night? That’s what most people unfortunately do. People attend conferences in large numbers and prefer "listening" and "watching" rather than reading the word of God for themselves.
Friends, don't get me wrong. There are indeed excellent teachers and preachers out there genuinely called of God for the equipping of the saints. Attend church regularly, listen to good teaching and preaching and learn. But do not idolize the preachers. They are also men and women saved by grace just like you and me. They are just as dependent on His grace as you are. They need to feed on the word of God just as you do. Where do you think they got their revelation and sermons from? From the same source as you get your revelations from. The Bible!! When the Lord returns, there's not going to be any Bishops, Reverends, Senior Pastors, Associate Pastors or Preachers. We are all going to be on level ground, as sons and daughters of our God the Father, as one awesome family.
In a church, when a group of so called “believers” get together, the one thing that should really stand out is “love for one another’. Jesus said "This is how the world will know that you are my disciples. When you have love for one another." - John 13:35.
With that in mind and when you read through the New Testament; When you really dwell upon the “word of God”, what is it that you understand? What is it you expect to see? Remember, you are in a remote village, reading the Bible for yourself and have no exposure to any preaching or TV or the internet and nobody influencing your thoughts.
This is what I see. I see a committed people…who got so excited to know that their sins were forgiven and they were now reconciled to God again as originally was in the garden of Eden. They wanted to get this good news (gospel) out into all the world. I see that we are saved, there is now no condemnation for us, we have the same nature of Christ in us because we have the same Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we are citizens of heaven, we are a new creation born of God Himself, we have this amazing grace to put to death the sin in us right now, we have been given authority over the devil, over poverty, over sicknesses and we are enjoying a sense of liberty. This world's system of success, position, possessions and pleasures don't matter so much anymore. I see that such committed people actually got together and loved each other and joyfully sang songs of praise to our Lord, encouraged one another teaching people to have faith in Christ, they healed the sick and cast out demons just as Jesus did, shared all things so that nobody lacked anything and nobody had an excess of anything and called such a gathering a church. I see that there was a noticeable difference between people who professed to be Christians and people of the world. They eagerly sent out disciples to go and share the love of Christ to others and planted similar churches where people loved one another. They were not focused so much on the size of a congregation or popularity and reach, but on making disciples for Christ. (The book of Acts)
Believing in Christ is not an "intellectual" understanding of Jesus being the son of God who came and died on the cross for our sins and who rose again. On the contrary, it is fully understanding the purpose of His death and resurrection and completely & wholly relying on the finished work of Jesus for our peace, for our eternal life, for our day to day provision, for our divine health and for our abundant life in the here and now. It is about walking in the newness of life.
In the bible we read, the disciples used to go from house to house, have meals together, break bread and remind themselves of Jesus’ work on the cross and identify themselves with each other as those who belonged to God. A sense of commonality without divisions. This is what a church looked like in the “bible” isn’t it? The persecutors of the early disciples of Christ accused them of having turned the world upside down because they lived a very different life to that of the world.
Yet in today's world, (generally speaking) there is so little difference between the world and the church. This is because it is LIGHT that dispels darkness. Darkness will never dispel darkness. Jesus said that we believers are the light of the world and salt of the earth. When we as Christians step into darkness, the works of darkness must flee and it will because we are the light of the world.
That church that we see in the bible is very much alive today…there are a few of God's children in every church around the world who are truly “the church” and these people are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Its these people that the world is attracted to. So examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourself. Compare your beliefs, your actions and your current life to what it should look like as mentioned in the word of God. I encourage you to read the bible for yourselves and meditate on His word everyday, regularly. I guarantee you, you will change with a renewed faith, full of love and revelation. Your life will never be the same again.
The apostle Paul got to know the Lord Jesus personally and intimately so well, that though he endured all kinds of hardships such as imprisonment, stoning, lashings, hunger, shipwrecks and more, he still poured out his life until his very last breath trying to share the love of Christ with the lost. He wasn't too concerned about the number of his followers or how many he could attract to an event. All Paul wanted was for the world to know Jesus Christ just the same way as he did.
That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.
What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.
My dear brothers and sisters, the best way to get to know and walk with the Lord Jesus on a daily basis is to spend quality time in reading His word and meditating on it everyday for yourself. That's when He speaks to you. Jesus said "My sheep know my voice". You will hear Him speak to you. His Holy Spirit will teach you things you do not know and you will begin to see the world and your very own life in a different way. Do attend conferences and seminars when and if you can, but do not give up your personal quiet time with the Lord.
Proverbs 4:20-22 says - My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ears to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are LIFE to those who find them, and HEALTH to ALL THEIR FLESH.
May the Lord Jesus bless you. May His Holy Spirit enable you and grant you the grace to set aside quality quiet time alone with Him and His word everyday. If you need practical help on how to do this, message me either here or on our Facebook page and I can help you, pray with you and guide you.
I urge you to get real brothers and sisters in the Lord. What’s the biggest lie in your life right now? Something that is not real about you….Are you living a lie?
Revelation 3:1 – to church of Sardis - Jesus said to the church of Sardis…you appear to be alive, but I know you…You are dead..
Psalm 139:1 – 4 - He knows everything there is to know about us. There is nothing, absolutely nothing hidden from Him.
Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?" says the LORD; "Do I not fill heaven and earth?" says the LORD.
We so easily can portray an image of ourselves, which we actually are not. Let's please get real. We are so conditioned living in this world, growing up in such an environment that its so easy for us to not be REAL. Every Sunday people go to church, raise hands and worship, make an offering, all in the presence of God and go back without dealing with the real issues. Neglecting a major issue. Don't let the hype and glamour of lights, sound, music, flash buildings and coffee shops define your Christianity. Get real.
It can be likened to a person having a box of cow dung or manure in his living room and he goes about cleaning the windows, doors, tables and settles down to watch TV. He completely ignores the big box of manure, because it is too filthy to touch. What would you say to such a person? That's right....Get real. That would be absurd wouldn't it?
We communicate to people according to what we want them to think we are, rather than who we really are. That’s exactly what was happening in Sardis… People look at the size of the church, the music, the programs and activities, the conferences and conclude “This church is so loving, so much on fire for God”….But God sees through it all and knows the reality. Isn’t it? God says, you’ve done great getting the people to think that about you, but here’s the truth..!! "You appear to be alive, but I know you, you are dead"!! (Rev 3:1) In other words, Get real.
I would like to encourage you to examine yourself. Are you real? Does your life style easily blend into the New Testament?
If we were to ask our friends, what do you think of Tom….and write that down. And then if we were to ask God, what He thought of Tom…would that match? Or would the people say much more flattering things about Tom…than God would? If we are more concerned about what people would say than what God would, then we are more concerned about our reputation than our character. And we want people to think that we are a certain type of person rather than be honest before the Lord. Again...I say....get real!
Many a times when I worship, I find myself singing, saying the right things, having a smile on my face when people talk to me, I pray for them using the words that I know are the right words to say…be at prayer meetings, and still feel dry inside of me. Then I find myself putting in effort to somehow overcome my dryness and make myself be in the presence of God., like God doesn't know how I feel.. Not being real…I’ve learnt that when I know Jesus and the gospel of unending grace in Him, then I enjoy a level of intimacy with Him which allows me to be real and also tell Him the way I feel and know that He still loves me just the same. That assurance not only keeps me real before the Lord, but EMPOWERS me to overcome my weaknesses. It's so liberating to know that I can get real before God anytime, no matter how I feel or what I've done. He knows all things anyway. He knows my deeds even before I did them, He knows my thoughts and desires. There's nothing He does not know about me. So if I get real before Him and speak my heart out, I'm only being truthful. His love is unending. His mercy endures forever. His grace is sufficient...indeed.
So when people come to church and are not able to freely worship the Lord, don’t find it fulfilling, its possibly because they’re not yet free. When we truly know what Jesus did for us, when we know that we are redeemed from the curse of the law, when we know that we are the righteousness of Christ not because of how good we are and how much self control we have, but because of Jesus' finished work on the cross, when we know that apart from Him we are really nothing and can do nothing, then we can get real before Him. We confess before Him however we feel, whatever we are…nothing hidden from Him. He knows it all anyway. When we find another brother whom we can trust, we simply get real and open up with them as to who we actually are. And there’s much freedom in that confession and also is a mighty witness to the glory of Christ.
This is what confess your sins to one another so that you can be healed, really means. Or we can continue to pretend being who we are and be like the church in Sardis.
When we get real, both before God and ourselves, then and only then can we love others just the way they are. And that’s not just the ones who are obvious with their sinful behavior but also those who appear to be good. Coz we really don’t know what we don't see.
That’s what Jesus meant when He said Love your neighbors just as I have loved you. Knowing ALL there is to know about us, He still loves us. We tend to easily judge people…”He claims to be a Christian, why does he act like that? Why does he do that?” There is a place to judge as children of God…when people do ungodly and worldly things and justify them in the name of Jesus. For eg: Paul stood up to Peter and called him a hypocrite in Galatians.
Nothing witnesses more powerfully than being Real, because when you are real, all glory goes to Christ. There is nothing to boast of.
Phl 3:8 now makes sense, doesn't it?
Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.
People have said a lot of good things about me, but I stand before one who knows ALL there is to know about me. And that doesn't condemn me, but helps me be real. This is what Paul meant when said “I don’t care who judges me, even when my conscience is clear, that doesn’t make me anything…it’s the Lord who judges me. 1 Cor 4: 3-5
Are you one of those who aspires to be a great leader, or one of those who looks up to someone who is very successful….or are you one who simply loves Jesus for what He has done for you? Because that’s really all that matters.
A good test is this…Suppose you had a beautiful place to live in, fantastic views, luxurious 5 million dollar home, no financial difficulties, no debts, a genuine comfy life….except no God, no Jesus, no salvation…would you be content?
It’s easy to be accepted by people and go with the flow. But when we really be what Christ was like and become honest to ourselves, then the verse “if anyone hates you, remember that they hated me first” makes sense.
Most people want to go the heaven because they don’t want to go to hell..that is it! And that’s the problem with the watered down gospel message. Yes, people say salvation is a “Decision”,…but think of it, is it really a “decision”? Is it not the fruit of what you believe? Even in the gospels, there’s no place where people “decided” to believe. They either believed or not.
When Jesus is portrayed as the solution for your financial troubles, your solution for your health issues, your solution for your desired life style, then Jesus is presented as "useful" to you as opposed to being your savior, your redeemer and Lord. The fact is we are messed up people who really NEED a savior. However Jesus is most often presented as someone who will assist us in achieving our desired life style we already had before we "decided" to give our lives to Christ.
"By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
The only way people will know that you are real is when you love them genuinely, without expecting anything in return. Accepting them just the way they are. You don’t have to go tell everyone all the sinful acts you’ve done. Of course not. But when you are real before the Lord, you also realize that there’s nothing to boast of in you and therefore you love everyone else like as though they are definitely better than you. Such love when manifested in you, will communicate the gospel with much power. Your prayers will be genuine and full of faith, (not in your ability to believe without doubting), but fully and totally in the love of God and His power.
Be Real. Stop faking your walk with God. Tell Him exactly how you feel and what you do when no one is watching. He knows it all anyway. Hate the sin in you and don't feel condemned. He already paid the price for your sins. When you are real before Him, you will love Him more. You will love others just as He loves you. You will see others as better than you.
What is (or was) your New Year resolution? Many people have resolutions at the turn of every New Year. Most last a week or a bit more…isn’t it? Some plan to lose weight, some plan to stop smoking or drinking, some plan to give up some other bad habit, some plan to be more wise in spending or saving up and some others plan to regularly go to the gym. How long these resolutions last is anyone’s guess!!
There is nothing wrong with having resolutions and giving it a go. In fact, they can be really good..….if you have the will power to consistently do it. As simple as that may sound, that exactly is the problem too isn’t it? Will Power…People boast about their will power, their strong determination to do something. Will Power is a great gift from God and sometimes it can save your life. You’ll know that’s true if you ever watched any episode of “I shouldn’t be alive” on TV. But man’s will power is really weak when it comes to giving up something pleasurable. It seems a lot more easier to give up something you don’t like anyway. It seems like we have all the will power we need when it comes to chasing after a juicy carrot dangling in front of us., (Whatever your carrot might be. For sports athletes that carrot is a medal, what's yours?). But when it comes to giving up a pleasurable habit, when it comes to giving up something we know is wrong, there seems to be a struggle. We all know, its just a matter of time before we give in. There goes the resolution…. :(
So….what’s going on here!! Why is it we find ourselves weak?....Maybe , God has an answer. And if He does, then it should be there in the bible somewhere.
Yes indeed…Read Romans 7: 15 onwards through to verse 25. “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead I do what I hate. But if I know what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law of God is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is the sin living in me that does it.” NLT
Wow! What a profound truth. Paul goes on to say “Nothing good lives in me, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I cant.” Read the rest of it. It’s fantastic.
The fact is that we are all sinful and the sin nature in us wars against our minds. This life of ours here on earth is dominated by sin and death. This war will always be there and most times we lose this battle. Could this be a reason why resolutions don’t last? We try to win a spiritual war with human strength. We come up with clever strategies and action plans, but it only goes so far. The root cause is guilt and condemnation. As long as we have guilt in us we will always lose this battle every now and then. It only takes one incident that upsets us to indulge in something we know is wrong.
Praise God, Chapter 8:1 starts off with “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life giving spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” NLT
I urge you to set you mind on Romans 8:1,2 this year. Your firm belief in the fact that Christ has set you free and that there is now no condemnation, will EMPOWER you to be free from anything you want to be free from. Nothing will have a hold on you. Keep feeding your mind that you are the righteousness of God in Christ. There is now no condemnation for you because you belong to Christ and watch yourself be filled with immense joy, gladness and most importantly, liberty from all bondage. Christ has set us free and whom the Son sets free is free indeed. You will KNOW the TRUTH and that TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE.
This New Year, let your resolution be to feed your mind on Romans 8. I believe you’ll not only be free, but also begin to experience an amazing influx of revelation on the truth of the real gospel message from God’s word. This is the gospel, the Good News. We are free from sin, guilt and condemnation. We are free not because God decided to be soft on us, but because Christ His Son took ALL of our sins, (past, present, future) upon Himself and already bore the wrath of God on our behalf. That's why there is now no condemnation for us. When you get this, guilt will have no hold on you and when guilt has no hold on you, sin has no hold on you, sinful habits have no hold on you. Oh! What wonderful news. That is the gospel my friends. Blessings in abundance to you for 2013, in the name of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
"teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. He gave us; (His disciples, assuming you are one), this Great Commission clearly demonstrating an outstanding example of how to go about doing it. Else there would be no need to say “all things I have commanded you”. This implies that Jesus clearly demonstrated, taught His disciples a “life style” and wanted the disciples to make disciples and teach them the same things.
This is how it would look. First generation disciples make new disciples for Christ and teach them to follow in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in turn make new disciples and teach them to make disciples and live Christ like, who make new disciples and teach them to make disciples and live Christ like…Get the picture. The whole earth should thus be invaded with disciples of Christ reaching out to the poor, destitute and lost, winning souls for Christ and making disciples out of them, teaching them to do likewise.
This task, Jesus said will bring about persecution and suffering. It will take courage, boldness and unwavering faith. When persecution comes, the disciple doesn't pray for "wisdom" like most believers do today, but they pray for "boldness" like in the book of Acts. It will take disciples who are dead to self and one with the Lord. A disciple who spends intimate time with the Lord. A disciple who is not at all attracted to what the world considers success. Large congregations, fame, many invitations to conferences, celebrity status on media networks, well sought after by like minded leaders, a busy travel schedule might all be evidence of success in the world's eyes. Such people are considered very influential or even dare I say a so called “man of God”. That's how the world sees success. But the disciple of Christ may not necessarily be well known or preaching to large congregations. All a disciple can see is a dying lost world, suffering in poverty and pain and his/her heart breaks because the disciple knows Jesus' love for them. A disciple is willing to endure persecution, suffering and even death just so some might get to experience the love of Christ. Because the true disciple knows he/she is nothing without Christ. The true disciple has understood the meaning of Luke 14: 26, 27 & 33.
Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
Here in the above verse, we see Paul categorically stating he imitated Christ. Do you have the confidence to say thus? Paul said it because he was assured he was dead to himself and alive to Christ. “Its no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me”. Gal 2:20
To truly fulfil the Great Commission, the following needs to be done.
1> Reach & Win – Mark 1:38, Mark 16:15 (Preach the gospel…The gospel of Christ (the good news of salvation through the finished work on the cross) is the power of God unto salvation. (Rom 1:16)
2> Equip & Build – Matthew 28:19, Eph 4:12 (Make disciples, teaching them….)
3> Send & Plant – Acts 14:21-23 (to do all that I have commanded you)
"This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
How come most professing Christians don’t even appear to be bothered or hurt when considering the millions that are dying without Christ every day, every hour, every minute. How is it possible for people to walk out of a church service and immediately switch on secular FM music in their cars and drive away? How is it possible for someone to experience the forgiveness and liberating power of our Lord and then be so caught up with Bless me Lord, Prosper me Lord, Heal me Lord, Keep me happy Lord, whilst thousands around them suffer in poverty, pain and rejection? At best they see a poor drunk on the street and comment "Oh! how sad"...or "You know, its their choice...they choose to live like that"...and even those thoughts only last for a minute. See John 15:12 again. Is this how Christ loved us? Could it be that the church is to blame? Could it be that the church has lost its purpose and is caught up with filling up seats and increasing in size, running well organized programs and seminars designed to maintain people's interest in the church Most church leaders equate church size to church growth. God equates number of disciples to church growth. Sadly most professing Christians are yet to become a true disciple of Christ…(as per Luke 14:26,27 & 33) because if they truly understood their unworthiness before God, the value and the preciousness of what Jesus has done for them, then they would realize He is truly that pearl for which the farmer sold all he had, to buy that pearl..They will by their new nature, be compelled to share the gospel with the lost, by their new nature they can’t help but hurt for the lost. A believer attending church doesn't bring about church growth. Only a disciple reproduces and brings about church growth.
Evangelism through disciple making :
Do you see how the early church disciples, though very few in number full of the Holy Spirit and armed with the gospel of grace through Jesus Christ turned the world upside down? Most part of the early church world knew or had heard about "The Way". But today’s churches with so much more technology, media coverage, books by experts, cleverly planned strategies for church growth and fiery preaching are far from even being considered a threat. Amidst all of this however, are the true disciples of Christ purely motivated by love, who are not in the limelight, not interested in what the world calls success and are “nobody’s” in the circle of the more famous preachers, but are seeing multitudes of lost coming to know the love of Christ, their ministries accompanying many miracles, signs and wonders with many churches being planted on a weekly basis. There are those disciples who willingly endure persecution, beatings, insults, even death just to preach the gospel. That’s how the church grows and grows strong with mature disciples of Christ, every member doing its part which causes the body to grow. How is it that these “nobody’s” without much money or media coverage are able to do so much more than so called mega churches? There is absolutely nothing wrong with mega churches, but being a mega church simply means it has so much more opportunity to do what really matters to God. Send out disciples to go and make disciples…..from your own flock which God gave you to care for. If you cant find one single disciple whom you can send out from your flock and plant a church, that tells you something doesn’t it?
" For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.
Most books in a Christian book shops today is about filling man’s emptiness in life. Jesus always had food to eat “spiritually” because His food was to do the will of the Father.
You take your stand beside Jesus Christ and His cause and you watch the devil come after you buffeting you from all sides. That’s the persecution and trials Jesus warned His disciples about.
In most part of the developed nations, people are bombarded with the gospel through book stores, DVDs, TV, Radio and personal evangelism more than 5 times a day, when poor multitudes of people in countries like India, Vietnam, Laos, Burma, and several others don’t get to hear the gospel preached to them for several years. Why is there no sense of urgency in the western churches?
I urge the church to wake up, get back to your first love. Lift Jesus up and He will draw all men unto Himself. Teach Christ, Teach what the Lord has done for us, teach Jesus. You can spend your life time as a preacher teaching Jesus and still will not be able to adequately explain Him and His love for mankind. Get the lost to see the “preciousness” of Jesus. Teach the lost to release their hold on self esteem, self effort and faith in the flesh. Teach them to rely on Christ and Christ alone,…on the finished work of Christ on the cross. Keep doing this and you’ll make disciples for Christ who will be more than eager to go out into the world with the true gospel.
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
Have you ever wondered why every prayer we pray ends in "Jesus Name" Amen!! ? What does that really mean?
We must “KNOW” the power and authority in the name of Jesus. If we DON’T KNOW this, then ending all our prayers in Jesus name actually has no faith attached to it. It becomes a memorized jargon.
Luke 10:19 – Behold, I give you authority/power to trample on serpents and scorpions and over ALL THE POWER of the enemy..Nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Here the “power of the enemy” means “ability of the enemy”. So it can be read as “I give you power over all the ability of the enemy”.
Authority is always greater than ability. Satan has the ability to mess with you, but Jesus has given us authority over him. Just like a traffic policeman. An 18 wheeler truck speeding has the ability clearly to run over a human being/policeman. The truck is massive and huge. The policeman’s strength is no match for a speeding truck. However, because of the authority the policeman carries with his uniform, he is able to simply hold up his hand and the truck driver has to stop. Even if the lights are green, if the policeman asks you to stop, you stop. Right!!! Likewise, even though Satan with all his demons are much more powerful than you and me, they have much more ability than you and me, yet Jesus says He has given us “authority” over Satan’s ability. Jesus said I GIVE YOU, not lending it you, but I GIVE YOU. It’s yours.
Jesus said “Nothing by any means shall hurt you”. Praise God! Isn't that wonderful?
We can have the authority in the name of Jesus, and never exercise it and the enemy will keep messing us up. And that’s how many Christians live. By and large the Christians in today’s world use Jesus’ name so loosely without understanding the authority behind that name.
Jhn 14:12"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater [works] than these he will do, because I go to My Father.
Jhn 14:13"And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
Jhn 14:14"If you ask [fn] anything in My name, I will do [it].
These verses are not really about prayer. In verse 13, Jesus clarifies this by saying, whatever you ask in His name, He will DO, not He will give. Ver 12 is talking about doing the works that Jesus did. Hence ver 13 says, whatever you ask in Jesus name, He will do.. Ver 14 again, If you ask anything in Jesus name, He will DO it. Wow! How amazing is that!!
Jhn 14:10"Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own [authority]; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.
Interestingly in verse 10, Jesus says the “WORDS” he speaks is not His, but His Father who dwells in Him, DOES the WORKS. Likewise, if we ask anything in Jesus name, that He will DO, not give. And then He says in ver 13…."that the Father might be glorified in the son".
So whatever it is that we are asking is not about making us look good, but that the Father might be glorified. So when I pray for you to be healed or when I cast out demons in His name, it is so that the Father might be glorified. It’s not my asking as a Christian that makes it work, its not my love or compassion that makes it work, but asking in "Jesus Name" that makes it work. But I must be able to exercise faith in my “asking in Jesus name” and that is only possible when I understand the authority I have over the spiritual realm in using His name.
Matt 28:18 – All authority has been given to me in heaven AND on earth.
Jesus said ALL POWER or AUTHORITY, not some of it, not most of it. ALL POWER has been given…(past tense). He HAS it already. Then, He says Go therefore and teach all nations….Why? He has the authority, not us. But He says “Because He has ALL authority in heaven AND on earth, go ye therefore…” Nobody has any power, but Jesus. And Jesus LOVES to exercise that authority and power through us who truly "believe" in Him. No reverend, no evangelist, no so called holy man of God has any power except that which he/she exercises in Jesus name. All power has been given to Jesus.
What is authority for? To use it…..isnt it? Now what good is it for someone to have authority over some place and he’s not there? What good for you to have authority over the moon, but you are here on earth? What good that Jesus have authority over all the earth and He is not here? So that’s obvious that He delegated His authority to us the church which is His body, so that we the church may use the authority Jesus has and do the things Jesus did whilst He was here on earth. When you understand this, it gives you a boldness that is indescribable. You begin to walk in the newness of life because you KNOW that you need to RESIST something that you are experiencing because you KNOW that it is NOT of God and that YOU HAVE the authority to overcome it. And you begin to resist it, fight it with a sense of authority not because you are super strong in your own strength, but because you know the authority in Jesus name. Apart from Him, we can do nothing, but with Him, all things are possible.
Paul says "It is no longer I that lives, but Christ who lives in me". How profound and how true!! A truly born again believer should be able to say the same, not because he/she likens to apostle Paul in faith, but simply because that is the very nature of being born again. Our life now is in Christ. Just because we received Christ and became Christians doesn't make us super human beings. We on our own are just as dead as were before we got saved. It's Christ IN us that gives us the New Life. It's Christ IN us that gives us strength to do the things we do. It's Christ IN us that gives us the hope we now have.
People sing songs about Jesus….Halleluiah Jesus….there is something about that name…that will make you feel good, but that will not help you live out your Christian life. However if you KNOW andUNDERSTAND the reality of the power in Jesus name, then it’ll have a huge impact on your prayer life and your faith.
Acts 3: 2-7 --- in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
Peter said Silver and Gold I do not have, but what I do have…Wow! That means Peter knew he had something…Silver and Gold I do not have, but what I do have…Peter knew he had something and that something had the power to overcome the man’s infirmity. Peter knew he had the delegated authority that Jesus gave. Peter was actually doing John 14. Ask anything in my name and that I will do…Jesus said. Peter did exactly that. Peter ASKED and the Lord did for the glory of the Father. Peter was simply exercising his delegated authority. Peter was not praying…a lengthy prayer for healing. No…he just exercised delegated authority. But when you do that, you need to do so in faith and that is only possible when you really, I mean really, know and understand in your heart, the authority that has been given to you.
When we exercise that name of Jesus, that name is understood really well in the spirit realm. It’s not Father God withholding your blessings, withholding your health and healing or anything else good. Its demonic forces that withhold them. And so, when you speak that name of Jesus with authority, they know it, they hear it and they surrender to the authority that Jesus has been given over heaven and earth.
Jhn 16:23"And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.
Jhn 16:24"Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
Jhn 16:26"In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you;
Jhn 16:27"for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.
Here we see that we are told by Jesus that in that day, we’ll not ask Him anything. Whatsoever we shall ask the Father, not Jesus…ask the Father in Jesus name..He will give it to you.
When Jesus was walking on the earth, you never see in the gospels where the disciples are praying for something. Why not? Because Jesus the Son of God was right there with them. They had Emmanuel with them. They ran to him for anything that they wanted. They didn’t lack anything whilst Jesus was with them. Even when the storm arose on the sea and it looked like they were drowning, they didn’t pray that God would do something to save them. They ran to Jesus and said “Wake up, Lord, wake up, don’t you care we are drowning? And it was Jesus who calmed the storm saying Peace Be still.
But now look at the verse we just read, In that day, (which day?) the day after Jesus is glorified (after His death and resurrection and ascension to heaven), you will ask me nothing, but you will ask the Father in Jesus name…And why will God give whatever you ask for? So that your joy may be full….not just to excite you and make you feel a bit happy and comfortable, but that your joy may be FULL.
But be careful…watch out for motives. God gives us all things so that we can be a blessing and that His covenant might be fulfilled, not so that our selfish desires might be met.
Awesome!!! Jesus went through all the suffering He went through so that we don’t have to. Now we can suffer if we want to and He’ll let us suffer too because everything in Gods kingdom is appropriated through faith in His word. Now if we don’t know his Word, then we live in ignorance of what we have as a result of what Jesus did for us and therefore cannot experience all that God wants for us.
Matt 28: All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore and make disciples…
Jesus said ALL authority was His and He delegated that authority to us, His body, and the church to exercise that authority and do business here until He comes again.
Phil 2:9-10 : Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…
God has given Jesus “THE” name and not “A” name…If Jesus name is above every name, then the name of Jesus should be above Benny Hinn, Bonke, Hanuman, Mohammed, Buddha, Hindu Gods and any other name that you can name on earth. Even sicknesses like Cancer, High Blood Pressure, curses like poverty, anxiety, depression, addiction, (you name it)…is just a name and God says Jesus name is above every name…That’s the authority in the name of Jesus. So when you pray in Jesus name without knowing the authority by which you are praying, then your prayers will be weak because you don’t know the authority and influence your prayer has in the spiritual realm.
We tend to pray so much with so much effort that we begin to rely on our prayer rather than Jesus name in whose name we are praying and when we don’t see answers we begin to feel sad, continue to cry out to the Lord or sometimes cover it up with comments like God is trying to build my character, He is trying to build patience in me, my faith is being put to test, etc… Some of those might be true, but above all our Father is loving and gracious and WANTS for us to KNOW His Son Jesus. There is nothing more deeper and higher than getting to KNOW His Son Jesus and the authority He has been given.
But on the other hand, now that you know, when you pray and know the authority by which you are praying, demons flee, sicknesses flee, and you begin to experience the power of God Almighty right here on earth. That’s what happens when you exercise the delegated authority Jesus has given us to be able to use His mighty name. Praise God!!! Our ministry here on earth as Christians is "legal". Christ's finished work on the cross makes us believers "legal" to have victory over demonic forces of darkness.
Understanding the legality of our ministry here on earth is critical to the spreading of the gospel, the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. The apostles of the early church did, the disciples understood it and there are quite a few evangelists in today's world who understand it and that's why you see signs, miracles and wonders following their ministry.
Mar 16:17"And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;
Mar 16:18"they [fn] will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."
Isn't that wonderful? Signs will "follow" those who believe. It doesn't say "believers" will follow signs.
Hebrews 1:1-4 – God who in various ways in times past has spoken to us through the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son.
Jesus has a name that is above the name of the angels in heaven….a more excellent name. That name has been given to us to use and exercise authority with.
Here is an example of how the church exercised the authority in the name of Jesus….that became a huge news in the early church days in Jerusalem…
Act 3:16"And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which [comes] through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
Here's another one of those "I command you in the name of Jesus..."
Act 16:16 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling.
Act 16:17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, "These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation."
Act 16:18 And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And he came out that very hour.
Please read Acts 19:11 – 16 --- They did not have the authority….They were not Christians…They had not believed in Christ and received salvation or redemption…But contrary to them, you and I have the authority to use that name and you have just the same amount of authority as I do, or evangelist so and so does, or apostle so and so does. And its not because of who you are or who you are not, but because of what Jesus has done for you and me. He redeemed us, saved us and reconciled us to God. God does not show favoritism to any man. God responds to faith in His Son Jesus Christ. If you believe, these signs will follow.
Mark 16:17 – 18, 20---- in my name, they WILL cast out demons,
This is Jesus, the head of the church speaking. In His name, we the church will cast out demons, we’ll lay our hands on the sick and they WILL recover….
Mar 16:20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with [them] and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
In verse 20, we see that the Lord was working WITH them and confirming the WORD (not confirming His power in answer to emotional prayers), but confirming His WORD…This whole Bible is His word. That is a bold statement in the bible because when you really KNOW the authority you have as a believer in Jesus Name, Woah! You are bound to be victorious in all things. Nothing can shake you…You’ll be a STRONG child of God. Your prayers will be powerful and you’ll not be praying because you are hurting, but you’ll be praying for results. You’ll be exercising your authority in all situations and when you really begin to get a revelation of what Christ has done for you, you cant help but share the good news!! It’ll be hard for people to shut you up because when you see others in trouble, you know the answer to their problems and you’ll be eager to lead them to the Lord….Amen!! Praise the Lord!!
Mat 4:4 But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'
Mat 4:7 Jesus said to him, "It is written again, 'You shall not tempt the LORD your God.
Mat 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, [fn] Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.'
I am sure you have heard hundreds of sermons preached about how our Lord Jesus used the “written” Word to ward off temptations from the devil. We have been encouraged to do the same when we are faced with tough temptations. We are chided, exhorted and taught that we need to know the Word if we are to speak the written Word to the devil, just as our Lord Jesus did.
I still remember a preacher’s message, “How can you say “It is written….when you don’t know what is written!”. I thought it was a great message then. Many a times when I was faced with temptation, I tried to use whatever little I knew was “written”. But often times, at the face of temptation, my mind went blank with regards to scriptures. The written Word was not the strongest thought at that moment, but the struggle between knowing it to be wrong and yet being tempted by the pleasure of sin.
Doesn’t work mate! Speaking out the “written Word” doesn’t work. If that were true, then Apostle Paul wouldn’t have had to write Romans 7, in which he explicitly explains how he struggled with temptation. Please stop now for a minute and read Romans 7:8 right through to verse 25. Are you suggesting, Paul did not know what was written? I think not!!
Almost instantly accusations follow from the enemy, which we seldom can counteract. Because we are all guilty of course. We find ourselves weak at that moment. Sure, after a little while (maybe a few days for some), we do get back up on our feet, because by then the temptation is gone and we are able to think clearly again. By now we realize, Jesus our Lord has cleansed us from all sin and we begin our fresh walk with the Lord again, until our next temptation. Then the whole cycle continues….True?
So then, what about Matthew 4? We see our Lord Jesus resisting the devil and his temptations using the written Word of God. Are we not to follow His example?
No, we are not! Did I just shock you? Friends, Let me “Re-introduce” our Lord Jesus and the true gospel to you.
Jesus was both fully God and fully man. All mankind has fallen short of the glory of God. There was only one man on earth who was totally, completely, fully sinless and absolutely righteous. That was Jesus, the Son of the Most High God. No one else. He came to earth to pay the ultimate price for the sins of mankind and rescue us all from eternal damnation. To do this, He had to be born of the law (which no man could keep). Hence he was born of Mary, in the natural way, just like man. To be asinless sacrifice for mankind, He HAD TO keep the written law of God and live His life fulfilling the law. Remember, Jesus said “ I am the fulfilment of the law.” He also said in
Mat 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
So, even in the face of temptation, Jesus fulfilled the law, by speaking out “It is written, It is written, It is written….because He knew what was written in the law AND He was the only one who could keep it. No man was/is ever able to abide by the law. Jesus was the only one and remains the only one capable of fulfilling the law.
For example, the law of the land states the speed limit on city roads is 50mph. We know the law. We are tempted to speed, but we are able to refrain and abide by the law. We are capable of refraining from breaking the law. But with the law of God, we are NOT capable of refraining from breaking the law. Only Jesus had that capacity. That’s precisely why He had to come.
Jesus didn’t come to “demonstrate” to us, how to keep the law, but to deliver us from it. As the bible says, we were already dead in our trespasses. Jesus came to breathe new life into us. He didn’t come to make bad people good through behavioural change, but to make dead people alive through transformation.
That is the gospel friends. That’s why it is called Good News. Why? Because we are not condemned anymore for having broken the law. We are forgiven. We are redeemed from the curse of the law. (Galatians 3). Our righteousness therefore comes by faith alone. Faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross. Our victory over temptation comes by faith alone. Faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross.
When we are faced with temptation now, we ought not to try and remember what is written, but we ought to remind ourselves, we are the righteousness of God now, through Christ’s finished work on the cross. We ought to remind ourselves, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1). We ought to remind ourselves that we are saved not by our good works and will power to stay free from temptation, but by trusting in the finished work of Christ on the cross. The more we remind ourselves of this, the stronger we get in faith and the weaker sin and temptation gets. And suddenly one day, you see how petty and inconsequential that very temptation is.
Jesus our Lord knew He was righteous and sinless. That’s why He boldly said “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.” He was the only one without sin, in that story. But He didn’t cast the stone, but forgave the woman caught in adultery. That’s because He also knew He was taking that woman’s sin upon Himself shortly. Because Jesus knew He was righteous and sinless, He had the confidence and boldness to cast evil spirits out, cast sicknesses out and command healing. They had no hold on Him. That’s why He said in John 14, whoever believes in Him, will do the works He did and even greater things that what He did.
Jhn 14:12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
How is that possible you ask? If we truly believe the gospel message, then we ought to live by faith that we are now sinless just as our Lord was/is. We ought to live by faith, KNOWING that because of Christ’s finished work on the cross, demons and sicknesses have no hold over us. We are sinless and just as righteous as Jesus is because of the finished work on the cross. When we really believe that, then we will have the boldness and authority to command demons out and heal the sick. That is the gospel message friends.
Temptations are not overcome by knowing and quoting what is written, but by faith in the finished work of our Lord Jesus . Amen!!
Are you devoted to a cause or the person of Jesus Christ? Modern Christianity has made devotion to a "cause" (missions, helping the poor, church planting, etc) appear like Christianity. But careful friends! There is a difference between God's purpose for having sent Jesus and what we think it's all about.
Luke 14:26 - 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.
This particular bible verse has always challenged me and continues to do so. If our closest relationships in life clash with the claims of Jesus Christ, He says it must be instant obedience to Himself.
Discipleship means absolute devotion to a Person, our Lord Jesus Christ. There is a difference between devotion to a person and devotion to a set of principles or a cause. The Lord Jesus, during His walk on earth never proclaimed a cause. But He did proclaim personal devotion to Himself.
There are many today who started off by faith in the Lord, and then grew in maturity and moved on into missions, helping the poor, caring for the needy and in the process have become devoted to the cause, rather than staying devoted to the Person. The cause is necessary indeed. But friends, the cause should never replace our devotion to the Lord Himself. The cause is but a fruit of our devotion to the Lord. Our devotion to the Person of Christ must manifest itself through the demonstration of love.
Throughout the gospels, we see our Lord Jesus proclaiming devotion to Himself.
Whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. Whosoever believes in Him, not whosoever demonstrates selfless love and cares for the less fortunate, though that is commendable.
All you who labor and are heavy laden, come unto Me and I will give you rest. Here we see again, our Lord calling us into a relationship with Him.
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. Here again, we see the Lord extending an open invitation for us to abide in Him, the person of Jesus Christ.
Apart from Me, you can do nothing.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. Wow! What an awesome promise and what a profound invitation.
All through the gospels, we see our Lord inviting us into a personal relationship with Himself, the person of Jesus Christ. Most of us start off here, but then somehow we get caught up with the "activities", such as missions, humanitarian aid work, outreaches and other causes. Most causes are very good indeed, but then the busyness of it all and the sense of achievement it can give subconsciously causes us to be more devoted to the cause than to the person of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 2 is a powerful example of one such church.
Rev 2:1-5 "To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, 'These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: "I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; "and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary. "Nevertheless I have [this] against you, that you have left your first love. "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place--unless you repent.
The church of Ephesus looked admirable. They labored, they displayed patience, they displayed hatred towards the evil, they discerned false teaching and false apostles and they labored for the Lord's name. But in all of it, they seemed to have drifted away from their first love. They were more devoted to the cause rather than have an undivided devotion to the Person of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
That is a great picture of many churches today. With a myriad of ministries under their belt, they seem to be doing a lot and all for the Lord's name sake. They proclaim to be laboring for the Lord. But in all of it, sometimes they seem to have drifted away from their first love. When you see a busy church, plenty of activities, conferences, seminars, prayer meetings and outreaches, but doesn't seem to be producing disciples of Jesus Christ, who in turn produce disciples, then it's probably time for introspection. There is a strong possibility the church has become more devoted to the cause than the Person of Jesus Christ.
Friends, watch out for those little foxes that try to lure you away from your first love. Our lives ought to be all about our love for the Lord first and foremost. All other things we do ought to be a manifestation of our love for the Lord.
Look back in retrospect and examine yourselves friends. Are you now finding yourself rejoicing in a sense of achievement because you went on a missions trip or did an outreach and saw many respond to the gospel? Are you now spending far less time in prayer and bible reading and personal time with the Lord due to busy schedules?
You may be getting devoted to a cause. Sit back and slow down friends. Nothing, absolutely nothing, no matter how successful it may seem is more valuable than your personal relationship to the Lord. Everything is worth sacrificing....everything is worth "hating" (using the Lord's language in Luke 14:26) in comparison to discipleship. Bless you friends.
Is it possible to never stumble? Have you ever wondered how it would be like if you could walk the ideal Christian walk and never stumble? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could be passionate followers of Jesus, be involved in Godly work, preach the gospel, make disciples, never be discouraged or depressed, never feeling low, never falling in sin and feeling miserable?
Life experience tells me that's a pipe dream. But do we go by life experiences or by God's word? I've struggled a lot with temptations, felt discouraged and depressed, even felt useless and inadequate. I've fallen into sin and swore to never stumble again but found I did not have the power in me to keep my own promise. Whenever I tried to resist temptations and obey God, I found there was another power at work in my flesh. I was weak and stumbled again. I've felt that I am incapable of doing anything for the Lord.
I've felt that all I can do is be grateful for my salvation and for whatever I possess and wait till I die and get to see Him. Several rejections in life was and is a major contributor to this. Am sure many of you relate to this experience.
But then I came across a verse in 2 Peter 1:10 which says "for if you do these things, you will never stumble". What? "Never Stumble"!! Really??? Is that your reaction? Mine was too. :)
To understand 2 Peter 1:10 contextually, we need to read from verse 2 on wards.
2 Peter 1:2,3 : Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
Here Peter reminds us that His divine power has given us everything we need to lead a godly life. That means there is nothing more to receive to lead a godly life. We already possess everything we need to lead a godly life. Yet it feels like we stumble every so often, isn't it? That's a lie from the devil my friends. He is the father of lies. Scripture says we already have everything we need to lead a godly life and to never stumble. That means we have the power in us now through the knowledge of Him to resist every temptation and to resist every discouragement. But its only through our knowledge of Him. Question is how well do you KNOW Him?
2 Peter 1:4 : Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
God's promises have always encouraged us in times of distress, isn't it? But there's much more to His promises than just re-igniting hope and faith friends. Here Peter says, through His promises we can participate in the divine nature, ie. the nature of Christ Himself. That's profound. We, sinful as we are now have the ability to participate in the nature of Christ Himself because we have escaped corruption in the world caused by evil desires. See, somehow these things never come to mind when we are discouraged or depressed or feeling guilty of having sinned, isn't it? That's the lie of the devil friends. The truth is we have been given precious promises through which we can participate in His divine nature.
2 Peter 1:5-8 : For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For this reason....what reason? Because we have been given all things we could ever need to lead a godly life and we have His wonderful promises by which we CAN participate in His divine nature, therefore...make every effort. If we possess these qualities, they will keep us from being ineffective and unproductive. Our sense of low self esteem, discouragement and depression comes from a feeling of ineffectiveness. We feel we are not worth anything because we are not accomplishing anything. We feel like a hamster in a wheel, trying really hard and not accomplishing anything. That then leads to being discouraged and depressed. This then leads to ungodly temptations.
Here Peter reminds us, if we discern the lies of the devil and turn to the promises of God, and if we possess these qualities, we will not be ineffective or unproductive. Isn't that wonderful? But not all of us possess these qualities even though we claim to love the Lord Jesus. We claim to be true born again believers and yet lack these qualities. How is that possible? Well...the answer is in the very next verse.
2 Peter 1:9 : But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
We have gotten so busy trying to serve the Lord and become shortsighted. We have forgotten that we have been cleansed from our past sins. So then, we continue to feel guilty for our sins. This weighs us down and prevents us from being all that God has called us to be. This once again is due to believing the lies of the devil. The truth is we are forgiven of our sins friends. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8). Peter reminds us that we lack godly qualities or the divine nature of Christ, when we forget we have been forgiven of our past sins. Therefore remind yourselves friends, remind yourselves that you are royalty now. You belong to the King of kings. You have been given ALL you need to lead a godly life. You have the ability in you to possess the divine nature. Then you will never be ineffective or unproductive. You will NEVER STUMBLE.
2 Peter 1:10 :Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble,
A life without purpose can be meaningless. It can wear you down, bring discouragement and depression. A purpose breathes life and hope into you. It brings joy and meaning to everything you do. Even your job that you don’t like much will suddenly have new meaning. You will suddenly be endowed with wisdom on discerning between resourceful relationships and time wasters. You will be self-motivated and begin using all resources you can get your hands on for one purpose. YOUR PURPOSE!!
What does your life look like? It’s time to sit back and ask yourself…..what is your purpose? Why do you do all that you do? Why do you wake up each day, get ready and go to work? Does your life have more meaning and purpose after you get back from work? What is it you live for?
King Solomon, was the richest in the world and the wisest man in the world during his time. He lacked nothing. Yet in the book of Proverbs he comes to a very profound conclusion. Life here on earth is meaningless, unless lived for God.
God did not mean for us to live meaningless lives. He created us for a reason and a purpose.
Jer 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
The devil is a liar. Jesus said, he is the father of lies. The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy. Steal your purpose, Kill your motivation & destroy your hope. But Jesus said “I have come that you might have life and life more abundantly”.
There are many examples in the bible where people who lived aimlessly suddenly receiving a purpose from God, went on to live a meaningful and purposeful life. Abraham received a purpose, Joshua was given a purpose, Samuel was called and given a purpose, Gideon an ordinary man received a purpose from God, Jeremiah was given a purpose, David was given a purpose. In the new testament, we see this theme continuing. Mary was visited by an angel and given a purpose. John the Baptist was given a clear purpose for entry into the earth.
Luke 1:76-77 : And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins,
The latter part of the above verse is a clear purpose given to John the Baptist.
Our lord Jesus had a purpose. He said “I have come to seek and to save that which was lost”.
All 11 disciples were given a purpose in life when our Lord gave them the Great Commission. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations teaching them to do all that I have commanded you to do…..”
Apostle Paul was given a purpose at the Damascus road encounter with God.
The purpose that God planted in their hearts drove them to extreme endurance levels. They were ordinary fishermen, tax collectors and other ordinary individuals who now suddenly somehow were self-motivated to endure any level of hardship to ensure they lived for that one purpose. They received the Holy Spirit to empower them and they had the grace of God upon their lives. Now suddenly, paying bills, day to day family life, job, salary, etc were all secondary. The “purpose” became the driving factor of life. Their lives had meaning, a cause, a reason and a purpose. That’s what finding your purpose does to you. It gives you new meaning to life. It motivates you and drives you.
Friends, I encourage you to seek the Lord in prayer and fasting and find a purpose outside of yourself. Learn to be selfless. You know by now that you are not going to be taking anything from this world with you. All riches, luxuries, fame, success, pride…..nothing will be of any use to you. The only thing you will leave behind is a legacy. You can choose to leave behind changed lives, transformed communities and lots of love.
There have been many multi-millionaires who have lived, died and gone. What do you remember of them? On the contrary, think of Mother Theresa. Nothing much need to be said, isn’t it. But beware, it’s not about recognition by men on earth. The Lord sees all things and knows each of our hearts. There are countless others just like Mother Theresa who have lived for a purpose outside of themselves and gone on ahead of us. Though not as popular as Mother Theresa was, they have not gone unnoticed. Their rewards are great in heaven.
Therefore I urge you, find your purpose in prayer. Life is definitely much more than going to a job, earning an income, paying bills and buying food. When Jesus said “I’ve come to give you life and life more abundantly”, it was not more money, more wealth, more meaningless life that He was talking about, but a life with a purpose. A God given purpose that will keep you motivated and cause you to enjoy all that you do because your eye is on a much bigger vision.
It surely is more blessed to give than to receive.
Most people at this point think, who am I? How could I do what Mother Theresa did? I can’t do this or that….Friends, you don’t have to do what someone else did. You only have to do what you can. But set your eyes on a bigger goal.
I personally just support some people financially who I know are living for a purpose outside of themselves. My purpose is to see people saved through the preaching of the gospel, lives change, people lifted up from the depths of poverty, children getting an education and communities transformed with love. Now, I can’t do all that by myself, but I CAN financially support those that are doing it. Because I have made this my purpose, my job isn’t a dread anymore. I even try tosupplement my income through other means (home based business) just so I can live for my purpose. The purpose God has placed in my heart motivates me to disregard all inconsequential matters in life and stay focused. As I go about doing this, the grace of God keeps me joyful and content. I have no time for ego battles at work places, jealousy, politics, etc. I have a bigger purpose and a bigger cause. Yes, I’m human too. It does hurt at times, but life is but a vapour. Here today, gone tomorrow. I’d much rather make good use of it.
Pray friends, seek the Lord!! Find out how you would make a difference in someone else’s life if you had only 1 month to live. Then live life that way….for the rest of your life.
Jhn 7:17 "If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or [whether] I speak on My own [authority].
In today’s world of media and the internet, TV preachers and a church in most suburbs….listening to a sermon is easy. Preachers are everywhere. They take advantage of every possible means to further the cause they believe in. Radio, TV, Streaming Video, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter….you name it. They are there. Gone are the days when all you would get to hear was a sermon on Sunday at church and thereafter you were to yourself with the Bible for the rest of the week. That wasn’t even too long ago. And it was good wasn’t it?
Ever wondered how much of what you hear is actually of God? Ever find yourself confused about the contradicting doctrines you get to hear these days? People are so saturated with sermons and messages from preachers all over the world, that they hardly have time to be alone with God and read their own bible. Most professing Christians today hardly ever read the bible other than the few verses referred to by the preachers during their sermons.
No wonder we don’t see much of a difference between Christians and the world. Neither does the world see much of a difference. How sad!! Don’t you think? How many of us really will to do His will?
Yet in the early days of Christianity, we see only a handful of people being accused of turning the world upside down.
Act 17:6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, "These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.
How did such a small group of people be able to turn the world upside down when we with all the technological advancements today are still not even making a dent in our lost world, especially in the western more advanced nations? I don’t generalize this because I am aware there are a few persecuted nations where Christianity is indeed growing very rapidly. However, the same can’t be said for a vast majority of the more advanced Western World. Countries like India, China, Vietnam, Eastern Europe and some other African nations are seeing exponential growth in believers.
I urge you brothers and sisters, pick up a magnifying glass, open your eyes and really look, investigate what really is causing growth in some countries. I submit to you, it’s the simplicity of the gospel and the simplicity that is in Christ Jesus. They share their faith in simplicity of heart, one with another. They love each other. They meet together daily or as often as they can to study the Word of God….from the Bible. They will to do His will and therefore are not easily deceived.
Act 2:46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,
2Cr 1:12 For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.
2Cr 11:3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
How much of that do you think is happening today? Very little, don’t you think? There is very little preaching on following in the footsteps of Jesus and willing to do His will.
1Pe 2:21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
We are inundated with sermons on how to prosper, how to have great self-esteem, God loves us and has a wonderful plan for us, how to get guaranteed answers to prayers, 10 key promises of God, 5 keys to a successful marriage and so on. Really?? Is that why the Son of the Most High God went through an agonizing, torturous and painful death on the cross? Was His precious sinless blood shed at Calvary for this alone?
Brothers and Sisters, the answer is a resounding NO!! The reality is we are sinners by nature, born into sin. Our righteous deeds are like filthy rags before God. The only way we could be reconciled to God was through the shedding of innocent blood. Our Lord Jesus’ death and His shedding of blood reconciled us with our Father in Heaven and we now belong to our Father, as was originally intended. We are now being transformed into the likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is the ultimate PURPOSE and CALLING of our faith in Him. To be transformed into His likeness.
The only way we can grow into that transformation is by spending time with Him alone and understanding His written Word, no matter what situation we might be facing in life. Our belief and trust in Him shouldn’t have anything to do with the challenges we face in life. Through good times and the bad times, we ideally ought to maintain a feeling a gratitude for our salvation, no matter what. People we call Heroes of Faith all demonstrated this.
Friends, please do not be a fair weather Christian. Don’t come to Jesus, the King of kings just because some preacher promised you a better life, a better marriage and a great career or financial prosperity. But come to Him because you realize He is sovereign, He is real and not a fictional character, He indeed is the creator and there indeed is a heaven and a hell. Come to Him because you know you are a sinner and are extremely grateful to Him for your salvation. Come to Him because you willingly WANT to do His will.
So again, in this world of TV preachers, Radio preachers, DVDs, CDs, Internet, Mega Church programs and a busy “Christian Activity” filled life, how do you know if what you hear is of God or not? Our Lord Jesus gives us the answer in the gospel of John.
Jhn 7:17 "If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or [whether] I speak on My own [authority].
When you willingly want to obey and do His will, our Lord says, you shall know concerning the doctrine you hear, whether it is from God or whether from man’s own authority.
The peace, the love, the wisdom and the joy you receive in your quiet time with the Lord and reading His word is simply incomparable to anything else. Especially when you are going through a hard time. Don’t just be a believer, but be a disciple.
Ever asked yourself this question!! Why do you follow Jesus? It's interesting to note that most people will give you different answers, though in reality the answer is only one.
John 1:50 - Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,' do you believe?
John 2:23-24 - Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men,
John 6:26 - Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.
Why do you follow Jesus? Is it because He did a miracle in your life? Is it because you saw someone getting healed miraculously? Is it because your prayers got answered when you were desperate for it? Is it because of the many signs you saw which led you to believe that this Jesus is probably real? Here’s a good one….Is it because you have seen that most professing Christians are somewhat good, kind, don’t swear and mostly helpful? What is the most forceful motivator that causes you to believe in Jesus?
Yes, signs do cause unbelievers to draw near and examine the reality of the gospel message we preach, but our faith in Him shouldn’t be as shallow as that.
Friends, faith in Jesus our Lord ought not to be for any of the above reasons. Have you come to a realization of how sin has affected mankind and us? We are sinful people. We think and do sinful stuff..…by nature!!. We don’t even have to make an effort to be sinful. It’s in our nature to be sinful. Yes, most of us probably don't murder, rape, and commit adulterous acts. But we are proud, greedy, envious, angry, unbelieving, trusting in our self efforts, get lustful thoughts, evil desires that are purely for self gratification and the list goes on.
The bible says “Everyone has fallen short of the glory of the God. There is not one righteous. Not even one”.
Have you ever felt convicted of something in your life and tried to stop it and found you couldn’t? You found it to be a struggle, sometimes a seemingly unending struggle? That’s because of our sinful nature. That’s also because of the evil forces of darkness that have had control over us for very many years.
We need to realize that we desperately NEED a saviour. Without this realization, we’ll find ourselves following Jesus for either one or all of the above mentioned reasons. And when we pray, we feel like we deserve answers to our prayers, we feel like we deserve the blessings of God, we feel like we’re doing everything right and God HAS to bless us. That somewhat sums up much of todays “Name it, Claim it” gospel message.
The truth is we don’t deserve anything from God. He doesn’t have to answer any of our prayers. He doesn’t have to work miracles for us. He doesn’t have to consistently entertain us to keep us interested in Him. Yet in His abundant grace and mercy, He does love us, care for us and provide for our needs.
I encourage you to read Isaiah 6:1-5 and get an understanding of how HOLY God is.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said:
“Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The LORD of hosts.”
Now compare yourselves to Him. Think about Him for a couple of minutes. Visualize yourself approaching such a God seated on His throne in prayer. How do you feel? Proud? Bold? Confident? I didn't think so…Even the angels in heaven who are holy and always in His presence had to cover their face. We see in the book of revelation when John saw Him, he fell down as though dead.
The bible says “No man has ever seen the face of God”. He lives in unapproachable light.
Yet in His abundant mercy and love; because of His son Jesus' sacrifice for us, He tore the veil that separated us sinful men from His Holy presence and made the way clear for us to enter into His presence. In the book of Hebrews, we are reminded to approach this throne of grace with boldness and with confidence. That’s because we normally cannot be confident and bold to approach His throne. We can only approach His throne with confidence and boldness because of our faith in what our Lord Jesus has done for us.
Let’s not water down the significance of what Jesus Christ has done for us or who He actually is. He is God, the creator and the very same person we see in Isaiah 6 seated on the throne, living in unapproachable light.
When we don’t realize our sinfulness in comparison to His Holiness, His magnificence and splendour, we tend to casually approach Him in prayer with an attitude of “our right” to get whatever we ask for.
I thank God for his love because the bible says “He chastises those whom He loves”. If I get chastised, it’s evidence that I’m in His good books. Praise God!!
So I encourage you, let your faith not be shallow based on signs, healings and miracles. Let your faith not be based on anything that Jesus can give you. Let it be based on the fact that you need a saviourand He is the one. Rejoice in the fact that you are saved. Be glad and content with the fact that you now belong to God and are reconciled to Him. You now have eternal life. You now have God on your side. He has promised never to leave you nor forsake you. Rejoice and seek after intimacy with Him.
Remember Jesus said “Don’t rejoice because the demons are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in the Lamb’s book of life”. Jesus was glad that He gets to be with us, but we seem to be glad because of the power and miracles we get to see. That ought not to be. We need to rejoice because we get to know Him and be with Him and enjoy an intimate relationship with Him.
There’s so much more I want to say, but I will end here with this encouragement. No amount of miracles, healings, signs, wonders and financial blessings can replace the satisfaction you get in simple intimacy with Jesus. Signs and wonders will follow those that believe…..not run ahead of those that believe.
So why do you follow Jesus?
I was radically transformed by the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ back in 1997 in a most unusual way and unusual place. Read my testimony here. Over the years of my walk with God, I have come to realize a few basic truths that have altered my life.
True freedom is freedom from self-centeredness. Dying to yourself, your wants, your desires and to what gives you pleasure for the sake of others is more liberating than you think.