Monday, 11 August 2014

Bold as a Lion

When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and discovered that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognised these men had been with Jesus. Act 4:13

What makes a person bold, even in the face of opposition?  One of the best biblical examples of this boldness in the gospels is Peter.  One minute, in the face of opposition, he is denying His Lord and the next after witnessing resurrection power and the accession of the risen Christ, Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and boldly declares to those who crucified Jesus the way of salvation.  3000 people made a decision for Jesus that day, responding to the bold proclamation delivered in the power of the Holy Spirit through Peter.  Signs and wonders followed these men of God as they boldly preached and God confirmed what they professed, bringing Glory to His Risen Son and to Himself.

When Peter and John, through Jesus, healed the lame man at the gate beautiful, opposition really began to get hot.  Being examined throughly by the religious leaders of the day, their boldness could be clearly evidenced and recognition was given that they were disciples who were with Jesus.  This was even more astounding to the leaders as they knew these were fishermen by trade and uneducated, yet here they performed an outstanding miracle, and had a boldness to preach to the very ones who were desperately trying to stamp out the teachings of Jesus.  Being with Jesus is therefore one of the keys to outstanding working faith.

How can this be, timid and fearful one minute and the next, bold as a lion?

Boldness, firstly is clearly seen to originate with the Holy Spirit being in us.  The anointing that the Holy Spirit brings to our life is paramount to living this Christian walk in power, fearless in the face of opposition. Yet His very power often lays dormant in the lives of many Christians, the flow of anointing seemly stopped up somewhere between our spirit and flowing out of us to others.

Secondly, this boldness seems to come when we know who God is and what He has done for us.  Scripture is clear that those "who know their God will be strong and do exploits. (Dan 11:32b)The disciples knew who Christ was/is and what He accomplished for them on the cross and with confidence they held to the Word He taught them and commanded them to do.  Everything God has said about us is the truth that gives us boldness to stand in battle against spiritual wickedness in the heavenly realms.  The problem comes when we do not understand who we are in Christ, that we are seated in heavenly places in Him (Eph 2:6) and that we have the authority He gives us to also destroy the works of the devil on earth. (Luke 10:19)

The purpose of this enlightenment is that through the church the multifaceted wisdom of God should now be disclosed to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly realms. This was according to the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access to God because of Christ’s faithfulness. Eph 3 10-12

This is the exact boldness that God wants His children to have but it is not enough to just know these things, and we certainly do need revelation knowledge because we have to believe.   Jesus said if we only believe we will see the glory of God.  The rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms already know that greater is He that is in us (1 John 3:4) and they tremble at the blood brought child of God who knows the authority they weld.

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;  And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Hebrew 10 19-24

Understanding the intimate relationship we can have with the Father, visiting the throne room by faith, and worshipping Him also gives us confidence.  Knowing that God is for us and not against us, that He is good and pursues us with His love, helps us to grow in our love and obedience and also increases our boldness.  Obedience will increase the anointing in our lives as will trusting Him.

So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me Hebrew 13:6

The greatest boldness we have comes from the compelling and compassionate love of God in us that works though us.

And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has in us. God is love, and the one who resides in love resides in God, and God resides in him. By this love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because just as Jesus is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been perfected in love. 1 John  4 16-18

Just think of the selfless acts people have done for those they love.  A father running into a burning building to save his child, a mother facing off gang members to save her daughter etc.  Love and compassion drove Christ to touch the untouchable as it has done with many missionaries and servants of Christ throughout the ages.  When the love of Christ is in us for the lost, we too will preach with boldness to those who are perishing regardless of the cost or opposition.  When our love for the sick so overwhelms us, we too will pray for them in the marketplace.  When our heart breaks for our nation, we too will pray with tears and intercession for God to move.  Oh may the love of Christ overwhelm us to the point where we won't count the cost but would be willing to lay down our lives in obedient sacrifice.  May His love pursue us and overtake us that we would be more like our Saviour telling the truth in love, even in this humanistic society and the opposition to the gospel, that we may sow seeds, not of judgement or self righteousness, but of grace and truth, in Jesus name, we pray.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Joy in Christ's Suffering

2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.Heb 12:2

Can you imagine the joy that Jesus must feel when he see his children "get it".  When we understand who we are in Him and who He is in and through us and what He accomplished for us on the cross.  Think about it!  Jesus endured the cross so that our salvation and healing would be
His joy and great reward.  Every time one of His kids get what is available to them because of His suffering and spilt blood on Calvary, His pleasure must be immense.

So many struggle with low self esteem and somehow don't feel that salvation and healing is for them but only for others.    We still feel that somehow we have to earn it, but scripture is quite clear....

3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Is 53:3-5

The original meaning of the word "griefs" in verse 4 means sickness and "sorrows" means physical and mental pain.  He "hath borne our griefs", our sicknesses and "carried our sorrows", our physical and mental pain.  Jesus certainly showed the Father's heart of compassion being moved to heal all who came to Him.  It matters not what we think of ourselves, the reality is Christ paid an incredible and awesome price for our salvation and healing.  Think of His precious blood that seeped when that whip crisscrossed His back for our healing. He who was so merciful was beaten merciless. Think of the blood that flowed from the jammed in thorns on His head for our mental stability and peace.  Think of the blood running down from His wrists as He was nailed to the wooden beam so that we could lift up holy hands to our God and Father.  Think of the blood that trickled from His feet that we could walk in the gospel of peace bringing the good news to others.  

He was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8) and because of what He accomplished for us offering Himself up as a sacrifice for our transgressions we are people set free and blessed.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ;
4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without blemish before him in love;
5 having predestined us for adoption as children through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his desire,
6 to the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he freely bestowed favour on us in the Beloved,
7 in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace... Eph 1:3-7

What wonderful and precious promises we have.  What destiny in Him.  What identity in Him.  Did you get it, we are a blessed people, and blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.  Not only are we blessed, we are chosen children, holy without blemish, favoured, redeemed and forgiven.

Scripture tells us that it was the Father's good pleasure to bruise his Son.  How can we fathom such a price the Father and Son collectively paid just so their love and goodness could be evidenced in the life of countless millions as this scripture explains:-

Though the Lord desired to crush him and make him ill,
once restitution is made,
he will see descendants and enjoy long life,
and the Lords purpose will be accomplished through him.
Having suffered, he will reflect on his work,
he will be satisfied when he understands what he has done.
My servant will acquit many,
for he carried their sins. (Is 53: 10-11)

What amazing, sacrificial love!  All for mankind.  Jesus accomplished a great work for us and now seated at the right hand of the Father he reflects on that work being satisfied with the fruit of His suffering.  That fruit is you and me who have accepted His gift by faith.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Don' Despair - Persevere

Habakkuk 2:3 But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!

Gods word will always come to pass.  He gives us dreams and plans but sometimes it seems that they are delayed but God has to work His character into us, so when he brings us into the fulfilment of the dream we can carry it to completion.  There is always spiritual opposition, some Tobiah or Sanballat to come and discourage and try to stop the vision from being fulfilled.

God told the Israelites that they were to conquer the land and their enemies little by little least they be overrun by wild animals.  I never understood this but somehow it seems to tie into the fact that God works in us to bring out into the light, "wild animals" that lurk in our soul area.  God wants us to minister out of wholeness and so He heals our soul wounds little by little until we become fruitful in that area.  If God had of shown me all the ungodly attitudes I had when I first got saved I would probably have said this is too hard and thrown in the towel.  He deals with us gently convicting us of an attitude or sin one at a time.  We are His workmanship and the Holy Spirit, the sanctifying Spirit at work in us, will carry on convicting and helping us to conquer in God's timing until we walk in the promised land of His plan for our individual and unique work, the most prominent being Christ formed in each and every one of us.

The trial of perseverance teaches us to completely put our trust in His Sovereignty.

2 Corinthians 1:8-9 I think you ought to know, dear brothers, about the hard time we went through in Asia. We were really crushed and overwhelmed, and feared we would never live through it. We felt we were doomed to die and saw how powerless we were to help ourselves; but that was good, for then we put everything into the hands of God, who alone could save us, for he can even raise the dead.

When our dreams seem to reach a dead end and we determine to put our trust in Him, surrendering all and no longer trying to work the thing and make it happen, then there is a "but suddenly God....."  When we sacrifice our Isaac and say, "you know what God I am going to rest in you because I cannot lean on the arm of my flesh anymore, for apart from you I am nothing," God has us in the prefect place for His glory to shine through our weakness.

2 Corinthians 1:10 And he did help us and saved us from a terrible death; yes, and we expect him to do it again and again.

When we see God come through on each and every battle as we walk out His plan for our life we too like the apostle can say that we expect Him to deliver us.  Someone once said, "when we are down to nothing, God is up to something."

Let's rest in Him and His timing.  His love for us wills always ensure His best interest for us in each and every situation even though we may not understand it at the time.

God is faithful, Amen?

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Relationship in the Word

"You search the scriptures for you believe that they give you eternal life.  And the scriptures point to me.  Yet you won't come to me so I can give you this life eternal." Jn 5 39-40

I have always wondered how it is possible that so many different religions have the bible but believe vastly different doctrines, even erring to the cultish.  It has been said that the bible is open to personal interpretation and this is true until.....!

I looked at the apostle Paul who ended up writing most of the epistles, yet he was the great persecutor of the church.  He was a Pharisee with a huge jealous zeal for God.  How could he have such a zeal for the Living God that was so misplaced that he got it so wrong.  He studied the scriptures and most likely could quote verbatim the Torah, yet he like many others "missed the day of visitation" not recognising Jesus the Messiah.  With a presupposition of what Messiah would do when He came, Paul missed that Christ ushered in a kingdom of salvation in men's hearts.

Throughout Jewish history, the pendulum swung from the worship of God to the worship of idols and going astray doing their own thing. A heart change was needed as foretold by the prophet Ezekiel (36:26):-

"And I will give you a new heart - I will give you new and right desires and put a new spirit within you.  I will take out your stony hearts of sin and give you new hearts of love.  And I will put my spirit within you so that you will obey my laws and do whatever I command."

So what changed Paul from persecutor of the church to persecuted for the church?  Purely relationship.  He finally met the Author of the Book, Jesus Christ, on his way to Damascus.  Jesus was no longer words on a page, but the word became flesh to Paul as the eyes of his heart were enlightened by the presence of the One he persecuted.

When we really know someone, we are able to discern the spirit behind their words.  If someone reported to you that your wife/husband said a certain thing, you would know in your heart if they would say something like what been reported, or you would know if it had been interpreted wrongly.  It is the same with Jesus.  The closer our relationship becomes, the more we know His heart the easier we find the interpretation of the spirit of the message in the word.

Studying the word without the relationship only leads to "puffed up knowledge" and can give misplaced zeal and wrong interpretation of the message.  The life in the Word is found in relationship with Him and leads us to desire more truth and an even closer more intimate walk.  This us why He beckons us to come to Him and learn of Him.

Come today.  Call on His name and ask Him to teach you His word in the book.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

The Antidote to Discouragement

 "The Lord is near the broken hearted; He delivers those who are discouraged"

We can all get discouraged at times, especially as we live in an "instant-take-away" world and one of the tactics of the enemy is to bring discouragement during waiting times.  I have experienced this quite a few times, especially recently, in my calling out to God to change me and open my eyes to the supernatural realm.  I know that there is more, an abundant life that Jesus wants us to walk in, and for those who believe, He promised we would see the glory of God.  

Honestly, I see more of my faults then the glory and wonder sometimes if I'll ever be "good enough" to carry His Glory.  But it is not depended upon my "goodness" but on my belief.  Those of us who believe that the same great and excellent power that God exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him in Heavenly places far above;  that same creative power, abides in us.  God's Holy Spirit dwells in us and it is through His Spirit that God wants us to bring a heavenly taste of glory to those who need it the most.

Look around!  So many people, hurt, bruised, sick and broken and who need to know the Saviour, Jesus Christ, the anointed One.  And God wants us to show them His Love, Glory and Power.  We are overcomers, that is what His word says, but are we overcoming and allowing His Word to be effective in us, and through us, or ineffective because of our unbelief, doubt, discouragement or low self worth.  

We are the sons and daughters of the Most High God.  OH WHEN WE WILL GRASP A HOLD OF WHAT GOD HAS GIVEN TO US AND RUN WITH HIS PRESENCE, POWER  AND GLORY, to see the captives set free, healed and delivered. I don't know about you but I want this and I want it bad.  What joy to be able to bring those captives into the Kingdom where they will have a touch of the Saviour and Healer through the powerful anointing that dwells in us who have already tasted freedom and seen that He is good.

Jesus, Himself, was reliant on the Holy Spirit to do all His works.  He only began His powerful, anointed ministry after being baptised and filled with the Holy Spirit.  He Himself testified:-

'I tell you the solemn truth, the Son can do nothing on His own initiative, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise." Jn 5:11

Jesus listened and obeyed the Father exclusively.  Listened and obeyed!  I seem to have a hard time listening to His voice but I am encouraged as Jesus said, "my sheep hear my voice", so I will keep on practising, believing....that I do indeed hear His voice. (Maybe God knows that I still need to learn obedience!). I am mindful of the scripture that says, "be not weary in doing well, for in due time, we will reap, if we do not give up." Gal 6:9

There it is, back to "due time".  There is always time involved.  A seed must first be planted and after time comes the harvest.  The encouragement is to keep on keeping on.  When discouragement comes, be mindful of the character of God who is faithful and on the power of the Holy Spirit who can comfort and encourage.

"For this is what the High and Exalted One says:  the One who rules forever, whose Name is Holy:  I dwell in an exalted and Holy place, but also with the discouraged and humiliated, in order tocheer up the humiliated and to encourage the discouraged." Is 57:15

Maybe the waiting game helps us to become more reliant and dependant on Him. God has a "due season" and He brings it to pass in His time and not ours.  We can be assured harvest will always come if we do not faint and give up and this is why discouragement is such a powerful weapon against us.  It causes us to give up, drop the dream, have a self-pity party, lose our identity of who we are in Christ and how powerful He is in us.

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light." 1 Pet 2:9

We are ambassadors for Christ, with a heavenly calling and anointing to do the works which God has planned for us to do before the foundation of the world, and.....there is a reward for those who "do not grow weary".

"I am also aware that you have persisted steadfastly, endured much for the sake of my Name, and have not grown weary."  Rev 2:3

God is aware! God sees!

"I am coming soon.  Hold on to what you have so that no one can take away your crown." Rev 3:11

God promises!

"The Sovereign Lord has given me the capacity to be His spokesman, so that I know how to help the weary. He wakes me up every morning; He makes me alert so I can listen attentively as disciples do."  Is 50:4

"But as for you, be strong and don't get discouraged for your work will be rewarded," 2 Chr 15:7

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

God's Powerful Word

In the same way, the promise that I make does not return to me, having accomplished nothing. No, it is realised as I desire and is fulfilled as I intend.(Is 55:11)

I had a revelation about the power that is in our tongues as the word declares we have the power to bless or curse. I realised afresh how important it is that we should speak God's promises as well as blessings over our families, businesses, churches and even our nation. The world is full of negativity, criticisms and gossip yet we, children of the light,  should be full of encouragement and blessings.

There is an amazing story in Numbers 22 which confirms this importance of blessing and cursing. Balak the King of the Moabites, fearful of the Israelites who had great victory over the Amorites, called upon a seer Baalam to come and curse the Israelites so they could not conquer him.  Baalam went but would only speak the word that God would allow him to speak over the nation.  God commanded Baalam to bless them and not curse as Balak required. The message of this story is clear in that we should only speak what God speaks over our circumstances for overcoming victory in our lives.

My message is like a fire that purges dross! It is like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces! I, the Lord, so affirm it! Jer 23:29

The word of God is spirit and life and has the divine ability to do what God has said it will do.  It is amazing that we can use His word like a hammer and if we keep confessing it over situations it will finally break all resistance to accomplish that which God had promised.  His Word never falls to the ground to be trampled on, but it will return to God who will watch over it to perform it.  We can trust the Word of God because it is the Truth and we know that God cannot lie.

The Word also has the amazing ability to change us even as silver or gold is heated to extreme temperatures to remove the impurities.  So the Word of God exposes the dross in our hearts if we allow it to by testing our thoughts, motives and intents of our heart.  It is so important that when we see something adrift that we bring it before God and repent and ask Him to create in us a clean heart and renew a right spirit in us. (Ps 51:10)

This brings me to confession of the Word.  it is important that we use His Word as a weapon, even as we see Jesus doing when tempted in the wilderness and as we are exhorted by Paul in Ephesians 6.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

Praying the scriptures is a powerful weapon but, as I heard someone say the other day, we should not just be confessors of the word but heart possessors of the Word.  The word needs to posses our hearts as the bible encourages "to let the word of Christ dwell in you richly". (Col 3:16)  When we possess the word, we will have full understanding and revelation of that word, our faith and belief in that word will bring the authority and divine power that the word yields into play.

And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets. Through faith they conquered kingdoms, administered justice, gained what was promised, shut the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength in weakness, became mighty in battle, put foreign armies to flight, and women received back their dead raised to life. But others were tortured, not accepting release, to obtain resurrection to a better life. Heb11-32-35

Those who have believed have seen incredible things as the writer of Hebrews reminds us.  The only way we can possess the word in our hearts is through meditation. Mulling over it, speaking it out loud and thinking about it; what it means, what is God saying to us and how does it apply in our lives.  Doing this will allow the Holy Spirit to bring the full revelation to our hearts and with that revelation our  faith will rise.

As the scriptures say, “Those who know their God will be strong and do mighty exploits.” (Dan 11:42)

Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Infinite God

Sometimes I just can't equate the God of the Old Testament to Jesus in the New.  they are the same God - God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost - one God, three distinct personalities.  I came to a conclusion. How can we, who think from a human perspective, with finite minds and finite actions understand a God who is everywhere, all knowing, all powerful and all creative.

I look at some of the judgements of the Old Testament where people were to be cut off from their society or stoned. I think about the earth splitting open and swallowing up those who rebelled and my heart would almost cry out, "no, this cannot be God".  Yet somehow I know, that I know, that I know, God is Love and He is just.  He is also Holy yet He is Mercy.  When I look at His Mercy, surely it outweighs His Judgement.  It certainly did when "the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us".  God, Himself, manifest in Jesus Christ, sacrificed Himself on that cross to redeem us from death to life, from judgement to justification, from the curse of the law to freedom in the Spirit.

So how does this reconcile the Old with the New.  I know that I will never understand from my earthly perspective for we see in part but one day we shall see more clearly. (1Pet 13:9-10) I do know that in His Love and Grace, God chose for Himself a people, the Israelites from all the nations and with this came great responsibility.  As God's people, they were to be a witness to nations and from them would come the fulfilment of the Seed promised in Genesis to Eve, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, who would save people from their sins and reconcile His people, the Jews and the Gentiles to God.

Ephesians 2:11-18 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” which is done in the body by human hands— remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Colossians 1:19-20 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

The Old Testament clearly shows the effects of sin on the nation and creation.  Yet God promised them if they would obey Him, he would heap upon them blessings after blessings.  The nation was blessed and prospered yet His people continually gave themselves over to the prostitution of other gods.  So the cycle of apostasy is clearly seen.  Judgement fell and they were carried off as captives to the nations whose gods they worshipped.  In their captivity would cry out to God and He would deliver them and heal them and bring them back into their own land.  The cycle would start all over again.

What a lesson for us.  God is a jealous God. Not in a human, worldly sense but jealous of anything that would break the sweet communion of fellowship with Him where His abundant blessings flow and He showers us with His Love, Joy and Peace.  Outside of that covering fellowship, God knows that we are easy picking for the adversary of our souls.  As Jesus said,

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
We have a choice.  We can accept the gift of life Jesus came to give us or we can choose to go our own way.  His way is the way of Life and blessing.  Even in tough circumstances, His way keeps us and strengthens us, guarding our hearts and minds as we lean upon Him and keep our focus on Him.  Choose today, life or death, blessing or curses.  This is our choice, freely given by a God who loves us and desires to wrap His arms around us in that Love.  He has blessings for us, in our obedience, but we get to choose what we prefer.