Sunday, 10 September 2017

Healing in the Instead of

The grace and mercy of God is beyond our understanding.  A straying humanity is never beyond His restoration.  The promises in Isaiah 61 are phenomenal in the Creator God’s loving manifesto towards those broken and in despair who recognise their spiritual poverty and deep need of Him.

Jesus came to reverse the curse that was basically caused by Adam and Eve going their own way and throwing all humanity into the destructive patterns of sin and death. (Gen 4 17-19)  Jesus opened His ministry with a 400 year prophecy concerning His redemptive plan to those, who of their own accord, had pierced their souls with the devastating effects of rebellion against Him who loved them so much.

Jesus came to preach the Good news to those oppressed by His eternal enemy, satan, and to bind up the broken hearts ravished by the lies and deception of the kingdom of darkness by appealing to the sins of the flesh, lust of the eyes and pride of life.

“Do not love the world (i.e. the philosophies that oppose God) or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world.  And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” I Jn 2:15-17

Jesus came to free the prisoners held in the dark captivity of inherent sins and bound to repeating the same mistakes as their ancestors.  Hence He brought about the favour of the LORD to those who accept His invitation to have Him come in and “sup” with them (i.e. have a relationship with Him) (Rev 3:20), and to bring His Light to the hurting places in their souls; to comfort them with eternal salvation as by the Spirit, they are born again. (Jn 3:5-8)

“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the Light of the world.  He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” Jn 8:12

Jesus began declaring, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matt 4:17) and He began to pour out upon the people the fullness of the favour of the Kingdom only hinted at in the Old Testament but had now become a visual aid in His ministry and work during His days on earth.

Thankfully it didn’t end there, for the same manifesto prophesied over the Messiah’s life before He came, is the same manifesto over the Sons and Daughters of God as Jesus promised:-

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works then these he will do, because I go to the Father.  And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” Jn 14: 12-14

And there is more….  The passage in Isaiah goes on to give us amazing promises of full restoration in a series of “instead ofs” that come with the comfort of the LORD.  What grace!  We who caused our own discomfort and pain in the ever spiralling downward pull into darkness, receive comfort and restoration in at least a double measure.  Both those taken captive by sin and those a victim of sin against them receive this restoration:-

Beauty instead of ashes;
Oil of joy instead of mourning;
garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
instead of shame, double honour;
instead of confusion, rejoicing in their portion;
and, they shall possess double;
Everlasting joy shall be theirs.  Is 61: 3-7

This restoration from the loving hand of the Father through the Spirit leads to three results.  Our ministry to the LORD is birthed out of the overcoming victory of being set free by the LORD and secondly His favour and restoration will be clearly witnessed by others.

“That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”  Is 61:3b

And thirdly, this becomes, “And the day of vengeance of our God” (Is 61:2b).  The enemy of our soul, the one who comes only to “kill, steal and destroy” (Jn 10:10) has no more authority in the area of our lives he originally kept us captive and where freedom has been secured by our Saviour’s work on the cross.  “if the Son set you free you will be free indeed.” Jn 8:36

Joy indeed flows and more joy when we are able to help someone who has been taken captive in the same area with the comfort that we received from the LORD.  We now have the authority in this area to take others into freedom.  We never take vengeance on people, for our fight is not with “flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Eph 6:12 The vengeance of the LORD is against satan and his hordes.

This “instead of” principle can be the spirit of prophecy over all areas of our Christian walk and is also a part of growing to become more like Jesus.  Whatever negative emotion holds you captive, the “instead of” principle will return the opposite quality of the Kingdom in a two-fold blessing. We go from victim to victory, overcoming in the power of the Spirit and become a conqueror to help others.

If you are anxious all the time, this obviously, is not a Kingdom of Light emotion.  The “instead of” clearly is “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, (and) will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:7  There is a “work” you have to do though – BELIEVE God’s promise is for you, surrender the anxiety and walk in His peace.  We need to renew our minds.  In this passage of scripture regarding anxiety, the Apostle Paul gives us some keys to walk in this freedom.  

Surrender the anxiety.
Adopt an attitude of thanks giving.
Mediate on “whatever things are true…noble…just…pure…lovely…of good report…virtue…praiseworthy” Phil 4:8

Think of the joy set before you.  Your overcoming victory will take someone else to freedom and you will have exacted your vengeance upon the spirit of anxiety who held you captive in the first place.

All of us will have strongholds in some areas, but we can hold to and believe in the “instead of” God wants to lavish upon us to facilitate healing and freedom in our lives.  Hallelujah!

Monday, 24 July 2017

Promises from Eternity

In the beginning, GOD!  I love to camp at this point and meditate, because this was the real start of my life.  God is the beginning of all things.  When I looked for life, apart from the SOURCE of LIFE, Jesus, I didn't have real life, I was just existing.  It's when I came to that beginning with Jesus, that exact moment light dawned on me, I realised I needed Him as my Saviour and Lord, I repented, changed my mind and way for His.  This for me was the beginning of the Real Truth, the Real Way and the Real Life.  Everything up to this point was just a shadow.  But my beginning really took shape before I was born, before God began time ticking..

Jesus, the Word teaches us, “was slain before the foundation of the world”.  God's word and promises for us were in “seed” form until “the fullness of time” (Gal 4:4) when Jesus stepped down from eternity into the timeline of humanity.  All the “seed” promises we have in the Word were watered by the blood of the Lamb, and ALL find their fruition or harvest in the Sons and Daughters of Salvation.

He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was manifested in these last times for your sake. 1 Pet 1:20

The Holy Trinity were intentional in showing their goodness toward rebellious and broken humanity BEFORE they even created the world, and before Adam and Eve sinned. They were intentional in provision before any of it was needed and created.  Their love and kindness was to manifest toward us in stark contrast to the kingdom of darkness, that seeks to kill, steal and destroy. (Jn 10:10)  Jesus Christ took up that cross to secure all those promises made in eternity for you and me which is why He could declare, “it is finished”. Jn 19:25

Before our experience with the LIVING CHRIST, we were under the curse and influenced by the kingdom of darkness until LIGHT burst into our hearts.  The veil of darkness was lifted and truth came flooding in.  Now, in and through the cross, all those “seed” promises have become the “yes and amen” in Him. (2 Cor 1:20)

Salvation and healing for our souls and bodies was already in “seed” form in eternity and now through Jesus, the fullness of the promise is ours in the finished work of the cross.  We can receive salvation and that healing by faith now in this time.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we may cease from sinning and live for righteousness. By his wounds you were healed. 1 Pet 2:24

The promises of God can be received by our proclamation of the truth. We don't have to pray and ask because it is already done, hence the use of the past tense in the above scripture.  We just need to proclaim and decree, I am healed by His stripes and then thank God until the manifestation of the promise is fully formed. 

You shall also decree a thing, and it shall be established to you. Light shall shine on your ways. Job 22:28

The manifestation of every promise that was set down in eternity and found it culmination in the cross of Christ, brings glory to God, glory to His word and glory to His very nature.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Spiritual Fruit equals Spiritual Warfare

Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Eph 6:10-11

We talk about spiritual warfare and we know that our weapons are spiritual not physical because the fight is not with flesh and blood but against the kingdom of darkness. We need weapons of the Kingdom of Light to dispel and defeat darkness.

A friend confided that she was struggling with panic attacks because of a pending doctor's verdict for her dad because the situation looked bad. We were in church worshipping and after a few minutes I turned to her and said, "Your peace in this circumstance is more powerful then your fear.  In fact, your peace at this moment is your spiritual warfare."  I realised when I said it, that the enemy comes only to kill, steal and destroy. Her peace and joy was what was at stake in this trial.  It is powerful when, during trials, we can keep peace and joy at the forefront for the enemy has no hook with which to get us riled up, frustrated and fearful.

Do we think, in a trial, that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are having an emergency management conference in Heaven, brainstorming and declaring, "Oops this caught us off guard, what can we do here?"  What an absurd picture!  Yet our emotional reaction to trials shows that we really don't trust God has the answer and we frustrate ourselves trying to work it out.  Just think, when you maintain God's perfect peace during trials, you are really sending a message to the devil that you know God is Sovereign and you really trust He has it all in hand.

The fruit of the spirit is part of our spiritual warfare.  Love triumphs over hate.  Joy over mourning. Peace over anxiety and fear.  Patience over impatience. Kindness over meanness. Goodness over evil. Faith over doubt. Gentleness over violence. Self control over passions and emotions.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. If we live by the Spirit, let's also walk by the Spirit.  Gal 5:22-25

The thing is God always has a promise and provision for any trial.  If you are sick, Jesus wants to be your healer.  His promise is, "By His stripes you were healed"  (1Pet 2:24) and His provision is healing manifest in your body.  Maybe you don't know how you are going to pay a bill. His promise is that you will not lack (Matt 6:33-35) and He is the one who provides.

Let us give ourselves over to faith, not doubt and unbelief - faith in a faithful God who alone can split the Red Sea and keep the universe functioning.

Friday, 26 May 2017

He gave thanks

"The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this is remembrance of me."  In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me. For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes." 1 Cor 11: 23-26

On the night you were betrayed you still gave thanks. You broke the bread knowing the significance of what it meant- that some hours later you would be inspected as the Passover Lamb, condemned and crucified. Yet you gave thanks!  You were to go through the biggest trial of your life, so overwhelming that you sweat drops of blood, and yet you gave thanks! You gave thanks to God for being my offering, my sacrifice and my substitute to receive my punishment and judgement.

You lifted up the cup in that hour and you gave thanks. That cup represented your life's blood being poured out, the whipping you would receive for my healing; the crown of thorns: your pierced hands and feet and the water and blood that poured out from your side- and yet you gave thanks!

For the joy set before you, you endured the cross, and that joy was souls, the whosoever, those who believe. 

When you were in agony in the garden, were you thinking of another garden where you saw Adam and Eve distrust the goodness of God at the serpent's lie and so disobey and partake of what God clearly said not to, and throw all humanity into the ravages of sin and death?  In the garden of your agony and greatest temptation, you trusted in the good will and promises of the Father, and so clung to His will.

Then I said, ‘Here I am: I have come – it is written of me in the scroll of the book – to do your will, O God.’  When he says above, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sin-offerings you did not desire nor did you take delight in them” (which are offered according to the law),
then he says, “Here I am: I have come to do your will.” Rom 10: 7-9

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 Lord’s 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

And because you stuck to God's will and endured all you had to for our sake you brought us salvation, healing, forgiveness and life.  Your blood still cries out Father forgive them they know not what they do. It is an eternal reminder of the work you did Calvary for us and we give thanks.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Identity IN Christ alone

"To understand who God really is, you can begin by looking at yourself, since you are made in God's image."

I quote an author who has sold millions of books and really would like to comment on what he has said. It is true that in the creation account the bible clearly states that God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our own likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over all the creatures that move over the earth." Gen 1:26

Mankind's first state was to portray God's image but that all changed the moment Adam and Eve sinned and, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we are told a few chapters later, "when Adam had lived 130 years he fathered a son in his own likeness, according to his image." Gen 5:3

The world changed and man's state changed from intimate fellowship with God in the garden of Eden to "so then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all people because all sinned." Rom 5:12.

We became a fallen people.  So the question I obviously have is, can we still see God by looking at ourselves?  The word is very clear and quite derogatory about the state of fallen man.  The only way to change our state is by being born again and given a new heart and nature in the process.

"The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only EVIL all the time." Gen 6:5

This Old Testament scripture does not sound to me that we can look at ourselves to see God who is Holy, Righteous and Truth.  But to be a little more convincing, let us look at how Jesus saw us, even though He didn't come to condemn but to save us.

"If you, then, though you are EVIL, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" Matt 7:11 and "For from within, out of the human heart, come EVIL ideas, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, envy, slander, pride, and folly.  All these EVILS come from within and defile a person." Mark 7: 21-23

I may have laboured the point here, but it is so important to see how far from and unlike God we are and how desperately we needed His solution, salvation through faith in the cross of Christ.  None of the character traits mentioned by Jesus in the above scripture can I reconcile with God.  It looks pretty grim on behalf of men and women.  This is why the gospel of Salvation is such good news.  The depravity of mankind is clearly seen in the amazing grace, yet horrific sacrificial death Jesus had to endure on that cross to save us and reconcile us back to the Father.  It shows His incredible unconditional love for us that he would come and suffer even when we were at enmity with him. Rom 5:10

God our Father has an eternal good plan for each and every individual on earth but that plan can only unfold when we appropriate it through the cross of Christ.  God is eternally good.  Salvation was His good plan from before the foundation of the world and it cost Him everything "who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age according to the will of God the Father." Gal 1:4

We get to have a new identity when appropriated through the cross.

"So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away - look, what is new has come." 2 Cor 5:17

"For you were at one time darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light." Eph 5:8

"See what sort of love the Father has given to us: that we should be called God's children - and indeed we are! For this reason the world does not know us." 1 Jn 3:1

Our new identity can only be found IN Christ "who knew no sin but became sin, so that we might have the righteousness of God." 2 Cor 5:21

We appropriate Christ's righteousness, not by any good work, but purely through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus. All our identity is found in Him and Him alone. Such is Grace and such is the gift of God to us through Jesus. 

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Overcoming Power

"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." Jn 16:33 NKJV

It doesn't matter what translation or version of the bible I read, this verse just doesn't go away.  Jesus warned us that in this world we will have trouble, tribulations, trials, sorrows or difficulties.  BUT He gave us a promise of comfort - He has OVERCOME!

It is amazing how people who are angry with God, or are atheists, always seem to challenge our faith on this - why is there so much suffering in the world if God is real and loving?  And yet, there are thousands of those who have also overcome adversity by their faith in Jesus Christ and with the help of the Holy Spirit.  He truly overcome the world and we find everything we need in Him.

Suffering, when I look around, seems to caused by, dare I say it, people.  Imagine if everyone took to heart the basic commandment of God - love God and love others.  If the world revolved around this, where would a starving child be? Where would a struggling mum because her man walked out on her and the children be?  Where would divorce be? Where would abuse be? Where would a drunken, angry man be or a drug induced daughter be?  The most obvious answer would be that these scenarios wouldn't exist.  If  "self" didn't come into the equation and we lived to prefer and better others and look to their welfare before our own, this world would be a drastically different place.

You may be asking, all and well but how did Jesus overcome the world?  He does it by changing the human heart.  "And I will give you a new heart and 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." Ez 36: 26-27

We too, have the power to overcome temptation and sin because of the Spirit of Christ who lives in us,  challenges us to do good.  When you are in a situation where you want to explode in anger and frustration, the Holy Spirit can, at that point, challenge you to maintain and overcome with peace. Or when you feel the urge to gossip, rather overcome by blessing them instead. When hurt comes along and you want to hold a grudge and unforgiveness, the Holy Spirit can enable you to forgive and let go.

When natural disasters or evil happens, God speaks to individuals to reach out with compassion and ease the situation by whatever means available.  God raises up people to start feeding programs, hospitals, orphanages etc and they give up their time and resources and some even their lives to be a blessing and give aid.

Maybe I'm to simplistic in my understanding, but when I see good happen around me, I know the overcoming power of Jesus Christ is on display.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

The Work of the Cross

"I must work the works of Him who sent me, while it is day. The night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." Jn 9:4-5

There is a growing ground swell around the world of believers who are out in the market place seeing the sick healed.  They have had a revelation of the work of the cross and of the person of Jesus Christ, and have taken on His commission and go, in His authority, to carry on His works.

In the above passage of scripture, Jesus gives sight to a man born blind for the glory of God.  He called this miracle a work.  From scripture, we see the works Jesus did according to His own manifesto:

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to deliver those who are crushed, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord."

This was the heart of the Father and the blueprint for the work of our Saviour.  His work always was the result of His Father's desire and heart toward us and of who He is - LOVE!  Just think on this fact.  The father's love for us, made provision for our salvation and for any and every circumstance through the Cross of His Son. That is the eternal work of the cross.

What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who didn't spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how would he not also with him freely give us all things? Rom 8:31-32

Jesus, the Word of God, come in the flesh, the light of the world, introduced us to the realm of the supernatural motivated by love and compassion in dramatic healings, deliverance and salvation.
The work of the cross, forged in earth time, but eternally powerful has the only ability to save, heal and deliver mankind's souls and affect our physical world too. Christ's spilt blood eternally cries out its covenant of provision for the forgiveness of sin, reconciliation with Father, totally healing body, soul and spirit, and in fact for every need we have.  The answer is found in the work of the cross.  Not only that, The Cross has given us status as Kingdom people, who carry the same manifesto as Christ on earth, to bring the Kingdom to earth as He did, through the power of the Holy Spirit who indwells us.

The work of the Kingdom never ends for we have a King who is the same, yesterday, today and forever.  Heb 13:8. Motivated by His love for the world, His desire is still to do His work through those who have a revelation of the Cross which was His greatest work for us and the greatest example of His love.  His blood eternally cries out its covenant of the healing and saving provision Christ paid for on that tree.  Receive that healing power and freely give what we have been given as we bring the Kingdom to earth.