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Monthly Archives: November 2014

AND GOD SHUT HIM IN!

‘Per ardua, as astra.’ That’s Latin for ‘through adversity to the stars.’

So Noah got all the animals and his family into the ark and shut the single door of the ark behind him, and they all settled in and got ready for the foretold deluge to hit the ground, right? Not quite!

According to Genesis 7:16 “… the Lord shut him in. (KJV)

After Noah, his family and the animals got into the ark, GOD HIMSELF shut the single door of the ark from the outside! By shutting that door Himself, God assumed total responsibility over Noah and everyone and everything that were inside the ark!

Here’s one of the powerful things to understand about what happened in the story of Noah: When the flood started to inundate the earth, people began to drown, and those who could get into boats did so. But eventually, their boats proved to be incapable of withstanding the force of the raging floods. The boats broke apart and the people in them perished.

There was another factor in play: atmospheric pressure. The flood had swelled to such a level that, as we read in Genesis 8:4 “…and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.” (NIV) So the flood had risen so high that it carried the ark to such a high altitude that after the flood began to recede, the ark came to rest on top of a mountain!

Now, note that this event took place in an era so primitive that there was no way Noah could have built the ark in a way that the ark could have survived the effects of atmospheric pressure! Every other boat that existed at that time was destroyed by the elements of nature except Noah’s ark! Why? Because God had assumed responsibility over it!!!

So here are some powerful lessons from all this:

1. Noah’s ark is a representation of Christ, therefore, of Christianity.

As that ark was the only means of escape from the flood provided by God, so is Christianity the only means of escape from the coming judgment that God has provided for mankind. As every other boat eventually failed to save its occupants, so will every other faith in this world fail its followers in the end. Christ is the only way to escape both the floods of this current life, and the condemnation that leads to hell.

2. The single door of the ark is a representation of Christ.

God had commanded Noah to build only one door on the ark (see Genesis 6:16). It was thru that one door that they all went into the ark. So does Christianity have only one way into it, which is Jesus-Christ!

3. The storms of life are never meant to kill a believer in Christ!

The heavy rains beat upon the ark, but never harmed the people inside. As the heavy rains fell, they gathered up under the ark and formed a raging flood that could never capsize the ark. So do the storms and floods of life beat upon God’s people, but can never destroy them, because they are hidden inside Jesus. Apostle Paul said it best in Acts 17:28: For in him we live, and move, and have our being (KJV) So just as the storms beat up on the ark and not on the people inside the ark, neither can the storms of life harm us, because we are hidden in Christ. Therefore, fear nothing in this world!!! Any harm that would come upon a believer would have to go through Christ first! As we know, that’s impossible!

4. Rather, the storms of life are meant to lift the believer to greater heights in life!

The flood lifted the ark to a level so high that when the ark started coming back down, it rested upon a mountain. So do the floods that God allows to come upon our lives lift us up in life! God is a Master Planner! Every hardship He allows into your life is always designed to lift you up in life! And note that the ark was carried around by the flood, so that in the end, the ark ended up at a different place than where Noah had built it. So are the hardships God allows into our lives designed to move us from where we have been stagnant, to new and higher places!

5. The storms are God’s teaching and training tools

Being ‘shut into Christianity’ means to abandon oneself into God’s hands, and allowing yourself to be constrained within the confines of Christianity. It means saying to Him: Have your way with me, Lord. I will only do what you say I should do, and will never do anything you say not to do. I will follow your ways only. It means depending on Him for everything in life, and aspiring to be nothing else in life but that person that He purposed for you to be here on earth.

Dependence on God is no easy thing, and must be learned, and God uses the difficult situations that He allows to come upon us, to teach us to trust and depend on Him for help, provision, well-being, protection, etc.

One example of this from the ark, is the fact that the ark had been subjected to the rigors of atmospheric pressure due to the high altitude that it had been carried to. So this must have created a severe panic in the hearts of Noah and his people, as they feared and wondered whether the ark would be able to sustain the effects of atmospheric pressure. This is the kind of fears that believers encounter when they find themselves in situations where God is telling them to be still and know that He is God! Pressure builds from every side against us, and the attacks from the enemy can get so intense, and all we can do is wait on the Lord to see us through. Just as Noah was not driving the ark, and must have feared that the ark might smash into a mountain or fall off a cliff, we have absolutely no control over the situation we’re dealing with, and have no idea if we would make it to the end alive. Like Noah, we can only trust that God knows what He is doing. But like the ark and everyone in it, we do survive! Because Jesus, in whom we have entrusted our lives and look unto, can protect us and hold us together in the face of any kind of pressure! Jesus was that ark that carried and protected Noah and his people, and He can protect against anything in this universe!

Another powerful lesson from the ark is in how God is able to provide for, and sustain His people. At high mountain altitudes, it becomes harder to breathe because there is less oxygen in the air. But Noah and everyone in the ark had no trouble surviving up there when the ark was carried up to the mountain levels. So does our Lord make sure His people never succumb to the lack of anything, no matter how scarce the hardship they’re undergoing tries to make things in their lives! He provides them with what they need! Haven’t you read that “God is our refuge and strength; an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1, NIV), and that “…those who seek the Lord lack no good thing (Psalm 34:10, NIV)?

6. We must build our Christianity right!

Brethren, here’s one extremely crucial thing to understand from all this: The ark ‘worked’ because God had accepted it. Had Noah not built the ark exactly the way God had commanded, God wouldn’t have approved of the ark, and would not have been with Noah and his people inside the ark. Like the ark, our Christianity must be ‘built’ according to the design that Christ has put forth in the Bible. And what is our ‘Christianity’? Our relationship with God. Every believer has his own personal relationship with God, and this relationship must be based on the ways that God commanded us to relate to Him. Take for example, the fact that God told Noah to build only one door into the ark. Our Christianity must have only one door: Jesus. But some of us have other doors, through which they can escape when things get tough for them. That’s the kind of believers with one foot inside Christianity and one foot in the world. When things get tough, they still try to do things the way the world does it, instead of relying firmly on the God is showing them. We must be perfect in building our Christianity – our relationship with God – the way He wants it. By commanding Abraham to be perfect before Him (see Genesis 17:1), God made it clear that we must be perfect in our walk with Him. We must be perfect in following His commands! And if we do so perfectly, then we WILL see His power and glory at work in our lives, just as Abraham and Noah saw it!

7. We must die ‘the required death’!

Noah and his people ‘died’ when they went into the ark. When they marched into that ark and let God shut them into it, they literally died to the lives they had been living, and abandoned their lives into God’s hands. Likewise, Christianity is about dying to the life you once lived, and letting God shut you into a new life that He alone has total control over! That’s the death the Lord Jesus said we must die in John 12:24-26Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My father will honor the one who serves me.” (NIV)

There are principally two kinds of believers out there: Those who have agreed to let the Lord shut them into Christianity, and those who haven’t. The story of Noah is all about COMMITMENT. It’s the story of a man who was totally committed to the will of God. God showed him something that was about to happen, and told him what to do to escape the coming calamity. He heard what God said and committed himself to obeying to the letter, the instructions that he received from God. That, in turn, made it possible for God to be God in Noah’s life. That made it possible for His power and glory to manifest in Noah’s life. That’s what the Lord promised at the end of the passage quoted above, that “my Father will honor the one who serves me.”

This is why the majority of believers in this world are not showing forth the glory and power of our great God. They are not as committed to following His lead in their lives as Noah did, and as did the great heroes of faith that we find in the Bible! They fail to abandon their lives to His divine care as Noah did. They refuse to let God shut them into Christianity, therefore, INTO HIS DIVINE CARE! And the sad result is that they fail to allow the power and glory of God to manifest in their lives.

CONCLUSION:

Because Noah died to himself and agreed to live the life that God had for him, Noah produced many seeds indeed by becoming the father of all mankind! That’s what the Lord explained in John 12:24: ‘If it dies, it produces many seeds’. Because Abraham agreed to die to his old life and live for God only, he produced many seeds indeed and became the father of nations! The Lord Jesus agreed to leave His throne and come to earth to live the life that the Father has planned for Him. He died to His throne above to live in obedience to God on earth (see Hebrews 5:8-9). As a result, He has produced countless believers for the last 2000 years and counting!

You who are reading this, what’s your excuse for not being productive for God??? If your Christianity has been built the way God commands, and you have truly died to yourself and are alive only for Christ, where’s the evidence? Where are the fruits produced by your death! Where are the souls that are being won over by your life? If you are indeed laboring for your Master Jesus, where are the harvest produced by your labor?

The greatest irony in the Church is that every believer would love to see the power of God move mightily in his or her life, but the majority are not willing to do what it takes to see that power at work in their lives. They’re not willing to die the death that allows the power of God to go to work in a believer’s life; they’re not willing to allow God to shut them into the kind of commitment in which he can be their all and all.

Christianity is not easy. That’s why the Lord made it plain that anyone who decides to follow Him must know what he is doing. He said in Luke 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

Deciding to follow God all the way, to let Him shut you inside Christ, is not a small decision. It wasn’t small of Noah to decide whether to build the ark or not. It wasn’t small of Abraham to leave his whole world behind and set out for Canaan. But they decided to be obedient to their God, and they lived to enjoy the fruits of their decision! That’s why I started this message by quoting ‘Per ardua, as astra’: Through adversity to the stars. Allowing oneself to be shut into Christianity brings one into a world of adversity ordered by God Himself. But it is through those very forms of adversity (floods) that God takes one to great heights in life!

Therefore, I challenge you, dear brethren, to allow God to shut you inside of Christ! Allow Him to be your all and all. Give Him absolute control over your life. Do that and watch Him take you to heights that you can’t even imagine! The world needs to see the greatness of God in you so that they might believe in Him. Allow God to use you to showcase His greatness to the world! Allow Him to shut you in!

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2014 in SHORT MESSAGES

 

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ARE YOU OF THE TREE OF LIFE OR OF DEATH?

Famished after a long day of hard labor, the men looked forward to picking some oranges from the orange trees that lined the road home. One of them spotted a tree that had the best-looking oranges, and hastily climbed on the tree and threw down some oranges. The men hungrily peeled off the orange skins, just to find themselves moaning in disappointment. As great as the oranges looked on the outside, they were all dried up and sickly inside.

In 2 Kings 2:19-22 we read about a city that was said to be ‘well-situated’, but offered nothing but deep disappointment its inhabitants and to anyone who ventured into it. Why? Because it carried a river of death. According to the residents of the city, the water of the river that flowed through the city was poisonous.

The city was ‘well-situated’ in that it was located on top of a hill, and travelers could see it from miles away, and would look forward to getting to it, so they could get some much-needed water to quench their thirsts. But alas, when they got there, they were told the water from the river is deadly.

The Lord Jesus said in John 7:38 “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” (JUBILEE BIBLE 2000 version.)

So it is expected that a believer MUST carry the water of life that Christ gives. And as people expected to find good water in that city because they expected that such a well-situated city must have good water, so do people expect only goodness out of believers for the fact that we are supposed to carry the water of life. Because of what we carry, we are ‘well-situated’, ‘well-positioned’ to do so much good in the world around us! And when people know that we are Christians, they expect only that good to come out of us. Being believers makes us representatives of Christ! It makes us people who can provide solution to problems, healing to sicknesses and diseases, comfort to the sorrowful, aid to those in need, salvation to the lost sinners, etc., just as Prophet Elisha was called to do for that city. Like Elisha, we are to use the living waters of Christ that flows within us, to provide remedy for the bad situations that we encounter.

Right in the middle of the garden of Eden God planted two trees: The tree of life and the tree of death (tree of knowledge of good and evil). He forbade Adam and Eve from eating of any fruit from the tree of death. So Adam and Eve freely ate of the tree of life. That tree of life was Jesus Christ, and each time Adam and Eve ate from it, they partook more of the Lord Jesus and nourished their spirits and stayed alive and well spiritually in God. The day they ate of the tree of death, their spirits died and their relationship with God suffered a severe and critical setback.

Through salvation, this death is kicked out of our spirits, and the life of Christ is restored in us. Through Christ, we begin to receive the same nourishment that the tree of life used to give to Adam and Eve! Jesus was that tree of life, and as His representatives, we are, therefore, supposed to display the characteristics of the tree of life. !

As Apostle Paul explained in Romans 11:24 , believers are like wild olive trees that are grafted into a good olive tree. Meaning that we as individuals, are literally incorporated into the Lord Jesus, so that we are now a part of Him, as Apostle Paul declared so eloquently in Acts 17:28: “for in him we live and move and have our being.”

Therefore, as believers we are branches on the Tree of life that is Jesus-Christ, and so we must carry and display the characteristics of the Tree of life. THIS MEANS THAT NO BAD FRUITS SHOULD EVER BE FOUND ON US! Every fruit on us as branches of the Tree of life must bear nothing but the goodness, love, purity, help, healing, solutions, charity, mercy, strength and power of God that are found in Christ! WE MUST NEVER BEHAVE LIKE PEOPLE WHO ARE PART OF THE TREE OF DEATH! WE MUST NEVER BE PEOPLE WHO CARRY WATERS OF DEATH, AND WHOSE FRUITS BRING NOTHING BUT DISAPPOINTMENT, HURT, SORROW AND PROBLEMS TO OUR FELLOW MEN!

We must not be people who lead others to their spiritual death; who kill with our tongues and our deeds; who offer bad advice and bad solutions; who fan the flames of discord among people instead of seeking for peace to reign among people; who see the needy all around us and do nothing about it; who make no efforts to share the knowledge of Christ around the world. Rather BECAUSE WE’RE IN A PLACE, IT MUST MEAN THAT GOD IS THAT PLACE! The people in that place must benefit from the fact that a representative of God is in that place!

Your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors must benefit from the fact that you exist in their lives. They must have heard the Good News because you have shared it with them; they must know that God is a great God because they see the great things He does in your life; They must have experienced the love, joy, peace and goodness of Christ because they have interacted with you and seen you demonstrate those godly qualities.

It’s an inescapable fact of life that we can only exhibit the type of fruit we carry within us, even as the Lord made it plain in Matthew 7:20 “…so that by their fruits ye shall know them.” (JUBILEE BIBLE 2000)

Trees of life don’t produce bad fruits. True believers in Christ don’t produce bad fruits. So what fruits do you carry? Good-looking fruits that look great on the outside but are rotten and dry inside? Or fruits that bring nothing but great satisfaction and joy to those that are privileged to get a taste of your character?

Therefore, I implore you dear believer, in the name of our Master Jesus, to understand the kind of person you are to be as a representative of heaven, and to determine yourself to live up to that expectation for the rest of your time on this earth, to His glory! Your character is your fruit. Therefore, endeavor to develop and build a character that is founded on the holy teachings of Christ our Master, and on the definition of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, given to us in Galatians 5:22-23: “…But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance…” (KJV)

Go and show the world the beauty and glory of God-Most-High!

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2014 in SHORT MESSAGES

 

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CALL IT FORTH!

Jesus didn’t curse the fig tree to die. So why did the tree die? All He said to the tree was “may you never bear fruit again.” (See Matthew 21:18-22 for the story)

But because of a command given by God to all plants in Genesis 1:11-12, the fig tree died when Jesus simply told it never to bear fruit again. Why? Because the tree could not disobey the command given in Gen. 1:11-12, which says that every LIVING seed-bearing plant MUST BE FRUITFUL! So since the Lord now commanded the tree not to be fruitful any more, the tree could no longer stay alive, in disobedience to the command given to all plants in Gen. 1:11-12!

Now what did the Lord do that set off this chain of events? He spoke.

All the Lord did was to speak a word to the fig tree, and the tree obeyed and did even more than what the Lord had commanded it to do! This is what the Lord explained to the disciples when they asked what had happened to the tree. He told them “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.” (Matthew 21:21, NIV)

You see, brethren, this powerful thing that the Lord taught us here is possible because ALL THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN CREATED HAVE THE ABILITY TO HEAR THE SPOKEN WORD! All things were created by God’s spoken word, and they all remain subject to the spoken word. So whenever a command is given to them by the spoken word, they can hear and obey it!

God, who spoke them into being, made us in His own image, thus giving us the power to do the same things that He can do, such as speaking words that all things created can hear and respond to, just as they can hear and respond to His words. Therefore, you have the power and authority to make changes in your own life, and In the lives of others, by issuing commands for things to be the way you want them to be! Do not keep silent! Speak and command mountains to move out of yours and other people’s lives! Call forth things that are not as though they were! Command the sick to be healed! Command that bad situations be turned around! Command demons to flee! Speak beauty into ugly things! Speak solutions into hopeless situations!

Now here’s another great news: The command given in Gen. 1 goes further to pertain to animals as well (verses 20-25), and by extension, to us humans as well! I was once a seed in my father’s loins, as was he once in his own father’s loins, and as was his father in his own father’s loins, and so on… It has been, therefore, established that men are born with their own seeds within them, which they can choose to reproduce as children someday!

Therefore, if you are seeking the fruit of womb, despair not. Call forth your children! AS YOUR PARENTS WERE BORN WITH YOU AS SEED WITHIN THEM, SO WERE YOU BORN WITH SEEDS INSIDE OF YOU!!! THEREFORE, CALL FORTH YOUR CHILDREN! They are inside of you, and your body must respond to the word of the Lord and be fruitful! Speak to your body to bring forth the children it already carries! Do not let any devil lie to you that when it came for your turn to be born, you were born without seed! LIE!!! Whose report will you believe??? The report of the Lord in Genesis 1 says that you are a seed-bearing creature! Therefore, command your seeds to come forth!

If you’ve been seeking a spouse, despair not! Because THE SIMPLE FACT THAT YOU EXIST MEANS THAT YOUR OTHER HALF IS OUT THERE SOMEWHERE! Genesis 1:27-28 says it all: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (NIV)

WHEN GOD MADE MAN, HE ASLO MADE THE WOMAN AT THE SAME TIME! The woman was hidden inside the man, and was brought out of the man later on in Genesis 2:21-25. God even used a piece of the man – one of his ribs – to form the woman, so that the man and the woman share the same ‘spiritual DNA’. THEREFORE, FOR EVERY WOMAN IN THIS WORLD, THERE’S A MAN OUT THERE THAT SHE CAME OUT OF, AND FOR EVERY MAN IN THIS WORLD THERE’S A WOMAN OUT THERE THAT CAME OUT OF HIM.

So if you’ve been looking for a spouse, despair not! Call him/her forth! The fact that you exist means your spouse is out there as well! If you’re a man, call forth the woman God brought out of you! If you’re a woman, call forth the man that you came out of! Command that your paths should cross, that you may finally be together!

Let me repeat this: This world was created and established upon the spoken word. Therefore, it can be altered by the spoken work at any time! And the power and authority to speak things into being resides in you and I, just as it resides in the God who spoke this world into being. Use this power and authority to speak and call forth the things that you need in this world! An ambassador in a foreign country speaks for the head of state who sent him to the foreign country. As an ambassador of Heaven, use the authority of God who sent you to represent Him in this world to speak and fulfill His divine purposes in this world! Evil thrives where godly people stay silent. Therefore, speak up and command godly change in the world around you!

Speak up, command and call forth the glory of our great God in your life for the world to see and believe in Him!

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2014 in SHORT MESSAGES

 

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