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Monthly Archives: December 2014

LOOK AT THE SCRAPS AND BELIEVE!

Will God show up on time? Will He come through for me? What if…

We’ve all been there; at that place where the pressure from what we need to see done builds up, and we wonder if the Lord would come thru for us. Sometimes we struggle to even remember that we have a God who can provide the solutions or interventions we seek.

This is the predicament the disciples found themselves in when they got into a boat without the Lord Jesus, and got caught in a tempest. They became deathly afraid that they might perish in that storm, and forgot that they served a Master who could never let a storm kill them. After all, He Himself told them to get on the boat without Him. (See Matthew 14:22-33 for the story.)

But there was something that the disciples had with them inside the boat. They had the 12 baskets full of the leftover scraps of miraculous bread that the Lord had just fed the 5000 just a few hours ago! Remember that the Lord had told them to gather those scraps and take them with them. (See Matthew 14:14-21 For the story.)

So right there in that boat, in the midst of the terrifying storm, the disciples had the evidence that they served a Master who is all-powerful, and can deliver them from the deadly storm. But they were totally focused on the raging storm, and failed to see the significance of the scraps.

All around us there are scraps of old miracles that the Lord had done for us in the past! There are things that the Lord blessed us with in miraculous ways. There are things that ought to remind us of the great and faithful God we serve! Look around you and remember the story behind some of the things that you have all around you. Remember that if it weren’t for the Lord who provided…! Maybe your house has grown too small for your family, and doesn’t look as good as it once did; it now looks like ‘scrap’. But remember how it looked like the best house in the world when you first bought it, and how God miraculously helped you purchase it then. Your car may be all dilapidated now, and embarrasses you. But remember how God moved someone to bless you with it years ago when you desperately needed a car. Don’t know how you’ll pay your next bills? Remember those many other times when you were in that same kind of predicament and God helped you pay your bills. See your children and remember how He showed up and healed them when they were ill.

Brethren, let us grow in our walk with the Lord to the point where we learn to never forget that He is God! Let us learn to see all around us the evidence that we serve a God who is real, who is all-powerful, and who is faithful to deliver His own! In those times of extreme darkness, when it is near impossible to see the light of God, look around you and see the things He’s done in the past, and let those scraps remind you that you serve a great God who is able and faithful to deliver you from the issue that is troubling you.

THE LORD CAME WALKING TOWARDS THE DISCIPLES RIGHT IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM! There’s a huge significance in the fact that the Lord appeared right in the middle of the storm and started walking towards the disciples: It symbolizes the fact that HE WILL ALWAYS EVENTUALLY APPEAR IN THE MIDST OF THE ISSUES WE’RE DEALING WITH! The issue may last for mere moments, or for days or years, but EVENTUALLY, the Lord does show up in the midst of it to put an end to it!

Until He does, look on the things He’s done in the past to remind yourself that He who did it then, can AND WILL do it again!

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Posted by on December 12, 2014 in ATTITUDE CHECK!

 

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I, THE COLT

Maybe you’ve sung the song:

“I give myself away, so you can use me…

I’m not my own; to you I belong; I give myself, I give myself away…”

How sincere you are about what you say to God through those words, determines the extent of your commitment to Him and His Kingdom. Hence the problem with most believers: Most of us don’t actually understand what commitment to God and His kingdom truly means, which is why so few of us are as committed as we ought to be.

I’ll never forget the day it dawned on me what ‘belonging to God’ actually means: That it means I do not belong to myself, but to God. That as a believer in God, my life is not mine to live as I please, but in the way God wants me to live it. That no one in my life – not even my wife – comes first, but God. That where I live in this world, what job I do, all sorts of big and small decisions that I make, must be made according to His expressed will for my life. That He owns me. That I was made for His pleasure only, and must, therefore, have one goal only in life: To fulfill the purpose for which He sent me to this world!

The story of the colt that Jesus rode into Jerusalem offers a valuable insight into what commitment to service in the kingdom must be like. Please refer to Mark 11:1-10 for the story. Here are some valuable lessons from this story:

1. Only one way to go for a believer

Mark 11:4 tells us that the colt was tied a place where “two roads met”. This means that it was tied at a crossroads, and could, therefore, have been taken into any of four different directions by its owner. But because it was untied for the Master’s use, it was taken in the direction where the Master was.

The same way the colt was untied – set free from use of its former master – and brought to the Lord Jesus for His use, so are we saved – set free from our previous master the devil – and brought to the Lord Jesus for His exclusive use. Of the four directions that the colt could have been taken into, there was only one which could lead it to where the Lord Jesus was waiting for it. Therefore, the moment an individual gives his life to Jesus, he literally finds himself at a crossroads where he has a crucial decision to make: Where do I go from here? Am I ready to leave all the other choices that life is offering me, and take the one direction that would lead me to where the Master is waiting for me? If the believer truly has given his life to Jesus, then he will decide to abandon all other roads and follow the one that leads to Jesus, so that he can offer himself to Jesus and say ‘ here am I, Lord, ride on me. I’m all yours to do your will only, for the rest of my days.’ That’s what it means to give one’s life to Jesus.

2. The way of the Lord

So the colt was brought to the Lord to ride on. From that point on, it went only where the Master would have it go, and did only what the Master would have it do. It carried whatever load the Master would have it carry. So must a believer commit to living his life only the way the Lord would have him live it; go only where the Lord would have him go in life; see, think, and do things in one way only: The way of the Lord! Meaning, the way of righteousness and holiness; the way of absolute obedience to the word of God, as expressed in the Bible, and as He might specifically express it to us individually. It means not following the world’s ways of seeing, understanding, and doing things. But rather, to see, understand and do things according to the ways that the Holy Spirit of our Master leads us to. This is why we must always pray about what to do in every situation, and once we know what direction the Lord would have us go, we must follow that way by faith in He who told us to go that way.

3. It’s an ongoing commitment

Lucky for the colt, it’s in its nature to be obedient to its master. But for the fact that God gave us humans free will, we find it harder to stay committed to doing things the Lord’s ways only. Thus, we find ourselves having to renew our commitment on a daily basis, because we will keep on coming to crossroads where we will need to decide which way forward. Every day we find ourselves in situations that call for us to decide what we’re going to do, or how we’re going to do things. Do we do it the way of the world or the way of God? Is there a specific way the Lord is telling us to do something, but we’d rather not do it that way?

Staying committed is not easy! This is why spending time with the Lord in prayer on a regular basis is indispensable to a believer! If the Lord Jesus had needed to ceaselessly spend time with the father in prayer every night to refresh and strengthen His commitment to the Father, how much more we who are born of sinful nature! One of the greatest things the Lord did for me is that He taught me the importance and indispensability of having a prayer life! A serious believer must learn to spend hours in prayer daily!

4. It pays!

Imagine that as a colt is carrying its master around, it sees other colts that look like they’re better off. So are we often tempted to believe that unbelievers or the uncommitted believers have it so much better than us in life. We’re tempted to believe that the master they’re serving is treating them so much better than the Lord is treating us. We look at the rough roads that He rides on, meaning how difficult the task he has assigned unto us is, and we want to grumble and quit. Christianity is not easy! It was never meant to be easy. We have a mortal enemy in the devil who wants to see us fail; so he will throw serious hardship at us to try to get us to kick the Lord off our back and take him (the devil) back on our backs. Christianity is about getting freed from the devil’s yoke and taking on the Lord’s own yoke. But as the Lord tells us in Matthew 11:30 “…My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

So we have a choice: serve Satan and gain whatever he offers in reward, or serve Jesus and gain what He offers in reward. Again we learn a powerful lesson on this from the colt: It got to enjoy the Lord’s glory!

Mark 11:7 says “And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him. And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.”

Before the Lord sat on the colt, people placed their garments on the colt; and as the Lord started riding the colt, the people laid out their garments and tree branches on the ground. This is an honor that the people meant to give to the Lord, but it was the colt that received the good treatment. The colt it was that was dressed up with people’s garments, and the colt is was that got to walk on people’s garments and on the branches.

That is exactly how it is: When we set out to make ourselves useful to the Lord, people come to our help by making various form of contribution to the work we’re doing. They do it for the Lord, but we’re the ones who get to enjoy their kind gestures. Also, just as the colt got to walk on the laid out branches, the feet of God’s servant get to thread on grounds that they might otherwise never tread on. Men and women of God get invited before heads of state, the rich and powerful, and all manner of influential people. The work they do for the Lord opens great doors unto them, and cause their feet to enter important places. And finally, the best reward of all: For choosing to carry the Lord here on earth, we will get to walk on streets of gold in heaven for eternity!

5. The mandate!

One of the biggest handicaps Christianity has suffered from is the fact that most believers don’t understand that by joining the body of Christ, they actually joined a task force in which everyone has a role to play. They believe that only the members of the clergy are supposed to minister to others in the name of the Lord. But the fact is that just as every single piece of organ in a human body has a very critical role that it is there to play, so does every saved individual have a very critical role to play in the body of our Lord. EVERY SINGLE BELIEVER MUST AVAIL HIM OR HERSELF TO BE RIDEN BY THE LORD TO CARRY OUT HIS WORK! There is a way for every single believer to be of great and significant use to the Lord. We just need to discover what the Lord has in mind for us individually.

So brethren, understand the reason for which you were saved: To be reconciled to God as His child and brought back into His kingdom, where you once again become a KING AND PRIEST unto Him! (see Revelation 1:5-6)

Have you ever seen a king who is not busy ruling over all that he surveys? Or a priest who is not busy ministering to people? Unfortunately, Christianity is full of such people. This is why every believer must discover the way that God has ordained and ordered for him/her to play his/her role as a king/queen and priest of God in this world!

Allow yourself to be a colt unto the Lord! Allow Him to ride on you through the rugged and hard roads of this world as He uses you to carry out His divine works in this world, and watch Him reward you for it here on earth and in heaven for eternity!

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2014 in SHORT MESSAGES

 

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GOD KNEW YOU BEFORE

So one day out of the blue, God came to Jeremiah and plainly told him: I knew you before you went into your mother’s womb. That got Jeremiah’s attention. And it got mine as well, the moment I saw the meaning of this powerful revelation.

We know that Jesus existed in heaven as God’s Son before He went into Mary’s womb to take on flesh and be born into this world as a human being. But did you ever wonder when we mortal men actually begin to exist? As believers we agree that ‘life begins at conception’. But according to God’s words to Jeremiah, the truth is far deeper than that. Here’s what God said to Jeremiah:

“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” – Jeremiah 1:5 (KJV)

The key words here are “I knew thee”. So before Jeremiah was conceived and started to take on flesh in his mother’s womb, he obviously already existed! The powerful lesson here is that we begin to exist as souls first, because God starts by creating us in His image. God is Soul and Spirit. So when He first makes us, He makes us souls and spirits. That’s what we truly are. And so we begin to exist as soul and spirit before we enter our mother’s womb to be born into this world!

(We understand that it is those souls who have accepted Christ while on earth, who earn a place in heaven for eternity. So am I saying here that souls exist in heaven before they’re sent to earth? I don’t know the answer to that question. We can only know about heaven the little that God reveals to us in His word and by other means of revelation. But one thing is clear: A soul is obviously created and begins to exist at some point before it is sent into a woman’s womb. And where else but somewhere in heaven would the souls be before they are sent off to the earth? What length of time goes by between the time that a soul is created and the time that it is sent off to earth, is not known. What a soul does while waiting to be sent into a woman’s womb, is not know. How long Jeremiah existed during the time when God himself says that He knew him, we don’t know.)

Knowing that God might have actually interacted with us before we were sent into this world is a very crucial knowledge to have, because it gives us the kind of understanding that is crucial in succeeding as God’s children in this world. It was this knowledge that helped the Lord Jesus succeed, because by this knowledge He understood that He came from heaven, that He came to earth for a purpose, and that He had to go back to heaven.

Here’s one of the most powerful statements the Lord Jesus ever made:

“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10:17-18 (NIV)

Here, the Lord reveals to us a conversation He and the Father had prior to His coming to earth. You see, the Father gave Jesus an assignment to come to earth as a human being, teach humans about Himself and God, display the power and glory of God through miraculous deeds, show men the way to God, then die to atone for the sins of men. AND THEN, RESURRECT and come back to heaven.

It was during this interaction that the Lord was given His mission to earth. And what we learn from God’s words to Jeremiah is that He had had that same type of conversation with Jeremiah at some point before sending Jeremiah down into his mother’s womb.

God had that same type of conversation with you and I!!!

Unfortunately, as we are born into this world as humans, we forget all about any conversation that we might have had with the Father before being sent into this world. But our Father remembers!!! So just as at some point He reminded Jesus and Jeremiah, He can remind you too!

All you need is to ask Him. God is excited when He sees our faith in Him! Especially when it’s faith that comes from a deep understanding that we have of Him. In this case, this understanding ought to make you deeply appreciate the idea that the great God who made the heavens and the earth, actually knew you personally, and gave you a specific assignment before sending you into this world. And this ought to make you determine to live for nothing else in this world other than fulfilling that assignment!

YOUR GREATNESS IS IN BEING THAT PERSON GOD SENT YOU TO BE IN THIS WORLD. It’s in fulfilling the tasks that He has assigned for you to do in His name and to His glory.

‘I think, therefore, I am’. We all know this quote by the French theoretician Rene Descartes very well. And also Proverbs 23:7For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” (KJV). These two statements attest to the power of the consciousness of oneself, and there’s nothing more dangerous to a man than the lack of, or inadequate, consciousness of who he is an individual.  As long as the Lord Jesus kept His focus on this understanding of whom He was and what He was on earth for, He was able to focus on accomplishing the tasks given to Him by the father, and was able to make it back to heaven.

Therefore, brethren, I urge you to begin to see yourself as not just an individual in this world, but as someone on a special assignment given to you by the Father Himself! See yourself as the ambassador of the Kingdom of heaven that you are! An ambassador sent to represent the kingdom of heaven on earth, with specific instructions. Therefore, go to your Father in prayer and ask Him to reveal to you what He had in mind concerning you before sending you into this world! Then let the knowledge of who He sent you to be in this world be the guiding purpose for the rest of your life, to His glory!

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2014 in SHORT MESSAGES

 

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