Feb 13, 2017

Psalm 91 - A Covenant of God's protection

Among all the psalms, I know of few others which have been such a constant source of encouragement and security for one who believes in the one true Living God and His son Jesus Christ. We Christians are a motley bunch - We claim to be children of the living God, yet we face much insecurity in our lives. I have to confess I too sometimes fall prey to the lies of satan and live in a state where I am ignorant of my position in Christ and my covenant rights. The word of God is filled with so many references which remind us to fear not , but to trust in His promises. And today, I'd like to travel through this blessed psalm and understand the precious security that this word offers us. The Lord Jesus says : my words are spirit and life (John 6:63). As we go through this Psalm , I request you to take these words literally and apply them to your lives. God loves it when we take Him at the face value and trust Him.

The qualification for protection
(Ps 91:1) He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I wish I could say that the Lord's promises are unconditional, But they are often not. Here, we see a very easy way to enter into the protection of our Lord! We need to be one who lives in the secret place of our Lord Jesus. They shall abide in the shadow of the almighty. For a new covenant believer, this takes on a new meaning. Col 3:1-3 reminds us that If we are risen with Christ, seek the things which are above. Set your affection, your desires, on the things in heaven - not on the things on this earth. Be heavenly minded - not earthly minded. Don't be a friend of this world - be a friend of God. Friendship with the world is enmity with God. If we are born again, baptized and living in the light, as per this verse, the Lord says : we are dwelling in the secret place of the most high. and to such a person, He promises, that We shall be under the shadow of the almighty. Remember, when the children of Israel had gone through the wilderness on their journey, The Lord was the share - the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. This is the blessedness that the Lord desires for us too. The verse (Hos 14:7) reminds us "They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive [as] the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof [shall be] as the wine of Lebanon.".

The covenant promise of protection
(Ps 91:2) I will say of the LORD, [He is] my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
For one who has thus received the covenant of protection from the Lord, our first response is one of acknowledging Him as the Lord and saying that Lord indeed, you are my refuge and none else. The word "Fortress" means an impenetrable castle defense. Indeed when we are in Christ, the enemy cannot come into our lives and go out at will. The Lord is the stronghold and defense. Indeed, the righteous run into Him and they are safe. Oh what peace we often forfeit because we don't take our fears and insecurities to Him in the time of our need. Like the psalmist says: My soul flees as a bird unto the mountain that He is. (Ps 18:2) The LORD [is] my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, [and] my high tower. What an amazing God we serve.

The protection from the traps of the enemy and pestilence
(Ps 91:3) Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, [and] from the noisome pestilence.

Surely - Surely - Surely - He shall deliver thee. Let's get this into our hearts. If the Lord says surely - He means surely. Oh how numerous are the snares that the evil one and his evil men have laid for the beloved of the Lord ?! Yet, the Lord promises to deliver us from all of those. Psa 124:7 says: Our soul is escaped as a bird fleeing from the snare of the fowler ; The snare is broken and we are escaped. Bless the Lord - oh Ye His children. For more encouragement: Read these verses.  Ps 141:9; Job 5:19; Ps 119:110; Prov 6:5;

The complete 360 degree protection
(Ps 91:4) He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth [shall be thy] shield and buckler.
What a picture ! the Lord shall cover us. Isaiah 31:5 says: As birds flying, the Lord shall preserve Jerusalem, and deliver and preserve it in passing over it.
Let's focus on the second part - His truth is our shield and buckler. The buckler is a shield which offers a surrounding protection (or a 360 degree protection). Another version reminds us that His Faithfulness is my shield and rampart. Friends, His word, His truth and His faithfulness are what forms our spiritual armor. He shall protect and deliver us.

The constant 24/7 protection
(Ps 91:5) Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; [nor] for the arrow [that] flieth by day;(Ps 91:6) [Nor] for the pestilence [that] walketh in darkness; [nor] for the destruction [that] wasteth at noonday.

Oh the night time when the forces of evil are waxing strong and the wild beasts come forth. Yet, for us, the Lord reminds us that we are to trust Him. His command (not his suggestion or feel-good remark) is to Fear Not !! The night has no power over us. In Christ is the fountain of life and by His light, we see the light and darkness shall flee before the presence of the light. Son 3:8 gives us the value of our spiritual sword - the Word of God - in the times of terror. Because of the night, the soldier of the Lord is expected to keep his sword near to him. Indeed he shall sleep peacefully (Prov 3:24) because of the sword that is near to him. The Word gives us the offensive and defensive weapons in our spiritual war against the enemy. While the enemy tries to attack us during all the 4 watches of the 24-hour day, the Lord says : don't worry about the terror or the arrow or the pestilence or the destruction. He is indeed our defense. His eyes are on us - and He is in control 24/7.

The protection even amidst the destruction happening around
(Ps 91:7) A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; [but] it shall not come nigh thee.
When we see the mass destruction happening around the world - be not afraid. The lord says: it shall not come near to thee.

The end of the wicked
(Ps 91:8) Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
The righteous become weary in seeing the flourishing wickedness and the wicked agents. But the Lord reminds us - that we shall indeed behold the punishment of the wicked. They shall be no more. When the wicked are multiplied, sin abounds, but the righteous shall see their fall. Asaph struggled with this - When he saw the wicked flourishing, He went to the sanctuary of the Lord and understood their end destiny of condemnation, consumption and destruction.

The protection for His temple - His household
(Ps 91:9) Because thou hast made the LORD, [which is] my refuge, [even] the most High, thy habitation;(Ps 91:10) There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
Another conditional blessing. Have we made Him our dwelling place ? our habitation ? If so, NO evil shall befall you nor a plague come near your dwelling. Because, guess what, it's the Lord's dwelling. We are the household of God and we are His holy temple. Deut 33:27 reminds us :  The eternal God [is thy] refuge, and underneath [are] the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy [them].

The Supernatural protection
(Ps 91:11) For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.(Ps 91:12) They shall bear thee up in [their] hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
In the modern world of skepticism and unbelief (even among the believers), it's tough to believe in the angelic ministry. But the fact is : We all have atleast 2, probably more, angels assigned to us as we go about our day to day life. I have personally enjoyed such protection so often, amidst accidents and mishaps, when I might have been taken from the world, the Lord graciously gave back my life. I believe it was the angelic ministry. Heb 1:14 reminds us that angels are ministering spirits who are sent forth to minister to them who are heirs of salvation. (That is, they are sent forth to minister to US!) Ever seen a prince go to school ? He will be accompanied by soldiers and plain clothesmen because he is of royal blood. And remember, when we are a disciple of Christ, the royal blood of the king of kings and Lord of Lords flows through us. Yes, what further excuse do we have to fear?

Not just defensive - but offensive
(Ps 91:13) Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
Is this even real ? What an audacious promise ! Yet, it's the word of God. In the spirit or even in the physical realm, when our life demands such an action from us, the Lord shall enable us to do this. We shall tread upon the forces of darkness and we shall shake and do damage to the kingdom of darkness.

The son of man has already crushed the head of the serpent and the remaining victory is reserved for us - the church. Rom 16:20 says : The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you !

Daniel in the lions den was more powerful than the lions - because the Lord was with Him. Paul in acts 28:5 was more powerful than the viper because the royal blood was coursing through him.

The sure deliverance
(Ps 91:14) Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.(Ps 91:15) He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I [will be] with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
Friends, everything in the kingdom of God is based on the relation that we have with Jesus Christ. Because we have set our love on Jesus, therefore He shall deliver us. Simple ! Because we have known His name, He shall set us on high.
If only we call out to Him, He shall answer us !

Do Christians have trouble ? Yes, we do. Salvation is not a guarantee against troubles. But the Lord promises that He SHALL be with us in trouble. AND he shall deliver us and HE shall HONOR us ! What an awesome God !And every disciple worth his salt will proclaim that the real life changing moments were those times that they had trouble. They walked away from their troubles with great treasures of darkness. (the treasures you can't get any other way !!)

Is the hand of the Lord shortened or His ears dulled against our cries ? Never. If we yield to a broken cry to Him, He shall answer from His throne.

The Eternal promise
(Ps 91:16) With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
with eternal life (not just a long life here on earth) - in the house of God - in the constant presence of the living God - shall he satisfy us ! and he shall bring us to the fullness of His salvation. Not a promise that ends with this world, but an eternal promise that spills over into all of eternity.

My prayer for us
As we read these verses, let the words become a part of you. Let it encourage you and build you up to make you into the man or woman of God that He has destined you to be. May the Lord establish you and strengthen you and settle you into a life of abounding fruitfulness forever. May the Lord break off the yokes and burdens of fear and insecurity and inadequacy to set you free and set you apart for his purposes.

God bless you much.

PS: Personally I pray-read this psalm DAILY and I find it such a blessing and it has been the source of deliverance throughout my faith life. I'd like to encourage you also to do the same and experience the real power of the Lord and His matchless word in your lives. Bless you.

Jan 13, 2017

Pleasing God - The reason for your existence

A question that often challenges every human alive is the reason for his existence here on this earth. While this is a question that tries the hearts of every one, irrespective of their faith or the lack of it, the bible offers us the answers, should you care to accept it.
(Rev 4:11) Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

The matter is simple - we were created for the Lord’s pleasure. For the common man who drives his life always considering himself to be the center of the universe, this statement is unacceptable. There was a period many hundred years ago when Man thought that the whole universe circled the earth - but the later scientific enlightenment proved that the earth was not the center, but it circled the Sun, and later we know that the Sun itself is only a grain of sand in comparison to the breadth of the universe. When one comes to Faith in Lord Jesus, we come to a realization that life is NOT about us - it is all about Him. He becomes the center, and we are displaced from the Kingship of our heart and we lovingly, voluntarily handover the kingship of our heart to Him. Like Paul says : In Him we live and move and have our being.

This causes us to re-evaluate what success is ! One may define success as the fame gained, popularity, money, social impact, influence, positions held. But I say - The level of success of the object is whether the object has achieved the purpose for which it was created. By the same measure, the level of success of a Man is how much he has pleased God - for the purpose of mankind is to please God.

It’s not about how many years you live. The Word of God talks about a man called Enoch. At a time when his peers lived 960+ years, Enoch lived only about 365 years on this earth.
(Heb 11:5) By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. (Heb 11:6) But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is God, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

What a testimony ! I’d be very happy if at the end of my life, I hear this report from the words of our Lord that I pleased Him. That I’ve been a good and faithful servant. Nothing much is writ in the Word about Enoch - But he pleased God, so God took him! It doesn’t matter about money, positions or anything. It all fades in comparison to the testimony that the Lord says about us. We have only one life and in that life, our aim should be to please him. Consider enoch.. He was walking with God when none else knew Him. But Enoch, by faith knew that it was possible for God to walk with him as He had walked with Adam (and Adam was present during the initial part of Enoch’s life!) Amos 3:3 says you can’t walk with one, without agreeing with him. Walking together demands a relation, an obedience, a unity of purpose and direction, a pace that is common to both the people who are walking, it implies a course correction when we deviate from the course. Dear friends, this is the life of faith which is pleasing to God the Father. For us, if we don’t believe in the Son that He has sent, we cannot expect to please God. Indeed, this is the starting point of a life that is pleasing to God the father. How will you feel if someone rejects the perfect gift that you’ve handpicked for him? Jesus is the gift of the father for mankind. Many have accepted Jesus as lord and savior and possessed the eternal life that the father has desired for us. Many have rejected Christ, and thereby displeased God.

May our desire be this : we should all please him, love him more, obey him more

Jan 6, 2017

Watch And Pray

(Matt 26:36-41) Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou [wilt]. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed [is] willing, but the flesh [is] weak.

The key thought that I'd like to develop in today's meditation is the command that Jesus is giving us to Watch and to Pray. These key ministries of a believer is designed to help the church of God to live victoriously in these times. While the original context of these verses happened in the poignant occasion of Jesus being in the garden of Gethsemane, the truth of these words are timeless and very relevant for the end time church.

The word watch implies a certain watchfulness and alertness. It is essentially a military word - where one of the important stances in defense warfare is establishing a watch. The purpose of the watchtower and watchmen is for the very same reason. The lord says in the song of solomon:
(Song 7:4) Thy neck [is] as a tower of ivory; thine eyes [like] the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bathrabbim: thy nose [is] as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus.
The nose of the bride of Christ is described as an organ of discernment - it is described as a tower (a watchtower)that is on the lookout towards Damascus (i.e. the capital of the enemy - Assyria). Friends, the ministry of watching is concentrated on the attacks of the enemy. It is an alertness and a watchfulness concerning the domains that the Lord has given us - whether it be our selves, our families, the church or our nation. We are ordained as the watchmen of these domains as God calls us.

Why should we step into this ministry of Watching ?
If you don't realize it, we are in a war of a cosmic origin. We are the soldiers of Christ and it is upto us to stand guard against the wiles of the enemy. Satan and the world is coming at us (us, families, church, and nations) with a vigor and frenzy because he knows his time is short. If we watch, then the lord will anoint us with a prophetic watchman anointing and will show us the enemy attacks in time for us to pray and release the deliverance on the same. When we watch, we are becoming partners with the Lord - for He is the real watchman - He who watches over us shall neither slumber nor sleep. Watches in warfare happen in shifts. After our watch shift is over, we handover the shift to the Lord and say - Lord - our 2 hour watch is over. I can't do a 24-hour watch - Will you watch over me, and my family and my church and my nation as I get on with the other tasks for me ? The word of God reminds us "except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh [but] in vain.".

This is not a new concept in the bible. The old testament is full of references to watchmen - especially in the books of the prophets, it was a much needed parable to show the need for the spiritual watchmen. All ministers are watchmen (or they need to be). The Royal priesthood is a set of watchmen. Every father and mother is a watchman. Every teacher is a watchman. Every prayer warrior is a watchman.

(Mark 13:33) Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.

(Luke 21:36) Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

(Eph 6:18) Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

(Col 4:2) Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;

As a father, as a husband, we cannot neglect this ministry because the spiritual and physical wellbeing of our family is at stake when we are in this war! As a church, we need the combined ministry of watching and praying to align to the purposes of God and to actively resist the wiles of the devil. In the book of Nehemiah, we see that they (when oppressed by Tobias, Sanballat, etc) set a perpetual watch for them to proceed with the building of the divinely commissioned wall.
(Neh 4:9) Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.

This is a habit that takes time to develop. As the lord reminds us, the spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak.  Peter has a real issue with staying alert. He is seen to sleep in the time of the transfiguration, during the ordeal in Gethsemane, before he is shown an open door to the gentiles, even when he is in the prison. But we see him filled with the watchman anointing when in the epistles of Peter, we see him prophetically declaring the things to happen 30 years down the lane - the false teachers and false teachings and the signs of times. He was able to declare this, because he became a watchman for the church. Paul, when he writes in Acts 20, warns of things that will come to pass a few years or decades down the lane. The sage advice which is still relevant in church to this day.

I write this devotional as a burden, because we have gone into unnecessary tests and temptations because we have neglected to watch and pray. Let us watch and let us draw near to God in prayer, so that He will preserve us from the temptation!

Father, we ask you to glorify your son Jesus in us. Lord, teach us to pray and to watch for ourselves, our family and our church, as indeed you count us our brothers keepers. Help us to come to the watchmen anointing. In Jesus name we ask and pray, Amen.

Jan 1, 2017

Seek His Face - The focus for 2017

 Ps 27:8 When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.
 As we embark on a new phase of the continuous journey of Life, on this beautiful new year day, one thought resonates in my mind. I can't shake it off. The past years may have been a mixed back, and we do not know what's in store for us in the coming year. The world around, it's becoming more difficult to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ - and we can't do it on our own. We need the strength of the Holy Spirit to make it ! In such a time, the Lord is reminding me to seek His face. He is reminding all of us to seek His face.

Why seek someone who is omnipresent ? Because there are moments when his dealings seem to go to the background. There are times when God seems absent. There are times that He seemingly withdraws. When the Lord told this to David, he didn't argue with God. His "heart" said unto God - Thy face , Lord, will I seek. David was intentional in seeking the Lord's face. His appointments with the Lord was more important to him than the daily running of the country, yea even more than the food he ate. It was a relation of the heart - not a materialistic , transactional dealing with the Lord as many of us are used to. (God is not a genie or an ATM and we'd do well to remember that) David, talking about the people who ascend to Zion (the highest goal of Christian life) says "(Ps 24:6) This [is] the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob."

In (Ps 123:2) the Lord reminds us that it's the servants who always look at the hands of the lord. We who are called apart from a spirit of bondage to a spirit of adoption (whereby we call God Abba Father) are reminded to seek Him, wait for Him & Seek His face.
Behold, as the eyes of servants [look] unto the hand of their masters, [and] as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes [wait] upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.
Dears, when we look at the lord's hands, we neglect to see the expression of his face when he gives us something that we ask for. As a child of God, let's focus on His face. Let's seek Him. Let's seek His face.
(Ps 34:4-5) I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.
David - at a low point in his life - when he acted confounded before the enemy king Abimelech says - I sought the lord. Yes at a time when we are at our lowest - when we've got spittle dribbling and we're acting like a madman, comes a cry out of the very depths of our heart. Just an unspoken cry saying "Lord!!". At such a cry, the Lord stops and does what He is so good at doing. He delivers us from all our fears ! What a mighty God we serve. And David says: They looked to Him and was radiant and their faces weren't ashamed. Moses beheld the Lord for a season and his face was radiant. How much more should ours be when we see the beauty of a better covenant !

Dear child of God, may you always seek His face (not just this year or season, but always) - and may you always enjoy the radiance of His presence ...

Bless you ! Wish you a very blessed year ahead.


Dec 30, 2016

The Kingdom of the Son

 Isa 9:6-7  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.Of the increase of [his] government and peace [there shall be] no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

When the whole world is celebrating this season of Christmas, we often wonder why we are less than enthusiastic about Christmas in a time when even temples hang out the Christmas lights. Most of us are well aware of the pagan associations of celebrating christmas on Dec 25. I wouldn't like to go into that.

But we have every reason to celebrate the birth of Christ and His life, death, resurrection as well as His message for us. not just in this season - but every day!! The  The Church of God is not supposed to move and sway with the world - but the church of the living God is described as "the pillar and ground of truth" 1 tim 3:15 .. meaning, we need to be clear about The Truth. For us, remembering Christ is much more than the worldly paraphernalia. It's a constant remembrance of our beloved savior.

Unto us a child is born - a son is given (Isa 9:6) the great prophecy about 500 years before his birth .  John 3:16 says: God gave his only begotten son. The Son is given. It's a Gift. It's the best gift ! can we just praise and thank God for the most precious gift of our Lord God? the gift is so that we wouldn't perish but enjoy eternity with God the father and the Son. Also He was already a Son before being given to us.

John 1:1 says : in the beginning was the word. One of the reasons why the Lord didnt mention the dates or period regarding the birth of Christ is: He always existed with the Father. He always was - He is and he will forever BE. Prov 8:22-30 prophetically declares the truth about Jesus - Let's read those verses and enjoy a beautiful period of intimacy between the father and the son.
Prov 8:30 Then I was by him, [as] one brought up [with him]: and I was daily [his] delight, rejoicing always before him;
Can you imagine this ? Before the world ever was, here was God - fully rejoicing and in fellowship with His beloved Son. Dear friends, this is the ultimate state of Christian life - to please the Father. My hope and prayer for myself and every person reading this - is that our lives will please the father in heaven.

It's not just that the son is given - but government shall be on his shoulders - I.e. He is born to be a King. Jesus came to establish the Kingdom of God here on the earth and to choose us to become kings and priests for him. Isa 9:7 . The lord has enabled us to be part of His kingdom by His grace col 1:13 From the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His dear son. But being part of the kingdom means, we have to pay our allegiance to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
Psa 2:11-12 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish [from] the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed [are] all they that put their trust in him.
Kiss the son. when we repent of our sins & confess Jesus christ as our lord and savior, His wrath is turned away and he translates us into the kingdom of the dear son.
In the olden times, an alien or a subject of the kingdom shows allegiance to the king, He would come to the presence of the King and kiss the signet ring. For us, we have to repent of our sins, and believe in the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus for our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior (in other words, we have to kiss Him for our salvation , that the wrath of God be turned from us)

For us, when the world celebrates this season, it's time for us to remember not just the birth of Jesus, but also His life, His message, His death and His glorious second coming. The first time He came, the entire nation of Israel missed him because they didn't keep themselves reminded of the scripture promises of the messiah.

Let me illustrate this. When Jesus was born, His birth was announced to the shepherds. Soon after, after the days of mary's purification, they bring Jesus (as a baby) to the temple. Luk 2:25-30 .. The high priests were available, the pharisees, the prominent men of Israel . but to whom did God reveal the messiah ? a man  - simeon - 1) just and devout - 2) waiting for the consolation of Israel. 3) The holy ghost was upon him. and 4) it was revealed to him by the spirit of God. 5) He came by the spirit into the temple. and 6) He knew by the spirit that This couple among the hundreds there, was the Christ and His earthly parents. Similar is the case of prophetess anna  luk 2:36-38 .. most others missed him. Dear friends, if we have this devotion, we'll keep ourselves as a bride that's sanctified herself and kept herself ready for His coming.

If His first coming was humble and quiet, His second coming is going to be glorious. mat 1:21 - he shall save the people from their sins. and he has added us into His kingdom. But we need to patiently wait and posess the kingdom !!! mat 24:44 the Lord is concerned that we will not be prepared or ready. We are sometimes more excited about the past events in our christian walk - something like the world being obsessed with the date of dec 25. But we still have a long way to go till the coming of the lord or our death. the word of God challenges us - are we prepared for his coming ? Are we moving past the baby steps and pressing onto the high calling that God has for us ? Are we on the path of denying our selves, taking up the cross daily and following our Lord ? Mat 24:36-41 , Mat 24:42 (watch) ,mat 24:44 be ready !!!
Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh
 Let's pray: Father God, we thank you for your dear Son whom you gave so freely for us. We thank you for the precious salvation that you have kept for us by Faith in Jesus Christ our Lord. We pray that you will impress the truth and the real message of Christ into our hearts, so that when He appears, we'll be found in Him, and we'll be able to be with you for all eternity in the precious Kingdom. We thank you for the Hope. We love you lord and commit our lives into your hands. In Jesus name - Amen

Jan 4, 2016

A new walk with the Lord

Here's wishing you all a blessed year 2016 ahead ! 

The lord reminds us that his grace and mercies are new every morning. Another year gone, another year closer to eternity. Let's desire to walk closer to the lord, a new way pleasing to Him.

We may all be in different stages of life, in different levels of spiritual maturity, varying degrees of closely walking with the lord; Yet the lord desires that we press on towards another degree of knowing Him, obeying Him and pleasing Him. Growth is a sign of life - and a christian doesn't have the luxury of stopping His growth.

In the old testament we see the first miracle that Elisha performed - regarding the healing of the waters of Jericho.
(2Kgs 2:19-22) And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city [is] pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water [is] naught, and the ground barren. And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought [it] to him. And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren [land].So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.

Often we see that the situation of the world that we live in is pleasant - but the state beneath reveals a want, and certain barrenness and death. We may have increased in knowledge and technology, but a deeper looks reveals a moral and societal breakdown.

What did the man of God do there ? He takes a "new" cruse filled with salt, and applies it to the source of the poisonous springs - and the waters are healed and the land is cured.

Today, the lord is looking for new cruses - people like you and me - to be filled with the salt to bring about a healing of the lands we live in. The main thing we need to do is to bring about a newness in our lives. Unless we are renewed, we will continue in our old lusts and paths, and will fail in the divine commission. But if we choose this day, to be renewed, the lord promises to use us as vessels of his glory.

The lord jesus said - unless we are renewed, we cannot be vessels holding the new wine. Luk 5:37-39. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.

Remember friends, we are near to the time of the coming of the lord Jesus ! and the word of God indicates a time of world-wide revival and renewal. The church is not going to go out in a whimper but there will be a time when millions will flock to the church and the real men and women of God because we have known the lord and we have the answers. That will be preceded by a time of tremendous outpouring of the holy ghost exceeding even the pentecostal experience of the first church. But to be able to hold the new wine of the holy ghost, we the vessels have to be made new ! The lord wants us to be made like new wineskins before he can pour out his new grace and power and wine of the holy ghost into our lives. new wineskins are soft and supple - they can hold the new wine. old bottles become tough and leathery and will split and break when the new wine is poured.

For us to experience a renewal, the lord desires that the old things in us must be put out and replaced by the new grace of God.

1. Old sins and burdens -
Heb 12:1-2  let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us 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

There are old sins and thought patterns which seem to always be successful in bringing us down and defeat us. They are the sins which so easily entangles us and produces an evil fruit from us. It may be anger, it may be an unlawful relation, it may be a toxic habit or a substance abuse, alcohol or pornography. But the lord says - lay it aside. As simple as that. The responsibility is with us.

Likewise, there are burdens and weights that we carry, and it gets worse year after year. The lord says - cast your burdens on me, for I care for you. it may be a hurt that someone has caused, it may be a grief that has never passed, it may be a bitterness or a deep unforgiveness. But the lord says - throw it away this year. Beloved, we are in a race (the christian journey is always pictured as a race in the new testament) - and one who runs a race, runs with just the right amount of clothing needed. Have you seen a mountaineer pack his sack? It is to ensure that nothing hinders his progress. Let's remove those burdens and continue on our race for the lord, without letting His grace failing in our life.

2. Old traditions -
1 Pet 1:18 , Col 2:8 - they did it wrong, you are doing it wrong.

ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot

Often, we get trapped in the traditions of men - whether it be a religious tradition or a world-wide tradition. Often the traditions carry with it a source or origin of ungodly nature. (for example, the Christmas trees evolved from the worship of baal and asherah, Easter bunnies are an ancient symbol of fertility, Christmas wreaths and other decorations also springing from such tradition).

Another tradition that has trapped many a naive christian, is the unbiblical practice of child baptism. Baptism , as mentioned in the bible, is always by full immersion in water, after you have been born again and you accept and believe Jesus Christ as your lord and saviour, after your repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But the traditions of men have caused many to be baptized as an infant, deceiving millions to think they're going to heaven when they are not.

What are the traditions that are binding you dear friend? in the new year, decide to put off those and walk as it is mentioned in the bible.

3. New shoes for a new walk -
Luk 15:21-22 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet'

The prodigal son had gone far from the father's house, distanced himself from the father who loved him, and walked the continuously declining path of sin. He finds himself amidst abject poverty and craves for the filth that pigs eat (and as you know , pigs eat anything - even the stuff found amidst human refuse). At that low point in his life, he comes to his senses and begins his walk back home, wishing to be just accepted to the old household as a servant.

As the loving father of the parable sees the wayward son trudging home, unsure of his acceptance, the father throws his exalted bearing to the winds and runs towards his son and throws himself on the neck and hugs and kisses him. And at the first admission of the son's guilt and sign of genuine repentance, the father gives him 3 gifts.
1) a robe - the imputed righteousness of God - a reminder that he is accepted back into the beloved
2) a ring - a sign of authority and a power of attorney - acknowledging him as a business partner of maturity
3) new sandals - I want to dwell a moment on these new sandals. The prodigal had gone far into the dirty and filthy walks of life. His walk was tainted by sin and immorality. now that he is restored to the father, the Father wants him to walk in newness of life (Rom6:4). Not the old paths friend; You'll again dirty your shoes. But the new paths - avoiding the old paths of sin.

i pray that we'll walk a new path, dear friend. Life is all too short and precious to waste in testing the patience and long-suffering of God in rebelliously continuing the paths of sin.

4. a release from the old man -
Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin

This is the time that we need to realize that the lord has kept a huge treasure inside of us. When we are born again, God himself comes and lives inside of us. To release the God-life into our daily experience, we need to experience the death of the old man and the self-life. The bible says - except a corn of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a seed. if it dies, it produces the fruit.  John 12:24

One of the great truths of the gospel is the commandment of water baptism. through it, we walk in newness of life -
Rom 6:4. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 

The process starts at our baptism, and follows every day as we deny our 'self' take up the cross and follow Jesus our lord. As we start off on our christian journey, our 'old man' is significantly stronger than our 'new man'. This power balance is the key to a victorious christian life. As we dig the word of God, understand it, and obey it, as we pray to the lord, as we speak in tongues and edify the inner man, as we walk in the light, as we quickly confess and turn from sin, as we are filled with the love for our lord, our inner man grows stronger. As we deny the older man the former lusts in which he walked, as we resist and mortify the sin by the spirit of God, our older man becomes weaker. And we realize that we're now able to walk in victory as the lord gives us grace.

The lord promises to give us a new heart and a new spirit (Ez 36:26-27) and when we walk thus, the new covenant becomes a reality in our lives. And as we present our bodies as living sacrifice, we are renewed in our minds and we will prove the perfect will of God. Rom 12:1-2
ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God

Beloved friend, in summary, flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. We are being prepared for a new eternity, in new heavens and new earth to be in new Jerusalem with our heavenly bridegroom. And only a renewed person can thus be in the eternity with God. And only a renewed person can become a plate to hold the salt to purify the waters of impurity. (2Ki 2:20)

For all the weaknesses and hindrances that we have in our lives, can we take a step forward and say - Lord , we are yours. Help us to be renewed in the inner man. Lead us by your spirit. Preserve us from sin and evil - till we are with you in Eternity. In Jesus name, amen. 

Nov 27, 2015

Flee from these sins

We are in a war where the lord expects us to fight the world, the Satan, the flesh and the self inside us. Yet, there are some situations we have to flee from, according to the bible.

In the word of God, the lord asks us to wage a good warfare (1 Tim 1:18), he expects us to fight as steady battle, for a christian (one who is born again, and baptized to Christ) is in the midst of a waging war which started eons ago. We have been given the blessed weapons of warfare (Eph 6:10-18) which are strong and mighty (2 Cor 10:4), being spiritual weapons, not carnal. You see, the battle being a spiritual one can't be fought with worldly wisdom. The church is in the process of being formed, cleansed and prepared as a bride without spot or blemish for the mighty King of Kings and Lord of lords, our lord and savior Jesus Christ. (Eph 5:26-27) The church is aware (mostly) of the spiritual weapons and the power of the word of God, but in today's devotion, I hope to share what I found to be an extremely useful spiritual warfare tactic.

In my pre-conversion days, When I used to play Quake III (a multiplayer shooter game) with my friends, one of the consistent top scorers was not the most aggressive fighters who shot up everything on his path; Rather he was a person who was an expert runner. He used to avoid getting killed in the deathmatches, and used to pile up decent scores. He'll flee from the areas of danger and get his kills by stealth.

Fleeing from danger is an excellent warfare tactic. A good general is one who knows when to advance his troops and also when to retreat.

We are in no means required to flee from the devil , for the word of god says in Jas 4:7 Submit to God, resist the devil, he will flee from you. Once we are submitted to the lord Jesus, that submission gives us an authority, by which if we resist the devil (in the name of Jesus christ), he will have to flee from us.

But there are conditions which the word asks us to flee from. There is an element in us which wants us to sin and be enticed by what satan, the world offers. The flesh . Rom 7:19,23-24  God wants us to be able to stand in full fellowship with him and boldly before him always. The world, devil and flesh are planning to keep traps before us to entice us into sin, and thereby lose the precious favor of our lord - so run fast from them.

When we sin, we hide like Adam, hiding, afraid of coming into God's presence. So God advises us to flee from the following situations which are traps that the evil one lays for us. The bible says, Jas 1:13-14 we are enticed by our own lusts. The devil has a history of our past failures which his agents have reported. He knows what are our pet sins, he knows what has trapped us in the past, and unless we are careful he knows we'll fall again. The lord Jesus allows us to be tested and proved, so that we can finally emerge as victorious overcomers who are victorious over the world, the flesh and the devil. remember, the lord has broken the snare of the fowler and given us grace (Tit 2:11-13  ) power to lead godly lives and not submit to these unclean sins.

What are some of these situations or things we have to flee from ?

1) Flee fornication 1 Cor 6:18-20 

Fornication is a big word. And it represents a lot of the evil world that we live in today. The literal meaning of the word is sexual immorality - and it covers an entire gamut of sins ranging from adultery , illicit sex, incest, bestiality, lesbian/gay sex, right down to the lusting and the sins of the mind by which we desire unclean sexual experiences. Remember, Jesus says - he that looks at a woman to lust has already committed adultery with her (Mat 5:28). God is not to be mocked. And if you are still wondering , it includes pornography as well. (the greek word for fornication in this verse is πορνεία/Porneia and it is the root word for pornography). Yes, all these are habits and sins which are drawing billions away from the lord - and the world is really full of people and systems which encourage us into this lifestyle. It zaps a believer of all his spiritual vitality and the presence and favour of the lord is lost immediately and forever unless we repent and come back!)

The bible says - these are sins that destroy your body and your soul (1 Cor 6:18). We are designed to be the temples (dwelling place) of the most holy God. We are brought for a price (1 Cor 6:20) and that price was the blood of Jesus Christ ! what a costly transaction ! When we are purchased, we lose all our rights to "do our own thing". have you ever purchased a chicken to have it refuse to be roasted when you came home? Lets yield to the spirit of God and repent if we have not guarded ourselves. 

2) Flee Idolatry 1 Cor 10:14  

This is a sin that the lord hates from all of the old testament. How can man replace the glory of the one true living God and turn to idols (Rom 1:21-26) ? and yet, I believe almost all of us have fallen prey to this sin at some point. If there are idols in our life, let's confess and forsake and burn the idols, repent and turn to accept jesus as our only lord and saviour.

Moses was away in the mount receiving the law - Ex 32:1 - and he was delayed in coming down. 40 days in the presence of God away from the children of Israel. Time delays can bring out idols in us,especially when the lord seems to be absent (they didnt ask aaron when moses was around). Ex 32:4-6,8 . Idols are your own inventions in the times of testing - Psa 106:36-40

What is an idol? - Anything that you consider more important than god, anything you substitute instead of god - can be your self, intelligence, money, job, relatives. Experiencing the cross of Jesus is denying all these and following christ daily (Luk 9:23 ). i pray that we all have a deep cleansing period of cleansing our lives of ALL idols that make it polluted.

3) Flee love of money 1 Tim 6:9-11 

Jesus says - no man can serve two masters (Mat 6:24) - God and mammon are the two masters. We have to choose who is our master. It's either God or mammon. (mammon = money). Money is a very good slave - but a terrible master. Money is good to consume for god-appointed purposes, but it's a sad day when you take decisions based on the finance involved there. (example: if you are getting 2 job offers, dont blindly take the one with the higher pay. Ask god His will. )

The rich fall into all sorts of temptations and snares and they are drawn to lusts and drown in destruction and judgment. It's difficult to extract them from those. (1 Tim 6:9). the word of god says - money is the root of ALL evil. Some , desiring more money and chasing after it, have coveted, they have strayed from the simple faith in christ, and have pierced themselves with many sorrows. (1 Tim 6:10). So paul commands timothy to stay away from this risk and to flee from this love of money and pursue the eternal things (righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness (1 Tim 6:11)

today, let's remember the wise verse from the same chapter - 1 Tim 6:6 - Godliness with contentment is great gain - let's be content with food and clothing !

4) Flee youthful lusts 2 Tim 2:22 

How do I define a youthful lust ? apart from the sexual sins listed above, it's a desire for thrill, sensation, power, sensuality, admiration, ego-trips, typically seen in younger people. It may manifest in strange ways - may be the desire to travel at the top speed of a car, seeking adventures (even in mission trips), desiring a lot of fans, desiring to be the most admired, a desire to see the world with wanderlust, a desire to travel business class, a desire to have many cars, a desire to have nubile girlfriends, a desire to look and feel younger, etc.

This warning comes to us because it is even possible for old men to fall prey to this temptation. Timothy must have been a serving elder in the church for many years (about 35-40 years of age) when he got this letter from Paul. It was possible for him also to fall prey to these - else Paul wouldn't have warned him.

Today, shall we allow the lord to inspect our hearts and cleanse any such lust that may pave way to greater sins and issues in our life

These are some of the top sins and conditions to watch for if we are to please God. These are the sins with which satan tempts even the elect men of God. Rev 21:7 God wants us to be victorious over every wile of the devil so that he can give us our inheritance.

How can we do this ? we have victory in the blood of Jesus. the word says - 1 Cor 10:13 we will not be tempted beyond our ability and the lord will make the way of escape. 1 Cor 15:57 says we have victory through Jesus Christ.

May god keep us pure and holy in these days. Jude 1:20-21 says - build yourself up in your holy faith, praying in the spirit, keep yourself in the love of god ! Mat 24:13  says - He that shall endure even unto death, the same shall be saved.

Dear friend, as we read the above, I would urge you to look back into your life remembering the pits where you have fallen. The patience of the lord causes him to want us to repent (2 Pet 3:9) - I would urge you to repent of the past sins and failures (1 John 1:7-9), and receive the cleansing from the blood of Jesus when you confess those sins to Him (not to a priest!). Decide this day, to walk a new walk , one where you consecrate yourself to Him, and decide to please Him and not your self.

God bless you !