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Financial Blessings, Your Spiritual Heritage in Christ Jesus

I am excited to put to pen this timely message which I preached on at the beginning of this week.  Why the excitement?  For a significant period of time, I have desired to teach on this subject, but I did not know when the opportunity would avail itself.  I trust that this is the appointed time of God.  Am I a financial guru with answers to all your financial problems and a road map to you becoming wealthy?  Not at all.  I am only a teacher of God’s Word who has sat at His feet to learn some truths regarding this subject.  I may not have all the solutions but at the very minimum, I am grateful to have liberating wisdom on finances from God’s word.

I will start by demystifying a few issues about money in relation to our faith in Jesus Christ.  Firstly, what is the meaning of blessings?  It is common to human beings to sometimes take words for granted.  One of the common words in the Bible and which Christians use a lot in their conversations is the word “bless”.  We see this word used by God in His conversation with Abram in Genesis 12:1-2.  This portion of scripture states, “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”  Five times, the word bless is used in this portion of scripture.  The Hebrew word which is translated to the word “bless” means the “Lord’s favor”.  This means that God was committing to place His favor on Abram, which would affect every aspect of his life, both spiritual and physical.

How does a financially blessed person look like?  2nd Corinthians 9:8 & 10 helps us to understand how a financially blessed person looks like.  It states, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. … Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.”  A financially blessed person evidently manifests God’s grace with regard to financial blessings.  Such a person has all that they need (not all that they want) in order to abide in every good work.  Their store of seed is ever-increasing, and their harvest of righteousness is enlarged.

It is important to understand that God does not delight in material poverty.  Some people are disturbed when believers, irrespective of their titles and vocations, exhibit unusually great wealth.  Understandably, many of us have few models of believers walking in fuller measures of the Lord’s favor with regards to financial blessings, and so it is easy to think that God has no capacity to make rich.  Such misplaced perceptions of God are not only contrary to Scriptures but will also distort your capacity to receive God’s grace with respect to financial blessings.  Sadly, I have also come across believers who have idolized poverty and consider the poor to be godlier than the rich.  Such believers have an inherent suspicion for the rich perhaps because they connect certain levels of wealth to ungodly practices such as witchcraft, corruption, cultism among others. Such believers do not have a holistic revelation of the God whom they serve.  God is the source of all things, and He is neither constrained of spiritual nor material blessings for His children.

The Word of God expressly indicates that Jesus went to the Cross to liberate you and I from both spiritual and material poverty.   2nd Corinthians 8:9 states, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”  The only poverty that is encouraged in scripture is being poor in spirit, which means brokenness and dependency on God.  Matthew 5:3 states, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of God”.  King David had a revelation of the All-Sufficient God, Jehovah Rohi, the Lord my Shephard.  It is based on this revelation that he wrote Psalms 23 in first persona.  Every verse in that chapter is an expression of how David had experienced Jehovah Rohi.  It was a testimony of his life.  The Lord has not changed.  The fact that you have not experienced certain aspects of Psalms 23 in your life does not mean that God is incapable.  It simply means that you need to tap into that grace that is available for you, child of God.  God told the prophet Jeremiah that “He is watching over His word to perform it,” (Jeremiah 1:12).  The truth is that for many of us, God is waiting on us to come boldly into His throne to receive grace for financial blessings.

I wish to also clarify that God is not impressed by wealth.  Wealth doesn’t make you more of a son than those who lack it.  What made God to call Abraham His friend?  What made God to boast about Job to the devil?  Was it their wealth?  Not at all.  On the contrary, God boasted about Abraham and Job because of their relationship with Him.  Wealth was a byproduct of their walk with the Lord.  Wealth is the “all other things will be added to you” according to Matthew 6:33. In fact, in Isaiah 41:8, God calls us “descendants of Abraham my friend”.  Whereas we are descendants of Abraham by faith, we must remember that our relationship with God must be founded on friendship.  Nothing else can substitute your relationship with God, and when you try to, you will evidently manifest absence of grace, for apart from God you do nothing (John 15:5).

Descendants of Abraham are partakers of God’s blessings as covenanted with Abraham.  Galatians 3:14 states, “He (Jesus Christ) redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.  Who are Abraham’s descendants?  Those who have accepted the Lordship of Jesus Christ and have been reconciled to God by faith. Believers are Abraham’s seed.  Galatians 3:26-29 states, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who are baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”  The apostle Paul considered it important to make us understand in this portion of Scripture that the Abrahamic covenant promises are available to all who are in Christ Jesus irrespective of their current titles, situations, ethnicity and races.

Lastly, I wish to clarify on the ultimate purpose of financial blessings.  What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “financial blessings?”  Some think of personal happiness and comforts, whereas others think of vast estates, palatial homes and state of the art cars.  Whereas there is nothing wrong with these thoughts, it is valuable to know God’s heart with regard to Him lavishing financial blessings on us.  God’s purpose goes far and beyond your personal happiness and comfort, as well as exceeds your family’s financial security.  His heart is expressed in Genesis 12:1-2 as He pronounces blessings to Abram, “I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. … and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”  The impact of financial blessings was never meant to stop with us and our immediate family members.  We are blessed to be a blessing.  We are blessed to build the Body of Christ and to advance the Kingdom of God.

It is pitiable to see a follower of Jesus Christ operating under a hoarding, greedy spirit because this is not a spirit of God’s Kingdom.  It contradicts the heart and mind of God.  It violates God’s commands.  A person who amasses wealth only for his/her enjoyment, is poor towards God, and is likened to a rich fool as per Jesus’ parable in Luke 12:13-21.  Verse 15 of this portion of Scripture warns us, “Watch out, be on the guard against all kinds of greed: a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possession.”

It is encouraging that God’s promise to Abram did not stop with “I will bless you.”  He went further to articulate the perfect will of His blessings upon us: “you will be a blessing. … the people of the earth will be blessed through you.”  Don’t see yourself as a never-filling reservoir of water.  See yourself as a freshwater lake, with a divine tributary and many distributaries.  I was privileged to visit the hopeful nation of South Sudan a few weeks ago, and I saw the majestic White Nile which is a perennial river whose source is Lake Victoria.  Whereas South Sudan is a sparsely populated country, the regions along the White Nile are densely populated.  Thanks to the life-giving waters of the Nile.  I took a moment to reflect on the Lake where the river flows from, which is partly found in my country Kenya, and I was grateful that the waters not only serve the countries where the lake is found but also go out to serve people who are thousands of kilometers away.   I pray that I will be a life-giving lake, such that the blessings of God upon my life will bring impact on people who are in distant nations and continents.

Will your resources leave footprints of the Gospel in your village, neighbourhood, county, country and the nations of the earth?  The nations are ready for evangelization. The harvest is ripe!  When your eyes are set on fulfilling the Great Commission, then you shall pray for millions of dollars, and when they are placed into your hands, you will be faithful to channel the resources to the course of Christ.  God is counting on all His children, the young, middle-aged and advanced in age, to fulfill the Great Commission.  We all have an opportunity to be a blessing!  Whereas spiritual leaders (like Moses the Israelite) have God’s wisdom for divine strategy to repossess territories for Jesus and special grace for intercession, the Joshuas have the grace and faith to prevail by the sword in the battlefield.  At Rephidim, when the Amalekites attacked the Israelites, in Exodus 17:8-13, Moses commanded Joshua to mobilise men to fight the Amalekites.  Moses went to the hilltop with Aaron and Hur to intercede for the armies of Israel, led by Joshua.  Exodus 17:13 states, “So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.”  As God leads us into our workplaces, gives us opportunities to mingle with communities and to travel to far destinations, we must never forget that we carry Joshua’s mantle, to slay the enemies of God by the sword of God’s Word.  This entails battle.  The victory is assured.

I trust that now we have settled in our hearts and minds the fact that God is willing and able to bless His children financially.  So why do followers of Jesus Christ suffer financial difficulty?

  • Satan’s attack/ retaliation against a believer’s finances- Such a believer is considered to suffer for obedience, according to 1 Peter 2:19-21 which states, “It is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”  Job suffered Satan’s attack.  Please note that God allows such attacks, like in the case of Job.  To think otherwise, would be to imply that God is not in control of your life, which contradicts Scripture.  Therefore, take courage in knowing that you are not forsaken.  Amidst suffering for obedience, you are not alone.  The writer of James urges those who suffer for obedience to patiently wait on the Lord’s deliverance and restoration, remember His faithfulness and stand firm in the assurance of His victory (James 5:10-11).
  • Trial by God- James 1:12 states, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”  God tested the Israelites while they were in the wilderness to know their hearts.  Often, before being ushered into a new dimension of glory in a specific aspect of our lives, we go through trial that builds our spiritual capacity for the next level.  What is expected of us when God tests us with regard to our finances?  We are to persevere under trial and to remember His Faithfulness, that He does not allow us to be tested beyond what we can bear.  We are to rest in His grace that is able to carry us through victoriously.
  • Lack of stewardship and financial prudence
  • Sin- It often leads to financial limitations/ curses from one generation to another, unless it is broken. Such financial limitation/ oppression/ curse is referred to as “suffering for disobedience” in the epistle of James.  Through worldly pursuits for financial success, many have built broken cisterns which cannot hold water (Jeremiah 2:13).  Some, for example, have used inaccurate weights and misleading proposals to earn dishonest gain, contrary to Deuteronomy 25:15.  Sin defiles your land, properties, money, among other possessions.  Leviticus 18:24-25 states, “Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled.  Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants.”  Sin provides Satan with an “entry point”, which basically means a foot hold for the devil to have a legal claim over your finances.  An example in the New Testament of believers who opened a doorway for the devil to come into their hearts and fill them with a lying spirit is Ananias and Saphira (Acts 5:1-11).

Undoubtedly, there are many followers of Jesus Christ who are living under financial limitations/ oppressions due to sin.  How do you know that the devil has a claim over your finances? As you prayerfully look through this aspect of your life, you will notice unexplainable limitations, unusual struggles and losses.  Is this God’s will for you?  Not at all.  It deeply grieves God that His children are not living in the freedom that Jesus Christ died for.  The good news is that Jesus is willing and able to heal your finances (Luke 6:17-19).  God expects you to take an active role in appropriating the work of the Cross in your life.  Galatians 5:1 states, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. ” This is a powerful portion of Scripture, and I pray that it will be revealed to you in the fullness of its Truth.  Jesus has set you free so that you may enjoy freedom.  What is required of you to enjoy your freedom in Christ Jesus?  You are to stand (active verb and not a passive position) and do not let (active verb- keep on the watch/ alert) yourself fall back into the yoke of slavery (guard yourself against sin).

It is my prayer that financial limitations/ oppressions end with you, as far as your lineage is concerned.  I wish to share the following practical actions which a believer should take to break financial curses/ limitations/ oppressions in their lives and in their lineage:

  1. Become restless, bearing a humble attitude.
    Esau was distressed when he realised that his brother Jacob had taken his blessings.  His Father Isaac pronounced something profound that revealed that he would continue to suffer for giving away his birthright until the day he would become restless.  Genesis 27:40 states, “You will live by the sword and you will serve your brother. But when you grow restless, you will throw his yoke from off your neck.”  When you become restless, fed up with your current situation, you will break the yoke upon your finances.  This restlessness must be exercised with a humble attitude because God gives grace to the humble (James 4:6-7).  Often, it is difficult to acknowledge that you need healing in a particular aspect of your life without humility.  Without humility, God’s grace is constrained to flow and meet you at that point of need.
  2. Repent, preferably through an extended time of prayer and fasting, as the Spirit guides.
    2 Chronicles 7:14 states, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  This portion of Scripture sets out the pattern for us to receive healing, not only in our land but also in our personal lives (the inhabitants of the land).  1 John 1:9 assures us of God’s forgiveness whenever we repent.  Also, the importance of fasting with regard to loosing chains of injustice, untying cords of the yoke, setting the oppressed free and breaking every yoke is emphasised in Isaiah 58:6.
  3. Restitution of committed financial wrongs/ sin
    As you pray and repent, God may reveal to you financial wrongs that you not only need to repent of, but also to take specific action to correct/ remedy the wrongs.   For example, you may have inherited/ bought grabbed land; buried paraphernalia in properties before you were born again; bought properties using corruption money, among other ills.  For some of us, God will require that you follow the way of Zacchaeus and repay your wrongs. Luke 19:8-9 states, “But Zaccheus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look Lord! Here and now I give half of my possession to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today, salvation has come to this house ….””
  4. Bind every work of darkness working against your finances and loose the manifestation of God’s promises upon your life Matthew 18:18 states, “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”  Exercise your spiritual authority in Christ Jesus.  Beware of spiritual realities, that the earth hears; the clouds and the heavens hear; the crops in your farm hear; thus speak in faith and in authority. Destroy what you do not want to see and create what you desire to see with regard to your finances.  Matthew 16:19 states, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
  5. Tithing and giving
    You cannot purport to be praying for liberty on one side, and on the other side you are robbing God by not tithing.  Malachi 3:6-12 is very elaborate on this matter.  Lack of tithing will cause you to operate under a financial curse.  Tithing gives you access to the promises of God in Malachi 3:10-12 which states, “God will open the flood gates of heaven and pour blessing that you will not have room enough for it; he will prevent pests from devouring your crops; your vines will bring forth fruit in season; the nations will call you blessed; and your land will be delightful.”  On the other hand, giving is an act of obedience that accompanies your confession of faith in Christ Jesus (2nd Corinthians 9:13). Obedience disables the devil such that he cannot have any claim over your finances.  God requires that we give cheerfully, not from what we do not have, but from what we have (2nd Corinthians 9:7).  God blesses those who have concern for the poor.  Psalms 41:1 states, “Blessed is he who has regard regard for the weak; the Lord delivers him in times of trouble. The Lord will protect him in times of trouble. The Lord will protect him and preserve his life, he will bless him in the land and not surrender him to the desire of his foes.”
  6. Activate your faith with regards to finances and tap into Abraham’s covenantal promises that are yours in Christ Jesus Many believers struggle to understand spiritual realities in their day-to-day life, which they like to call “secular”.  Finances, for example, are considered secular and so they are to be handled the worldly way, whereas disciplines like prayer are considered “spiritual” and are to be practiced as prescribed in the Bible.  You need faith to access the grace of God with regard to finances just the same way you need faith to become born again and nurture your relationship with Him.  Galatians 3:5-9 states, “So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? So also Abraham “believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Understand then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.”  If you want to tap into and live out the Abrahamic promises, you must live by faith (Galatians 3:11b), not by sight or fear.
  7. Receive the yoke-breaking anointing that is available for you in Christ Jesus.  Isaiah 10:27 states, “In that day their burden will be lifted from your shoulders, their yoke from your neck; the yoke will be broken because you have grown so fat”.  The NKJV states, “the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing.”  The anointing, Blessed Holy Spirit, breaks yokes.  Sometimes, God will provide opportunity for your pastor/ elder or a servant of God to pray for you, and pour oil upon you as a contact point for the Holy Spirit.  When the disciples were sent out by Jesus to preach the Gospel, “they cast out demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them,” (Mark 6:13).  James 5:14 states, “Is anyone among you sick?  Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”
  8. Be a worshipper; unreservedly offer your praise to God-  Praise is a great spiritual weapon that keeps the devil at bay from your finances. It inflicts vengeance; it punishes people; binds kings with fetters and binds nobles with shackles on your behalf (Psalms 149:7-9).  Whatever season you go through, pray that you never lose your praise. James Goll states, “Praise enables you to hold your faith shield steady.”
  9. Live in obedience to the revelation of God’s Word which you have received
    As earlier stated, living a righteous life ensures that Satan has no claim over your finances.  James Goll adds, “Godly character is one of the highest weapons of spiritual warfare.”   Romans 16:19-20 states, “Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you, but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”  I pray that by the grace of God, you will love God’s commands and remain committed to obeying them.

Take some time to pray as follows:
• Plead the Blood of Jesus upon yourself and your finances. His Blood speaks of mercy (Rev 12:11- they overcame the devil by the Blood of the Lamb); Hebrews 12:24- the sprinkled blood promises/ speaks much better things than does the blood of Abel.  Repent specifically; ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the sins that you need to repent about.

• Speak the promises and favor of God upon you and your finances- This is the Word of your testimony, that overcomes the devil (Revelation 12:11).

• Rededicate your life to God and confess that Jesus is your utmost need and desire (Revelation 12:11- they did not love their lives even unto death).

• Welcome the Lord to be enthroned in your finances and seek His empowerment to make wealth. Seek for His grace to walk in divine provision and fruitfulness.

• Align yourself to God’s purposes for your life. Alignment to God’s will is important in receiving God’s blessings. Stop chasing money; start seeking to be at the center of God’s will.

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Love That Surpasses Knowledge

Easter is a time to celebrate our victory in Christ Jesus which was achieved through Christ’s death and resurrection.  The Easter story is a love story, vividly demonstrating God’s love for mankind.  He unreservedly gave His best, for our redemption.   We were not deserving, and He did not have to redeem us, but He chose to.  Indeed, by this we know unconditional love.

When the year 2023 was about to start, I found myself meditating more frequently about God’s Love and His command to love Him with all of my heart, strength and might and to love others as I love myself. Over the years, in my walk with the Lord, I have learnt that one of the ways God speaks to us is through impressing a message in our spirit, and consequently we tend to meditate on such a message more often within a set period of time. The appointed time could be a few days, weeks, months and sometimes years. The message of Love has lingered in my spirit for about four months now, and the more I stay on the message in prayerful reading of His Word and meditation, I have not only learnt/ re-learnt the way of love but have also been convicted and transformed to be more of what He wants me to be- A lover of God and a lover of His people!  Glory to His Holy Name.

On April 6th, I was awakened unusually earlier and so had more than the usual time for quiet time. I am currently reading the book of Ephesians and so when I started out Ephesians 3, my spirit leaped when I got to verse 16 to 19. I read and re-read, meditated, and read some more. Such moments almost always result to a time of prayer when I talk with God about what He is talking to me about.

As I took a three hour bus drive from Hakodate to Tomakomai, in Japan, I meditated on this Treasure of God’s Word that I had found that morning. Please note that I have read Paul’s letter to the Ephesians many times, and I consider it among my favorite of Paul’s letters. This is the beauty of God’s Word: there are so many gems and treasures therein, we can never exhaust uncovering them.

Paul makes several profound prayers for the Church in Ephesus. Ephesians 3:16-19 is one of those profound prayers.

Ephesians 3:16‭-‬19 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Paul starts off the prayer by reminding us that God is the source of glorious riches, and it is out of that abundance, that He is willing and able to strengthen our inner man with power, through the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16).  Sadly, many believers today are power-hungry but not agape-love-hungry. The result is abuse of power, pride, rebellion, manipulation and extortion. Power for the sake of power is not what God has called the believer to. God’s power is His divine enablement upon mankind for fulfillment of His purposes, and not for attainment of personal ambitions and self gratification. I suppose that such a misdirected desire for power causes us to be untrustworthy before God, thus God cannot entrust us with the power that we seek, for the preservation of our souls.

Before Jesus’ crucifixion, He encouraged His disciples that it was for their good that He was to go away, so that the Spirit of God may come. When the Spirit comes, we receive power to confess Jesus Christ as Lord (1 Corinthians 12:3) and to dwell in Him even as He dwells in us (Ephesians 3:17). Our spirit testifies with His Spirit that we are children of God, and we can confidently call Him Abba Father!- Romans 8:15-16.

Secondly, when the Spirit comes, He pours agape love into our hearts (Romans 5:5) such that we are able to love God with all of our hearts, mind and strength, and to love our neighbour as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40).  The source of agape love is God.  He is love (1 John 4:8).  It is therefore effort in futility to strive to live a life the exhibits agape love, without having been restored to relationship with God (1 John 4:10-11).

Please be reminded that love is a fruit of the Spirit. Every time we depart for the way of the Spirit, or we fall out of step with the Spirit, we compromise our capacity to love God and to love fellow man as ourselves.  Are you struggling in your love for God and your love for fellow man?  Perhaps you have left the way of the Spirit.  Repent, and be restored in your love for God and fellow man.  In this season of Easter, pray that the Lord will renew your love for Him and for fellow man.

I believe that God’s cry for the Church today is for us to restored to love, and to be rooted and established in love.  Why has the hunger for the Word of God died out in many believers’ lives?  Where did the thirst for prayer go that we hardly make time for personal and corporate prayer?  Why is it so difficult for believers excelling in a specific grace to join together and do the work of ministry without strive, factions, dissension and mistrust arising?  Why are minimally witnessing the “love-in-deed” in believers’ lives, which is contrary to the early Church (Acts 2:42-46), such that the rich did not have too much and the poor did not have too little?  Why is attending fellowships for many believers a struggle?

Am I being too hard on believers?  Forgive me if you feel that I am.  Perhaps, the discomfort may be a good indicator that we have left the path of love.  The Church (believers; you and I) has been busy pursuing many things.  Perhaps, before we embark on the next project or set up the next crusade, or we gather for the next gathering, we need to pray that the Lord will restore us individually and corporately to love.  Love was the foundation of the early Church and no wonder we see admirable consistency of God’s working from Acts 2 (the Day of Pentecost), all the way through the book, to the last chapter.

It is love that held the Church together despite differences in personality, social status, cultural and racial backgrounds, tastes and preferences, among others.  It is love that motivated them to do ministry (not self-ambition).  It is love that enabled them to endure, and to pay the high cost of being found at the center of God’s will.  It is love that made them leave their comforts to preach the Gospel.  It is love that glued them together, despite their individual uniqueness.  It was love that made them an effective witness of Jesus Christ.  It was their undivided love for God that caused them to remain grounded, as the Lord lifted them up from one glory to another, confirming their message with signs, miracles and wonders.

Teachings on the foundational truth of Love have been rare in our times.  Yet God is calling us back to this foundational truth, which needs to be our “True North” in all that we do.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.

God desires that we be rooted and established in love. What does this mean?  A believer’s life should be such that he/she is inseparable with love.  All that he/she says, does, thinks and desires should be directed and motivated by love.  Just like plants ooze out the sap, believers should ooze out agape love.  How are they to do so?  By remaining connected to the Chief Cornerstone, for He is the Fountain of Love.

Paul makes this prayer for individual believers as well as the Body of Christ (together with all Lord’s holy people).  Lord I pray that you will restore me to loving you with all that is within me, and to loving my neighbour as I love my self.  Lord, restore us as the Body of Christ in the Nation of Kenya and the Nations of the world to love you with all that is within us, and to love our neighbours as we love ourselves.  I repent for where we have not exhibited your love and I pray that many will know your love through us.

Lord, reveal to us once again the nature of your love.  It’s depths, breadth and height are beyond measure (Ephesians 3:18).  I pray that this revelation will cause me to lay down my life for fellow man, just like Christ lay His life for me.  The Agape love, unlike knowledge which puffs up, is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, does not dishonor, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, does not keep a record of wrong, does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, protects, trusts, hopes and preserves (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).  Indeed, that love surpasses knowledge.

I pray that as we realign our lives back to the foundational truth of Love, that you will fill us to the measure of all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19).  Lord, fill us up this Easter.  May our cups overflow with your Love!

 

 

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Man of Sorrows Bore Your Suffering!

Times and seasons belong to the Lord.  King Solomon’s wisdom guides us that there is a time to weep and a time to laugh; there is a time to mourn and a time to dance; a time of war and a time for peace (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).  Undoubtedly, this season for many people and nations has entailed weeping, mourning and varied sufferings brought about by tough economic conditions, family members suffering from chronic sicknesses, wars, among others.  In the midst of the turbulent times, we must not forget that God’s love and faithfulness are unchanging towards us.

It is God’s unrelenting, unconditional love that caused Him to give His One and Only Son Jesus Christ, for the redemption of mankind (John 3:16).  From what were we being redeemed?  Separation from God that hindered abiding fellowship. Eternal condemnation to destruction.  A life of bondage under the curse of the law. Sorrows, shame and pain.  Spiritual death that blinds and deafens.  The penalty of sin was paid for you and I, so that we may have eternal life- abiding fellowship with the Father, in this life and in the life to come.

John 17:3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

In this Good Friday, let us draw our encouragement and strength from what Christ accomplished for us through His life, death and resurrection.  Prophet Isaiah helps us understand what Christ’s life and crucifixion entailed.  The prophet vividly describes the Messiah, not as a King adorned in royal robes and crown, but as One lacking beauty and majesty; despised and rejected; a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering.

Isaiah 53:2-3 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground.  He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.  He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.  Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Jesus knows what it is like to be in a room and to be ignored or sidelined by many who judge by physical appearance.  Jesus knows the shame of being despised and the pain or being rejected by men.  He understands so well the agony of betrayal and the grief of unjust killings.  No wonder His promise in sending us a Comforter, the Blessed Holy Spirit.  Although He is the Great High Priest, He sympathizes with our situations and lives to make intercession for us before the Father.

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet was without sin.

At the Cross, Jesus took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows.  He knows the pain of being at the center of God’s will and yet being judged by men as being under the punishment of God, because of the gruesome sufferings that have befallen you.  He knows the traumatic pain of physical torture.  He identifies with the wounded and the sick.

Isaiah 53:4-6 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. … and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

It is most humbling to know that Jesus Christ was not under coercion as He bore our pain and sorrows.  Not at all!  He chose to suffer and die for you and I.  He chose not to open His mouth when falsely accused.  He was silent, and was led like a lamb to the slaughter, yet He had the power to call down the Hosts of Heaven for His rescue.  As He bore the grief, pain and shame, He had you and I in mind.  His love for you and I emboldened Him to endure the cup of suffering.

There are many things happening within and without our lives.  Jesus paid the price so that you will not have to bear life’s burdens on your own.  In this Good Friday, He welcomes you to run to His loving arms, and to take upon yourself His yoke that is easy and His burden that is light (Matthew 11:28-29).  As you celebrate Easter, remember that His grace for you is sufficient, so hold on firmly to the faith that you profess (Hebrews 4:14).  Thirdly, keep abiding in fellowship with the Father, for at His throne is mercy and grace that helps us and will continue to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

Romans 8:18  I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Lastly Brethren, I urge us by the mercies of God that we will make a prayer for the nations of the world that are facing much suffering because of war and other sociopolitical ills.  Pray for the people of Ukraine, Israel, Syria, Afghanistan, Ethiopia and many other nations, as the Lord lays in your heart.

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The Righteous Live by Faith!

It is great to be back to blog writing after a three month break.  I have been quietly learning about faith in God, and this is the subject that I wish to discuss on in this article.

About a week before launching my book, Taking Possession with Jesus, in December 2020, I went for a prayer retreat with two of my good friends.  While at the retreat, there was a blessed assurance that we did break through in many of the matters that we offered to God in prayer.  In addition, God’s word for me was very clear: “I want you to live by faith as you walk out of the gates of this retreat center.”  God did not say it once, but He repeatedly did so throughout the retreat.  God was urging me to live a life of faith.  Why was He doing so?  Because the breakthroughs and revelations that we had spiritually received needed to be birthed forth through faith.

Habakkuk 2:2-4  Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.  For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false.  Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.  … but the righteous will live by his faith (NIV).

Every believer is called to this kind of life- living by faith and not by sight.  Apostle Paul repeatedly quotes prophet’s Habakuk statement that “the righteous will live by his faith” (see Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; and Hebrews 10:38).  Believers need to repeatedly remind themselves of this Truth because the fallen man’s natural response to life is through his/her physical senses: sight, hearing, touching, feeling and smelling.  While the human mind is a great blessing from the Lord, the truth is that it is limited in its ability to provide solutions/ break throughs to life’s situations.  Human effort, as important as it is, is similarly limited.

Zechariah 4:6 This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty (NIV).

When a person gives their life to Christ, their spirit man comes alive because of righteousness (Romans 8:10) and they receive the indwelling of Christ through the person of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11).  This is the spiritual heritage of every believer!  I can therefore assert that life in the Spirit is a life of faith in the Living God.

A time of shaking is upon the earth.  Whoever disputes this is simply living in denial.  Wars and rumors of wars; nation rising against another nation; famines and earthquakes in various places; all indicate the beginning of birth-pains for the End of Age (Matthew 24:6-8).   The writer of Hebrews (12:26-28) states “removing of what can be shaken- that is created things- so that what cannot be shaken may remain” which is a reference to prophet’s Haggai’s words (Haggai 2:6-7).  Just like it was in the days of prophet Haggai that God’s shaking preceded the filling of the newly built house of the Lord with glory, so will this latter days shaking result to the purification of the Church for a greater demonstration of God’s glory.

In the backdrop of the shakings that the earth is experiencing, the time for a great awakening has fully come, for the Church to gather the sheaves of the harvest!  This will require an application of faith in our daily lives.

John 4:34-35 My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.  Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest (NIV).

God graciously provided to us the definition of faith.  Hebrews 11:1 states, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

A. Faith is being persuaded beyond doubt that what you hope for is true.

Perhaps your soul is downcast and you have lost hope in the circumstance in which you find yourself in.  I exhort you by God’s mercies to speak to your soul and remember the Goodness of God, as David often did.

Psalms 42:5-6 Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.  My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon-from Mount Mizar (NIV).

Faith does not operate in a vacuum.  It operates in the context of hope in God.  What are you hoping for?  Is it spending eternity with the Lord, healing, provision or salvation of a loved one?  As long as your hope is in the Lord and not in man, you can rest assured in God’s perfect will because His Nature is Faithful and True.  His will is to spend eternity with us; His will is that we live in good health; His will is that we live abundant life; and His will is that all men reach repentance.  God’s will informs a believer’s hope; and the persuasion of receiving what he/she hopes for, is faith.

Knowing God’s will regarding a matter can be compared to a person who knows the final scores of a live football match.  It matters not to such a person how much his/her team is domineered by the opposing team.  A person with foreknowledge of the end of a matter enjoys peace and confidence, in spite of the set backs and difficulties that they face.

Romans 10:17  Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

Are you desiring that your faith is strengthened?  Hear more of God.  Hear as often as possible the rhema Word revealed to us through the Holy Spirit and hear the written Word of God.  The Holy Spirit reveals the deep things of God.  Often, as a believer communes with the Holy Spirit through prayer, fasting, worship etc., the Spirit reveals the heart of God regarding a matter.  Faith enables us to appropriate what the Spirit reveals.

1 Corinthians 2:10-12 …. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.  For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us (NIV).

Acts 13:2-3 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”  So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off (NIV).

Secondly, the written Word of God may also reveal to you God’s will regarding a particular situation that you are going through.  God has proven Himself Faithful through His Word.  You can take His Word to the bank!  God has exalted His Word above His Name (Psalms 138:2).  Trust the Promise Keeper to fulfill His Word.  Trust Him to restore your wasted place.  Trust Him to bring to life your dry bones.  Though the promise lingers, wait for it, it will surely come to pass and will not delay.

Numbers 23:19 God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind.  Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

B. Faith is unwavering knowledge of what has not physically manifested

The second part of Hebrews 11:1 definition of faith (certain of what we do not see), serves to further support and clarify that first part of the sentence (sure of what we hope for).  This is called “parallelism” and is often used by Biblical writers.   Faith will change your language because it calls things that are not as if they are.  Please note that the faith I am talking about is not mere positivism.  Faith in God is anchored in the knowledge of God- His nature and will.

1 Corinthians 2:4-5 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

The prophet Elijah demonstrate unwavering knowledge that it would rain at a time when it had neither rained for three and a half years nor were there any signs of rain in the sky.  In faith, Elijah spoke, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.”  Elijah spiritually heard the sound of rain, though the prevailing circumstances revealed otherwise.  Upon prophesying that it would rain, Elijah put his head between his knees and looked down, which is a posture of prayer.  Seven times, Elijah intermittently sent out his servant to check the sky for the sign of rain.  This was a posture of watching.  Elijah understood that what he had spiritually discerned needed to be physically birthed through prayer and watching.  On the seventh time, the servant came back with a report of “a cloud as small as a man’s hand … rising from the sea” (1 Kings 18:41-46).

James 5:17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

C. Faith is an elementary truth of God’s Kingdom that must be daily applied by all believers.

Hebrews 6:1 Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God.

Friends, faith in God is an elementary truth of the Kingdom.  This understanding struck me hard during a Bible study session that I attended late last year.  God expects every believer to live by faith because salvation not only requires that you accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, but that you also endure by faith to the end.  Towards the end of his life, Apostle Paul said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).

Secondly, faith is fundamentally important because it is the means by which believers appropriate God’s promises in their lives.

2 Peter 1:3-4 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

Thirdly, faith is a mandatory requirement for pleasing God.  Unbelief is sin and separates you from the Father.

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (NIV).

In conclusion, allow me to throw a word of caution that faith does not enable believers to have it their way.  Faith in God is not a means to selfish pursuits.  On the contrary, faith in God entails absolute surrender to your Heavenly Father.  This means that the evidence of faith is not “manifestation of the desired results” but rather “absolute trust in God”.  A person who is believing God for healing and yet has been sick for years, for example, may be accused of lack of faith if we chose to judge whether he has faith or not merely based on his persistent sickness.  Such judgement is erroneous.

Hebrews 11:13-16 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.  People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.  If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.  Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them (NIV).

Hebrews 11:39-40 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.  God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect (NIV).

I wish to assert that God is beckoning us back to a life of faith.  Perhaps you used to believe God for the impossible, but your faith in the recent past has been battered by life’s occurrences, and you have found yourself doubting the Faithfulness of God.  Repent and return to Him who is Faithful and True.  Jesus, our Eternal High Priest, understands that we are living in difficult and perilous times, and He lives to make intercession for you and I (Hebrews 7:25).  You have heaven’s backing! Do not fear, only be strong and courageous.

You can place your order of my book Taking Possession with Jesus by clicking here.

 

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Carrier of God’s Glory- Part 4

Praise the Lord Beloved!

In the end of last year, we were learning on what it means to be a “Carrier of God’s glory” and what is required of every believer.   The three previous articles covered two aspects of God’s glory: presence and power.  In this article, I will finalize the discussion by looking at the third aspect of God’s glory which is authority.

When you see authority, you know it.  In Genesis 1, we see demonstration of God’s authority as He spoke the universe into being: “let there be light” and there was light; “let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water” and it was so; “let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let the dry ground appear” and it was so; “let the land produce vegetation” and it was so; “let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night” and it was so; “let the water teem with living creatures and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky” and they were created; “let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds” and they were produced; “let us make man in our image, in our likeness” and he was created.

Authority is the legal ground to exercise power.  Christ’s death on the Cross resulted to among other things, legal restoration of mankind to his/her position of rulership.  When Adam and Eve committed sin at the Garden of Eden, they lost the legal ground to fulfill their mandate as prescribed in Genesis 1:28: to be fruitful, multiply, subdue and rule.  The written code and its regulations (the Old Testament law) stood against mankind, for he was subject to the penalty of sin that required death.  Thank God for the Cross!  At the Cross, Jesus cancelled the written code that stood opposed to us, and He nailed it to the cross which resulted to a permanent nullification of its claim against man.

Colossians 2:13-15 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.  And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Those who choose to accept the work of the Cross by repentance and to welcome Jesus to be Lord over their lives are made sons of the Most High God (John 1:12; Romans 8:14-15).  They are spiritually delivered from the kingdom of darkness and brought into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:15).  They are made citizens of a heavenly kingdom (Philippians 3:20).

During His earthly ministry, Jesus exhibited authority because He was without sin (Hebrews 4:15); He was in right standing with the Father (John 5:19-21).  It is worth noting that there are numerous accounts in the Gospels that demonstrate Jesus’ authority.  For example, when Jesus was confronted by Satan with temptations after conclusion of his forty day fast in Matthew chapter 4, He did not call for a prayer meeting.  He countered Satan’s deceptive lies by proclaiming God’s Word, which was a demonstration of authority over Satan’s schemes.  After delivering His sermons to the crowds in Matthew 5-7, the crowds were amazed at Jesus’ teachings because He spoke in authority (Matthew 7:28-29).

Jesus coming from the mountainside in Matthew 8:1 met a leprous man who asked Him for healing.  Jesus’ said, “Be clean” and the man was immediately cured.  On entering Capernaum in Matthew 8:5, Jesus met a centurion whose servant was unwell.  The centurion beseeched Jesus to speak a word and when Jesus did, the Bible records that “his servant was healed at that very hour.”

In another incidence, Jesus was visiting Peter’s house and many who were demon-possessed were brought to him (Matthew 8:16).  The Bible records that Jesus “drove out spirits with a word and healed all the sick”.   At another time, Jesus was sleeping in a boat in which His disciples were also on board.  Tossed by a life-threatening, furious storm, Jesus awoke and rebuked the winds and the waves.  The Bible records that following the rebuke, the lake “was completely calm” (Matthew 8:23-27).

At the region of Gadarenes, Jesus met two violent, demon-possessed men (Matthew 8:28-34).  The demons recognized Jesus just like in the incidence in Acts 19:11-17 where the demons acknowledged to knowing Paul.  Spiritually, those in right standing with God are no secret; you cannot fake righteousness.  Rather than Jesus playing it safe to avoid trouble arising from any form of provocation, He spoke to the demons and said “Go”.  The Bible records that the demons “came out and went into pigs”.

In another time of ministry, a paralytic man on a mat was brought to Jesus.  When Jesus spoke the words, “Get up, take your mat and go home,” the man immediately got up and went home (Matthew 9:1-8).  Time does not allow for me to cite all the examples in the Gospel of Matthew that demonstrate Jesus’ authority.  One common lesson we draw from almost all the incidences is that Jesus did not passively wait for God to do a miracle.  After investing His time in prayer, He stepped out in faith to speak forth what He desired to see manifest. Consequently, His life was characterized by not only what He said but also what He did.

Matthew 4:23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

The great news is that Jesus delegated His authority to His disciples when He commissioned them in Matthew 28:18-20: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you”.  Jesus said that “all authority in heaven and on earth” was given to Him.  Not some authority, but all authority!  Jesus has sent us forth with ALL authority.

The disciples of Jesus are to execute their mandate of making and training disciples, by exercising the delegated authority of the Anointed One, who is seated far above all rule, authority, power, dominion and title in this present age and in the age to come (Ephesians 1:21).

I grew up during the popular Faustin Munishi’s (Swahili gospel musician) days in the 90s.  He had an interesting song that described how believers who understand their authority in Christ Jesus live a victorious life.

Wale walio asi, wakimbia ovyo, hakuna afukuzae, wao wenyewe.  Wakipatwa nalo jangwa hata liwe ndogo, hao hutimua mbio ati wamelogwa. Wenye haki ni wajasiri, wameokoka, wanaye Yesu, wana imani ya Mungu Baba.  Wachawi wote hawababaishi, mapepo yote hayatetemeshi, shetani naye hawatishi tishi.

English translation of song lyrics: Those that have sinned run when there is no reason to run; when no one chases after them.  When faced with little trouble, they flee and claim that they are bewitched.  The righteous are bold; they are saved; they have Jesus; they have faith in God the Father.  Witches, demons and the devil do not bring anxiety or fear to the righteous.

One of the conditions of a believer exercising their authority is that they be in right standing with God.  Secondly, they must have faith in God and not allow their hearts to be plagued with unbelief.  Thirdly, they must be wholly submitted to say and do the bidding of the Spirit.

1 Peter 3:18-22 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. …. saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand- with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

Ephesians 2:4-6 But because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

Mark 11:20-24 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots.  Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”  “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered.  I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, “Go, throw yourself into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

John 14:12-14 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.  He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.

James 1:6-8 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double minded man, unstable in all he does.

John 15:7-8 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Our right standing in God is in the finished work of the Cross, for Jesus became unrighteousness so that you and I might become the righteousness of God.  This is purely a work of grace, the justification of those who were condemned to eternal death.  Having believed, the grace of God continues to work in a believer’s life both to will and to do for the Lord’s pleasure.  The believer must surrender to God’s sanctifying grace, and choose to follow the narrow path that leads to life.  He must daily take up their cross and follow Jesus.  This is a life of faith, for the righteous live by faith.

Faith is not passive; faith takes action.  Faith urges us to speak forth that which we desire to see manifest in the physical realm.  Faith urges us to take action when human logic says we shouldn’t.  Faith sees what the natural eyes cannot see.  Faith aligns a believer’s heart to the heart of God.  Without faith, there cannot be demonstration of authority.

Faith is not doing what you wish to do, at whatever time you wish it done, without regard to God’s will.  Faith is saying/ doing what Jesus Christ is saying/ doing, fully persuaded of His faithfulness.  For a believer’s faith in God (not in human resources, talents and abilities) to bear fruit, the believer needs to be in total submission to God.  As a branch grafted to the vine, he/she must abide in God (John 15:1-5).  The follower of Jesus must rely on the Holy Spirit to guide on the what and how of ministry.

The demonstration of authority by believers is not confined to the four walls of the church.  On the contrary, authority is what should characterize a believer’s daily life.

At the Cross, Jesus gained the victory for every disciple to be able to exercise their authority in Christ, for the building up of the Body and the advancement of the Kingdom of God on earth.  As Jesus was about to give up His Spirit at the Cross, He said “it is finished”.  The perfect sacrifice had been offered for every person to be reconciled to God, and consequently walk in power and authority.

Unfortunately, the Church today is caught up in calling and waiting on God to do that which they are supposed to be doing on earth.  This revelation causes me to tremble at the thought that many of us on the Day of Judgement will be accused of abdicating our responsibilities while on earth.  I am guilty, and may God help you and I to live in the revelation of His Word.  Spiritually, God already healed our diseases and liberated those in bondage through Jesus’ death at the Cross.  It is for the disciples of Christ to exercise their authority in physically effecting healing to the sick and liberty to the bound.

Psalms 115:16 The highest heavens belong to the Lord but the earth he has given to man.

Matthew 11:12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing and forceful men lay hold of it.

Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

Jesus has won the victory!  What hinders you from living in the full victory availed through the Cross?  Will you partner with Jesus to fully live in the victory of the Cross?  Jesus wants us to shake off all sin and weight that so easily besets us, and hinders us from effectively executing our responsibilities as Christ’s Ambassadors on earth (Hebrews 12:1-2).  He wants us to get rid of unbelief which is sin, and shake off the weight of religion.

I look forward to the testimonies that will arise from us obeying this word.  Feel free to share your testimony/ prayer through in**@re**************.com.

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Carrier of God’s Glory- Part 3

Believers are ordained to carry God’s manifest presence, power and authority.  Part 1 of this article helped us to objectively evaluate our current status against God’s expectation for His Children as expressly prescribed in Scripture.  I hope that since that read, you have been making steps to move from “Biblical Abnormality” to “Biblical Normality”.  Part 2 helped us understand that God is beckoning us into the depths of His manifest presence.  It is my prayer that you are prayerfully taking time to plunge deeper in God.

Deep waters are scary for rookie swimmers.  In fact, if you ever visit a beach, you will realize that the shallow waters are more concentrated with human population than the deep waters.  I had an adrenaline-packed experience once, at Shela beach in Lamu.  It was my first time to visit the breath-taking archipelago of islands, inhabited by one of the most hospitable people.   On this particular day, I had a day off from work.  I took advantage of my free time to tour the island.

After breakfast at my hotel, I set out for Shela beach which was about 45 minutes walk from the Lamu town.  The beach was a spectacular sight to behold.  The coastline was donned with meticulously, naturally-formed hills of sparkling white sand; and the tranquility of the deep-blue Indian Ocean waters was therapeutic to the soul.  I was overly-excited to say the least and I quickly chose a spot for my self to lay my items and ready my self for a good morning swim.  The basis of my choice of spot was that it was less congested.

I immediately got into the waters and began to swim.  The winds were a bit stronger than what I was used to in the coastal city of Mombasa where I live.  The waves were building up a bit, but nothing to worry about.  Though the winds were pushing me further from the shoreline, in my mind, I knew I was still within safe distance.

When I finally got tired and needed to take a break, I decided to lower my feet down to stand.  Alas! Alas!  I felt my body descending fast into the waters and not reaching the expected floor of the ocean.  I looked down into the waters and saw that the floor was no where in sight.  Immediately adrenaline kicked in and I knew I was in trouble.  I had definitely ventured into much deeper waters than I had ever done.  That explains why that side of the beach had few users, a couple with two young kids and my self.  I pushed my self back up and frantically begun to swim against the winds to “safe” grounds.  Considering that I was already physically tired by the time I considered taking a break in the deep waters, it definitely took God’s strength for me to return to shore safely.

In my return to the shore, I intentionally headed towards the family that I had earlier spotted, just to increase the probability of being rescued in case there would be any need for that. Once I arrived at the shore and caught some breadth, we engaged in a conversation and the gentleman and his wife indicated that the waters in that section were very deep and so many people avoided swimming there.

The truth is, I panicked at the thought of how deep the waters were and I swam from the deep spot as fast as I could.  Why?  Because I felt that the place was not safe.  The shallow waters felt safer for me.  Like those visiting Shela beach, could believers be avoiding the deep waters of God?  I have shared this experience just to emphasize that as God calls us to be deep-enders, He requires that we lose control of our lives and live a life of faith, which rationally speaking is a risky life.

Matthew 10:39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

In this part of the article, I wish to focus my discussions on God’s power.  Every power has got a source.  The source of the power I talk about is not carnal (does not arise from the flesh) but is from Elohim, the Ancient of Days.  That power brought into being the universe. That power parted the Red Sea and paved the way for the Israelites to pass through safely.  That power brought down the fortified walls of Jericho. That power made very dry bones scattered in a valley to be joined to each other and to acquire flesh and be brought to life. That power raised Jesus from the dead.

Recently, God gave me an analogy about activation of power.  Consider a socket that is supposed to switch lighting bulbs on or off.  Though not usually visible, underneath a wall there is an electric circuit set up that is connected to a power source.  The power from the source flows through the conductors in the electric circuit.  However, for the bulbs to light, the switch must be switched on.  What happens when somebody presses the switch on?  The electric circuit is completed.  The power is present and available but the key as to whether we will have light or darkness in a room, all other factors held constant, is the turning on of the switch which often required pressing.

For a person to press a switch, he/she is required to have knowledge about its use in lighting the bulbs.   Such knowledge is the basis of the person trusting that when they press the switch, the bulbs will actually light.  Such a person may have no scientific understanding of how electricity works, but they know that once the switch is pressed, the bulbs will light.  Friends, a believer who acts on their knowledge of Jesus Christ by faith, will cause the power of God to be manifest in and through their lives.

2 Peter 1:3-4 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

The knowledge of Him [Jesus Christ] produces faith.  While the Church endeavours to teach on various keys to living a life of power, one of the fundamental requirements is for a person to act by faith in response to the revelation of the knowledge of Christ.

Jesus taught that the amount of faith required to move a mountain was the size of a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20).  How much faith is needed for you to start moving mountains?  Mustard seed size of faith.  The truth is, many believers do not exhibit God’s power in their daily living because they do not act on the Knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Faith without deeds is dead.

Undoubtedly, the Church today exhibits spiritual weakness.  Underlying this weakness is a lack, not of intellectual knowledge but a lack of revelatory knowledge of Jesus Christ.  I can assure you that pure intellectual knowledge will not enable you to be a Carrier of God’s glory.  It is not more PhDs in Theology and Divination that we need in the Body of Christ for us to experience revival (as important as schooling may be).  It is the revelation of the Risen Christ that we need today more than ever.

The Apostles obtained revelatory knowledge of Jesus and not mere intellectual knowledge.  No wonder they were willing to die for their faith, and gladly so.  They were bold, non-apologetically speaking of the One they had heard and seen with their spiritual ears and eyes, respectively.  Their preaching was not mere words of wisdom.  On the contrary, they demonstrated the Spirit and power.

Matthew 16:15-19 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”   Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.  And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my churchand the gates of Hades will not overcome it.  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Peter received a revelation of who Jesus was- “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”  Jesus expressly confirms that such knowledge was not attributable to Peter’s intellectual quotient but was rather attributable to the Holy Spirit.  Jesus asserted that He would build the Church upon “this rock”.  Which rock?  The revelation of Jesus the Messiah!  A church founded on Jesus will advance in power, taking over territories for Jesus.  No demonic schemes and ammunition will be able to stop such a church!

The Apostle’s ministries were founded on the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Looking at the life of Paul, we see this clearly.  I pray that as you read the following scriptures, there will be a stirring of hunger within you to know the Lord.

Acts 9:4-5 He [Paul] fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”  “Who are you Lord?” Saul asked.  “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.  “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

Philippians 3:10 I want to know Christ–yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.

2 Corinthians 12:2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven.  Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know- God knows.  … He heard inexpressible things that man is not permitted to tell.

Have you ever wondered why Scripture permits believers to boast only in knowing the Lord.  Knowing Jesus ought to be our daily endeavour and highest priority.  Dear Lord, give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that we may know you better!  Enlighten the eyes of our hearts in order that we may know the hope to which you have called us and the riches of your glorious inheritance.  Illuminate our minds to grasp the incomparable great power for us who believe (Ephesians 1:17-19).

Having known God, act in accordance to the revelation which you have received.  We live in an information age and many Christians find themselves seeking for more knowledge daily, whether on earthly matters or eternal matters.  It is good that we seek to know God, but that is not sufficient for a victorious Christian life.  We must seek to exercise our knowledge in our daily living.

Envision a trained soldier who is given a gun to restore peace in the community in which he lives. Suppose that the soldier though trained, never responds to the enemies’ attacks by pulling the trigger, the gun is as good as a walking stick. Is it the gun that has no power or is it the trained soldier who fails to exercise His knowledge to utilize his gun?  Is it the gun or the soldier with a problem?

Sadly, many of us blame the Spirit for our powerless state. The truth is, the problem lies squarely with us.  What have you been doing with the knowledge of Christ which you have received.  Have you been exercising it by faith?

Apostle John received the revelation of Jesus while at Patmos island and the record of this revelation is detailed in the last book of the New Testament.  The Book of Revelation ought to be a favorite for believers because it is “the revelation of Jesus Christ”.  However, the devil has kept believers away from the Book with deception that the Book is difficult and a preserve for a few who have special gifts and callings.  Do not fall into that lie!  Delve into studying the Book of Revelation as often as you can and under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, you will receive divine knowledge of the Risen Christ.

Revelation 1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John.

2 Peter 1:3-4 says that we have received divine power for life and godliness through the knowledge of Christ, which God has provided by His own glory and goodness.  Through the glory and goodness of God, God has reconciled us to Himself and given us great and precious promises that enable us to participate in His divine nature and escape the corruption of the world.  Believers are called to participate in the divine nature: heal the sick, cast out demons, liberate those in prison, bound up the broken hearted, declare the year of the Lord’s favour, loose on the earth the purposes of God and bind on the earth the works of the kingdom of darkness.

Do you want to participate in God’s divine nature?  Know the Risen Christ and respond to that knowledge in faith to practically apply it in your daily life.  Do you want to escape the corruption of the world?   Know the Risen Christ and allow His Spirit Who is purification fire, to work out sanctification in your spirit man.

Many hear God’s Word but few respond by faith to the Word.  Few stand on His great and precious promises, for how can they trust He whom they have not known?

The Risen Christ and the Holy Spirit are One.  Christ physically departed from the earth, but He did not leave us alone.  He left us a Helper, the Blessed Holy Spirit Who is the power of God at work within us.  While spiritually we are seated with Christ in the heavenly places, physically we live and move with the Holy Spirit who indwells us. What a privilege!

The Holy Spirit endows us with power from on high, to enable us to do the good works which Christ entrusted to us: preach the Gospel; make disciples; heal the sick; bind up the brokenhearted; give sight to the blind; give liberty to the oppressed; and declare the year of the Lord’s favor.  That power is not thousands of miles away. It is within us and freely accessible for our daily living.

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.  

1 Corinthians 2:4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith may not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

I ought to teach and do the Gospel. This is what Jesus and the Early Church did.  This is the modus operandi that our Saviour modeled.  The Apostles taught Jesus the Healer and they demonstrated Him as so. They taught Jesus the Deliverer and they demonstrated Him as so.  The “teaching and the doing” is the full gospel!  I pray to be an effective Ambassador of Christ- teaching and demonstrating the Kingdom of God!

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Carrier of God’s Glory- Part 2

The song that has been in my heart this season is a simple Swahili song that says, “Shuka roho na utakaso, shuka na uwezo wako, ndani yako tunazo nguvu, wewe hututosheleza x2.”  The translated message is, “come upon us Holy Spirit and fire, let your enablement be upon us, in you we have power, you satisfy us.”  I am persuaded that this song is prophetically speaking of what God desires to do in this season, in the life of every believer.

God is calling us to be carriers of His glory in our generation.  We are the Samuel’s of the 21st century, since God is calling us to carry His glory in a generation that is very familiar with religion and knows not Yahweh, the God of Israel.  In fact, some Christians are not perturbed by the state of affairs because when  they were introduced to Christianity, they never found the glory of God in their churches.  They therefore do not know God’s manifest glory, and so they think that spiritual dryness and vicious rituals are the norms of a believer’s life.  However, we learnt in part 1 of this message that many of us are “Biblically Abnormal”, for our lives and faith are not comparable to that of the Early Church.

Be consoled if you fall under the category of believers who have not encountered God’s Glory or have been nurtured in a church where all you know is religion and not God’s glory.  Samuel, dedicated to the Lord as a young boy to serve in the temple of God, found himself in a similar scenario.  1 Samuel 3:1 states, “The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli.  In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.”  The Word of God, which is God Himself (John 1:1) was rare.  What a tragedy!

What is the Glory of God?  The Glory of God is His manifest presence, power and authority.  Physical things often replicate spiritual truths, and may serve well to bring us spiritual understanding.  The analogy of an earthly king/ ruler may better help us understand this subject.  This discussion will focus on the first aspect of God’s glory, His manifest presence.

There is a certain presence that comes with an earthly king’s physical appearance to a place.  In my high school days, we were privileged to have numerous visits by the late President Moi.  He was fond of passing by the school, sometimes just to have a good time with the school community, even when there was no particular agenda/ occasion.  I remember whenever the President decided to come over on an impromptu late afternoon/ evening visit, there was an indication that the President would be coming even though we had not been officially notified.  One of the signs was that I would see new faces in the school; they would often be men in suits “pretending” to take a walk around the school, but I was smarter 😊.  I knew that they were screening the school to ensure that it was safe for the President.

Once the President arrived, “presidential presence” set in.  The ordinary school with ordinary girls and teachers enjoyed “presidential presence”.  The security in the compound stepped up to “statehouse security” level.  Often, these moments with the President were held at the school hall and drinks, snacks and food would be served.  When the President stepped into the school, the community stepped up to presidential status in terms of the meals 😂 (trust a boarding school student to remember about the food and not the speech).  In the presence of the President, there was “life”, especially to our tummies 😂.

When the Lord comes to us, He comes in His manifest presence- sometimes it may be through the baptism of the Holy Spirit; through angelic visitation, Christ Jesus appearing in person, only to mention but a few.  When the Kingdom of God comes upon a place, God’s presence is felt.  The effects of the intense, godly, spiritual presence are seen in the physical realm.

Jesus gave His disciples a promise in John 14:22 saying, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.  My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”  The King of Glory is willing to come and make your heart His residence!  If you obey Him, God is willing to make your heart His Statehouse/ Whitehouse!  However there is a condition: obedience to His teaching.  When He comes to us, He does so in the fullness of who He is!  We however must be thirsty and empty to allow His fullness to fill us.

Paul made a prayer for the believers in the Church of Ephesus that they may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19).  When the fullness of God indwells us, our inner man is transformed into His image.  Just like Christ, we become a representation of God.  Hebrews 1:3 states, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.”  God desires you to be a radiance of His glory!  God desires that many will know Him through you, because you will be a true representation of His being.

You and I must desire God’s habitation in His fullness, more than any earthly thing.  Samuel is introduced to the God of Israel at a time when God’s Word is rare.  I can only imagine the havoc that the spiritual famine had caused in the lives of men.  The physical attributes of the priest in the temple, Eli, reflected the pitiful spiritual state of the nation.  Eli is described as a man “whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see,” (1 Samuel 3:2).

All was not lost though.  While Eli “was lying in his usual place”, Samuel “was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was,” (1 Samuel 3:2-3).  Scripture does not tell us where Eli’s usual place was, but we know for sure that it was not where Samuel was lying, near the ark of God.  This is evidenced by the record of Samuel’s response when God called out his name.  The Bible records that Samuel ran to Eli because he thought that Eli was the one calling him.  Three times, the priest instructed Samuel to “go back and lie down.”

At a time when God’s word was rare, Samuel was positioned near the ark of God, which signified God’s presence.  Samuel was rightly positioned to hear and commune with God.  The right position of today’s believer before God, can only be attained through the righteousness that is provided for in Christ Jesus.  God wants you to leave your “usual place” that perhaps is corrupted by unbelief, traditions, spiritual complacency and compromise.  He is beckoning you into His presence, for therein is sweet, satisfying communion and lasting transformation.  The way into His presence is through the Blood of Jesus.  For this reason Christ Jesus died on the Cross, so that you may be able to access the Holy of Holies.

Disobedience, unbelief and religion, I think, are the greatest enemies of the Church today.  These three work hand-in-hand to hinder believers from enjoying the blessings of their reconciliation to the Father.  Often, God has kept off from us because He is Holy and cannot have fellowship with a person who is living in sin.  In fact, He keeps away from us for our good, because He is also a Consuming Fire.

In the past few weeks, God has been challenging me that many believers want God’s presence but they do not want to prepare for His presence.  The presence of God is fire.  When His presence falls on a righteous man, the man is set ablaze for Christ.  His inner man is sanctified to the likeness of Christ.  His spirit is strengthen and re-ignited for God.  However, when the manifest presence of God comes to a person abounding in sin, His wrath is provoked.

Have you been blaming God for His conspicuous absence in your life or church?  Stop blaming God and prepare for the King’s presence.  That preparation is simply through repentance.  The Word of God that came to Samuel reveals to us that Eli and His sons were under God’s judgment.  This explains why God had withdrawn from the nation.  In His mercy, He was giving Eli and his family time to repent and to return to Him.

Moses was a man distinguished by God’s presence.  The legacy that Moses left to Israel, was that of a man who was a friend of God.  Exodus 33 is a powerful portion of Scripture that reveals Moses’ priorities with regard to pursuit of God as well as God’s faithfulness in rewarding those who diligently seek Him.  Moses was so dependent on God that he refused to go forth to Canaan without God’s presence.

 

Exodus 33:15-16   Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.  How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

 

Moses lived under the Old Covenant when God’s manifest presence would come upon Him periodically.  Today, you and I, living under the New Covenant, have an invaluable blessing of God indwelling us!  Not just in a Sunday service, or at a Gospel campaign meeting, but in every moment of our day to day lives.

In the age we live in, it is unfortunate that many believers are pursuing distinction through various initiatives other than God’s presence.  We are living in an age where “branding” is highly exalted.  Sadly, some churches are on branding and rebranding sprees, not cognizant that all these is futile without God’s presence.  The preacher who needs their church to be packed with people needs to only set themselves on fire with the presence of God.  Certainly, people will come to see them burn.  This was John Wesley’s response to those who wanted to know the secret to his ministry success.

Are you willing to burn, or are you afraid that some of the worldly things that you hold dear may be consumed by the Spirit’s fire?  The wisdom of God is foolishness to the world, and yet it is life to those who believe.

Exodus 33:13-14 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.  The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Exodus 33:13-14 as quoted above is very profound.  Moses asked God to show him His ways so that he could know God.  God’s response was, “My Presence will go with you.”  Do you want to know God’s ways?  Do you want to know the Lord?  What you need is God’s presence.

Those who spend time in God’s manifest presence never remain the same.  They are distinguished.  They become firebrands for Jesus.  They become vessels of honor.   The Late Evangelist Reinhard Bonke severally gave a story about how Jesus used to peep through his eyes.  He had experiences where people would be so convicted when they looked at his eyes, and in that moment they would break down in tears and surrender their lives to Christ.  The manifest presence of God that indwelt Him was impacting people and nations.

God is calling you and I to be rightly positioned, so that we may know the unspeakable joy of His manifest presence.  His presence, not our talents, achievements or affluence, truly distinguishes believers.  Samuel, a young boy, with no much knowledge of priestly functions and practices, was distinguished by the presence of God in his life.  1 Samuel 3:19-21 states, ” The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground.  And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord.  The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.”

God shows no favoritism.  He was willing to introduce Himself and speak through a young boy who was rightly positioned, rather than maintain communication with a duly appointed, disobedient priest.

Desire that God will often peep through your eyes to introduce Himself to the lost.  Desire that God will flow through you to be the comfort, healing and deliverance to those who need it.  Ask Him to showcase Himself on earth through you.  Ask Him to make your heart His home.

Moses was not a stranger in God’s presence.  Exodus 33:7-11 indicates that it was Moses’ practice to seek God at the tent of meeting.  While there, “the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.”  Moses might have been considered as one who had attained the mark in terms of knowing God.  Yet Exodus 33:18 suggests otherwise.  Moses, a man who had seen God’s manifest presence said to God, “Now show me your glory.”

What was happening to Moses at this point?  His request seems, at least to me, misplaced.  It seems that Moses had a holy thirst that desired more of God and refused to settle for yesterday’s experience and knowledge of God.  Moses was taking a step of faith to launch deeper into seeking to know God.  I pray that God will give you an insatiable hunger and thirst for Him.  I pray that your pursuit of the depths of God will indeed lead you into His depths (Psalms 42:7).

Exodus 33:18-23  And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.  But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”   Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock.  When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.  Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

In the depths of God, where God reveals Himself in new ways to us, absolute surrender is mandatory.  I have a clue in how to swim and I have had the privilege of teaching a few friends how to swim.  One of the greatest hurdle that a learner must overcome is the fear of drowning.  This fear is fanned by the awkward feeling of losing control in water.  Once they overcome this fear, they are able to relax and allow the buoyance of water to enable them to effortlessly float.  I know not fully this struggle because I learnt how to swim when I was young.

At the age of about 11 years, my friends in the neighbourhood told me that they were going swimming.  I was excited since I had a swimming costume that I had never used (I had bought it with my savings, which reveals the desire I had to one day swim).  I rushed home excited at the thought that I could actualize my dream of swimming. My elder sister was home and so I convinced her to give me permission to go out for swimming.  Thankfully, permission was granted on condition that I returned home before my parents did 😂 (this is not to be emulated).

When I got to the swimming pool, my friends jumped onto the swimming pool, enjoying the splashing of the warm waters.  Since I saw none of them drown, I followed suit.  There was no thought of drowning in my head, and so the ability to float was gained easily.  As we left the pool in the evening, I expressed my excitement that I had finally known how to swim.  My friends were utterly surprised that I was a learner when I first jumped onto that pool, because I had not shown any signs of fear.

In my young mind, I did not think of maintaining control in water and so I had no reason to fear.  Consequently, I thoroughly enjoyed the swim and learnt many things within a short time.  For all who desire to plunge deeper into God, you need to let go and trust God to guide you through the deep waters.  Some need to let go of their programs, knowledge and experience of how things need to be done, religious “niceties”, and so on. In His hands you are safe. Will you surrender to God and ask Him for more of Himself?

Ezekiel 47:3-5 As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits[a] and then led me through water that was ankle-deep.  He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist.  He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross.

Move out of the shallow waters!  God is beckoning you into His depths that require you to swim.  He beckons you to depths that you cannot cross on your own; where you will need to lose control and flow with the Spirit’s guidance.  God, the Master Trainer, wants you to become a deep-ender!

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Carrier of God’s Glory- Part 1

Have you ever felt that you are not the kind of disciple that you read about in the New Testament?  Have you felt like the Church today falls short of the power and influence of the Early Church.  Emma Stark refers to it as a feeling of being “Biblically abnormal”.   If yes, then this article is for you.

Think about the Spirit-filled, tongue-speaking group of disciples, set ablaze for Christ on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-4.  Take a minute and reflect on the boldness of Peter who spontaneously utilized an opportunity to share Christ to men and women so ignorant of the Gospel, that they considered the disciples drank when they saw them speaking in tongues (Acts 2:5-13).  Think about the devotion, unity of mind and spirit, exhibited by the believers in Acts 2:42-47.  They were committed to teaching of God’s Word; genuine fellowship; selfless giving; and earnest prayer.

Think about Peter and John who as they walked to the temple for a time of prayer, they engaged in a conversation with a lame beggar at the temple courts, and the end result was ministration of healing to the beggar (Acts 3:1-10).  Notable also is Peter and John’s peculiar response to the beggar’s healing?  Acts 3:12 quotes their response to the amazed crowd, “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you?  Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?”  Wait a minute!  Peter and John were disturbed by the crowd’s amazement, because healing of the sick, blind and the lame was their normal.

Reflect a bit on Peter and John when they were thrown into jail for preaching about the resurrection of the dead in Jesus’ Name, to a crowd that had gathered to witness the temple court beggar’s healing (Acts 4:1-21).  The two apostles did not allow people to exalt them or engage in a publicity campaign in order to benefit from the healing.  Instead, they took opportunity to preach the Gospel.  Salvation of men was the fruit borne out of the healing, deliverance, signs, wonders and miracles that characterized their ministry.

Consider the courage of these two unschooled, ordinary men (Peter and John) when they were brought before the rulers, elders and teachers of the law in Jerusalem.  They saw an opportunity to preach the Gospel to their accusers (which could attract dire consequences including death) rather than to waste time defending their case in order to secure freedom.

Recall the believers who embarked on fervent, united prayer for Peter and John when they received news about their arrest (Acts 4:23-31).  Rather than chicken-out at the risk that was now imminent in preaching the Gospel, the disciples called down the reign of the Kingdom and the place in which they were was shaken, and filled with the Spirit, they were re-ignited with heightened boldness to speak God’s Word.

Think about the excellence in the grace of giving/ sharing that was among the believers such that “there were no needy persons among them” (Acts 4:32-37).  The believers did not give under coercion.  The Apostles who were entrusted with the distribution of the wealth, were trustworthy stewards.  Among the believers, were “Sons of Encouragement” who sold their possession for the welfare of the Body of Christ.

Remember how the unholy could not dwell comfortably in the presence of God (Acts 5:1-13).  Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead for testing the Spirit.  In the times we live in, the couple’s action could have been overlooked as a mild lie.  Great fear of God was upon the Church.  The obedience of many believers was complete, thus they could punish all acts of disobedience (2 Corinthians 10:6).  So intense was the fear of God, that those whose hearts were bent on evil dared not join them.  The Church was regarded highly by the people.

Now, now … recall how the sick and demon-tormented were brought to the streets and as Peter’s shadow fell on them, they were ALL healed (Acts 5:14-16).  When the Apostles were imprisoned for what they were doing, an angel of the Lord appeared to them at night and opened the doors of the jail (Acts 5:17-41).  At day break, instead of the Apostles retreating to take some rest or holding a strategic planning meeting on how to survive the oppressive regime, they headed to the temple courts and there they taught the Word of God.  When re-arrested for disobeying the orders that required them not to preach the Gospel, their defense was, “We must obey God rather than men.”  Consequently, the Apostles were thoroughly flogged and their response to the ruthless actions was,”… [they] left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.”

The choosing of the Seven Deacons is worth remembering (Acts 6).  The requirement for those chosen to do what seemed like a very carnal job of serving tables was “men … known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom.”  One of the Deacons, Stephen, is described as a man “full of God’s grace and power”.  Even in the face of death, Stephen was so connected with the Father that his face appeared as like that of an angel.  When given an opportunity to defend himself, he preached such an intense sermon that the accusers gnashed their teeth with conviction!  As each stone was throne at Stephen, he made a prayer, not for punishment of his enemies but for God’s mercy to prevail upon them (Acts 7).

Notable is how the propagation of the Gospel was not a few special people’s responsibility.  Instead, “those who had been scattered [by persecution] preached the Word WHEREVER they went.”  Philip, for example, preached the Gospel in Samaria in the demonstration of the Spirit’s power, and there was a great revival in that city.  The writer of the book of Acts, Luke, describes the effects of Philip’s ministry of the Word: “with shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and crippled were healed.  So there was great joy in that city”.  Guided by the Spirit on whence to go from Samaria, Philip divinely met an Ethiopian Eunuch to whom he ministered the Word of Truth.  Through the obedient action of one believer, the Land of Cush [present day Ethiopia] was reached with the Gospel (Acts 8:4-40).

Think about the day to day miracles that accompanied the preaching of the Gospel.  Aeneas, for example, had been bedridden for ten years.  At Peter’s declaration, “Jesus Christ heals you.  Get up and tidy up your mat,” the paralytic was miraculously healed.  Again, Peter’s command to Tabitha, “… get up,” caused her to rise from the dead.   Thirdly, at the preaching of the Gospel by Peter at Cornelius house [who was a Gentile], the Holy Spirit filled Cornelius, his family and servants, such that they spoke in new tongues (Acts 9:32- 10:48).

Guided by a prophetic word predicting a famine, the disciples responded by mobilizing help for fellow believers in Judea (Acts 11:27-30).  There were many dangers that confronted the disciples, and yet they were not ashamed of the Gospel which is the power of God unto salvation.  They spoke God’s Word even when the consequence were dire, including death and imprisonment.  For example, Apostle James the brother of John, was slain by King Herod (Acts 12:1-2).  Peter was imprisoned by the same King but before his trial, an angel of the Lord rescued him (Acts 12:3-19).

The believers were so cognizant of the role of angels in their day to day lives that when Peter showed up at Mary the mother of John’s house after being divinely released from jail, the believers gathered at the house thought that the person knocking was Peter’s angel (Acts 12:12-14).  They understood that the Hosts of the Lord were at work on their behalf.  The Church was wholly reliant on the Holy Spirit for ministry.  In the Church of Antioch for example, the prophets and teachers gathered for a time of prayer and fasting.  While they sought God’s face, the Holy Spirit directed them to “set apart … Barnabas and Saul for the work” of ministry.

The Spirit initiated the Commissioning of Barnabas and Saul to the Gentiles (Acts 13:1-3).  The two ministry companions began their ministry in the Spirit and kept in step with the Spirit.  Their programme was subject to the Spirit’s guidance and was open to alteration, any minute of the day.  At Troas for example, Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia begging, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”  Their response to Paul’s vision was immediate obedience: “… we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia ….” (Acts 16:6-10).

Acts 13-21 detail Paul’s missionary journeys and his ministry can be summarized by the phrase, “demonstration of the Spirit and power.  In 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, Paul reminds the Corinth church which he had established during his 2nd missionary journey in Acts 18 that his preaching was never about eloquence and superior wisdom.  Paul had resolved to teach nothing else, other than Jesus Christ and him crucified.  His aim was that the faith of the Church be anchored on God’s power rather than on men’s wisdom.

Again, the selflessness and absolute abandonment of the Apostles to the will of the Father is demonstrated by Paul’s arrest and trial in Acts 21:27-28.  The prison bars and hardships did not hinder Paul from advancing the Kingdom of God.  In fact, he was so focused on God’s purposes that he totally overlooked his desire for freedom.  When given an opportunity to defend himself before rulers and kings, he chose what was eternally significant – to preach the Gospel. It is also during this period of imprisonment that Paul penned the letter of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon.  What the devil purposed for evil for a submitted and fully surrendered vessel of God, became a catalyst for the advancement of the Kingdom to the “ends of the earth”!

The concluding remarks of the Book of Acts is profound: “Boldly and without hindrance he [Paul] preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Rather than Paul agitating for his release, he partnered with God for fulfillment of eternal purposes.  To the end of his life, Paul preached the Kingdom of God.  Indeed, he ran the race and kept the faith to the very end of his life.

I have attempted to briefly describe the Early Church from the record in the Book of Acts.  When I read this, and much more in the New Testament, I realize that I have suffered from “Biblical Abnormality”.  I do not mirror the Early Church in many ways.  Remember that the Kingdom of God is an advancing kingdom.  It progresses from strength to strength, and from glory to glory.  This means that the Church today (you and I) needs to be operating at a greater glory than the one recorded in the Book of Acts.

Reflecting on the Book of Acts makes me so aware of my guilt for not being a carrier of God’s glory as purposed by my Heavenly Father.  I am guilty of nullifying God’s Word by non-biblical traditions and beliefs, that have so corrupted my spirit and mind (Mark 7:13).  I am guilty of maintaining a form of godliness but denying the power of God through unbelief (2 Timothy 3:5).  I believe that this conviction of His Word comes to us since God wants us to arise and take our positions as “carriers of His Glory” in our generation.  God wants you, and the whole of you, for that matter.  Not only some parts of you, but to be Lord in all aspects of your life.  You and I must be fed up with the “niceties” of Church which I can liken to junk food, and consequently return with babe-spirits to the Truth of His Word.

If you feel that God is speaking to you today through this message, join me in making this prayer:

“Dear Lord, I am sorry for living a life that is fashioned by the systems of men and not by your Word.  I am sorry that instead of obeying God, I have sought to please men.  I am sorry for my narrow, earthly mind that is so corrupted by materialism, selfish ambitions and unbelief.  I am sorry that I have sought human wisdom more than I have sought your Word.  I am sorry that I have gotten so busy and distracted by the ventures of religion that I have missed out on being a carrier of your glory.  Forgive me; renew my mind; and restore me to my purpose of being a Carrier of your Glory.  

Amen.”

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Yeshua, my Lord!

I celebrated my birthday three days ago and I am elated to see another year.  It has taken God’s hand for me to have come thus far.  To Him belongs all glory and honor!

I have desired to write a message this week, though I was not clear on what to write on.  Now that I have received the guidance on what to write, I am overjoyed to be writing to you about my Love, Yeshua.  I am forever grateful to Him for the gift of salvation.  He laid down His own life at the Cross so that I may be God’s chosen, a royal priesthood, a holy nation and a child of God (1 Peter 2:9).
My prayer is that by the time I am done talking about Him, you will be stirred deeper in love with Him if you are already a believer.  And if you are not yet a believer, that you will open up your heart to receive Him into your life to be Lord and Saviour.
God captured my heart as a young girl in primary school and in response to His love, I committed my life to Christ.  Some might say, “That was a childish decision.   You did not know what you were committing to.”  I assure you that children do get born again and on that Sunday morning in 1993 when I walked to the altar in response to my Sunday school teacher’s preaching, I became a new creation.  The moment I confessed my sins and welcomed Christ into my life, something divine happened within me and my heart overflowed with peace and joy.
I received the deposit of God’s Spirit that serves as a witness that I am a child of God (Ephesians 1:13-14).  Undoubtedly, Yeshua, my Love saves the young and the old alike.  When you encounter Him, your life cannot remain the same!
Please allow me to briefly describe to you Yeshua, my Lord (based on Revelation 1:12-16):
  • His head and hair is white like wool; as white as snow- The white hair represents the wisdom of Christ.

Colossians 2:2b-3 Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

1 Corinthians 1:24 Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
Are you in need of wisdom and knowledge, on which you faith can be firmly anchored on?  Ask Yeshua!
  • His eyes are like blazing fire- Christ’s eyes have a penetrating scrutiny and knowledge of all things.  They are like flaming torches that illuminate light (Daniel 10:6), and darkness has to flee. His eyes are favor to the righteous and judgement to the wicked.  The blazing fire is also sanctification fire that burns away chaff.
2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.
 
Malachi 3:3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver.  Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness.
Are you in need of God’s light to guide your way?
Are you in need of God’s favor?
Are you in need of inner sanctification?  Look to Yeshua!
  • His feet are like bronze glowing in a furnace- Christ’s feet is likened to fine brass burned in a furnace, which represents His triumph over all wickedness.  All powers, principalities, spiritual hosts of wickedness and rulers of this present darkness are under His feet!  He is the Head of the Church and by His grace, He has commissioned us by that authority to be His ambassadors here on earth (Matthew 28:18).
Psalms 8:6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet.

 

1 Corinthians 15:27 For he “has put everything under his feet.”  Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ.

Ephesians 1:22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church.

Are there lions and cobras that threaten your destiny?

Are there strongmen holding your life, family, community or country in captivity? Trample the devil in the Name of Yeshua!

  • His voice is like the sound of rushing waters- Christ’s voice is life!  His voice quenches the thirsty and makes the belly of believers a wellspring of life.
Isaiah 41:17 The poor and needy search for water but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst.   But I the Lord will answer them; I the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
Isaiah 44:3 I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
Isaiah 58:11 The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
John 4:14 … whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
John 7:38 If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.
As you sojourn in a parched and sun-scorched land, have you become thirsty?
Are you thirsty for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit?
Do you desire to be life-giving?  Drink the waters that Yeshua gives!
  • In his right hand he holds seven stars- In Christ’s hand are the armies of heaven (angels) following His Word to accomplish it.  The angels move at His command to accomplish His purpose.

Hebrews 1:7 He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire.

Revelation 19:13-14 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.  The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.

Are you facing a battle?  Hand it over to Yeshua!

  • Out of his mouth comes a sharp double-edged sword- Jesus Christ is the Word of God.  The Word of God is light and life.  Through the Word all things were created.  It is the standard by which every believer must live their life.  The Word of God equips the righteous for every good work. The Word of God is an offensive weapon in battle.  The Word of God is sure, like silver refined seven times in the furnace.  It is established in the heavens!
John 1:1,3,4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. …. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

Hebrews 4:12 For the Word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Are you desiring to grow in righteousness?  Hear, read, study, meditate and memorize Yeshua’s words!

Are you weary and hungry?  Listen to Yeshua!

Are you in need, prayerfully waiting for a breakthrough?  Stand on Yeshua’s Word!

  • His face is like the sun shining in all its brilliance- Christ’s face radiates God’s glory.  Those who encounter God’s glory are forever transformed.
Acts 26:13 About noon, O King, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions.
Revelation 21:23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the kings of the earth will bring their spleandour into it.
Hebrews 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. 
Are you hungry for God’s manifest glory?  Seek Yeshua!
If you are a believer, and have already committed to following Christ, hold on to Him for behold He comes soon.  I pray for my self just as I pray for you, that our love for Him will deepen.  I pray that hearts that have grown cold will be rekindled with Yeshua’s love, and be restored to the first love.  I pray that in this season, you will have a new encounter with Yeshua.    If there is an aspect of Yeshua that you have desired to know, may your prayer be fulfilled speedily in this season in Jesus’ Name, Amen!
If you have never given your life to Christ, today is the day of salvation.  In response to the love of God, confess your sins and receive Jesus Christ into your life to be Lord and Saviour.  Make this prayer:
“Dear Jesus, I thank you for dyeing on the cross for me.  I recognise that I am a sinner and I repent of my sins.  Please forgive my sins and write my name in the Lamb’s book of life.  Fill me with your Holy Spirit and break away all bondages that hold me in captivity.  By your grace, I will live for you.  Thank you Jesus for saving me. I accept you to be Lord over my life.  Amen.”
NB: Congratualtions to you who has made the confession prayer and has surrendered your life to Christ.   Please write me an email on ma*************@gm***.com informing me of the decision you have made.  God bless you and sustain you in Him!
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Spirit and Fire, Pour Out on Me!

I am most delighted to be writing about the Holy Spirit and fire, on this Pentecost Sunday.  In the history of my walk with the Lord, I have never been as conscious of the Pentecost season as I was this year.  I believe this is applicable to many believers, who took time to prepare their hearts for the infilling of the Spirit.  I believe that such consciousness and preparation is not a mere coincidence.  Undoubtedly, the Church has spiritually entered into a new era of God’s glory!

The promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit is an inheritance for God’s children in the New Covenant.  The Holy Spirit is not “good to have”; He is “must have” for every believer.  The believers today have been born again in the era of the New Covenant where the indwelling of the Spirit of God is available to all who ask of Him.  The Spirit is a prayer away and the Father promises to give Him to us when we ask (Luke 11:11-13).
However, there is an inherent danger of taking the Spirit’s indwelling for granted, considering that He is freely given and available to them who ask.  Remember that Christ had to pay the penalty for our sin through death on a cross, for mankind’s reconciliation to God and empowerment for victorious living through the Holy Spirit.  Please note that the blessings available to you as a believer, were costly!  They costed God pain, grief and separation from His Only Begotten Son!  Please note that the men of Old looked into this blessing from a far.  The Fathers of Faith longed for the blessings that are now our inheritance.  Though they were spiritually enlightened to see and understand the glorious riches of God’s inheritance for His children, they did not have the privilege to experience, while alive, Christ’s salvation nor the indwelling of the Spirit.
Hebrews 11:39-40 These [fathers of faith] were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.  God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
In the Old Testament, the Spirit of God used to come upon men and women temporarily, in particular occasions.    For example, the Spirit of God would come upon men like King Saul and the prophets, and they would prophecy.  The Spirit of God would rest upon King David to play his accordion under great Anointing and this caused demons to flee from King Saul.  The Spirit of God filled men like Bezalel and Oholiab and endowed them with skill, ability and knowledge in all kind of crafts, for the building of the Tabernacle.  However, the measure of the Spirit’s release was constrained and the manner inferior to the New Testament Spirit outpouring.  The prophets saw the coming blessedness, and they prophesied about it.
Isaiah 44:3 For I will pour out water on the thirsty ground; and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
 
Ezekiel 39:29 I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord.
 
Joel 2:28-29 And afterwards, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.  Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
When the time for fulfillment of prophecy had fully come, God sent John the Baptist to prepare the way for Christ.  His message was REPENTANCE.  Repentance prepares the way for Christ to enter our hearts and be Lord.  During John’s ministry, he baptized with water those who confessed their sins.  However, he was particular about the confession.  It had to be genuine, from an earnest heart that desired God, and not a mere religious exercise.  The evidence of true repentance being their spiritual fruit: love, peace, joy, kindness, meekness, gentleness, faithfulness, patience and self-control.
John’s baptism with water was a public declaration of those who confessed that they were choosing to die to sin and to resurrect to a new life in Christ.   Now, more excitedly, John repeatedly wet his followers’ appetite to what was coming thereafter: the baptism of the Spirit and fire!  Jesus Christ’s ministry was to actualize this blessing.  In fact, when some disciples of John started to follow Jesus, John was excited and reminded his followers, “I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.  … He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:28-30).
Have you ever wondered why the glorified Christ had to depart from the earth?  Why couldn’t He stay with us and continue serving as our Advocate and Great High Priest?   The glorified Christ was not subject to physical death, so why would he leave us to go to His Father?  Couldn’t He have chosen to make earth His dwelling place?  Scripture is clear that Christ went away for our good: what a loving Saviour!  He went away so that His disciples may receive the indwelling of the Spirit.
Christ departed so that you and I (believers), may live in the blessing of the Spirit’s indwelling.  He was releasing God’s people from an Old Covenant where the Spirit dwelt with men and into a New Covenant where the Spirit dwelt in men.
John 14:17b But you know him [the Spirit], for he lives with you and will be in you.
The precious blessing of the Holy Spirit is allotted to all believers (Acts 8:39) but we must do something to possess it: ASK!  God requires us to ask, which is consistent with His Nature when dealing with man.  God does not force His blessings on man or His children.  He gives the blessings and then gives His children a choice to either take hold of that which He has given or not to take a hold of it.  For example, throughout Scripture, He has given promises that we must take possession of through obedience and faith.   To the Children of Israel, He promised Canaan and allotted land to the twelve tribes of Israel, but they had to TAKE POSSESSION of their promise.
The benefits of the Spirit’s outpouring are as follows:
I. Benefits discussed in John 14:15-31
  • Counsel God’s people and teach them truth
  • Companion to believers; His presence is an assurance of the hope in which we have believed; The Deity of God through the Holy Spirit makes a home in us.
  • Giver of life, thus making us well springs of life in a dry and weary land
  •  Reveals God the Father and the Son to believers
II. Benefits discussed in John 16:7-14
  • Conviction of the world of sin, righteousness and judgement
  • Guide believers into all truth
  • Reveal to believers what is to come
  • Revelation of the glorious riches of the inheritance of the saints
III. Benefits discussed in the book of Acts
  • Make believers effective witnesses of Jesus in Jerusalem (immediate locality), Judea (province, county), Samaria (neighbouring provinces) and to the ends of the earth.
  • Endow on believers the gifts of the Spirit- Acts 2:4; 3:6-7; 19:6
  • Enable believers to speak God’s word with boldness e.g. in large crowds like during Peter’s sermon in Acts 2; before persecuting authorities; amidst opposition and suffering etc. Acts 4:13 & 31; 5:29; 14:3.
  • Enable true fellowship amongst believers as evidence in Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-33.
  • Confirm God’s word and bring forth a holy fear for God- Acts 5:11-13
  • Make believers unstoppable dynamites for advancement of the Kingdom- Acts 5:38-42; 6:8-15
  • To give joy unspeakable- Acts 5:41; 13:52; 21:12-13
  • To be the Comforter to believers, as they go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God- Acts 14:22
  • To give guidance in ministry- Acts 16:9-10; 23:11
IV. Benefits discussed in 1 Corinthians 2:9-16
  • Giver of God’s secret wisdom and understanding
  • Bear the mind of Christ to judge all things and not be subject to man’s judgment
The above list is far from exhaustive, but is provided to help us realize the blessedness that the Spirit avails to God’s children.  In the past week, I have been introspectively assessing my self  with regard to how much I have been walking in the blessedness of the Spirit’s indwelling.  How is my reliance on Him as a Counselor, Teacher, Guide, Revelator, Empoweror, Convictor etc.  In my reflection, I realized that I had hardly scratched the surface with regard to the Spirit’s blessings.
Join me in making this prayer:
Dear God, I ask for a fresh outpouring of God’s Spirit upon me and that I may walk in the full blessing of the Spirit’s indwelling.  I am in need today for a new infilling, for this End-Time era in which I live.  I desire to be drunk with the Spirit today.  Privilege me with such a plenty measure of your Spirit, that my cup may overflow.  Amen.
Jesus Christ, was not just to baptize us with the Holy Spirit.  He was also to baptize us with fire.  The last Old Testament prophet, Malachi, had a revelation of the baptism with fire.  He foretold of Christ being like a refiner’s fire.  This fire is necessary for refining; for SANCTIFICATION.  God does not just want empowered saints, He also wants REFINED saints that reflect His glory by their inward nature and offer sacrifices that are a sweet smelling aroma before Him.

Malachi 3:2b- 3 For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.  He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver.  Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness.

Christ is a refiner’s fire!  The Apostle John in the book of Revelation describes Christ’s eyes as “blazing fire”.  To the Church of Thyatira, Christ reminded them that He was “the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire”. As the fire of God burns, it EXPOSES DARKNESS and BURNS AWAY CHAFF.  It permeates our most inner being and causes all worldly lusts and bloodline faults hidden therein to be extinguished.  The more we behold Christ, the Word of God, the more we are refined into His likeness.
This fire not only works in us, but also works through us for the advancement of the Kingdom of God.  As the fire of God burns within, it also burns without to consume works of darkness and to disarm principalities, powers, rulers of darkness and spiritual hosts of wickedness.  When we allow God to refine us by His fire, He also MAKES US FLAMES OF FIRE!
Psalms 104:4 He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants.
 
Hebrews 1:7 He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire.
Join me in making this prayer:
 
Dear God, baptize me with your fire.  Sanctify me through and through, that my life may be a reflection of the image of God.  Make me a flame of fire, so that I shall expose darkness whenever I be and stop the works of darkness from prevailing.  Use me in the End-Time Revival to preach the gospel and harvest souls for you; to set captives free; and to minister healing to the sick.  As I burn for you, I pray that many will come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. 
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