God Will Bring His Best

2nd Kings 6 carries one of the most encouraging stories for me personally. It’s a wonderful reminder that if God is for you, those against you are losers.

So from verse 6, the story is told of how the king of Syria had war with Israel, and hatched certain strategies to bring them down. Unfortunately for him, the prophet Elisha had his spiritual antennae on, and got to know of the strategies and informed the king of Israel. The Syrian king, seeing his plan foiled, was not happy and thought he had snitches in his ranks. But he was informed that their problem was Elisha, so he sent troops to go capture the prophet.

The troops encircled the whole city! Such a large number seeking to capture just one man. That would be enough to terrify the living daylight out of any regular human being. His servant, upon seeing the troops, was absolutely petrified and obviously in a state of panic.

The one they wanted, however, was barely moved.

Elisha simply told his servant not to fear, stating, “… for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” He then prayed to the Lord for his servant’s eyes to be opened. And when the Lord answered his prayer, the servant saw things well beyond the physical realm.

Horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha! Obviously, the Syrians wouldn’t stand a chance against these heavenly armies.

The simple question that arises from this: if that was Elisha’s situation in the Old Testament, how much more believers in the New Testament?

As sons and daughters of Elohim, the apples of His eye, we always have heavenly forces encamped around us, fiercely committed to protect us from the evil one and his attempts to destroy us. It’s unfortunate that many of us tend to be ignorant or forgetful about this, just as the servant of Elisha was. Many of us need to have our spiritual eyes opened, too. Living in fear of attacks from evil spirits in your sleep and the like is not your portion at all. Understand that the God of Angel Armies has His troops assigned to keep you from the wiles of the evil one, and begin to walk in the knowledge of that reality. Even if all the forces of hell decide to gang up on you, they will never be any match for the heavenly forces.

So, let the devil bring his worst! God will bring His best! And we all know who the Victor will be.

Keep Your Vessel

Many times, we talk about the will of God, and it feels as if there’s some mystery about it. Like it’s something really deep that you won’t find written in a book. No doubt, one needs to be in tune with the Spirit of God in order to ascertain what it is the Lord would have him to do. Nonetheless, there are certain areas of life in which His will is crystal clear. And if there’s anything we can plainly see as the will of God, it is as stated in the following scripture…

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour (1 Thessalonians 4:3)

To be engaging in sexual immorality is definitely not in the will of God. His desire for our lives is that we will keep ourselves free from this blemish which many in the world today tend to be very proud about. His desire is that the sex drive will be put under control, and only allowed to function within the boundaries He has created in His own wisdom, to wit, marriage. It may sound ludicrous to many, but it’s vital to remember that God does not change His word to suit the cravings of each generation. Forever is His word settled in heaven, and hardly will His creation have the power or the wisdom to tell Him to make any amendments.

It is imperative that we constantly ask the Holy Spirit for His help in keeping the flesh subdued, especially in these times where sex is being shoved in our faces on a daily basis, even in situations where there’s no need for any sort of sexual reference. This help goes beyond actually engaging in illicit sex; many are those who may not have slept with anyone physically, but in their minds have created and replayed visual sexual encounters numerous times. It may not have been carried out, but considering what our Lord said in regards to looking at a woman lustfully, there is no doubt that those thoughts are equally as offensive to God as the acts themselves. We must seek to honour Him foremost with our minds, and with our bodies.

In order to be in His will in this regard, only total dependence on the Holy Spirit is the key. By your own might, you’ll fall quicker than you can even begin to imagine!

He’ll Do It

Going through the first few books of the Bible gives a lesson on how fickle people can be. Especially from Exodus onwards. Not an easy thing.

For this post, the focus is on the reaction of the Israelites after Moses and Aaron had their first encounter with Pharoah.

I don’t know about you, but it’s extremely hard to have any kind of liking for Pharoah in chapter 5 of Exodus. Not only did he dismiss the God-sent duo, he gave the Israelites a ridiculous work schedule. I mean, how do you tell the people you won’t supply them with the needed raw materials to make bricks, and still demand that they maintain the same number of bricks made per day? That’s just evil!

After they put Moses on blast, and he in turn went to complain to God, our Lord reiterated His promise. He made it abundantly clear that He had heard their cries, and that He would deliver them from the grip of the Egyptians. When Moses went to repeat this to them, though…

Exodus 6:9 Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery.

Clearly, the Israelites were a lot more focused on their present circumstances. They were being punished for not producing the number of bricks required, and Pharoah had already made them know they weren’t getting any vacations anytime soon. So they were really peeved.

As I read this, however, what I heard was, if they had known what was ahead of them, they wouldn’t have been sulking and all.

We go through tough times in life, and obviously, they can leave us feeling down and out, defeated and discouraged. Sometimes, we are reminded of God’s promises, but they feel like something out of a fantasy compared to the current situation. If we can be honest with ourselves, we’re most of the time no different from the Israelites.

But do we remember how things ended up for them?

Of course! We know the story very well. The ten plagues, followed by them practically being driven out of the country, and the crossing of the sea, and the drowning of the Egyptian army. We know it all ended in victory for the Israelites.

The point is, as hard as it may be for us to really fathom that things may get better when we’re going through the fire, the God who delivered Israel from the cruel, harsh hands of Egypt is the same God we serve. When it looks like things will go downhill totally, He steps in and makes a way that simply blows your mind. At the end of the day, He wants the glory from your story, and He’s not really gonna get that much if your situation is super cheap.

I don’t know what situation you might be enduring at the moment. Maybe it’s left you feeling very despondent and hopeless; you’re feeling like there’s no other way but down, and the promises of God are just cute words on the pages of a Bible, or some random statement some ‘man of God’ made. Just know, it’s nothing strange. But go a step further than the Israelites, and believe God! He does not break His promise. If He says He’ll do this, you better believe He’ll do it.

As a well-known song goes, “My God who began it, He will accomplish it.” Never doubt it. He told the Israelites He would save them, and He did it. If He’s told you He’ll do it for you, never mind the storms that will pop up in your way. He will not fail.

Getting Angry

Anger. It’s an emotion all of us have experienced at one point in time or another. And more often than not, the repercussions are not pleasant. Especially if we really spazz out. When you’re seeing red, the emotion has the chance to make you do really dangerous stuff. Stuff that you’ll end up regretting afterwards.

In the scriptures, there are plenty expressions of anger. After all, it is about human beings. But if there’s any lesson we could ever truly learn concerning how this emotion ought to be handled, it can be found in the way Jesus let His anger show forth when He discovered His Father’s house had become a business center.

As we read in John 2:13-16, upon finding the activity in the temple, He made a whip and went on the rampage. He sacked the sheep and oxen and their owners from the temple and knocked over the money changer’s tables. But when it came to those selling the doves, He told them to take them out of the temple.

Notice the prudence shown by our Saviour in this fiery display of zeal.

He was furious, all right. But His anger didn’t have a hold of Him to the extent that He totally spazzed out and did something over-the-top. And it’s simple, really. In driving out the sheep and oxen, they could be gathered by their owners outside. And in scattering the money tables, it would obviously be easy for them to gather the money and leave. But imagine if in a fit of rage, Jesus smashed some cages of these birds? They would fly away, and the owners would lose out on what they needed to sell to survive. After all, Jesus was not mad at them for selling sheep or pigeons; He knew that was their job. He just despised the fact that all this was happening in what was meant to be the house of prayer.

He did not let His anger extend to them as people, it was simply directed at their actions.

Many times, we get angry (for good reason, most of us tend to believe) and to the people who infuriated us, we attack their person instead of just their actions, and sometimes we react in ways that tend to be well over the top. This is really what makes anger a problem with humanity. But Jesus showed us that if there is anger at a person’s actions, exercising prudence and discretion in reacting is very necessary. We shouldn’t let our anger control us so much that in that moment of red mist, which is for a short period of time, we do something disproportionately hurtful to our offender.

The apostle Paul lays it out nicely for us in Ephesians 4:26, Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath. At the end of the day, the worst thing is to be a person fully controlled by your emotions. Such a person is flippant, not pleasant to deal with, and above all, lacking the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Church Leader Reflections

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:1-3)

For a person who serves in a leadership position in the church, I see this scripture as an excellent reference point for knowing whether one’s service in the house of God is being done from a biblically acceptable point of view. Following what the apostle Peter has to say to the elders, three questions for self-reflection can be obtained from the aforementioned passage…

As I render my service in the church, am I doing it out of compulsion or out of a heart that is willing to serve? If I really sit down to think about the work I’m doing in my local assembly, do I have a burning passion for the work that I’m doing, and do I feel an inner joy within while carrying out my duties? Or is it that I feel that I have to do what I’m doing, and in reality, I’d rather be doing something else, yet feel obliged to do the work?

Am I looking to gain something from being a leader? As I serve in the house of Lord, is the work being put it really just the means to an end, maybe like money or a future spouse? Or do I just seek to be faithful to the call of God, and no matter what, I know that there’s no greater privilege than to work for the Lord?

Do I seek to turn my disciples miniature versions of me, with me acting as their boss? Or am I being a reflection of Christ to those the Lord has entrusted into my care, consciously making the constant effort to point them to Christ by my life and works?

The following verse is a very vital reason for which this self-reflection is so vital…

And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (1 Peter 5:4)

Whether you are a leader, or you hope to become one someday, one thing is for sure: these instructions from Peter to the elders apply to us just as strongly today. A crown of glory awaits you as a leader in the church when it’s time to stand before the Master on the day of judgment. But it is imperative that you lead with a willing heart that doesn’t crave earthly gain over eternal reward, and that you live as an example to those that follow you. Let us do what is necessary to hear those glorious words…

“Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Out Of Sight

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. (Psalm 32:1-2)

For some reason, to many people, talk of blessings seems to have them refer to the material things they have. Inasmuch as the earthly possessions you have can certainly be considered a blessing, as God is the One who richly gives us all things to enjoy, to have those as your first reference is certainly problematic, as being blessed by God goes way beyond the fact that He’s given you the opportunity to live in a great house and have a nice car.

The scripture above points out one of the major things that we ought to consider a blessing as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Once upon a time, we were separated from God. Following our own way, the way of death. Living lives that were offensive to Him. Lost in sin.

But He didn’t sit around and leave us to our fate. In the fullness of time, Jesus Christ came to earth to live a perfect life and die a horrid death for our sake. And now, by trusting in His perfect work of redemption, all the wrong committed against the Lord has been forgiven. Every single sin of yours has been forgiven.

If you have been hit with the reality of how much wrath you should have had stored up against you, you would truly understand how great a relief it is. There is a true blessing in knowing that your transgressions have been forgiven, and that the sin which should have kept you and Elohim apart for eternity has been covered by the blood of Jesus.

Indeed, we must realize we have truly been blessed as believers when we consider that Calvary’s work has ensured that it is not sin that is imputed to us, but the righteousness of Christ. This is what allows us to come before the Throne, not shivering and shaking in anticipation of lightning-quick judgment, but confident that the King is our Father and He wants to have a loving relationship with us.

If having unlimited access to intimate communion with the Maker of heaven and earth is not enough to be considered a blessing, when we’ve got it badly twisted. This is a blessing far greater than any material wealth or gain; to know that our sins have been put out of sight, and His blood speaks on our behalf.

Elements Of A Toxic Pharisee Spirit

Once you have heard the word ‘Pharisee’ before, you know one thing for sure; it carries a negative connotation.

They were the religious leaders that sought to ensure the people obeyed the commandments. The problematic aspect, of course, was how super rigid they were, and how arrogant and pompous they became as a result of having a ‘perfect appearance’, when in reality many of them broke those laws they brutally enforced in different ways.

If their spirit was made apparent in any way, it was definitely in John 7.

They had sent officers to grab Jesus for His many speeches that got under their skin. Unfortunately for them, these officers returned empty-handed. Well, not just empty-handed, but full of awe at the magnificence and greatness of this Teacher, which they voiced out in verse 46. The Pharisees, however, were far from impressed, and lambasted them, claiming they were on the verge of being deceived, and that the rulers and Pharisees were not believing on Him. And the point of attention for this article…

 But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed. (John 7:49)

Sounds nasty enough, but there’s a deeper aspect to it. There are 3 things to be noted about this statement, which make for the 3 elements of a toxic Pharisee spirit…

  1. They thought very lowly of the regular folk.

Per Matthew Henry’s Commentary: ‘this people’. It is not laos, this lay-people, distinguished from them that were the clergy, but ochlos outos, this rabble-people, this pitiful, scandalous, scoundrel people… Clearly, that explanation shows how they considered the people as trash that were way below their level and not fit to stand with them. With such a mentality, love can’t even get in through the back door.

2. They believed their knowledge of the law made them better than the regular folk.

So they knew the laws, and the people didn’t know them too well. For that, they considered themselves to be far better than the people. This is clearly manifested in chapter 9, where the blind man who was cured gave them his piece of mind concerning Jesus’ innocence, and they kicked him out, proclaiming him to not be fit to teach them since he was born in sin. Indeed, knowledge can puff one up and lead him to think himself a more superior human being to another.

3. They passed judgment on the people.

In the opinion of these leaders, the people were cursed good-for-nothings, far away from hope of any kind. To them, there was no need to help anybody in any way. As far as they were concerned, their ignorance was not something to be cured, but something to condemn them for.

Is it any wonder why Jesus clashed with them so often? He came to reveal the heart of the Father, that Elohim is a God of mercy and compassion who for all His majesty and awesomeness has no qualms with making us His own. This was nowhere on the agenda of the Pharisees; it was all about self-righteousness and harsh treatment of those who didn’t measure up to their standards.

Even as believers, there are times when this toxic spirit will seek to take hold of us. We must resist it at all cost! We must not live as loveless beings only interested in completing religious acts that make us look prim, proper and religious, but as children of God who love all and look down on nobody, and who seek to strengthen the weak and get the lost sheep back on track, instead of turning their noses up at them and declaring them as inhabitants of the ‘No Hope’ dumpster.

Accepted In The Beloved

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6)

I remember these scriptures quite well. They motivated me to write a poem back then, which I performed at a service back then (I’m pretty sure it’s still up on YouTube).

What made this scripture special to me was the ending of verse 6. Those four words were quite a relief to me. To know that I was accepted in the Beloved. To know that a person like me, who often felt insecure for a number of reasons, didn’t need to do anything to win his approval, because Christ already did that for me on Calvary.

There are many people who don’t feel satisfied in this life, and are trying so hard to gain acceptance from people. If there’s one thing I’ve come to understand in this life, it’s that the human heart desires to be loved and accepted, and if a person has to change in a way to get that love and acceptance, they’ll do it. And nothing hurts more than knowing you’re thought of lowly and despised by people. That’s why many will do whatever they can just to get acceptance. In the school where the boys love voluptuous curves, there’s a girl being mocked for lacking such who will try to get plastic surgery done just to be accepted. There’s a guy driving himself into insane levels of indebtedness just to fit in with the ‘cool crowd’. The most heartbreaking aspect of it all is how many a time, these acts of bending over backwards doesn’t solve the issue, and how the ones they seek approval from still reject them.

It doesn’t have to be that way!

An understanding of the scripture above makes it clear: you were chosen by God even before the foundation of the earth was laid. It was his intention that you would be His child, even with all your flaws and shortcomings. You being imperfect did not refrain God from loving you and sending His Son to die in your place. And as a result of Calvary’s sacrifice, you have new worth. You’re the child of the Most High! You have infinite access to His throne! You have an eternal inheritance that’s absolutely mind-blowing! You are not defined by your flaws or anything that the world and the enemy will use to tag you as ‘not good enough’. In Christ, you completely accepted by the only One whose final opinion of you at the end of time will matter.

I know it’s not easy having to deal with those issues. They tend to haunt every now and then. But there’s joy in accepting who you are, knowing that God holds nothing against you, and that if He, who had every right to reject you due to your sinful state, has accepted you, then that is all that matters. Some people may reject you, but that shouldn’t be your worry. In any case, once you’re secured in the Father’s love, you can trust that He will bring people your way who will love and appreciate you as you are. Those who expect you to kowtow to their standards and be who you aren’t are not worth the pleasing.

As I ended my poem, so will I end here: Look within and see the seal of the Spirit stamped upon your soul, brothers and sisters, you are Accepted in the Beloved!!

PS. Yeah, the poem is on YouTube. You can check it out if you want to, though the video quality is honestly pretty lame… Accepted In The Beloved

Bearing Fruit

I came across this little parable during my devotion, and it had to do with what I was reading on: Matthew 3:8. What is the use of repentance if it does not result in a changed life? Your salvation is undeniably very questionable if you profess to be redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and yet unashamedly continue to indulge in the same sin you claim to have been saved from.

Hear a story, or a parable.

In a delightful bit of country, early one summer morning, I walked out to be refreshed by the pure sweet air, the sight of fields and woods, grasses and flowers, beasts and birds, when, presently, I came upon an orchard, into which I entered. The trees were beautiful to behold, the air was fragrant, and fruit was abundant. I wandered on almost enchanted, until, to my great wonder, I came upon a tree having neither bloom nor fruit. I was so painfully impressed that, without any thought of hurting or giving offence, and as to myself, I said, “You poor, lost tree, what can you be doing here? I marvel you are not removed.”

Upon which, to my astonishment, this tree replied, not without tartness, “Oh, indeed, sir; indeed! No doubt you think you are wise, wise above your fathers. -You think you know much about things, I dare say, but you are in a great mistake. I am neither poor nor lost.”

“Well,” I said, “you have neither leaves nor fruit, and, I should judge, no sap.”

“What has that to do with it?” it broke out. “Your ignorance is inexcusable. You seem not to know that a great Saviour of trees has been down here, and I have believed His gospel, and am saved by grace. I have accepted salvation as a free gift, and, though I have neither leaves nor fruit, I am saved all the same.”

I looked at it with pity and said, “You are a poor deluded tree; you are not saved at all. You are only a dead, good-for-nothing tree, despite all your talk about grace and redemption. The only salvation you can ever know is to be made living and fruit-bearing. Life, that is salvation. When I come and see you laden with fruit, or even showing signs of leaves, I shall say, ‘ Ah! that poor tree is saved at last; it has received the gospel and is saved by grace.’

“ As I turned away, I heard it saying, “You are not sound; you do not understand the gospel.”

And I thought, so it is, as with trees so with men; they talk as if grace and salvation were something God keeps for them outside themselves, and will not understand nor believe that he who is saved, he who takes Christ fully, and rests on His atoning work alone, “is made free from sin,” and “ has his fruit unto holiness.” (W. Hubbard.)

Fill The Waterpots

In the gospel of John, we have the well-known account of the first miracle Jesus performed; turning water into wine. The likelihood is that you reading this is very familiar with that story, and how our Saviour saved the couple from potential embarrassment.

Let’s consider one thing, though. This miracle teaches us the importance of working out our faith in Christ, and the part man has to play in being blessed by God.

There is a saying by Mike Bickle of IHoP, that we as humans cannot do God’s part, and that God will not do our part. If we’re seeking a blessing from the Lord, and He issues a command to be carried out, it is important that we obey with zealous expectation. If we don’t, expecting that He’s going to do all the work, then we’re obviously setting ourselves up for deserved disappointment.

At the end of the day, refusing to do your part in bringing God’s blessings upon your life, as well as the lives of others, is pretty much a blatant display of your lack of faith. As the apostle James vividly points out, faith without works is dead. If our faith is authentic, it won’t be made apparent in just words and proclamations that we have faith. When God tells us to do something, we will carry it out, knowing that inasmuch as our efforts in and of themselves are insufficient, they are necessary. Especially considering it is what God expects us to do.

Whatever blessing it is you’re anticipating from the Lord this day, hear what He expects you to do, and get it done. And when you do it, do it with a heart full of expectation, knowing that as you do your part, He will most definitely do what mortal man cannot do.

Create your website at WordPress.com
Get started