Until you know

Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon describes a time in his life (Daniel 4) when he was “flourishing in his palace” and saw a dream that made him afraid. That dream was accompanied by many thoughts and imaginations that troubled him, hence he sought to find out the meaning of the dream by calling in all of his wise men and explaining it to them. They could not. Then he called for Daniel and asked him to explain the dream.

10 “These were the visions of my head while on my bed:

I was looking, and behold,
A tree in the midst of the earth,
And its height was great.
11 The tree grew and became strong;
Its height reached to the heavens,
And it could be seen to the ends of all the earth.
12 Its leaves were lovely,
Its fruit abundant,
And in it was food for all.
The beasts of the field found shade under it,
The birds of the heavens dwelt in its branches,
And all flesh was fed from it.

13 “I saw in the visions of my head while on my bed, and there was a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven. 14 He cried aloud and said thus:

‘Chop down the tree and cut off its branches,
Strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit.
Let the beasts get out from under it,
And the birds from its branches.
15 Nevertheless leave the stump and roots in the earth,
Bound with a band of iron and bronze,
In the tender grass of the field.
Let it be wet with the dew of heaven,
And let him graze with the beasts
On the grass of the earth.
16 Let his heart be changed from that of a man,
Let him be given the heart of a beast,
And let seven times pass over him.

17 ‘This decision is by the decree of the watchers,
And the sentence by the word of the holy ones,
In order that the living may know
That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men,
Gives it to whomever He will,
And sets over it the lowest of men.’

 

Daniel explains that Nebuchadnezzar would be the tree that would be chopped down. He says that the decision to cut down the tree was taken by the “watchers” – apparently significant inhabitants of heaven. While the dream portrays the message to be the outcome of a decree of the watchers (vs17), Daniel shows it to be a decree of the Most High (vs24). The watchers who sat together in the court of heaven had pronounced a sentence upon Nebuchadnezzar. This sentence was actually God’s sentence upon Nebuchadnezzar that was pronounced by the watchers.

This sentence upon Nebuchadnezzar came to pass at the end of 12 months as he looked out around him and ascribed his success and prosperity to his own abilities.

“While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! 32 And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.””

Nebuchadnezzar was driven from his palace. “he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.”  Something happened to him that caused his understanding and reason to be taken away (vs 34 and 36). He had lost his sanity. He lived out in the open among the beasts of the field, ate grass like oxen and was ungroomed. The Word tells us that this state continued for 7 years until he understood that he was just a man and that God was in control of the kingdom of men. At the end of 7 years, his sanity was restored and so was his kingdom. He had learnt his lesson.

The key phrase here is in verse 32 – “until you know”. Until you know your own frailty, your own mortality, your own helplessness, your own inability, your total dependence on God. Until you know that God is God.

It took Nebuchadnezzar 7 years. It takes many of us much longer.

In fact, many of us wander in the wilderness of independence for years, refusing to face our own inadequacies or ugliness of self-effort, refusing to be brought to the place of surrender, battling with many giants some of whom simply receive stature and power from our own self-centredness.

Let me repeat that. We empower some of the giants we battle by our own refusal to die to self.

The greatest battle of all is not with the devil nor with the world nor with the flesh, but with the Holy Spirit. He seeks to bring us to the place of deliberate surrender and dependence upon God while we fight Him tooth and nail every step of the way, refusing to give up the ghost.

There are struggles that we face, storms that we pass through, problems that we grapple with, issues beyond our control that wreck the peace, repeated failures that occur “until we know”. No amount of praying will calm the storm. Fasting will do little to help. Throwing out the cargo won’t help. God will seem far away. He is waiting.

He is waiting for us to know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men. He is waiting for us to come to an end of ourselves, to an end of our strength, to an end of our wisdom, to an end of our dependence upon our capabilities. He is waiting for us to count our qualifications and accomplishments  as rubbish.  He is waiting for us to come to the place where we seek to gain Christ and to know Him above all else. He is waiting for our vision to die, our striving to cease, our power to fail, for the grain of wheat to fall to the ground and die, for our frailty to be exposed, for us to see ourselves for who we are and to see God for who He is. He is waiting for the soul to completely cease from self-effort and to be fully surrendered to the Saviour.

I like the word “brokenness”. It is the place that the Spirit leads every Christian to, a Peniel designed just for us. It is the place where the wretchedness and inadequacy of self is displayed for personal viewing, seen and put to death, the place where the alabaster box is broken, the place where the Spirit has prevailed. It is the place where the Lordship of Christ has been consciously applied to every part of our beings. Then the countenance lights up with radiance, a radiance that proceeds only from the one who is truly surrendered to the Lordship of Christ, a radiance that the unbroken can never possess. From the broken there emanates the fragrance of Christ, not the nauseating stench of a mixture between self and the Spirit. Here, dead flies do not putrefy the perfumer’s ointment causing it to give off a foul odour. The aroma of Christ freely dissipates from such a one, the unadulterated perfume of Christ.

He is waiting for us to see Him as He is; to see the Jesus as revealed at Patmos instead of the Jesus at Bethlehem or the Jesus at Calvary. We have always been fixated with the Jesus at Bethlehem and the Jesus at Calvary but have’nt been so with the resurrected and ascended Jesus, who dies no more for death has no dominion over him. He is waiting for us to move camp from Bethlehem to Calvary, to the Mount of Olives, to the upper room and to Patmos. He is waiting for us to be as the Greeks who simply said to Philip, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus”.

Until we have come to an end of ourselves and have seen Jesus for who He is.

To see Jesus as the visible image of the invisible God, the eternal Word by whom all things were created and who sustains all things by the Word of His power. To see Him as the one who has all authority in heaven and on earth, at whose name every knee bows in heaven, earth and under the earth. The excellence of the knowledge of Christ, the spirit to spirit communion, the apprehension of His salvation, the union with Him is sufficient to count all things as loss and to suffer the loss of all things.

A fresh vision of Jesus is sufficient to change your Christianity and give it fresh impetus and meaning. Time spent looking for Jesus in the gospel of John, Colossians, Hebrews, Ephesians and Revelation with the NLT will do more for your soul than the reading of many books, the listening of many sermons or the scramble from one meeting to another. Climb that sycamore tree, press in through the crowds, open that roof and get in, leave all, come at night, speak to Him from your cross, cry out like Bartimaeus, throw away your cloak, reach for the hem of his garment, walk on the water, beat your body and make it your slave, take up your cross and go after him, be in the Spirit on the Lord’s day! It is worth it.

God wants to bring us to the place of brokenness, that place of yieldedness, surrender and “knowing” of both ourselves and Himself. This is the place where the Spirit of God has prevailed over self, where the spirit has been forever severed from the restraints of the soul, where we have entered into true rest, a ceasing of self-effort and the place of simple reception of the salvation offered by Jesus. This place can be reached either by being taught by the Lord or by simply following Nebuchadnezzar’s footsteps.

There is a Nebuchadnezzar in each of us that has to come to the place of knowing. May it be sooner rather than later. That will benefit us, the church, the world and God. That alone will enable us to bear lasting fruit.

 

 

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Musings on divine health

1 Corinthians 6: 15-20 :

“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,”He says, “shall become one flesh.”17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

I would like to list some key points from this passage for your edification –

  1. vs 15 – Our physical bodies are members of Christ. Our physical bodies are plugged in to the spiritual body of Jesus. Therefore his life must flow into our physical bodies. What is the implication of this fact? Should we expect to be in divine health because of the fact that the life of Jesus saturates our physical bodies?
  2. vs 17 – He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Upon salvation, we are joined to the Lord and become one spirit with Him. My spirit is “dissolved” in Christ’s spirit and we are indistinguishably, inseparably united. John Sandford says that our spirit fills the body as water does a sponge not as water fills a glass container. Therefore, should I expect to live in divine health because the sprit of Jesus fills my body as water does a sponge?
  3. vs 19 – Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. In the light of the explanation in point number 2 above, our bodies are saturated with the Holy Spirit, every fibre, organ, muscle, ligament, tissue and cell is saturated with the Holy Spirit. Should I expect to be healed of every sickness and live in divine health as a result?
  4. vs 20 – For you were bought at a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. Our bodies were bought with a price, the blood of Jesus. It is not just our spirits that were bought with the blood of Jesus, our bodies were too. Jesus’ life was given up so that our bodies could be purchased by God, that God might own our bodies and make them His dwelling place. Should’nt every cell come alive as a result? The Word asks me to glorify God with my body. Was’nt it the healing of the blind man in John 9 and not his blindness that glorified God? Would a sick body glorify God? Certainly not. It is only an undefiled body and a  sickness free body that will glorify God. Hence, should’nt I expect to live in divine health?

Look at God’s purpose for our bodies – he bought them at the price of the blood of Jesus, made them His dwelling place, saturated them with His Holy Spirit, made them part of Christs’ body and desires that our bodies glorify Him through holy living and sickness free living.

Think about it.

Use the name of Jesus to repeatedly command healing to the members of your body that “did’nt get the message” of Christ’s salvation.

 

Some thoughts about the name of Jesus

Jesus is able to grant salvation to those who believe, have repented of sin and have received him as Lord just because He won a decisive victory through his death and resurrection. This salvation includes the forgiveness of sin, breaking of sin’s power over the believer, deliverance from Satan’s dominion, freedom from the bondage of death, healing from sickness, freedom from the curse, blessing, eternal life, empowerment to be witnesses, power and authority over the kingdom of darkness, over sickness, over the curse, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and an impartation of the nature of Jesus.

The overwhelming victory of Jesus over sin, Satan, sickness, the curse and death and his authority in Heaven and earth is both contained in His person and contained in his name. His name contains his salvation. That is why at his name every knee in heaven and on earth bows and every tongue confesses that Jesus is Lord. Satan bows at the mention of the name of Jesus. So does every sickness, every disease, every pain, every curse, nature itself and even death. The use of his name must produce the same results as when He himself were present.

When the disciples returned from an assignment Jesus had given them in Luke 10, they were so glad that “even the demons submit to us in your name”. The use of the name of Jesus brought demons under submission to the disciples. The demons recognised both Jesus and the fact that his name contained authority.

Similarly now, the use of the name of Jesus bring demons, sickness, disease, pain, curses and nature under submission to the believer. The centurion who sought the healing of his servant saw sickness as being under the authority of Jesus. He had no doubt that sickness had no choice but to obey Jesus.

There is power in the name of Jesus when it is used by those who believe and are submitted to his Lordship. Every kind of sickness must submit to me when I use the name of Jesus for his name releases his victory over sickness. Peter and John, when explaining the healing of the lame man at the gate “Beautiful” (Acts 3:16) said that it was the name of Jesus that enabled the lame man to be healed – “And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know.” The name had released healing virtue. Similarly the name releases deliverance, blessing and freedom from sin. Jesus said in Mark 16:17,18 – “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;  they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” The name would release such supernatural power. A lump of incense, when heated, releases such a powerful fragrance. That which is contained within the incense is released. Similarly, salvation, which is contained within the name of Jesus is released when his name is spoken in faith.

The disciples of Jesus have been authorised to use his name in prayer, in dealing with sickness, demons, curses, nature and death. The next time you are confronted by an obstacle of any kind (not caused by your own sin, of course!) or a need or in the preaching of the gospel, use the name of Jesus with boldness; it is guaranteed to produce results.

 

The paths of the destroyer

“Concerning the works of men, By the word of your lips, I have kept away from the paths of the destroyer.” Psalm 17:4

The devil has set paths upon which he trods, fixed routes he traverses and dark habitations where he is most at ease. He exercises dominion in darkness, places devoid of the light of God. He loves darkness for darkness allows him to remain hidden and does not reveal his nature. Similarly, people whose deeds are evil love darkness, hate the light and do not want to come to the light lest their deeds be exposed (John 3:19,20).

The Word speaks of acts of darkness (1 John 1:6), the love of darkness (John 3:19), walking in darkness (John 8:12), darkening of understanding (Ephesians 4:18), the works of darkness (Romans 13:12; Ephesians 5:8-14), the things of darkness (1 Corinthians 4:5), sitting in darkness (Matthew 4:16), being in darkness (1 Thess 5:4,5), darkness in the body and spirit (Matthew 6:22,23), the power of darkness (Col 1:13), the rulers of darkness (Ephesians 6:12) and the acts of darkness (1 John 1:6). Darkness is essentially the atmosphere or environment created by sin. Thats what the devil and his demons love – the atmosphere of sin.

The devil can only access what is in darkness, wherever that darkness may be found, even if it is within the child of God. (Francis Frangipane) We will do well to understand this statement. The devil can only access that which has not been brought out into the light, that which is kept hidden, that which has not yet been yielded to Christ Jesus. In fact the Word tells us that he who is in darkness and walks in darkness does not know where he is going, for the darkness has blinded his eyes (1John 2:11). Every work of the flesh that has not been confessed, repented of and put to death by the Spirit is an area of darkness, a seed of failure, a seed of self-destruction that will be accessed by the devil at some point in time. Take for example, the disciple of Jesus who is indulging in pornography or has bitterness or has an issue with anger or pride or envy or any other work of the flesh. After some effort to stop sinning in these areas and repeated failure, the disciple accepts this living as the norm and is content to live a defeated life assuming that every Christian has problems in some area of morality. This thinking is compounded by the unwillingness or failure of the man behind the pulpit to address defeated living and periodic stories of larger than life pastors succumbing to moral failures. All of these issues are potential failures, just setting up the believer for a fall, sooner or later.

Conflicts between husband and wife that are not brought out into the light, discussed and repented of are seeds of marital destruction. Be sure that the devil will seek these areas of darkness and will access it in “the evil day”. Thats his job, his life’s purpose and what comes naturally to him.

Take the issue of drinking alcohol. Having spent my youth exposed to strict Indian Pentecostalism, I was appalled to see the lax attitude of some churches in Malaysia when it came to the issues of drinking wine and alcohol, which are simply intoxicants. I cannot fathom why the teaching of King Lemuel’s mother in Proverbs 31 is taken so lightly. We crow about the virtuous wife depicted in the same passage but never seem to consider the first part of the passage – “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes intoxicating drink.” “Give strong drink to him who is perishing and wine to those who are bitter of heart.” Proverbs 31:4-6 I tell you, this is an area of darkness; bring it out into the light of Christ, lest it become your downfall. The body is for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.

I am at times, surprised to see how some believers squirm when someone needs to use their mobile phones or computers. Strange, is’nt it? Why should I need to hide anything, apart from some things personal that are only relevant to the family? Hide something from my wife? Does your spouse have access to your phone? To your computer?

Jesus said, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, not hidden that will not be made known. Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.” Luke 12:1-3.  From here, we see that the hypocrite has things to cover, things to hide, things that he speaks in the dark and things that are spoken in the ear in inner rooms. May the Lord protect us from hypocrisy!

The Psalmist says that it is only by living according to God’s word that we can keep ourselves from the paths of the destroyer. The destroyer cannot access the light. If we walk in the light, we are superior to darkness, the destroyer cannot afflict us in any manner. We will always have authority over darkness, for “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not (cannot) overcome it.” (John 1:5). Our God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. We are the light of the world, our presence will cause darkness to flee.

Jesus said “The prince of this world cometh and he has nothing in me.” (John 14:30) Jesus lived in the light. There was nothing dark in his life, the devil had nothing in him.

Permit the Word of God to determine the boundaries within which you live. Its instruction will be the “hedge” that protects us from the devil, the “wall” that protects us from being bitten by a snake. Let the Word determine the boundaries within which we remain while dealing with the opposite sex, when relating with fellow believers, when dealing with people of the world, when dealing with our families, when dealing with our money, when it comes to our attitudes and every other aspect of life. God wants the very best for us; He is not keeping something good from us. The devil convinced Eve that God was keeping something good from her and we all know what she did next.

We have a God who is willing to receive us and forgive our sins and bring us into the light, His light. The light is the only place that is safe. It is the only place where the blood of Jesus continually cleanses us, even of unconscious or sub-conscious sins. The light is the only place where fellowship is possible; if one is walking in darkness, then we end up only have a meeting or a social gathering at best. Both must walk in the light for true fellowship to take place.

So, saint of God, bring your whole life into the light. Set boundaries within which you live. This simple act will keep you from straying into the paths of the destroyer.

Another look at grace

Grace is an attribute of God, part of his nature. It consists of His favor and power that is released to humanity because of the sacrifice of Jesus. To the world, it grants the opportunity to be saved through faith in Jesus, while to the Christian, upon salvation, it is the source of life. It is simply undeserved and is given solely because of the sacrifice of Jesus.

Grace, like glory and other attributes of God, has both substance and power. Substance, in the sense of a spiritual or heavenly materiality that can be experienced and felt. When Solomon’s temple was filled with the glory of God, the priests could not enter because the substance of the glory would not permit them to enter. It is as if they tried but walked into a spiritual substance that prevented them from entering. Glory, we see, had the capability to fill a physical place – in this instance, the temple of God.

We find two people in Scripture who were filled with grace – Jesus and Stephen. John declares that Jesus was full of grace and truth (John 1:14). Luke declares that Stephen was a man full of grace and power (Acts 8:6). Grace then, can fill a person, fill his being and be recognized by others.

Grace can also be transmitted to others just as the power of the Holy Spirit can be transmitted to others, the Word tells us that we are ministers of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:6). The power of the Holy Spirit can be transmitted by means of words, the laying on of hands or through cloths, as we see in the book of Acts. With regards to grace, Paul encourages the Ephesians to ensure that their words would impart grace to the hearers (Eph 4:29).

Paul says that God has given grace to each one (Ephesians 4:7), meaning that grace has been imparted into our spirits, deposited into our beings. It is not just about God showing favor to us but about God giving us grace as a deposit. We need to understand this well – grace has been given to us as a deposit, it is in our spirits.

The grace of God that is given to us empowers us as we will see in the verses below –

  1. Titus 2:11,12 – “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.” The grace that is in our spirits empowers us to turn away from ungodly living and to live a godly life. The Christian who lives in sin is simply resisting or rejecting the grace of God.
  2. Ephesians 3:7,8 – “of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power. To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” Galatians 2:9 – “and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.” 1 Corinthians 3:10 – “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it.” Romans 15:15,16 – “Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God, 16 that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” The grace of God given to Paul made him a minister of Jesus Christ, an apostle to the Gentiles, a builder of the foundation and a preacher of the gospel.
  3. Romans 12:6-8  – “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” The grace given enables the operation of spiritual gifts and we are encouraged to use them in proportion to our faith.
  4. 2 Corinthians 8:1,2,7 – “Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also.” The grace given to the Macedonian Christians enabled them to be generous despite their abject poverty.
  5. 1 Corinthians 15:10 – “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Paul speaks of grace as being the reason for making him who he was. Grace enabled him to work hard in the ministry. This is the reason why there can never be boasting in the Christian life – Christian living and ministry is nothing but the result or outworking of the grace of God.
  6. 2 Corinthians 12:9 – “And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Grace would sustain Paul in his trial.

We also see in the Scriptures that one can refuse to permit the grace of God to work in his or her life. Paul pleads with the Corinthian Christians not to receive the grace of God in vain (2 Corinthians 6:1). Reverting back to works or trying to earn salvation would have been tantamount to receiving the grace of God in vain. So would living in sin, laziness in ministry, not exercising spiritual gifts and stinginess. They would simply be a rejection of the grace of God.

Receiving the grace of God and allowing it to have effect in our lives will cause us to reign in this life as kings. Romans 5:17 says “For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” The recipient of grace can never be defeated, can never be a failure, can always triumph in this life. We find that grace is connected to Jesus Christ. Paul encourages Timothy to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:1). The greater the knowledge of Jesus, the greater the grace that is released into our lives. Thats why Paul’s chief, sole desire was to know Christ. A continual supply of grace is guaranteed to us through Jesus Christ as John says in John 1:16 – “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.”

Grace is associated with humility for the Word says in James 4:6 that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Acknowledging our need for salvation or inability to save ourselves and looking to God enables us to receive grace.

So then brethren, let us be partakers together of the grace of God (Phil 1:7) and let not that grace given be in vain but on the contrary, bear rich fruit.

 

 

 

The life of God

God’s purpose for our lives can be found in one verse of Scripture – Romans 8:29 “For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Thats God’s purpose for your life – to be conformed to the image of Jesus. It is not just to use you in ministry, or to bless you, or to heal you, or to restore your dominion, or to deliver you from your difficulties or from sin or Satan. His ultimate purpose is to make us like Jesus – full of His nature and life.

Seen another way, it is to fill us with His life and express himself through us in character and power, so that we can be like Jesus.

Jesus said “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10 b”. The Greek word for life used in this verse is “zoe” which means “the life of God”. Why don’t we read that verse again using the actual meaning of “zoe”.

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have the life of God, and that they may have the life of God more abundantly.” So, we see that Jesus came to make available to us the life of God. This verse also suggests that we can have this life of God in increasing abundance. Marvellous! What amazing possibilities to the one who believes! The life of God – the eternal, omnipotent, indestructible, sin destroying, disease destroying, unconquerable, holy life of God in the disciple of Jesus. That would make the man who carries this life a master, with dominion over the world, over Satan, over sin and over sickness and disease.

Lets look at some verses of Scripture along these lines and as we do, I would urge you to recognise the infinite possibilities laid before the disciple of Jesus, who chooses to believe  –

  1. John 1:4 – “In him was life and that life was the light of men.” The life of Jesus, when received, becomes light within us. Thats why Jesus said that we are the light of the world – because his life is the light within us. Jesus also said that the eye is the lamp of the body. If the eye is sound, the whole body is full of light. The eye here speaks of the human spirit. If the spirit is sound, the whole body is full of light (the darkness of sin or disease cannot enter the body). The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord (Proverbs 20:27) and, as in the verse above, the lamp of the body. When the life of Jesus comes in, the spirit is made alive or sound or is full of light. When the spirit of man is sound (full of the life of God), then the body is full of light. That means that as long as our spirits are filled with the life of God, disease cannot come near us. It also makes clear that as long as we are filled with the life of God, the darkness of sin cannot come in. Do you see these wonderful possibilities….if only we can believe?
  2. 1 John 5:11, 12 – “God has given us eternal life and this life is in his son. He who has the Son, has life; he who does not have the son does not have life.” There is only one way to receive the life of God – by receiving Jesus. For, this life of God is only found in Jesus. As we have received Jesus, we have received the life of God – the eternal, all conquering, omnipotent life of God. Can you believe that? Can you regularly remind yourself of this amazing truth?
  3. 1 John 5:13 – These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life,…..” This is vital – that you may know that you have eternal life, that you may know that you have the life of God within you, that you may know beyond a shadow of doubt. Do you? There is the life of God pulsating in each cell of your body, in your soul and in your spirit and it is God’s will that you enjoy this life in an increasing measure. It is God’s will for the Holy Spirit to provide life to your mortal body to sustain you through life’s journey until it is time to make the transition to your eternal home. (Romans 8:11).
  4. 1 Corinthians 6:15 – “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?” Hey….hold on; I thought that I am part of the body of Christ because I am connected to Christ in my spirit. What does this verse say? This verse shows us that our BODIES are members of Christ. That means our bodies are part of Christ’s body. That means our bodies are recipients of the life of Jesus. That means our bodies – every cell and every organ and every blood vessel are continually vitalized and rejuvenated and made alive by the life of God. Sickness, disease and pain cannot come in. The “head and the body” and the “vine and branch” are two pictures of Christ’s relationship to us. In both these pictures, the same life passes through the body and the branch. For the body and the branch to be alive, life must flow. That life is what Jesus came to give.
  5. John 7:38 – “he who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” God’s plan is not just to make us a recipient of the life of God, but to make us “dispensers” or “ministers” of the life of God. This life of God can flow out of our spirits and souls and our bodies to impact others, dispelling death from their lives in the process. Wherever we go, the spiritual atmosphere is bound to change because of this life that we carry.

I would like to encourage you, saint of God, to seek to be filled with this life of God, which is found in Jesus, in an ever increasing measure until His life is freely expressed through you in character and power.

Thus God will cause us to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.

Hope

Its been a rough ride since this year began with the stock markets sliding, the price of crude oil moving south and a large number of lay offs in both the oil sector and banking. This, compounded by the state of affairs in the Middle East, the refugee crisis, the constant squabble between nations as they strive for supremacy, the North Korean issue and the depths of evil in men’s hearts leaves one with a dark foreboding of what the future has in store for the world.

Even so,  I am reminded of the passage in Isaiah 6 where, despite the events that were taking place on earth, the seraphim proclaimed that the whole earth was filled with God’s glory. I guess it is a matter of perspective and of hope.

As I was seeking God in December last year, the Lord impressed this one word in my spirit – “Hope”. I then began to read the Scriptures and compiled a study on hope, which I would like to share with you.

Hope is the earnest expectation of good; it is the confidence that good will come to pass; an optimistic view of the future. As a Christian, we have several reasons for hope; in fact, we are to be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us (1 Pet 3:15).

The Bible says in Romans 15:13 – “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Our God is the God of hope. He expects us to abound with hope even in the darkest of situations – in the midst of sickness, hope for healing and health; in the midst of a loss of job, hope for a better job; in the midst of a marital conflict, hope for healing and restoration; in the midst of a financial crisis, hope for prosperity; in the midst of an impossible situation, hope for a miracle; in the midst of barrenness, hope for children; in the midst of bondage, hope for deliverance and freedom. He will empower us by the Holy Spirit that we may not only have hope, but overflow with hope. Our hope will not disappoint us; it will come to fruition (Rom 5:5). Hope is the anchor of the soul, is both sure and steadfast (Hebrews 6:19), and brings rest (Ps 16:9). It enables us to experience the glorious presence of the Lord (Heb 6:19).

As we examine this topic, we must be cautious that all our hope is not solely set on the things of this life. The Word says in 1 Cor 15:19 – “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” We understand from this that our hope in Christ will bear fruit both with regard to life in this world and life in the age to come. It is only when we lose sight of the life to come and solely focus on the things of this life that we become pitiable.

What then do we hope for ? Both for this life on earth and the life to come.

  1. For this life on earth – An excellent example is found in the life of Abraham in Romans 4. Verse 18 says “who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, ‘So shall your descendants be’.” Abraham placed his hope in God’s promise that he would have a child through Sarah. He had every reason to be filled with despair especially since he was about 100 years old and Sarah was 90 and barren. Yet, he chose to place his hope in God’s promise to him. The situation required a miracle; Abraham could choose to either have hope or to despair. He chose to hope, believing that God would fulfill his promise. He was rewarded with a miraculous intervention and Isaac was born through Sarah.
    What is your situation? Is it sickness, a loss of job, a crisis in your marriage, insubordinate children, financial problems, barrenness, prison, persecution, trials ? Does the future seem bleak and threaten doom? Place your hope in God. David did the same. Read Psalm 42 and 43. In the midst of oppression by the enemy and deep distress, David spoke to his own soul saying in verse 5 and 11, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.” Can you pause and speak to your soul in like manner, right now?
  2. For the life to come – Titus 3:7 speaks of the hope of eternal life. Our hope in God extends beyond this life to the life which is to come after death. The Word speaks in 2 Corinthians that when we are absent from this world, we will be present with the Lord. Paul speaks in Philippians of departing to be with Christ. There is a life for us after this life on earth – a life spent in the presence of God for eternity. Faith in Jesus Christ gives us this wonderful hope of spending eternity in God’s marvellous presence.
    In Romans 8:23-25, Paul speaks of eagerly waiting with perseverance in hope for the redemption of the body. Our bodies will one day be changed, when Jesus returns, and we will obtain glorious bodies.
    1 Peter 1:3,4 speaks of God placing within us the hope of an inheritance in heaven, with Him keeping us by his power while on earth so that we can inherit all things with Christ. In 1:13, he speaks of the grace that will be brought to us when Jesus is revealed from heaven at his coming – a grace that will transform us instantly to be like Jesus.
    We also have hope that Jesus will return for His church, that He will destroy the Anti Christ and bring in a new heavens and a new earth, that we will reign with Christ.
    Look beyond this life; your life to come is secure and assured because you are in Christ.

What is the basis for the Christian’s hope?

  1. Jeremiah 29:11 shows us that we have a God who thinks about us constantly, to do us good so that we may have hope and a future.
  2. Jeremiah 17:7 speaks blessing upon the man whose hope is the Lord. It is not just placing our hope in God, but our hope is God himself -in who He is.
  3. Hebrews 6:17-19 God’s word and promises are sufficient basis for hope.
  4. Romans 15:4 – “we through the patience and comfort of Scriptures might have hope.”
  5. Romans 4:17,18 – God’s promise to Abraham was the basis for his hope despite having every reason to despair.
  6. Colossians 1:27 – Christ in us is the hope of glory. Because Christ dwells in us, we can expect to experience and see His glory being revealed in our lives and in our situations. You can expect God Himself to show up in His glory, just as he did in the lives of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they were thrown into the fiery furnace.
  7. Christ’s life, death and resurrection – God the Father was with Jesus at every moment of his life on earth, He was with him in death in that He did not allow Jesus’ body to see corruption, He was with Jesus as He raised him from the dead and enabled him to ascend to heaven. Jesus’ life gives us a reason for hope. God will not abandon us but be with us every step of the way.

We find the Scriptures speaking of hope in our spirits – when the Holy Spirit fills us (Rom 15:13); hope in our souls – just as David spoke to his soul to hope in God (Psalm 42:11) and hope for our bodies – David says in Psalm 16:9,10 “Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope, For you will not leave my soul in Sheol nor will you allow your Holy one to see corruption.”

Therefore, saint of God, don’t give up.

Abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Hope changes the atmosphere around you, it fills the atmosphere with expectation so that all who come in contact with you will be impacted and will want to know the reason for the hope that you have. Your best life may well be ahead of you.

God be with you.

Revelation

As a general rule, revelation precedes Christian experience. All we can know of God is when God reveals himself to us through His word or through His Spirit.

Revelation can be understood as the unveiling of God to the believer OR as the opening of the believer’s understanding to God and the things of God. Revelation is totally the work of the Holy Spirit; man can never attain this knowledge or experience on his own. It must be of God.

1. One’s sinfulness – Acts 2:37 “Now, when they heard this, they were cut to the heart….” Luke 5:8 “…..Depart from me for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

2. Jesus as Saviour, Lord and God – John 20:28 “And Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God””. Also, Acts 9:3-5.

3. The Father – Matthew 11:27 “….Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal him”.

4. Jesus – Eph 1:17 “….give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (Christ)”. Luke 24:31 “Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him and vanished from their sight.” Also, Revelation 1:9-18 and Philippians 3:10 and Matt 16:17.

5. The love of Christ – Eph 3:19 “to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge……”.

6. The things that God has prepared for us – 1 Cor 2:9,10 “Eye has not see, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit….”.

7. The things of the Holy Spirit – 1 Cor 2:14 “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”. Acts contains many instances where the Holy Spirit revealed things to the apostles and Paul eg- Ananias and Sapphira lying.

8. Jesus Christ IN us – Galatians 1:16 “to reveal His Son IN me…..” In my opinion, this is the greatest revelation that you and I need in order to live the Christian life in power. Jesus Christ in us – living in us, speaking through us, doing his ministry through us, overcoming sin, Satan, sickness and the world through us. No longer I but Christ living in me.

9. Wonderful things in the Word – Psalms 119:18 “Open my eyes that I may see wondrous things from your law”.

10. God’s dealings with the wicked and the righteous – Psalms 73:16, 17 “When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me – until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end”.

11. Mysteries of the kingdom and Christ – Matthew 13:11 “….it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven……” Galatians 1:12 “For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Also Ephesians 3:2-6.

Once we receive revelation from God, we must press in to experience what has been revealed to us. Having a revelation of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, for instance, is not of much use unless it is followed by the experience of receiving the Holy Spirit. Having a revelation of God as healer is of not much use unless it is followed by experiencing his healing.

All through the journey of the Israelites across the desert, God was constantly revealing himself – as their provider, as miracle worker, as healer, as shepherd, as guide, as protector and more. The Israelites could not see this – all they could see was their own need.

Similarly, and in fact, in a much greater way, God is revealing himself to us. Jesus said, “he who has seen me has seen the Father.” Jesus was the perfect revelation of God the Father.

May we desire to know him by revelation and experience all that He has for us on this earth. Cry out to him to reveal himself – only knowing Christ will satisfy your soul. There is a place for us to express our deep desire to know Him through prayer and at times, fasting – God normally answers this cry. We do not have, because we do not ask.