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.

The New Covenant

God directed my focus to the term ” new covenant” the other day so I spent time meditating upon it and did receive revelation from the Lord, which I would like to share. I know that once your eyes are opened to receive this into your spirit, your relationship with God will drastically improve. Every Christian experience is preceded by revelation knowledge that we receive from the Holy Spirit individually through the Word of God. In our age we have spent many years receiving head knowledge but not revelation (heart) knowledge and thats why our experience has been shallow and does not match up with what we profess to believe.

The term “covenant” in the Scriptures is generally understood as a contract or agreement between God and man. I see, however, covenant as much more than just a contract or agreement, much more than just agreeing to a set of stipulations.

Covenant primarily involves a union, an inseparable union between God and man.

All of God’s being and all of man’s being is involved in covenant.

The covenant also involves agreement and stipulations but the primary focus of covenant is this union.

Malachi 2:14, 15 tells us that marriage is a covenant too – between a man a woman with God as witness. In the process of this covenant, God establishes a spiritual union between the man’s spirit and woman’s spirit and the two are then one in spirit. Thats why adultery or divorce does such damage – it tears at the very spiritual union between husband and wife that God established.

Lets look at the facts. While there will be some who will dissect this and list all that they disagree with or think is unbiblical and receive nothing in the process, my focus is on reaching the rest.

1. The New Covenant is one that has been established between God the Father and Jesus the Son.

Psalm 89 : 19-29 shows us that God makes a covenant with Jesus. Jesus’ part was coming to earth, taking on human flesh, living s sinless life, preaching, teaching and healing, destroying the works of Satan, going to the cross, bearing man’s sins, sicknesses and curse, shedding his blood and dying on the cross. The Father’s part was to be with Jesus all through his journey, to empower him with the Holy Spirit, to give grace to pass through suffering and death, not to leave him in Hell, not to allow his body to decay, to raise him from the dead and raise him to Heaven to the right hand of God, to give him all authority in heaven and earth and through him to provide for the salvation of man.

2. Since we are in Christ, we are part of this new covenant. This means that God has made a covenant with us too because we are in Christ.

Hebrews 8:8 shows us that God makes the new covenant with the house of Israel and Judah in the last days. The Bible tells us the following as to who comprises Israel –

Romans 9:6 – …”for they are not all Israel who are of Israel.

Romans 9:8 – “That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.”

Galatians 3:7 – “Therefore know that only those who are of faith are the sons of Abraham,”

Galatians 3:29 – “And if you are Christ’s, you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

Philippians 3:3 – “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”

Roman 2:28,29 – “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.”

We can see that we who are in Christ are the Israel that God is speaking of here and this new covenant involves us too for we are in Christ.

What is the implication of us being a party to the new covenant in Christ?

In return for our belief in and surrender to the Lordship of Christ, we get to enjoy every provision of the new covenant. We have a union between our spirits and God. All of God’s being is involved in this covenant and all of ours too.

All that has been provided for us through Christ’s death, burial, resurrection and ascension are available through this covenant – the forgiveness of sin, cleansing, deliverance from sin, sickness, curse and the devil, eternal life, assurance of Heaven, God’s indwelling, God working in us to satisfy his own demands of us, God working through us in signs, wonders, miracles and gifts of the Spirit, divine health, divine blessing, divine authority and power over all the power of the enemy, power to be witnesses of Jesus and many others.

Can you see the force of this covenant? Nothing can stand in its path, nothing can destroy it, nothing can break it, it is as if we are in the grip of a mighty force field, anything that comes in will be destroyed by the power thereof – it is an eternal covenant between God and Jesus and by extension, with us who are in Jesus Christ.

May we receive revelation as we meditate upon this. Believe and receive all the provision of this wonderful new covenant in the blood of Jesus. God be with you.

 

Salvation – man’s responsibility

The Bible teaches us that God himself is our salvation. Although I have no understanding of either Hebrew or Greek, I read that the name “Jesus” comes from the compound word, Jehovah-Sus, meaning “God is my salvation”. Indeed, glory to God, God Himself is our salvation; He came down to earth and took on flesh, lived a sinless life, died, was buried, was raised to life and ascended to Heaven. Through his life, death and resurrection, He has provided salvation for man. Man, by his own effort, can never earn salvation, it is a free gift from God.

Having said that, does man have a role to play in experiencing this salvation? Is there anything that man has to do? Or does he just sit back and let God do everything for him?

Lets look at what the Scriptures have to say about this. We will look at ten words and phrases that speak of man’s responsibility concerning salvation. While here, against each of the responsibilities, we will look at God’s role. Do note that I have not listed references here as I normally do; why don’t you look them up yourself?

1. Repent – “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”

2. Believe – “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God”.

3. Work out your salvation – “….For it is God who works in you both to will and to do according to his good pleasure”.

4. Overcome – “They overcame Satan by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony and they loved not their lives unto death”. “You have overcome them, for greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world”.

5. Have faith in God – “God has dealt to each one a measure of faith”. The gift of faith is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

6. Deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, do not sow to the flesh – “If by the Spirit, you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live”. “Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh”.

7. Go into all the world and preach the gospel – .”….you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me……”

8. Works of ministry – “…….those things which Christ has accomplished through me, in word and deed……..in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God……”

9. Produce fruit – “He who abides in me and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing”.

10. I laboured more abundantly than they all, always abounding in the work of the Lord – “To this end I also labor, striving according to His working, which works in me mightily”.

While we see these words or phrases that speak of man’s responsibility concerning salvation, we also see that in each of those, it is actually God who enables man to do what is required of him. Therefore, salvation is definitely of God, from beginning to end, so that no man can boast.

Do you remember God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac? When God prevented Abraham from sacrificing Isaac, but provided the ram for the sacrifice, Abraham saw God as Jehovah-Jireh or “the God who provides”. What does this show us? It shows us that God provides what He demands of us. He either provides what is required OR lives within us, empowering us to do what He requires of us.

Having said this, I must emphasize that we will never enter into and experience Christ’s salvation in its fulness unless we fulfill our responsibilities. Although God provided the ram for the sacrifice, Abraham had to get hold of the ram and sacrifice it just as you and I have the responsibility to put to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit. The New testament has several references to this possibility of not experiencing all of Christ’s salvation unless we fulfill our responsibilities.

Why this seeming dichotomy? On the one hand, we see that it is God who enables man to do what is required of him. On the other hand, we see that we will not experience Christ’s salvation in its fulness unless we fulfill our responsibilities.

The reason for this seeming dichotomy is because of the fact that we have a free will – we can resist His promptings, quench His Spirit, rebel against His leading and feed the flesh, among others.

What should we do then?

We ought to simply be completely yielded to Christ so that He can live within us to do what He requires of us.

 

20/20 vision

20/20 vision indicates that we are able to see the same line of letters that a normal person can, at a distance of 20 feet. When a person is unable to see clearly, there is a need for a correction, often through the use of spectacles.

As Christians, we can easily get distracted from the main issues of life and focus on things or issues of interest to us and are unable to focus on things that are in God’s heart. There are many legitimate issues that vie for our attention and often succeed, sometimes to the detriment of our souls. 20/20 vision for the Christian is to see things as God sees them, to focus on things that he focuses on, to prioritise that which He prioritises.

I was drawn to three instances in the Word where we find a focus on things that are not in God’s heart and God’s gentle correction.

1. Mark 9:2-7 In this passage, Jesus takes three of his disciples and goes up a high mountain and was transfigured before them. Moses and Elijah appear and speak with Jesus. The disciples are in such awe at the sight that they propose to make three tabernacles – one for Jesus, one for Moses and one for Elijah and to stay there. Immediately, a cloud overshadowed them and God spoke to them saying “This is my beloved son, listen to him“. God gently helps them to see that his desire for them was not to build the tabernacles, but to listen to Jesus. Similarly, as Christians, we can have so many plans either for our own lives or for the church and desire to get into projects that seem right and often get bogged down by them, when all that God wants of us is to listen to Jesus. Listening to Jesus and doing as he directs is what God wants of you.

2. John 21:21,22 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me.” When Jesus met with some disciples at the seashore after his resurrection, he was speaking to Peter. During this conversation, Peter asks Jesus about John, saying “what about him?” Jesus then gently showed him that it was not necessary for him to be concerned about God’s plans for John, rather Peter was to focus on one thing – to follow Jesus. God’s plan for us is to follow Jesus – “to follow the lamb wherever he goes”. Following Jesus’ leading and plans for our lives will bring the greatest satisfaction. He has a plan for your life and will lead you to fulfill that plan. We need not worry about others and God’s plans for others, what is needed is for us to follow Jesus.  The path that God has ordained for us is unique, one that is designed just for us and it will do us immense good to be where God wants us to be.

3. Acts 1:6-8 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked him, saying, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And he said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in his own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” In our day, we find such interest with regard to the second coming of Christ and the signs and prophecy, often to the point of being plain silly – when every change in our natural or political environment becomes a sign that the world is going to end. Well, the disciples were concerned about the restoration of the kingdom to Israel. Jesus corrected them, telling them to focus rather on what was absolutely critical – the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the receiving of spiritual power with the aim of being witnesses to Christ. Today, too the Lord wants you to focus on what is necessary, the power of the Holy Spirit.

Stop the unnecessary focus on things that are not necessary or sometimes detrimental to your growth. Do not get into projects that seem right or even into ministry that seems right because of the need, just listen to Jesus. Jesus was not driven by human need, he did what His Father told him to do. There were a multitude of sick people lying at the pool of Bethesda but Jesus healed only one – the paralytic. Make it a point to listen to Jesus. Learn to hear and obey.

You do not have to worry or be envious of God’s plan for someone else – you just follow Jesus. Don’t worry about whether other denominations or churches are as fundamental in doctrine as your church is. God has a wonderful plan for your life and He is committed to fulfill that plan. Be content to just follow Jesus. He is your role model, take his yoke upon you and follow him.

Turn your focus away from too much involvement in the future or in prophecy or in peripheral matters, you focus on being filled with all the fullness of God, on the power of the Holy Spirit. I am not saying that we should not study prophecy or the end times, just warning about an inordinate focus on them. 1 John2 says that if we abide in Him, we will have confidence when he appears and will not shrink back from him in shame. I have noticed that often, it is our lack of power that is such a misrepresentation of Jesus to unbelievers. Seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit and you will receive power to be a witness for Jesus.

20/20 vision. Let us see as God sees.

Union with Christ

“He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.” 1 Cor 6:17

The disciple of Jesus Christ has been placed in a spiritual union with him. This union is with the resurrected and ascended Christ.

The ascended Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father, far above all principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named throughout all ages (Eph 1:21). The ascended Christ has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt 28:18) and at his name every knee in heaven, earth and under the earth shall bow and every tongue shall confess that He is Lord (Phil 2:10,11). The ascended Christ is the one who destroyed Satan (Heb 2:14), every power of darkness is subject to him (Col2:15), he holds the keys of hell and death (Rev1:18). The ascended Christ is the one who overcame death (Rev1:18) and will die no more (Rom6:9) and death has no power over him. The ascended Christ is the one who overcame sin, sickness and the curse. Through his death and resurrection, he destroyed the power of sin, sickness and the curse. He rules until all his enemies are made his footstool (1Cor 15:25).

We need to recognize this union that we have with the ascended Christ. We are in a spiritual union with the one who has all authority in heaven and on earth. It will do us immense good to meditate on this fact on a daily basis until it sinks into our spirits and we can live in that reality. Then we will live out of that reality, which is that the ascended Christ is living through us. That is why we read of Paul writing that Christ speaks through him, that Christ works mighty signs and wonders through him, that Christ lives in him, that Christ has possessed him to bring him to perfection. In fact, in Ephesians 3:17, Paul prays for Christ to dwell in our hearts.

Have you ever wondered why he prayed thus? Did we not receive Christ when we first repented and believed in him (Col 2:6)? Why then did Paul pray for Christ to dwell in our hearts?

I believe that Paul wanted us to experience the reality of Christ’s indwelling on a daily basis. It is one thing to receive Christ when we believe, but yet another to walk in that reality on a daily basis. This then gives us a new meaning to John 15 on abiding in Christ. Abiding in Christ would then mean living in the consciousness of this wonderful spiritual union we have with him. Knowing Christ, then would refer to this same spiritual union through which there is a continual impartation of life, virtue (power) and character from Christ to us. In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col 2:2,3) and this wisdom and knowledge are made available to us through this union. Through this union, Christ himself is made available to us so that we can experience and walk in the reality of his life.

Christ then, is our promised land and the concept of entering into and taking the promised land for the Christian is just an experience of all of Christ’s salvation, of all that Christ died to provide. Perfection, then is just becoming like Christ.

May we live in this reality.