13while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
Jesus came to ''redeem us from all wickedness'' or ''every lawless deed'' as rendered in another version. The Greek word for redeem is the word 'lutro', which as we stated in an earlier study refers to setting a captive free by the payment of a ransom.
So the truth presented here is that Jesus sets us fee from every sinful deed that may hold us captive. As individuals we may have been or may still be captives to various sinful habits. We don't have to present a list of these here. Each one of us can recognize them in our lives individually.
Now that we are in Jesus, we need to know that as part of the redemption that has been provided for us, we can be free from bondage to sinful deeds. The world may try to reason away certain sinful deeds as being ''genetic'', or what ever else.
But we've got to acknowledge sin as sin and recognize that in Christ we can be set free. We are to live as God's own people who are eager to walk in righteousness.
Sunday, 16 May 2010
Monday, 10 May 2010
Although conquered and defeated, the devil has been allowed to continue with his wicked schemes on the earth, a little longer. We know that this won't be forever. Yet, while we are here on the earth, we face an enemy daily, who desires to have us back as his captives.
Whether it is in the moral financial, the physical (body), relational (marriage, family, relationships), the ministry or the spiritual (our walk with the Lord) the devil attempts relentlessly to gain an entrance and capture territory in our lives. The challenge that we are faced with is to successfully resist attempts and walk in the benefits of the redemption Christ provided for us.
The redemption that we have in Christ brings benefits, some of which we can enjoy and experience in this life and those we will enjoy when we are changed into His likeness. While we are here on the earth, what must we do to live as people whom the Lord has redeemed and purchased for Himself?
How can our lives be filled with the rich blessings of the redemption that we have in Christ? As individuals and communities of believers spread around the world, we are to demonstrate the reality of our redemption. We are to live, individually and corporately, as the redeemed of the Lord.
Thursday, 29 April 2010
Luke Chapter 19 verses 41 and 42 indicate that the city of Jerusalem was happy and prosperous for sometime. But then God says that Jerusalem ought to have realized something, that is, it should have known things about heavenly peace while it is prosperous. We too have times of prosper in our lives. Just because we are in peace and prosperity doesn't mean that God is with us or our deeds are pleasing in God's eyes. It is the time given by the Lord to make us realize. Where does this Godly or heavenly peace originate?
From the blood of Christ: Colossians 1:20, 1 John 1:7
Only the blood of Christ cleanses our sins that are between us and the Lord. This is the starting point of heavenly peace. Jesus Christ is the cause or origin of our peace as written in Ephesians 2:13-17. His blood removes our sins, which are obstacles that stand between the Lord and us. Because of this, Jesus Christ preached heavenly peace as gospel. Those who listened and obeyed to the gospel are cleaned by His blood and hence become vessels to receive heavenly peace.
Explicit deeds: Acts 22:16
Being washed by the blood of Christ is a hidden thing. Nobody can physically explicitly visualize this. But there are certain things that need to be done explicitly in order to acquire the heavenly peace. They are (i) getting up, (ii) worshipping the Lord and (iii) obtaining baptism. This is because baptism is a covenant of the righteous soul with the Lord. Baptism is also a law given by the Lord and hence if we follow His laws there will be heavenly peace according to Isaiah 48:18.
Prayer: Phil. 4:6,7
Even if we are cleansed by the blood of the Lord and follow His laws and get baptized, we still may lack heavenly peace. The reason for this is we are still in this world and not in heaven. Therefore we might be attacked by worldly sorrows that take away the heavenly peace in us. In this case, God tells us to just inform Him of all our sorrows and He will take care of everything so that we are filled with heavenly peace. We can inform things to Him through prayer and those who pray are free from worries and have heavenly peace (Matt. 6:25,27, I Peter 5:7).
Hold on to Him: Isaiah 26:3
Heavenly peace comes to those who strongly hold on to Jesus and Jesus alone. We should not try all possible things according to our own will and upon failure, come to Jesus in the end. According to Psalms 125:1 and Psalms 34:22, those who hold on to the Lord will not be charged by others since they do not choose the path of sin according to their own will. Choosing their own path often leads to a lot of trouble and hence loss of peace.
Saturday, 17 April 2010
Key Passage: Job 33:14-30
Elihu waited for his turn to speak to Job, because he was younger than the three other friends who had come to comfort Job. As Elihu began to speak he emphasized his dependence on divine inspiration. For instance consider this portion of opening statements: "I am young in years, and you are old; that is why I was fearful, not daring to tell you what I know. I though, 'Age should speak; advanced years should teach wisdom.' But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding. It is not only the old who are wise, not only the aged who understand what is right." (Job 32:6-9). We must also remember that later when God spoke, He rebuked Job's three friends Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar for what they said, but not Elihu.
As Elihu begin to reason with Job, he rebuked Job for his self-righteous attitude and acusing God of denying him justice. In the passage quoted above, Elihu states how God attempts to speak to man through dreams and visions to turn man from the error of his ways. God may even speak in the midst of sickness and pain to draw a man back to Himself. Even when a man is sick upon his bed, drawing near to the grave, if there is a messenger to explain to the sufferer what is the right thing to do, and turn him back in repentance towards God - and if the man does repent - then God if gracious to him and says "spare him from going down to the pit (destruction), I have found a ransom for him."
A ransom is a price paid for redemption. When some one is held as a hostage, the price that is paid to obtain their freedom is a ransom. The process of obtaining their freedom from captivity is redemption. The Hebrew word used in verse 24 translated "ransom" refers to a redemption price, a ransom, an atonement. It is also used to refer to a covering for sin and also in the sense of expiation - to make amends for sin, to appease.
It is interesting to note that the concept of a ransom - a redemption price - was understood at that early time. It is also interesting to note that this was held in connection with bringing some one out of sickness and saving them from destruction. The "pit" could refer to both physical and eternal destruction.
Saturday, 10 April 2010
Through prayer we give birth to the purpose of God in our lives. Prayer, in one sense is the birthing process by which we being forth the things of God into the earth.
In prayer you receive an understanding of the purpose of God.
When praying in the Spirit, you are praying the purposes of God into existence.
1 Corinthians 2:9,10
1 Corinthians 14:2
In addition to the general plan and purpose of God for the human race, God has things planned and prepared for each of us as individuals (Ephesians 2:10). To many of us, the purposes of God for our lives may be ''hidden'' and may seem to be a ''mystery''. However the Spirit of God knows the mind of God. holy Spirit knows all the deep things of God and is fully aware of God's plan and purpose - for He Himself is God. The Holy Spirit will reveal the plans and purposes of God to us. And this happens often in prayer.
A powerful benefit of praying in tongues (or praying in the Spirit) is that we are praying ''mysteries''. Often when we are praying in the Spirit, we are in fact praying the plans and purposes of God for our own lives, which at that point may be a mystery - a hidden thing to us.
In prayer God reveals to us the things He wants to birth through us. As we pray, conception takes place and the purpose of God is implanted/impregnated into our spirit. As we continue to pray in the Spirit we give shape to the purpose of God in the spiritual realm. Birth or delivery may not have taken place as yet. But from the time or a conception till delivery, there is a period of gestation or a period of growth, inward growth, growth in the unseen realm. This is what happens as we pray in the Spirit.
We are not seeing any visible change but in the spirit realm the purpose of God is being shaped and formed. The hands, the limbs, the body is growing and is getting closer to the time when it can be released on the earth. So when we get an idea or a vision and when God reveals to us the things He desires to release through us, we need to spend time praying over them. And at the right time, in the fullness of time His purposes will be birthed into the earth.
Thursday, 8 April 2010
This is a very short note in connection with my previous post on Spiritual Value Of God-given Burdens.
While it is true that burdens we receive as we wait on God express His will for us, it is also true that in the main it is our knowledge which governs our burdens initially. There are exceptions. For instance, in the middle of the night God may call you to get up and pray for a brother in a remote place whose circumstances at that particular time are unknown to you, and not till later do you learn of the specific need he was in just then.
But more often our burdens arise in connection with matters about which we have some information. God first brings a certain matter to our knowledge, and than on the basis of that knowledge a burden lodges.
Tuesday, 6 April 2010
Every child of God has some God given burdens in life. But burdens can only be received from God as our spirits are open to Him. Openness of spirit to God is the condition of receiving burdens from God. You might not be so interested in reading this post since I am not talking about receiving blessings, but burdens. Well, continue reading for your spiritual well being.
It is because of unfaithfulness we can easily reach a state where we receive no burdens at all, so if we wish to be those who bear God's burdens, we must be very sensitive and not reject any impression that comes from Him. At the outset such impressions may be faint, but they will gain in strength as we go on. If we quench the spirit and lose our burden, the only way of recovery is to confess our sin and thereafter to respond faithfully to every God-given impression. As soon as you are moved to pray, pray.
Burdens are specially related to the work of God. Therefore if we are seeking to do His will we must wait on Him till He communicated His burdens to us, for His burden is the indication of His will. It is through the burden He puts upon us that we discern His will for us and the way in which His will can be wrought out through our lives.
For instance, if God gives you a burden to preach the gospel, the more you preach, the more you will come into release, whereas if you fail to discharge your burden it will weigh down more on you till you are crushed beneath it. Then arises a barrier between you and God and you will find it difficult to get in touch with Him. Burdens of this nature are connected with all our spiritual work.
The value of your work depends on the burden you bear in connection with it. It is sure to have a spiritual value if performed under a God given burden, and all the while you yourself will be released and refreshed; otherwise it will be spiritually valueless, and you will sense that you are laboring in vain.
Friday, 2 April 2010
The mentoring relationship which the fiery prophet Elijah had with his successor Elisha is well known, especially the events surrounding the transfer of a double portion of the Spirit;s anointing on Elijah to Elisha. The Lord spoke to Elijah telling him to anoint Elisha "as a prophet in your place" (1 Kings 19:16). So Elijah went and looked for Elisha and when he found him, "Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him" (vs 19). Elisha understood the significance of what the prophet had done.
After taking care of some final duties "he arose and followed Elijah and became his servant" (vs 21). Elisha was no doubt aware of his calling to be a prophet who would one day take Elijah's place. When the time had come for Elijah to be taken away into heaven by a whirlwind, Elisha would not let go of his master. He followed him from Gilgal, to Bethel, to Jericho and across Jordan, even when Elijah requested him to stay back.
Perhaps it finally occurred to Elijah that his servant is "after" something. So after they had crossed over the river Jordan, "Elijah said to Elisha, 'Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?" Elisha said, "Please let a double portion of your spirit come upon me". Elisha wanted a twice the measure of the prophetic anointing that rested upon Elijah.
Once Elijah had been caught up into heaven in chariots of fire, and Elisha returned with the mantle of Elijah, the sons of the prophets said, "The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha". As one examines the ministry of Elisha we observe that indeed there are twice as many miracles recorded through his ministry than that of his predecessor Elijah.
Through this account we understand that the prophetic anointing can be transferred from one prophet to another who is also called to be a prophet. While it is God who calls, appoints and anoints prophets, He may choose to use human agency to train, impart and activate the prophetic one who is called to be a prophet.
Wednesday, 31 March 2010
Words are a powerful tool in communication. Using appropriate words we are able to convey our ideas, thoughts, even our deepest feelings and emotions. The encouraging words of a friend or loved one can impart strength and bring revival in times of hardship. All of us can remember such times when the words of a dear one was especially meaningful and brought much blessing.
While the words of another compassionate human being can bring great blessing, hearing the words of our tender and loving Heavenly Father in the critical moments of our lives can be truly life transforming. And the Father desires to speak to us "in the now" - in the midst of our present circumstances and situations.
He desires to speak His encouragement, direction and counsel into our lives. While there are many ways in which the Father communicates to us, the foremost being the written Word of God, and secondly by the inward leading of His Spirit, one of the other modes is prophecy.
From the turn of the 20th century, beginning with the Pentecostal movement the Church has witnessed an unprecedented increase in the restorative ministry of the Holy Spirit. Following the Pentecostal movement, there have been several clearly identifiable movements in the Church which have caused the Body of Christ to rise to higher realms in God. Of these, the Prophetic movement which came into full recognition in the 1980's is among the more recent moves of God's Spirit in the Church.
Friday, 26 March 2010
Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from your law
The Scriptures provide us with insight into the living God. They reveal the nature, the character, the attributes and the heart of God. In the pages of Scripture we find insight into who God is, what He does, His feelings and His desires. Consequently it is through the Scriptures that we get to know God and thus build a ''personal'' relationship with Him. Relationship is based on knowledge. Where there is no personal knowledge there can be no relationship. further, the depth of the relationship is determined by the depth of knowledge or intimacy attained.
Therefore to have a deep and close relationship with the living God, one would have to know Him intimately as He is revealed in the Scriptures. It is so exciting to open the pages of the Bible because they are our window into God. When our eyes are opened to see ''behind the lines'' we read, we gain an understanding of the splendor and majesty of our God.
To base our understanding of God on anything else, whether it be experiences, others' opinions, etc. may not always be accurate. It is true that God also reveals Himself in other places, e.g. in His creation. However whatever information we may derive from other sources must first be examined in the light of the written Scriptures.