Browsing articles in "Devotionals"
Jan
7

How will you walk into 2013?

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There are two ways you can walk into the coming year. You can either walk into it facing forward or facing backward.

To walk backwards into the New Year is to go into it looking backwards as you allow the past to define the steps you take in the New Year. But to walk forwards into the New Year is to go into it believing, expecting and looking forwards to all that God has in store for you.  So let me ask you: How are you going to walk into 2013?

No matter what the past has been, I want to encourage you to walk into 2013 facing forward. To walk forwards into the New Year is to walk into it remembering what the prophet Jeremiah said;

‘Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:   Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.’ (Lam 3:22 – 23) NIV 1984

I can personally relate to this message that I am sharing with you. 2012 has been a very bitter-sweet year for me. It has been a year of incredible personal pain and struggles on one hand, and at the same time it has been a year of incredible personal growth, encouraging growth in ministry and one that has been loaded with many divine interventions and miracles. Indeed I can testify with the prophet that it is ‘because of the LORD’s great love we have not been consumed’. I am still standing. I am still here. God has been good to me in 2012, and I am sure that if you too do not allow the tears of your pains to blur your vision, you will agree with me that in 2012 God has been good to you too.

God offers us a new beginning every new day. With each new day He offers us a new day of compassion. I believe that in the same way, He offers me and also you a New Year that is a new beginning – a New Year filled with his compassionate plans and purposes; a New Year pregnant with possibilities to become more like Jesus in every way;  a year with extraordinary open doors to win more souls for Christ; a year to trust God to take the Gospel to many more nations that have never yet heard of Him. I believe that if you will choose to walk into 2013 facing forward, the best is yet to come.

I am no motivational speaker and I do not speak these words lightly. They are true. I do not speak of a year without pain or trouble. No. I am sure 2013 will have its share of pain and trouble. But we can expect God to be God in 2013. We can be sure that His compassions will never fail in 2013 no matter what lies ahead. We can open up the ears of our inner man to His big plans for our lives. We must not limit God in 2013. We dare not! Our plans must be great because his faithfulness in 2013 will be great.

So I ask you again, ‘How are you walking into 2013 – backwards or forwards?’ I am praying that you will choose to walk forwards into it and that it will be the greatest year of your life thus far.

Oct
10

Enforcing his Lordship among the Nations

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The Invisible War (6) – Enforcing his Lordship among the Nations. “Vindicate the weak and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 82:3-4

The ultimate goal of all spiritual warfare is the enforcing of God’s rule. It is true that we are to resist the devil in our individual lives, but we are called to go beyond fighting for our interests into expanding the kingdom of God in our world.

The entire conflict is not over men’s possessions but rather over men’s souls. The chief purpose for which God is teaching us to fight is so that we may be enlisted into the battle for souls. All around us untold millions are bound and unable to respond to the gospel or to change. Look around at your unsaved relatives; remember your rebellious children, and your confused neighbours. Now lift up your eyes and look at the thousands of ethnic groups in the world still unreached because of demonic strongholds that hold them bound. Consider that there are now over one billion Muslims blind to the love of Christ. How are they going to be freed?

It would not do to preach the gospel to them if we do not first of all bind the strong man that holds them captive. Just think, why do very intelligent people find it hard to understand the simple message of the gospel? The bible says the god of this world has veiled their mind. And it is only through our resisting the devil that they will be free to see and choose Christ.

After two years of fruitless missionary work among the Lisu people in Asia, J.O. Fraser realised that only prayer could free these people. So he got his mother (in England) to gather around godly men and women who committed themselves to do spiritual warfare for the souls of the Lisu, and this is what turned the tide. After some years a mighty move of God came among these people that saw thousands of souls swept into the kingdom of God. When we bind the devil he is forced to liberate souls.

Some years ago I was with a church-planting team in one of the dark places of the earth, in the north of Nigeria. It was a place where two years of faithful preaching and praying had borne no fruit. God led us to fast and pray for days against the spiritual strongholds of Satan in that land. We also sent out a call to the people of God to stand with us to push back the darkness, and then things did happen; within less than a year the people’s attitude began changing and a church was able to be planted.

You ask, “why are untold millions still unreached?” The answer is simple – we do not have enough people in our ranks standing in the gap and pulling down strongholds.

Personally, I believe that there is an unprecedented harvest of souls among the millions of Muslims coming  soon, if enough of us will fight for their souls. Even here in our work among the unreached peoples in Africa we feel a great need for those who will join us in this battle for the precious souls of men. Will you be enlisted?

A friend of mine wrote some while ago that every soul that is won to Jesus is the vengeance of God against the enemy. Soul winning is spiritual warfare.

Let us pray: O Lord, teach us how to pray! Open our eyes to the true nature of this warfare. Give us your passion for the lost. Give us a vision for the nations. Teach us to go beyond focusing on ourselves and so vindicate the weak and fatherless. Help us to give ourselves to rescuing the weak and needy, to deliver them out of the hand of the wicked. O Lord, teach us how to pray in Jesus’ Name!

FOR FURTHER MEDITATION: 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; 10:4-6; Eph. 6: 10-18; 1 Thess. 2:18

Oct
1

Are We Fighting the Wrong Enemy?

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The Invisible War (5) – ’For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and gainst wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.’ Ephesians 6: 12

There was a preacher in Togo who set up a large camp where he gathered people to teach them what he called ‘dangerous prayers’. According to him, the cause of most of our ills is wicked men who in partnership with demons were set to trouble our lives and we are to stop them. His teachings were based on scriptural injunctions like Exodus 22:18; ‘Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live’, and other similar verses. And he taught the people to pray that these, their human enemies, would be destroyed by the ‘fire of the Holy Spirit’. This is indeed dangerous prayer because it is unbiblical to pray against our human enemy. We are called to pray for them.

This teaching might be new to some of you, but this erroneous interpretation of scripture is rampant in some places. I have heard some argue that David prayed against his enemies in the Psalms so why can’t we? Don’t they realise that that was in Old Testament times? Jesus teaches us explicitly otherwise. Now remember that David not only prayed that his human enemies would die, he also went out and killed them with God’s help! Are we to do that too? No, that was under the law. Grace teaches us differently. Jesus said,

“You have heard that the Law of Moses says, ‘Love your neighbour’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!  In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too.  If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.  If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.  But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48 (NLT)

This false teaching causes a lot of harm. It creates a set of Christians who are suspicious of others for every misfortune they encounter. It does not enhance love and fellowship among people. There are men who have abandoned their elderly mothers because they have ‘discerned’ that  they are the demonic agents troubling them. There are marriages that have been broken because the man has received a revelation that his wife is the witch troubling him.

This teaching feeds our carnal desire for revenge. If there is someone out there who is fighting us then we naturally want him or her to get their just punishment. Like James and John in Luke 9:54 when the crowd was against them, we often would like to ask God to send fire on the heads of our enemies. I recently heard a preacher justify this teaching by saying ‘Jesus told us to pray for our enemies but he didn’t tell us what to pray for them, so let’s pray that they fall and die!’

Now some of us may not have gone that far, but we do bear grudges against those who have hurt us and we wish in our hearts that they would be punished. That wish in itself is like praying against them. It’s ‘dangerous prayer’ too because it will harm us and God’s purposes. We are called to forgive those who hurt us. Please take time and meditate on the Lord’s words above.

What I want to point out now is that ‘we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms’. It is dangerous to be confused about who our enemy is.

Let us pray: Father, forgive us for every unforgiveness in us. We realise that no matter how wicked men may be to us, we are not to war against them but rather pray for your best for them. Lord, we repent of every error we have walked in, and receive from you grace to face our true enemies – the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world. Once again, Lord, we pray – Teach our hands to war and our fingers to fight in Jesus’ Name!

FOR FURTHER MEDITATION: Please go through all the references in the article especially Matthew 5:43-48 and also Romans 12:19-21, Luke 9: 51-56

Sep
25

Defeating the Spirit of Fear through our Authority in Christ

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The Invisible War 4: ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear’ Psalm 27:1-3 KJV

Fear is one of the most effective fiery darts the enemy uses to render many of us ineffective in this invisible war. You see you cannot walk in fear and overcome Satan. This is why the Bible contains more than 365 exhortations to ‘Fear not’. This is an important command from Jesus Christ, our Commander-in-Chief – ‘Fear not.’

Our eyes must be opened to see fear as an enemy. The devil is using his spirit of fear these days, to cause many to be weak and ineffective. Fear brings bondage (Hebrew 2:15). Some are walking in the fear of death or some other phobia. Others are just generally fearful and they think this is normal. No, the righteous are called to be as bold as a lion (Proverbs 28:1). There is no reason why we should walk in fear.

‘For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.’ Romans 8:15 (KJV)

We can walk in boldness and freedom from fear because we know that we belong to God and he has promised never to leave us nor forsake us. We must resist fear because it opens us up to the attack of the enemy. In the story of my friend who was attacked by the witch (in part 3 of this series), it was fear that opened the door. Indeed, there is no witch or demon who has authority over a believer unless we give it to them. When we are controlled by this spirit of fear, we open up ourselves to the enemy’s attacks. We must resist fear because it is a weapon of the enemy and does not come from our Father:

‘For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind’ 2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV)

To be effective in spiritual warfare we need to understand and be convinced of our authority in Christ. To walk in fear is to demonstrate that we do not understand our authority. If you are born-again, Christ has given you his authority over all the works of Satan and his demons. Through his glorious victory at Calvary, Jesus has authority over all the powers of hell:

‘… and having spoiled principalities and powers, he (Jesus) made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.’ Colossians 2: 15 (KJV)

Through the cross, our Lord defeated the devil and all his cohorts and took the keys of hell and death from them. That is why it is written:

‘….God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11 (NLT)

It is based on this victorious authority that Jesus commissions every believer to go and win the world for him:

‘And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore…and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.’ Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV)

When we are born into God’s family, Christ by his Spirit lives in us and gives us his authority to be sons of God (John 1:12). This is why Romans 8:15 says we have received the Spirit of adoption. When you are adopted into a family you receive the name of that family, and with that name you have whatever authority it carries. We too have been given the authority in the mighty name of Jesus. So when we come against the devil in spiritual warfare we do not come in our own power but in our delegated authority from Jesus Christ. This is what makes the enemy tremble.

When Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you’ (Luke 10:19 KJV), he was also talking to every believer. Our authority is derived from the authority that Jesus (who lives in us) has over the devil. That is why it is written:

‘Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world (Satan)’. 1 John 4:4

We do not go against the devil in our own name but in the name of Jesus. When we resist the enemy in that name they have no choice but to obey. It has nothing to do with how strong we think we are, it has to do with the authority of him in whose name we come. In Togo, where I used to be, we had traffic wardens. Now if that same man were to attempt to control the traffic without his uniform, he would be run down by some vehicle. A man is no match for a vehicle in motion. But in his uniform he represents the entire power of the state of Togo. And because of this delegated authority, drivers obey him, for to mess with him would be to mess with the Togolese authority. This is the same with us.

So arise and shake off fear and begin to resist the devil in the mighty name of Jesus until you have enforced the Lordship of Jesus over every area of your life. You can no longer afford to throw up your hands in helplessness. You have been given authority. Use it! If you do not use your authority angels will not resist Satan for you. God is calling you to resist him and he will flee. Can’t you see the enemy’s works in you and around you? Stand up now and fight for your life, for your loved ones, for your nation and for all the nations around you. This is war!

Let us pray: Father, we thank you that all authority in heaven and on earth belongs to our Captain, Jesus Christ. And we thank you for giving us this authority by which we can tread upon every work of darkness and prevail. We refuse to walk in fear. We refuse to give place to the spirit of fear. You have given us a Spirit of power that makes us bold to confront and defeat the enemy. We are fearless because we know that you are always with us. Lord, cause these revelations to percolate into our spirit man. Teach our hands to war and our fingers to fight in Jesus’ Name!

FOR FURTHER MEDITATION: Please go through all the references in the article and also 1 John 4: 14-18; Isaiah 43:1-3; John 14:27; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Eph. 1:20-23; 1 John 2:14; 3:8; 5:4-5

Sep
17

Resisting the Enemy

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The Invisible War (3) – ”Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

Previously we saw that the most important aspect of spiritual warfare is submitting to God. But spiritual warfare does not end there. We must go on and resist the devil.

To resist means to ‘stand against’, ‘oppose’, or ‘refuse to give place to’. To effectively oppose or resist a thing you must locate it first. The first thing then is to discern when and where the enemy is at work in your environment in order to resist him.

Many times it is obvious when the enemy is at work. So we resist him. But there are also instances when it is difficult to know. It is not every mishap that is an attack from the devil.

How can one discern the enemy’s work? My answer is – ‘Ask the Lord.’ When we ask sincerely and in faith, God will let us know one way or the other what is happening. Some years ago during a time of serious financial difficulty I sought the Lord, and he showed me that it was he himself and not the devil, putting me through a season of testing.

But there are times when it is obviously the enemy at work. A friend of mine had been suffering from a strange ailment for 2 years after an encounter he had had with a witch who had scared him so much that he was overwhelmed with fear, and soon after this, the ailment had begun. When we prayed and resisted the devil together the ailment stopped.

There is a principle in 2 Samuel 21:1 that I find useful for discerning the enemy’s activities:

‘Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites’ (KJV).

Note the word ‘year after year’. When you find a mishap repeating itself with apparent consistency in your life then it is important to inquire of God what is behind it like David did. There are families, for example where everyone seems to die as soon as they turn 30. Or there are others who every business they start seems to collapse. It is important not to overlook such a circle but to set aside time to inquire of God what is happening. And God will show you.

Finally, after discerning the enemy’s activities how do we resist him? Simple, just talk to him out loud as you would to someone standing before you and command him to stop what he is doing in the Name of Jesus. I would say for example, something like this: “You demon who is causing discord in this relationship, I command you to stop right now in Jesus’ Name!’ And that’s it. If said in faith, it is very powerful because of the authority we have in Christ. Next time we shall look at this authority.

Let us pray: Father, we thank you that you are our Captain who leads us into battle. We thank you that through your help we can discern the activities of the enemy and resist him. Help us to grow in discernment so that we might not give any foothold to the enemy. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.

FOR FURTHER MEDITATION: 1 Peter 5: 8 – 9; Eph. 6:13 (NLT); Matt. 17:14-21; James 4:7

Sep
10

The Essentials of Spiritual Warfare

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The Invisible War (2) “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (NIV)

I do not know of any other verse in scripture that so beautifully summarises all that is involved in effective spiritual warfare like the above scripture does.

The first and most important step in winning the invisible war is not in addressing the devil but in submitting to God. I have seen many people who claim to be involved in spiritual warfare but whose lives are not submitted to God. They know how to fast and they say they pray but they are still gossips, unforgiving and rebellious. Such “intercessors” may walk around with an air of spirituality but their prayers are not doing anything to push back the darkness or establish God’s kingdom.

You see the whole essence of spiritual warfare is that we are enforcing the authority of Jesus by taking ground from the enemy and thereby establishing God’s kingdom. But it is only those in whose lives the rule of God has been established – those who have submitted their lives to him and are living in obedience to him, that can enforce and establish his rule elsewhere.

Spiritual warfare is not so much in how we shout or jump or know the right words to say, as much as it has to do with our walk with the Lord. A right walk with the Lord is the first step to effective warfare. Remember those seven sons of Sceva? (Acts 19:14-16). They tried casting out devils using the right words but it carried no weight with the spirits because their lives were not submitted to God.

Before we rush off to bind and loose, let us submit all our sins, and fears (it is counter-productive to try resisting the enemy out of fear), and cares, and let us receive God’s holiness and grace. Let us submit to God in repentance, and in praise and adoration. And then from that point we can resist the devil.

It is when we submit our lives to God that we will be effective as we resist the devil. There is nothing that the devil fears like the prayer of a holy man or woman. It’s like coals of fire being poured out on him, so he flees.

Let us pray: Father it’s useless attempting to subdue the enemy if I am not submitted to you. Lord, I come to yield my life to you. Lord is there any part of my life that is not yet submitted to you? Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to you. Reign in me Lord so that I may be able to enforce your reign in Jesus’ Name!

FOR FURTHER MEDITATION: Matthew 5: 23-26; 6:16-18; 2 Corinthians 10: 3-6 (consider the implication of verse 6, ‘once your obedience is complete’); Joshua 7: 10-12; Acts 19:14-16; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5: 6-9

Jul
5

The Invisible War (Part 1)

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“In my name they will drive out demons” Mark 16: 17 (NIV)

Beloved,

Six years ago, I posted a series of 6 articles on the subject of spiritual warfare. The past four weeks have been some of the most spiritually intense for me. Beginning this week we will be revisiting this important issue. These articles with come with scriptural references for further personal study. Please join me as I study these truths again and please pray that these articles will be used of God once again to equip all of us to walk victoriously in this invisible war. And I’d love your feedbacks too ~ Chim

It is difficult to talk about spiritual warfare without stepping on someone’s toes. This is one of those controversial issues that has left the body of Christ divided into all sorts of camps with all kinds of labels. But no matter to which camp we belong, the truth still remains that we are at war! And our enemy the devil is not moved by our labels. The only thing that he dreads is those who know enough of their authority in Christ to deal with him.

There are those who would have us believe the devil is to be ignored. They say we should only talk of our Lord and all will be well. But Satan will not ignore us just because we ignore him. The truth is that he is working a lot of havoc in many lives and homes today just because he is being ignored. Some of us are overwhelmed right now wondering why God has not acted on our behalf, whereas we should be taking our stand and resisting the enemy. God will not do for us what he has given us authority to do.

Jesus did not ignore the devil. The gospel is filled with his frequent encounters with demons and evil spirits. Jesus cast out devils and so must we who seek to be like him. Do we know how to bind and loose? Do we know about casting down strongholds and every imagination that exalts itself above the knowledge of God? Jesus said, “In my name, they (we) shall cast out demons”.

Paul said, “We are not unaware of his (Satan’s) schemes”, and the devil will outwit us if we remain ignorant. Yet being aware of our enemy is not the same as over-emphasising him. There are those who are more conscious of the devil than they are of Christ; more alert to fallen angels than they are of the mighty host of God’s angels that encamps around all those who fear him. These are people who see demons in everything. I really get upset about this extremism because it takes the eyes of God’s people off the Lord. They get so impressed about all the demon stuff that their chief pursuit is no longer to know Jesus.

Our focus must be on the Lord, but we must not be ignorant of the devil’s devices. Effective spiritual warfare flows out of a right relationship with the Lord. It is as we walk closely with him that he will help us to discern when the enemy is at work so that we can deal with him in Jesus’ name.

Let us pray: O Lord of hosts, I know we have an adversary who hates and opposes your rule, but I also know that the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. Thank you Lord, because through Christ’s victory at Calvary, I have overcome him, and now greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world. But Lord, you call me to enforce this victory here and now so please teach my hands to war and my fingers to fight. Teach me to walk in increasing intimacy with you so that I might exercise discernment. Lord, right now I come against the devil in every point where he is at work in my life, my family, or my surroundings (be specific) and I resist him in Jesus’ name!

FOR FURTHER MEDITATION: Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Corinthians 2:11; 1 Peter 5: 8-9; Luke 10: 17-20

Jul
4

A life without distraction

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“My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody.” – Psalm 57:7 (ESV)

What do we perceive the victorious life to be? Only a few of us will ever imagine it as a life free from troubles, but some may feel it is a life that has all the answers. We look at some spiritual leader we respect and we believe he has it all together. ‘He understands why things occur that happen to him’; ‘he must be in tune with God and so God explains everything to him’, we think. So when we face situations that don’t make sense, we conclude that either we are not spiritual enough or maybe God doesn’t like us too much.

The victorious life is not a life without questions. It is a life without distraction. When it comes to faith, Paul was a giant. Place him beside any of the heroes of faith in Hebrew 11 and he will dwarf them. He lived for God and lived out God. He walked in the purposes of God for his life. But was his life without unanswered questions? No! No! No! He had many of them, yet he never allowed them to distract him from moving on with God into all that God had for him!

Many times in life we face things that just seem to make it difficult to move on. The bible tells us of Abram’s father Tehrah in Genesis 11:27-32. He had three sons Abram, Nahor and Haran. But one-day tragedy struck and Haran died in his presence. The loss of a loved one or other deep tragedy can so devastate us and rob us of the strength to press on. We ask, ‘Why did God allow this?’

When Jacob thought his beloved son Joseph had died, he refused to be comforted and said ‘I will go down to my grave mourning’. He lived on, but he could not move on beyond that tragedy. And this is what we see in the case of Tehrah. The bible says in Genesis 11:31 that a time came when Tehrah set out to go to Canaan (the Promised Land). I believe that it was God who put this pull towards destiny in Tehrah ’s heart  just like he would later do to Abram. God was not finished with Tehrah in spite of what he had gone through. He wanted him to press on into his place for him. But though Tehrah started the journey the bible says that when he came to a city called Haran, (a place that reminded him of his son, his tragic death and all the unresolved questions that still remained) he couldn’t move on and so he settled in Haran.  And the Bible says, “And Terah died in Haran” (v.32). It is not God’s will that we allow anything, no matter how tragic, to so distract us as to make us choose to settle down in transit and not press on into God’s promised land for us. God may not answer all our questions on this side of eternity, but he calls us to trust him and journey on with him.

The victorious life is a life focused on entering into all that God has for us despite all that we may face. Those who have lived victoriously have not pressed on because they had everything sorted out, but because they have handed the unanswered questions of life over to God. Paul puts it like this:

‘Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.’ ~ Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV)

He was saying ‘Listen brothers, I don’t have it all together yet. But here is one thing I do: I forget those things that are behind (the troubles, the triumphs, and the unanswered questions), I hand them over to my Lord, and I focus on pressing on to take hold of the reason for which God has called me and for which Christ has taken hold of me’.

There is a reason why Christ took hold of you and me. And there is a place to which he is taking us. There is something he wants to accomplish with our lives. Like Abram and his father there is a land he is taking us to. Let us not allow anything to distract us from pressing on into that land. Let us be determined to be all that he has called us to be. That is what the victorious life is – a life without distraction. A life focused on following Jesus, come what may!

Jun
11

Our God Is Rich In Mercy

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“The Lord is merciful and gracious; he is slow to get angry and full of unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. read more

May
23

Experiencing God in prison

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‘I, Paul, [am] the prisoner of Christ Jesus …’ – Ephesians 3:1 (NIV)

There are some prisons we get into that are the design of the enemy, and when we find ourselves there we ought to break the devil’s bars and we shall be free. But there are other prisons that the Lord himself allows us to go into. There are times when God allows circumstances and situations our way that would seem to imprison us. We pray, bind and loose but we can’t get out. The truth is that we cannot bind God.

The Apostle Paul was quite a man. He was locked up in prison by the decrees of the Roman government yet he said he was ‘the prisoner of Christ Jesus’. Imagine this zealous crusader unable to go to all the places that burned in his heart to go and preach. Yet it was in understanding how to experience God in prison that he turned this prison season into one of the most fruit seasons of his ministry. You see, most of his epistles were written in prison.

There are two things we must do when we feel imprisoned. Find out if it’s God’s place for you in this season. Ask God. If you are where you should be then don’t try to run away even if you can (sometimes we can). It might be that you find yourself under a leadership that seems not to give you enough space to strive. If God shows you that you are in his place for you in this season then please stay in that prison. Secondly, when you find yourself in prison, instead of grumbling and complaining, open yourself up to God’s grace.

Take the example of Joseph. He was put into prison because of the lie of Potiphar’s immoral wife, but it was part of God’s plan for him. It was the road to the throne that God had prepared for him. We must not try to fight God when he allows circumstances and situations to land us in prison. Instead let us learn to experience God even in prison.

The bible says, ‘the Lord was with him (Joseph in prison), he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.” (Gen 39:21 – NIV). In spite of the walls and chains of the prison Joseph continued to experience God.

The bible says, “the Lord was with him”. The truth is that even in prison God does not abandon us. God wants us to continue to experience his presence in our lives even in the wilderness seasons. He wants us to keep drinking of him and growing. A dear sister wrote me recently about the marital troubles she was facing. Her backslidden husband is now with another woman.  Then she added, ‘Nevertheless, God’s joy is still in my heart. I know he has a plan for me and for my family’.

There can be joy in spite of the prison as we begin to experience God’s presence. No matter what you face please determine to make “the Lord is with him” a reality in your life.

Joseph experienced the kindness of God in prison. Though God didn’t bring him out of prison immediately, he gave him a testimony of his kindness in that prison by doing a lot of things for him and touching lives through him. God wants you to experience his miracle working power in your prison. Often we are so focused on getting out of the prison that we are not open to God’s leading in any other area. But we need to remember that though we are in prison God is not in prison.

A bishop friend of mine was married for 14 years without any child though he desired, sought and prayed for it. But he was focused on God and on being all God wanted him to be. Because of that he and his wife were experiencing God’s kindness in many other areas of life, so much so that they were praying for barren couples who in turn were having children. They did not allow their prison to limit their usefulness. They adopted several children and some are pastors today. Their ministry grew so much that it became international. After 14 years God brought them out of that prison and gave them a baby boy of their own when the woman was very close to 50 years of age!

A time comes when God will bring us out of the prison, but in the meantime God wants us to experience his kindness in the prison in which he allows us to be. It will take trusting in his goodness enough to choose joy instead of grumbling and complaining; it will take choosing to feed on him daily staying focused on growing into his likeness. It will also take not allowing our outward prison to imprison our minds and so limit God and all that he wants to do through us while in prison.

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