Browsing articles tagged with " grace"
Oct
1

Are We Fighting the Wrong Enemy?

By admin  //  Devotionals  //  No Comments

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

Jul
19

It is God who works in you

By admin  //  Devotionals  //  No Comments

It is God who works in you:

Beloved,

After the message last week on the works that faith produces, I feel the need to throw more light on how this works out. I want to avoid anyone falling into that miry clay of relying on our own strength to produce the righteousness that God desires. So I am reposting this week an article I wrote last year that I feel excellently brings the balance we need.~Chim

Ezekiel 2: 1-2 ~ ‘He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.” As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me.’

Our walk with God is not supposed to be sustained by our own strength but by his workings in us.

In the verses above God asks the prophet Ezekiel to stand up so he can speak to him. God was demanding something of the prophet. But notice what follows. ‘As he (God) spoke, the Spirit (God’s) came into me (the prophet) and raised me to my feet’. It was the very thing that God had asked him to do that God was giving him his Spirit to do in him.

What we see here is a principle that runs through all of Scripture: Whatever God demands of us, he also sends grace to see it done in us. This is what the apostle meant us to understand in Philippians 2:13 when he said; “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose”.

God’s ‘good purpose’ is his will for our life and the reason for all the demands he makes on us. But you ask; ‘How shall I be able to get the ‘want-to’ and the ‘ability to do’ required to meet these demands’? The Bible replies: ‘It is God who works in you’.

When we understand this we will no longer find any of his demands too hard or grievous instead we will believe that he has given us the grace to obey and begin to respond to him accordingly. We will no longer look at a requirement of God and think ‘Ah, you don’t know me. That’s not a thing I could ever do! It is not like my personality’. No it is not a matter of what you can or cannot do. It is not a matter of your temperament or past experience. It is God who works in you.

I want you to notice here also in Ezekiel’s example, the means by which God puts into us the power to do what he demands. The Bible says ‘As he spoke, the Spirit came into me’ – it was as God’s word came to Ezekiel that the Spirit of God also entered him to accomplish what was demanded.

Whenever God wants to work in us, he sends us his word. With every light we receive of God’s word comes also the grace of God into us to do what the light we received demands. This is a lesson I learnt a long time ago. Such that I do not wait to feel capable of doing what God has demanded. I begin to step towards it because I believe that I have received grace to do it from the very act of gazing into the glorious law of liberty (the Word of God). This is why we must keep gazing into the Word for that is the means by which God works on us.

And notice that I speak of grace coming with every light he gives us. It is not just a case of hearing or reading the written word of God, we must seek to receive God’s light on every word. And the way to get God’s light is to come with hungry and receptive hearts every time we come to his Word. No one ever comes thus and goes away without light. And with every light comes the power to obey. This is real Christianity. Not our trying to do something for God, but God working in us as we yield to him.

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Comments? Questions? etc. If these messages have been helpful or unclear it would encourage us to hear from you, please write to chim_ibidun@hotmail.com
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PLEASE are you born again? It is not enough to believe in the existence of God, to go to church, or be interested in spiritual things. Jesus said “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Jesus died to deliver you from sin so that you can come to God. (John 3:16) If you ask him to forgive you and give you a new heart he will. (Acts 2:38; Romans 10:9-11).Try it. I’d love to hear from you @ chim_ibidun@hotmail.com
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Chim’sWRITE are regular articles on Christian living and cross-cultural missions from Chimezie Onyebilanma a cross-cultural missionary with Calvary Ministries (CAPRO). CAPRO is an indigenous African non-denominational cross-cultural  mission agency involved in reaching the remaining unreached peoples in 22 countries of Africa and the Middle East as of present. CAPRO is involved in missions mobilization, training, and research as well as church-planting and mercy ministries (literacy, rural development, primary health-care, relief and rehabilitation). CAPRO is a faith mission, both the ministry and its missionaries depend on God’s provision through the giving of his people. None of its missionaries are salaried. All gifts are used as designated.

Surface Address: CAPRO MISSIONS SA, Durban, 47 Sutherland Rd, Waterfall, 3610, Durban, P.O.Box 207, Hillcrest, 3650, South Africa.Tel: +2731 766 2336; +27 794737208 (cell)

To learn more about the ministry of Chimezie Onyebilanma and how you can partner with us please emailchim_ibidun@hotmail.com

To learn more about the cross-cultural missionary work of CAPRO visit www.capromissions.org.za

Do you know that your monthly gifts to support a missionary can make a big difference? To learn more about supporting missionaries please visit www.adopt-a-missionary.org    or enquire at chim_ibidun@hotmail.com

COPYRIGHT — It is required that permission be obtained from chim_ibidun@hotmail.com before these materials can be re-published on a website or in hard copy. However permission is granted to freely redistribute these materials via email, provided that such redistribution acknowledges the source and includes this phrase: “For a free subscription to Chimezie Onyebilanma’s weekly Chim’sWRITE, send a blank email to ChimWRITE-subscribe@yahoogroups.com “

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