Browsing articles tagged with " unforgiveness"
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

Sep
19

A shoot will come up from that stump

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“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse…” Isaiah 11:1

This verse in Isaiah is the beautiful prophecy of the glorious coming of the Messiah, the Shoot of Jesse, our Lord Jesus Christ. What struck me here is that it says he will be as a shoot coming up from the stump of Jesse – not from the tree of Jesse but from the stump. The dictionary defines a stump as ‘the base of a tree trunk and its roots, after the tree has fallen or been felled’. This glorious shoot is going to come up from something that has fallen – a failure.

I find this very encouraging to my heart and I pray it encourages yours too for this is the way of our God – he knows how to bring something glorious out of a total mess. A stump always results from blows to a tree that cause it to fall. This is very much like us. Many of us have come through issues in life either as a result of our own fault or that of others that has left stumps in some areas of our lives. And it hurts to look at that stump and think of the tree it will never become. But hear what the Lord is saying to you today: “a shoot will come up from that stump”.

I don’t know where the stump lies in your life but I urge you to receive this word from God. You do not need to know how God will do it, I only believe God is asking you to hand over that stump and indeed your entire life to him, and “a shoot will come up from that stump”. A while ago I read the book “Me, Myself & Bob” – the gripping story of how Phil Vischer (creator of VeggieTales) watched his dream begin to grow and then was suddenly cut down into a stump. I was disturbed, but God was saying to me “a shoot will come up from that stump” too, because through it all Phil has come to a place where he has submitted the stump to God and is focused on walking with God. God specialises in giving us beauty for our ashes. He might not do it the way we imagined, but he will bring beauty out of that stump.

I urge you not to let your “Why, Lord?” or your feelings of guilt stand in the way. Don’t allow bitterness or unforgiveness to hinder you. God wants to bring out something gloriously beautiful from the stumps of our lives. Let’s believe him and co-operate with him by yielding to him and seeking only him.  I don’t know where your stump may lie – whether in your marriage, ministry, job, children or vision, but what I know God is saying to you is this: a shoot will spring up from your stump. Will you believe it?

Sep
23

Ingredients of Effective Prayer (Part3)

By admin  //  Devotionals  //  2 Comments

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.’ – James 5:16 (NIV)

God is gracious and because of this he sometimes answers prayer even when we are not living right, but it is dangerous to make this exception a rule. The general testimony of scripture is that our walk with God has a lot to do with the effectiveness of our prayers.

The Bible says ‘The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful.’ James 5:16 (Message). It is prayer born out of a correct walk with God that produces power. Our walk with God is a crucial ingredient in effective praying. The NIV puts it this way: ‘The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective’.

There are many who are careless about this. They seem to feel that the way they live has no bearing on their prayers. Our prayers cannot be divorced from our lives. We cannot live wrong and pray right. The Bible teaches that unconfessed sin hinders prayer. The Psalmist said: ‘If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened’ (Psalms 66:18).

The Lord Jesus taught that when we stand to commune with God and remember that there are issues in our lives we should stop and sort them out with God and man before proceeding with our prayer (Matt 5:23-25). One of the sins that hinders many is the sin of unforgiveness. We cannot bear a grudge against another and be effective in prayer. Jesus said, ‘And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins’ (Mark 11:25)

Of course one of the enemy’s fiery darts is to keep us continually  in condemnation thinking that perhaps we have sinned. If there is sin, you will know it. If you have repented of it in the past, then it is done and doesn’t count before God again. But it is sin that we are holding onto and not releasing to God that hinders.

The beautiful thing is that we can easily remove this hindrance by repenting of that sin. God is gracious. God forgives us when we confess and repent of our sin because of what Christ has done. So let us remove every hindrance and receive an open heaven for our prayer from God once again.

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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 email chim_ibidun@hotmail.com
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