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1  Theology / Bible Study / Persevere! on: September 24, 2007, 02:24:31 PM
Read: Joshua 6: 1-20                                                   Persevere!
“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain”
James 5: 7

In our reading today, God instructed the Israelites to walk around Jericho for seven days, on the seventh day they were to walk seven times. It was not until the seventh time on the seventh day that the wall fell down. They had to continue in the instruction of the Lord until the full instruction of the Lord was completed.
Naaman the leper did not see his healing until he fully completed the instruction of the prophet. He was to dip seven times before he would see any change in his appearance. (2Kings5: 14)
Elijah the prophet had boldly declared before King Ahab that at his word God would send rain, Elijah began to pray for rain he sent his servant to look and see if there was any sign of it, the servant returned to him and said there was no sign. Elijah instructed him to repeat this seven times. Elijah continued to pray. On the seventh time the servant came back to report that he had seen a small cloud.
 (1 Kings 18: 43)

When God involves us in what He is doing He gives us instructions to follow. We are to follow instructions if we are to see what He has promised to us. When we neglect in following His word fully we fail to see the fulfillment of what He has for us. We suffer and others suffer the consequences of our disobedience. We are to persevere and not give up by the things we see or hear. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” 2 Cor.5:7

Have you been wondering why there has been no change in your situation? Have you followed all the instructions the Lord has given you?
God says, “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land”. Isa.1:19
Our willingness and obedience to God will open doors for us which no man can shut. God has given us His Holy Spirit to instruct and teach us what we are to do. Let us be willing to be led of Him and enjoy the fruits of our obedience.
                  
“And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” Heb.6:15
2  Theology / Bible Study / Choose Joy! on: July 12, 2007, 06:14:55 AM
Read: Acts 16:16-31               Choose Joy!

“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.”
Isa.61:10

Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into jail for preaching the gospel.  They were held in an inner prison and their feet were fastened in stocks. This situation could have easily depressed and discouraged the two men but instead, they decided to worship God. They began to pray and sing so loudly, that the other prisoners could hear them. They chose to set their mind on God rather than their circumstances. God responded with a great earthquake that shook the foundations of the prison and broke off the chains that held the prisoners and unlocked the prison doors   

When God’s children begin to praise Him in the midst of difficulties, they position themselves for a blessing from God. Troubles are a reminder of the overcoming power of Jesus. They are an opportunity to give thanks and praise to God because nothing can happen to us which Jesus has not been victorious over. Jesus said “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” John 16:33. In Christ, we too can experience the victory that He has provided. Thanks giving and worship shifts our focus from ourselves to God. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” Phil.4:11

   When we praise God despite our circumstances, others also begin to notice. Our praise and worship of God can bring deliverance not just for us, but for others also. With joy comes strength and we are able to ‘stand’ in times of affliction. We are to count it as joy when trials befall us. What do you focus on when troubles come? When we focus on Jesus we will find strength to go on. When Peter walked on the water, as long as he focused on Jesus he was able to keep walking but when he looked away he began to sink. We need to remind ourselves to keep our eyes on Jesus. Keep His word in our heart and continue to walk faithfully in the way He is leading us. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross...” Heb.12:2

God desires that we are joyful every day. He is the one who has prepared our day for us. “This is the day that the Lord has made we will rejoice and be glad in it”. Enjoy the goodness of the Lord everyday!  We should think on all that He has done for us and praise Him no matter what comes our way. “For this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”Neh.8:10   
A joyful person is one who is full of thanksgiving and gratitude. We can offer a sacrifice of praise continually, because of Jesus. “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Heb.13:15 Jesus has paid the price for us to be filled with joy. “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;” He has made a full provision for us to be joyful, the choice is ours. Will we choose to live in joy? “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” Isa.12:3

A joyful person will experience health and healing. When we have an attitude of praise even our countenance will be changed. “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance:”Prov.15:1 What is written on our face? Can people see the joy of the Lord? We live in a world where many are hurting and hopeless and we do have the answer in Jesus, may we share His joy with others even as it radiates in our lives. We can be helpers of others joy. “Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.” 2Cor.1:24

    May we continue living in the joy of the Lord! Amen!

                               
"These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”   
                                           John 15:11

3  Theology / Bible Study / Vision Restored on: July 10, 2007, 09:53:45 AM
Read: Luke 18: 35-43                                            Vision Restored

"What do you want Me to do for you?" And he said, "Lord, I want to regain my sight!" Luke 18:41 (NASB)

   Here was a man persistent to regain his vision. Bartimaeus , could not be hushed to silence, when he heard, that Jesus was passing by, he cried out aloud, over and above the noise of those who were  trying to shut him up. We don’t know how this man lost his vision, but one thing is clear, he was not settling for blindness. Although he was physically blind, spiritually he could see clearer than most. He believed Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah; he addressed him in that manner “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.”  Those who wanted to shut him up were unbelievers and infuriated at what was being said.  When we call on the Lord He does hear us and He does respond to us. People may not believe you can be helped, but when you call to God He answers you. He will show you things you cannot see. “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” Jer.33:3

   When Jesus called for Bartimaeus, he jumped up and threw off his cloak and made his way towards Jesus. Bartimaeus was eager to come , he didn’t care what other people thought. He was quick to discard anything that would hinder his progress to Jesus. “..let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” Heb.12:1 We can settle for less because of what others think or because too much weighs us down. A “vision” we believed for years ago, may seem impossibility with the passing of time. Don’t give up! “For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”Hab.2:3

   When Jesus asked Bartimaeus, “What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?” Bartimaeus replied, “Lord, that I may receive my sight” Bartimaeus addresses Jesus as “Lord” he didn’t need his eyes opened to know this.  Repeatedly he had declared Jesus as Messiah, and he did so, being physically blind. Our handicaps are not to become our excuses; they are our means to a deepening knowledge of God. How will we use our lacks to gain what is precious? We can learn from Bartimaeus. Jesus said to him, “thy faith hath saved thee.” Bartimaeus believed in who Jesus was even though he had to rely on what others had told him, he had never witnessed a miracle with his own eyes, yet he believed. “blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” John 20:29 Not all of us will have first hand experiences sometimes we have to believe what others tell us to bring us to a place of receiving for ourselves.

   We wonder why Jesus asked this question to the blind man when the need was so obvious. Bartimaeus had approached Jesus proclaiming Him as Messiah.  As “Messiah” there were many things that Jesus could have done for Bartimaus, Jesus was giving an opportunity to Bartimaeus to make his request known. Our requests often reflect our understanding or revelation of God. To some Jesus was a good man, to others a healer, to others a miracle worker, to others a teacher and to others Lord etc. Our revelation of Jesus will determine our requests of Him. We can limit what God can do for us simply by our unbelief. Believing is the key to receiving all that He can provide i.e. everything!  “for with God all things are possible”.Mar.10:27
 
     Bartimaeus recognized there was more he could receive from Jesus than the opening of his eyes, the Messiah had come to give life and Bartimaeus needed Jesus. Once His eyes were opened he began to follow Jesus. “And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God:” Luke 18:43. Some people stop once their requests are met, not Bartimaeus, he went all the way. His eyesight was only going to enhance his walk with Christ. His handicap brought him to Jesus and not away from Him. Your need is your opportunity to draw near to God. Jesus asks you today, “What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?” Do not settle for second best!

“But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:42
4  Theology / Bible Study / Small Things on: July 05, 2007, 10:06:53 AM


 
Read: Exodus 16:1-30            Small Things

“A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time.” Isa. 60:22

   When God rained bread from heaven for the people of Israel in the wilderness, they looked at it and asked, ‘what is it?’ i.e. “Manna. From that time on they referred to the miraculous provision of God as “Manna”. The reason God had decided to give them food in the wilderness was more than just for sustenance. He wanted to test them, to see if they would be obedient to His instructions. “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.”Ex.16:4 God gave them
specific instructions as to when the Manna was to be collected and how much etc.

   God had promised the people that He was taking them into a land of abundance. “When ye go, ye shall come unto a people secure, and to a large land: for God hath given it into your hands; a place where there is no want of any thing that is in the earth” Judges 18:10  However, He had to ready His people to be able to receive the abundance. They seemed to be still filled with their past. God needed to take their past out of them in order that they could receive their future. 

   God’s plan is to bring us into a place of abundance.  He sometimes put us through a journey of removing from us our dependence on other things so as to focus our dependence on Him. He must bring us to a place where we can receive. He did this with Israel. Yet, during this process we must continue to remain thankful and not despise small beginnings. “For who hath despised the day of small things?” Zech.4:10
   
   The Manna was a little seed. Before God can entrust us with much He needs to see what we do with a little. Jesus spoke a parable of a nobleman who gave a pound to each of his ten servants and went away on a journey. When the nobleman returned he called his servants and asked them what they had done with his money. One of the servants had gained ten pounds. The pleased nobleman said, “Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.” Luke 19:17 To  another who had been lazy and hidden the pound the master said, "Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him”. Luke 19:25, 26 
   
   God has blessed every one of us with ‘something’ which will lead us into our destiny. The thing God has entrusted to us might not look anything like what we have believed for, but it certainly is the means to it. How we treat what God has given to us in this season of our life will determine what He will give to us when we come out of this season. How well we follow instructions, will determine whether we will receive what He has ‘kept’ for us. When we are faithful with what God has given us, He will be faithful to entrust us more!

   Sometimes, our minds need to be renewed in order to see what God has given to us. We may have given up because of the weariness of waiting or have wrong expectations. We see this in the conversation between Philip and Nathaniel. When Philip told him they had found the Messiah, Nathaniel responded, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? John 1:46 Philip invited him to “Come and see.” If, Nathaniel had not listened to Philip and gone and seen, he would not have met Jesus. We can miss the means to our blessing just because it didn’t come in the packaging we hoped for. You might be looking straight at it today and still asking “what is it?” Receive what God has entrusted in your hands and be faithful to the instructions God will give you. Each step of obedience will lead you into your “Promised Land”.

i]“I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name”.[/i]
Rev.3:8
5  Theology / Bible Study / Keeper of Promises on: July 03, 2007, 10:15:35 AM
Read: Jeremiah 33: 14-26                             Keeper of Promises

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.”Jer.33:14
   
   
When God makes a covenant He stands by it. He does not break His promises to us. He is God and not a man that He should lie.(Num.23:19) The very utterance of His mouth brings things into existence, therefore it is impossible for God to lie. When He speaks He creates instantly. The day He spoke His covenant it came into being. “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.” Ps.119:89. Although the manifestation of the promise may not, yet appear in the natural; it has already been established and appears as completely done in the heavens. Jesus has been revealed to us as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth .In Jesus, every promise of God has been fulfilled. “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.”2 Cor. 1:20 Whatever God has promised you He has also made good in Jesus.

The manifestation of Gods promises in our lives is dependant on several things among which are, believing, obedience and timing. We have a great example in Abraham. “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” Rom.4:20.

1) “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief” Abraham did not waver. When we waver in our believing because of what we see or hear contrary to what God has promised us, we become double minded. James the Apostle says such a person shouldn’t think they will receive anything from God. A person who doubts God’s word is one who doubts God. In other words we make God out to be a liar. For what God has promised He has already made available. “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”Jam.1:6

2) “..but was strong in faith” Abraham had strong faith. How does one obtain strong faith? Scripture tells us faith comes from hearing, and hearing from the Word of God.  From the beginning, God stressed the importance of keeping His Word in constant remembrance. When you remember what God has told you, it overrules every other word contrary to it. Faith becomes stronger as we apply the word of God to the various situations that present themselves between our receiving of the promise and the manifestation of it. We are to go from faith to faith. “For therein (the gospel) is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” Rom.1:16, 17

3) “.giving glory to God;” Abraham not only was steadfast and strong in his believing but also remained in an attitude of praise. There is a place where prayers become praise, where one who continues to pray comes into assured rest, of having obtained from God what they have believed Him for. When this happens the person is able to worship during their waiting time. This is also a time where, the receiving of the promise takes a secondary importance and the person sees,that in the whole process he or she has gained something more precious i.e. a deepening relationship with the One who promised. “That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus”Phm.1:6

4) “being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” There was no doubt in Abraham’s mind about Gods ability to keep His promise; He was fully convinced that God was able to do what He promised. Often our struggle is because we think the “doing” is our part. It is God who performs His own word and according to His timing. When we stop trying to help God we will see He does have a way for us. Abraham and Sarah learnt this lesson the hard way but learnt well that God is willing and able to perform all that He has promised. “Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it.” Jer.1:12 May we continue to remain in Gods word to us and unswerving in our believing! Amen!

“Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”
1 Thess.5:24
6  Theology / Bible Study / Where are you standing? on: July 01, 2007, 03:11:21 PM

Read: 2Kings 5:1-19                    Where are you standing?

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.” Zech.3:7
   

The King of Israel was distraught because Naaman the leper had been sent to him to be healed of his leprosy. When word of this came to Elisha, he asked that Naaman be sent to him to prove to Naaman there was a prophet of God in Israel. Naaman came in full expectancy of how this would take place. He expected Elisha the prophet to come out to him. However Elisha did not come out but simply sent instructions to Naaman through his servant. Naaman was infuriated by this. “But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper” 2Kings 5:11

   After Naaman was healed he returned to Elisha. Now he truly believed in the God of Israel. “Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel:” 2Kings 5:15
Naaman might not have had the opportunity to know God if Elisha was the one who healed him as he had hoped it would happen. Unknown to Naaman what seemed as a lack of courtesy and respect on the part of Elisha was in reality a blessing for him. Sometimes we can have expectations of God as to the way He should work in our situations. We are upset when things don’t go our way; however God in all His wisdom and knowledge directs things His way. “A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” Prov.16:9 God always has our best interests in mind. Whatever way He leads us by, is the most beneficial to us even if it does not seem to be so. What may seem as a lack of care or silence from God is in reality God working out His best in our lives. We can lose our blessing if we hold on to our own methods instead of allowing God His way with us.

   Elisha was not a man pleaser; he could not be bought by either gifts or money. While Naaman had expected Elisha to stand before him, Elisha continued to remain in the position where he was called to stand, i.e. before the Lord. If Elisha had not been in his position before the Lord he would not have known what instruction to give Naaman. “But he said, As the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused” We see this also in the life of Elijah. These were men who sought to please God. They chose to stand before God always.

    Where are you standing? In Christ, we have been given access to the Father. The veil that stood before the Holy of Holies has been torn. Gods open invitation is for us to come to Him. As blood washed saints we have the ability to come with boldness before Gods throne. Yet, so often we find ourselves standing far away. There are things God wants to share with those who take time to listen. People who share intimacy with the Father know what He desires of them. Others are like those Jesus shared about in the parable, of a man who went out to hire workers for his vineyard. “And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?” Matt. 20:6 Their excuse was that none had hired them.  God has already given us an open invitation to serve in His vineyard. Do you know your part?

   The prophet Habakkuk determined to know what the Lord had to say. “I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.”Hab.2:1. The choice is ours to remain in His presence. To know the Lords will and way, it is vital we remain in communion with Him. There is a “place” where God can be heard. May we find ourselves standing in that place.

“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”
Eph. 2:13
7  Theology / Bible Study / Eating or Cr-eating Giants? on: June 29, 2007, 11:02:58 AM
Read: Numbers 13:26-33                                  Eating or Cr-eating Giants?

“Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.” Num.14:9

   When the twelve spies were sent into Canaan, ten of them saw giants, two of them saw bread. What they saw became what they thought about and what they thought soon became the confession of their mouths, and what they confessed became their reality. Consequently, only the two who had believed they were ready to possess the land possessed it, all the other ten and other adults who believed their bad report died in the wilderness. The power of life and death are in the tongue. We “live” or “die” by the words of our mouth. What we focus on eventually becomes our meditation and our confession.

   How do you see your life? Whatever you have gone through in your life God, can use to direct you into your destiny. God works everything that has happened in your life for good. Your past has only as much control over you today, as much as you allow it.
 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Rom.8:28   

   God is not focusing on what took you captive or why. He is looking to you to see if you are willing and obedient to receive what He has for you. He desires to set you free in every area of your life. The payment for your transgression and failures has already been paid for in Jesus Christ. God is looking for a way to bring to you what He has for you. The only one who can give Him that access is You! In other words, the only blockage to the blessings of God in our lives is our selves. To be willing and obedient is to believe His word to us and obey it. It is the way to all the blessings God has planned for us. “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land” Isa.1:19

   There is nothing in your life which is ‘beyond redemption’ for in Christ Jesus the work of redemption is already done it is not conditional to something we do or don’t do. Redemption is Gods idea not mans. “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” Heb.9:12 What remains is the obtaining of what has been done. You obtain by believing and accept the fullness of the finished work of Jesus the Redeemer on your behalf or, you continue living in unrest by unbelief. Only unbelief will keep you from the receiving of the promise. Unbelief in what God has already done for you. “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Heb.3:19

   The giants in your life are those ‘things’ which tell you “you can’t have or can’t do” when God says you can. God had told the people that He had given them the land of Canaan. Instead of looking to Gods promise and proceeding in confidence to take what was theirs, the ten spies looked at the giants. They not only looked at them they also began to think for them saying, “We were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” They made their giants mighty by their confession and themselves, as miserable weaklings. Only Joshua and Caleb, saw the giants for what they really were, “they are bread for us:” Something easily consumed. They looked at the promise of God and the one who was with them; their confession was “We are well able to overcome”

   You eat or create your giants by the words of your mouth. You eat them by proclaiming the Word of God, declaring what God has already given to you. You create your giants by the words of your mouth. To allow your giant to continue to intimidate you is only a sign of unbelief and ignorance of what God has already given to you . The one who knows that God is with him does not let his giants live another day, they respond as Caleb and Joshua did saying, “Let us go up at once, and possess it.”Num.13:30 Don’t let your giants live another day! Possess all the Lord has given to you!

To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”
Heb.4:7
8  Theology / Bible Study / In the middle on: June 28, 2007, 08:53:35 AM
Read:  Mark 6:45-51                                           In the middle

“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”Jos.1:9

   Jesus had instructed his disciples to get into a boat and go to the other side. This was Jesus` idea and his disciples obeyed Him. Jesus went away into the mountain to pray while his disciples continued on their journey. Things seemed to be alright until they came to the middle of the sea. Here, they faced problems, a contrary wind, darkness and the sea was stormy. They struggled hard to row against the wind. We do not know what thoughts might have crossed their minds, perhaps they even thought of going back. However, at such a time Jesus appeared walking on the water. He let the frightened disciples know it was him and he entered their boat. The sea became calm and immediately they reached their destination.“And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered” Mark 6:51

   When God sets us on a course, He does not always tell us what we might encounter on the way. However, He does promise to be with us and help us arrive at our destination. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. Often times just as we are making progress, the opposition increases. The enemy would love to discourage us to give up and turn back to where we came from. The opposition we face often is an indication of how close we are to our destination. Jesus was right in the middle of the storm. In fact he was walking over the angry waves.  As soon as He came on the scene there was calm and they reached their destination immediately. God knows exactly when  and where to show up!. “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.”Ps.12:5

   Shadrach Meshach and Abednego were three men who decided to obey God at all costs. They were thrown into a firey furnace for refusing to bow to an idol. The angry king Nebuchadnezzer ordered that the fire be heated seven times stronger than it was, the situation was as bad as it could get.  God met them right in the middle of the fire and they escaped untouched by the fire. Sometimes God allows our situations to get as bad as they can get before He shows up, this proves Him victorious over everything that might come to oppose us. There is nothing impossible to God. He will enter into the very middle of your situation. “He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” Dan.3:25 He will deliver you when times of opposition hinder your progress. The testing of your faith works patience and God knows how far this test should go. He will prove Himself mighty in your midst. “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” Zeph. 3:17

   God knew the struggle the disciples would face, yet, He allowed them to go on that journey, and if they had not they would not have known Jesus as Lord over all creation, the land and the sea. What is the storm in your life? God desires to make himself known to you as Lord over every situation. If it is healing He wants to reveal to you that He is the Jehovah Rapha, if it is lack He wants you to know Him as Jehovah Jireh, if it is unrest He wants you to know Him as Jehovah Shalom etc. Our trials are God given opportunites to know Him in a way we haven’t known Him. “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”Ps.46:10
   
   Where have you been ‘rowing’ hard in faith ?  That, is the area that God has chosen to reveal Himself as mighty for you. Dont focus on the opposing winds rather look for God in your stormy situation. He is there and wanting to help you.  Enjoy the experience of knowing God in the midst of your trying circumstance. The moment you recognize His Lordship over your situation and allow Him ‘on board’ you also will be calm and arrive at your ‘destination’.

“Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.” (John 6:21)
9  Theology / Bible Study / The Beauty of Holiness on: June 26, 2007, 11:37:51 AM
Read: Leviticus 10:1-11                                      The Beauty of Holiness

“And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean” Ezk.44:23

   In our reading today, Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron offered to God a sacrifice which God had not commanded them. He responded in anger and a fire devoured them. Moses explained to Aaron that God was showing that He was really serious about what He had told them earlier. “This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified.” Lev.10:3

    Aaron’s and his sons had been consecrated and set apart to serve God. That meant, to do everything according as He commanded them. They had shown disregard for Gods word by offering the sacrifice, it was almost like saying, “We can do anything we like”. The consequences were dire. Throughout scripture God has shown us that there is to be a difference, between what is holy and that which is profane. God is always looking for that difference which marks His children. “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” 2Chr.16:9

   Much importance was given as to the kind of sacrifices to be brought before God and the way in which they were to be offered. God went into great length to show us throughout scripture that what we bring before Him must be holy. What makes it holy is when it is in obedience to His word .That makes it acceptable to Him. The sons of Aaron didn’t offer the wrong ingredient in the sacrifice, what was wrong was, they did something they were not supposed to do. Our works of service may be good things but if God has not asked of us to do them they become to Him an unacceptable sacrifice. God will respond with fire to consume what is not of Him.  “Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.” 1Cor.3:13

   We, as believers are a royal priesthood. “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ”. 1 Pet.2:5 Many works of service are being done for God in our days, whatever is not of God and not according as He has asked of us to do is an unacceptable sacrifice. In fact it is an abomination. With such sacrifices God is not pleased. It is important we discern carefully what it is we are offering to God under the umbrella of “serving God”. Some serve God to serve their own interests; they decide what they will do by asking “What is in it for me?. On the other hand the one who truly serves Gods interests will ask, “What is in it for God. God himself looks for this.

   When we seek first Gods kingdom and His righteousness he adds to us, when we serve our own interests we lose even what we have.  We see this in the account of King Saul who made a sacrifice unto God which he was not supposed to do.( 1Samuel 15 ) Saul reacted out of fear and did what was wrong. What he did was totally unacceptable to God and resulted his losing the throne and the Spirit of the Lord left him. (1 Sam.16:14) We need to ask ourselves, “What motivates us to do what we do?” “Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”1 Sam.15:22

    “O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.” Ps.96:9 When we do the things that please God, that service becomes worship It is a truly acceptable sacrifice and a fragrant offering before Him, God is well pleased with such worship. May we be among those who truly worship God.

“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.”
John 4:23
10  Theology / Bible Study / Empowered! on: June 22, 2007, 05:31:35 AM
Read: Judges 7: 9-15            Empowered!

"Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us.”
Ps.68:28

   In our reading today, Gideon needed reassurance that God had already delivered the enemy into his hands. God told Gideon that if he were to take his servant with him and go down towards the camp of the enemy, he would hear something that would strengthen him. Gideon followed instruction and when he came there he heard a dream being shared and its interpretation was that Gideon would indeed defeat the Midianites because God had delivered them into his hands. On hearing this Gideon immediately worshipped God for he completely believed now what God had spoken. He was also strengthened to go forth and boldly declare this to the rest of the Israelites. What we hear and how we hear, greatly determine the effectiveness of what we do. Words of encouragement build, words of discouragement tear down.
   
   When Nehemiah was building the wall of Jerusalem along with others, their enemies came to taunt them and mock what they were doing. Whenever anyone gave ear to what the enemy had to say they felt weakened and fearful. Nehemiah knew where to turn to for strength and focus, He turned to God and prayed. “For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.” Neh. 6:9  When God gives you a job to do, remember not everyone is for you. Not everyone is going to share your vision. There will be those who will try to weaken you and hinder you by their words and their actions. You need to keep focused on God and ask God for the strength you need to continue in believing. God was willing to confirm his word to Gideon and God is willing to do that for you. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” Isa. 41:10. There is no better place to seek encouragement than from the Lord himself. There will come times in our lives when we have no one else we can turn to. David the shepherd boy knew this when he was running for his life from Saul. “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” 1 Sa.30:6

   When Gideon was strengthened his immediate response was worship. The one who can worship in the face of a difficult situation is one who has understood that victory has already been granted. Such a person is not shaken by what he sees or hears. Gideon saw with his own eyes that the enemy was spread roundabout like the “sand of the sea” yet he believed God. True faith believes God despite the contradictions it sees. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” Heb.11:1
   
   When you have entered a place of believing the Word of God you not only receive strength yourself but you are empowered to strengthen others. Gideon returned to the camp that day and encouraged the Israelites with the same words that God had encouraged him. We see this also in the account of Paul the Apostle, when as a prisoner on a ship, was faced with life threatening situations yet he continued to believe God and encouraged the others. “Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me” Acts 27: 25
May we come into the place of believing God and His word to us and may we be of those who strengthen and build up others by words of encouragement and faith.  Amen!.


"And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.” Ps. 90:17

11  Theology / Bible Study / Destined to Succeed! on: June 21, 2007, 01:32:50 PM
Read: Luke 5: 1-11                   Destined to Succeed!

“And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper”2 Chr.26:5

God desires that we be successful. He doesn’t want us to just get by in life but to enjoy abundant success. Jesus said I am come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly. He was talking about the very life of God. God has always tried to point man in the direction of success, right from the beginning of time. He is keenly interested in our success. The key to success is in following the instructions of God. “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:” Isa.1:19.
 
Success comes as a result of obeying the word of Gods mouth. We see this in the instruction He gave to Joshua, a young leader who faced the great task of leading the people of Israel into the Promised Land. God said, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”Jos.1:8. To meditate on Gods word is to know what He is saying, to think on it, to believe it, to confess it with your mouth and then to do it.

To meditate on His word is to accept it into your very being and come in agreement with God. Jesus said, “Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 18:19. To agree with God is to say exactly what He is saying.  Just as two cannot walk together unless they be agreed so also for you to obtain what God has for you means you must come in agreement with what He is saying to you.
   
In our reading today Peter decided to agree with Jesus. Although they had fished all night and caught no fish Peter said, "..nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net”. Peter made a decision to trust Jesus despite his circumstances and he was well rewarded for his obedience. When you seek Gods instruction and follow it you exalt His word and give Him Lordship over your situation. When you continue to do your own thing you will not succeed or just some how go through life. Mary the mother of Jesus is another person who understood the need to come in agreement with God. We see this in her response to the angel Gabriel who gave her the news that she would give birth to Jesus. “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” Luke 1:38

Has success been eluding you? The only reason is because you have either not received instruction from God or you have not followed it. Your answer is with God. “But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth” Get alone with God, listen to what He instructs you. You don’t have to waste your life trying what does not work. In our reading today it was the same lake, the same boat, the same nets and the same fishermen, what was the difference? It was the Word of the Lord that brought the success. God’s instruction to you will cause you to succeed. “Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.” Isa 48:17
 Ask God for wisdom He is more than willing to give it you. He delights in your success!

“For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding”
Prov.2:6
12  Theology / Bible Study / Because of the Way! on: June 20, 2007, 06:27:36 AM
Read: Numbers 20:14-29; 21:1-6                             Because of the Way!

“And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.”
 Num.21:4

The people of Israel were discouraged because Edom had refused them passage and now they were forced to continue another way. God had intended that they enter the Promised Land a long time ago; but their unbelief had now put them on a journey of many years in the wilderness. They faced hardships and challenges but God watched over them and brought them through with provision and victory. However, the people soon forgot the goodness of God and grumbled when faced with difficulties. “And the children of Israel remembered not the LORD their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side” Judges 8:34 Every time they grumbled they displeased God; this was yet another such time.

Their behaviour followed a pattern. When faced with difficulty their first reaction was to find someone to blame. Moses and God were the ones they spoke against. They questioned why they were brought into this situation, forgetting completely that it was their own unbelief and hardness of heart that had prolonged their journeys. They became unthankful and coveted lost “pleasures” of Egypt and finally they grumbled at the provision of God which had sustained them. (Exd: 21:5)God punished them by sending fiery serpents amongst them and many of them died. The people soon realised their foolishness. They had looked at their present situation and forgot that God had led them until now and that this was not the end of their journey.

 Have you become discouraged by the way God is leading you? Every time we look, at where we are, as the end of our journey, we lose focus and get into fear. Gods way takes us through many situations some of them are difficult some of them are easier. His promise is that He will be with us through it all. “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” Isa. 43:2 We need to keep in mind we are only passing through. In our trying times we should remember God has promised to be an ever present help. That is exactly who He is when troubles comes, ever present! “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Ps. 46:1 He is not one to go away when we need Him most, rather, He draws us even closer. The disciple Peter when walking on the water, forgot where he was going, he looked at where he was and became fearful seeing the waves of the sea. His shift of focus was from Jesus into fear. Fear paralyses us and retards our progress. We need to be on guard as to what our focus is on.

Paul the Apostle writes, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”  Phil. 3:12-14  He was an example of one following Christ. We must not grow weary along the way or we too will ‘fall in the wilderness” as many Israelites did and never entered the Promised Land. Our reminder should be that God is with us and will take us through whatever life may present to us.

Jesus reminded us the way is difficult and narrow that leads to life and few find it. Don’t let the way discourage you!  Endure even as Jesus did, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our  faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” Heb. 12: 2. God is fully acquainted with our ways, our way is not hid from Him. He knows the end from the beginning and His directions are always to bring us into the place where He is taking us to. We can fully trust God !

“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.”
Job 23: 10,11
13  Theology / Bible Study / Appointed & Anointed on: June 18, 2007, 01:07:38 PM
Read: Exd. 18: 1-24;Numbers 11: 1-17                Appointed & Anointed           

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.Matt.11:28


Moses had become the one to whom everyone came for advise and counsel. Moses` father in law had seen this as a problem and had advised Moses to elect others who could help him. Moses obeyed the counsel of his father in law and seventy elders were appointed over groups of people. However, the problem was not solved.  As days went by Moses became increasingly overwhelmed by the responsibility that remained on him .God had a better solution. He instructed Moses to bring the seventy elders and assemble them at the tabernacle. God said, “And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.” Num.11: 17
 
Those whom God appoints He also anoints. When Moses appointed the elders, following his father in laws advice, he chose able men, however they were not anointed for service. When God anointed them by placing His Spirit on them they were equipped to serve efficiently. Moses could now depend on them for help. The Apostles followed this same principle in their serving of the Lord. They delegated responsibility to others. They understood that when each did their part the work for the Lord would be efficiently accomplished. “Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:2 We read that when the men were chosen the Apostles prayed and laid hands on them and they were anointed for service.
 
When we attempt to do everything by ourselves we suffer and others suffer. Such continued action could lead to pride and exalting of oneself. It will lead people to seek us out more than they would seek God. In other words we could be in danger of taking God’s place in people’s lives. When people get overburdened with doing the ‘Lord’s work’ the family also suffers. We do not know why Moses had sent away his wife and his sons, but could it have been because his responsibilities to others had become so great? (Ex.18:2) When Jethro brought them back to Moses he could see what was happening .He said to Moses, “The thing that thou doest is not good.Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone.”Exd.18:18
 
God has arranged the Body of Christ in such a way that no one person is responsible over everything. There is only One Head and that is Jesus Christ and One Body which is made up of equal members. We are all needed in the Body of Christ and each member has an unique role to play. Paul the Apostle likens the working of the Body of Christ as that of our physical body. “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office. So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us…”Rom 12:4-6
 
God never intends for us to become overburdened in serving Him. If we are feeling the weight of responsibility weigh us down, it is possible we have assumed responsibilities which are not meant for us. We need to let go off those things. When we strive to serve the Lord we end up restless and unfulfilled. Jesus advises us in this way,“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:8,9   A person who is overburdened will lose their joy and their rest. God’s intention for us is to serve Him with gladness! With the Holy Spirit’s help we can do this. Praise God!
 
"Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people”
 Ps.18:43
14  Theology / Bible Study / Place of Blessing on: June 16, 2007, 12:24:51 PM
Read: Genesis 26:1-16                          Place of Blessing

“Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;” Gen.26:3

God had instructed Isaac not to leave Gerar and go to Egypt during the famine. Isaac obeyed God and stayed. This was God’s appointed place to bless Isaac. Isaac sowed in the land of affliction and within that year reaped a hundredfold. He went on from greatness to greatness in the land. He became so prosperous that the people of the land desired that he would leave for he had become mightier than them. He became the envy of Philistines for he had great possessions and wealth, livestock and servants.

God’s instructions when followed always lead us to prosperity and peace. The outward circumstances do not determine if that is a place of blessing or not. It is God who decides where we are to be blessed. Sometimes God chooses for us to remain in the hard dry places so that we can see and experience His supernatural provision and blessing on our lives. “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” Isa.43:19

What are the hard dry places of your life? God chooses to show Himself faithful to you in those areas. When we yield to Him and His way we will also enjoy fruitfulness. Our situation may be God’s special ground for blessing us. We need to listen to what God instructs us. “Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.” Isa.48:17

It is the presence of God that makes all the difference. Moses understood the importance of the presence of God “And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.”Exd.33:15 God manifested His presence with the Israelites in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night .Exd.13:21. As long as the cloud remained in the place they remained but when it lifted they would move and follow it. “But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up”Exd.40:37. Just as Israel depended on the Lord to lead them we also need God`s help along our way.

When we face a crisis, like Isaac did with the famine, we should turn to God for wisdom and direction. Isaac could have tried to escape the famine but may have ended up worse off in Egypt. Only God can see end from beginning. He knows the best way for us. Gods grace is sufficient to meet our every need while we are in a difficult place. Instead of running from our problems God want us to be still and know His sovereignty in our situation. “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Ps.46:10 God will not fail us when we choose to believe Him and obey.

           
“For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.”Gen.41:52
15  Theology / Bible Study / God`s Appointed Time on: June 13, 2007, 11:25:56 AM

Read: Luke 19: 1-10                                       God’s Appointed Time


“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Rev. 3:20

God`s day of appointment had come for Zacchaeus, Jesus said to him, “.make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.” There was no asking whether he could come, for Jesus knew perfectly well where, His father wanted him to be that day.  The only one who could say “no” was Zacchaeus, but he did not, he joyfully invited Jesus to his house. The moment Zacchaeus opened the door to Jesus, salvation entered that house. We do not read of any conversation between Zacchaeus and Jesus but, we see a changed man who makes a promise to Jesus of repaying all he had stolen and more. Jesus said, “This day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham.” Luke 19:9 Zacchaeus had a curiosity to see who this Jesus was, we don’t know why he was so curious but it was enough to get him up a tree and watch. Zacchaeus was in the right place at the right time and he had a life changing experience.

We can have areas in our lives which are not fully yielded to God. The reason why you might not yet see change in your situation may be, because you have not sought the Lords help or Gods appointed time has not come or, Jesus has knocked on the door and you have been unwilling to allow Him into your situation. When the Saviour enters your situation things change. Zacchaeus could have made excuses; he could have listened to the crowd who were indignant that Jesus chose to go to a sinner’s house. However he chose to allow Jesus into his home. We may refuse help from God because we listen to the crowd who tell us how bad our situation is. There is nothing impossible with God. There is no wrongdoing which Jesus cannot make right. Accept His acceptance of you and surrender your situations to Him you can enjoy freedom today! “For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Cr.6:2

The freedom of Zacchaeus meant help for many people. His accusers had been angry with him for his dishonesty. They did not realise their blessing was locked up in Zacchaeus`s release. The crowd had grumbled at Zacchaeus and no one really liked him, sometimes we don’t realise that those who have done us wrong really need to meet Jesus. When they are helped our help comes too. We need to pray for them that they will meet with Jesus and be set free. Jesus had to go to Zacchaeus home for release to come to the entire city. Your situation is not just about you, others are connected to your freedom and the blessing on your life is for others too. We see this again on another occasion when Jesus told his disciples I must go through Samaria. That was another divine appointment made by the Father. In that trip he met the woman at the well, and that resulted in many coming to Jesus.
“And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.” 1Cr.12:26

Jesus always said what He heard and did what He saw His father do. He would spend much time with His father in prayer seeking His will. At one time His brothers urged him to go to Jerusalem his reply to them was, “My time is not yet come: but your time is always ready.” John 7: 6 Even as a child of twelve Jesus was found in the temple teaching and was amazed at his parents for having searched for him, to Jesus doing the Fathers will was the most natural thing. There was no question about it. He always desired to know what was on the Fathers heart and proceeded to do it. Jesus lived with a heavenly mind set; He knew his mission on earth was not about doing His will but about doing the Fathers will.

May we live as Jesus did with Gods interests on our heart, seeking to know and do His perfect will. When we live that way many will be set free and saved and God will be glorified. Amen.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” John 1:12
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