Monday, October 3, 2022

The Father's Love

Just as a father loves his children, so the Lord loves those who fear and worship Him. Psalm 103 v 13 The Lord has compassion on us as we are not just His creatures but we are His children. Though God cares for all of His creation in a generic way, He loves those who fear, obey and worship Him. Human beings who do not know God as their Father are like the Eskimos in polar regions who have to invent different ways to keep warm and sustain themselves against the vagaries of nature. But for those who know Him, love Him, have a personal relationship with Him through Christ, the first born Son, He is as intimate as a Father. He provides for us. He protects us. He heals us. He restores us when we fall into error or wilful ways. He delights in us as a Parent in her children. He listens to our every thought, whisper and sigh. Knowing our mortal and sinful nature, the Lord God provided the way for us to have eternal life even at the cost of the suffering and life of Jesus, the Anointed Son of God. Having not even spared His own Son, He would go to any extent, move heaven and earth for our sake. His love in unconditional but subject to the condition that we believe in His Son that He is the propitiation for our sins. The Lord is a righteous Father and that is the reason that we who are sinful need to be fearful as we enter His presence. But as we are washed in the blood of regeneration of Jesus, we are redeemed and can be bold to run onto His lap, as it were. We, as children of God should not resemble the self righteous elder son in the parable of the prodigal son but the broken, humbled, repentant younger son. The Father provides for us the robe of salvation, the signet ring of authority to co-rule with Him over the earth, the shoes to go anywhere in His name, the belt of truth. Indeed, His banner over us is love and He invites us to heaven's banqueting table to rejoice with Him in our salvation.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Deliverance Comes from the Lord

But when the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help, the Lord raised up a man to rescue the people of Israel, Othniel, the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother. Judges 3 v 9 When we cry out to the Lord in any difficult situation, He will send deliverance. Othniel means "Lion of God" and he proved his courage when Caleb set him a military challenge in which he promised the victor the hand of his daughter Achsah. The name Achsah means courage or breaking out of the veil. She was an able support to her husband Othniel. Othniel was also the first judge or ruler of Israel once they settled in the Promised Land. The Lord blessed him as he feared God. In proportion to the faith and reverance we have for God, we are imbued with courage just like Othniel. Jesus is the ultimate Deliverer the Lord God sent to help us. His conquest is eternal and in the realm of the spirit. The Spirit of the Lord came down upon Othniel as Judge of Israel and enabled him to wrest victory from the Mesopotamian king. In our lives today, we do not deal with flesh and blood kings but with principalities and powers of darkness. When the Spirit of the Lord comes upon us, we have victory over these strongholds - injustice, pride, envy, lust, violence and so on. As "lions of God" we need to wait upon the Lord for His strength to come upon us and manifest in the challenges we face daily in our lives. God did not prove a debtor to Othniel and blessed him with land and prospered him in Israel. Israel enjoyed peace for forty years under the leadership of Othniel.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Seek First Wisdom ...

UV 4257/10000 Seek First Wisdom Wisdom and knowledge have been granted you. I will also give you riches, possessions and honour, such as none of the kings who were before you has possessed nor will those who will come after you." 2 Chronicles 1 v 12 Solomon, yet a teenager, asked the Lord for wisdom to rule and administer justice. God was pleased with what Solomon asked for. Hence, Solomon is the only trillionaire in history. He was given wisdom and knowledge and in addition, wealth, possessions and honour in abundance. The Lord gives wisdom not to the foolish but to the wise and knowledge to those who seek understanding. He honours and preserves from troubles those who fear Him, love Him,worship Him. When we seek the Lord with all our hearts and love Him with all our strength, all our mind and all our soul, He adds to us what we have neither asked nor sought. We need the child-like humility and faith of the young Solomon to trust God and pray for wisdom and understanding. The Lord has revealed time and again that He is very pleased with such child-like faith. We need to believe fully and without the shadow of doubt that God is able to give us wisdom and that He would give it to us generously in abundance. Solomon, in later years erred in His relationship with God chiefly due to the fact that He was unequally yoked with women of different faith backgrounds. Unlike Solomon, we need not a one time seeking of wisdom of God but we need to seek it daily and before any major venture or decision. The lesson that we learn from the life of Solomon is that even the wisest can be deceived. We need the constant guidance of the Holy Spirit to remain victorious in life. The blessings of the Lord made Solomon non-pareil or without equal among the kings and leaders of the world. Even though Solomon departed from the path of faithfulness to the Lord, the Lord remained faithful and did not withdraw the grace and blessings He extended to him. The wisdom that God gave Him was not withdrawn but remained in him. Through his experimentation with learning, pleasure, fame, posessions, Solomon proved to humanity for all time the vanity and emptiness of pursuing such things in the absence of a personal relationship with the Creator God and the Saviour Jesus enabled by the Holy Spirit. Jesus later summed it up in His word, " Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you." My life is a testament to the truth of this promise as the Lord met my needs and wants in abundance, without any lack or shortage over the past many decades of my life as I sought His will and His wisdom in every circumstance through the years.

Sunday, September 4, 2022

From Slaves of Sin to Slaves of God

UV 4294/10000 Slaves of Sin to Slaves of God And it shall be when your son asks you in time to come, saying, "What does this mean?" you shall say to him, "With a strong and powerful hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, from the house of bondage and slavery.." Exodus 13 v 14 The Lord redeemed the Israelites from Pharaoh's hand. The word redeemed means "to buy back." One has to pay a price to buy back anything and to buy back one's freedom from slavery takes a heavy price. The Lord God redeemed Israelites from slavery and bondage with a strong and powerful hand but He chose to buy all mankind back with the heavy price of His first born Son Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Having bought, redeemed by God, we should not now choose to go back to bondage to sin and to being slaves of sin and satan. We are now slaves of God who are crowned with the gift of salvation. We are freed from the law of sin to live in obedience to the law of love of God. We are to enjoy or rejoice in the new freedom we have in Christ. Egypt is a metaphor for the foreign land where we were formerly enslaved and in bondage. Instead of bondage, we are now bonded with God in Christ. Like God used Moses to lead the Israelite slaves to freedom and the promised land, we are led by Christ into freedom and eternal life. We should always be aware of the invisible crown that the Lord has placed on our heads. Our hearts should always overflow with love and gratitude for so great a gift that we receive by grace. Every time we yield to sin and temptation we are trying to regress, retrace our steps back to Egypt. There are deserts and mountains to cross and formidable enemies to battle and conquer even as we travel towards eternity but our triumphant entry into the promised land is guaranteed. In times to come, when the next generation asks us what it means to be redeemed, we need to leave our answer that the Lord has redeemed us by His grace. We need to leave a legacy of faith such that they do not ever forget what the Lord has done for us at such huge cost.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

The Bridegroom of Blood

UV 4293/10000 The Bridegroom of Blood But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it. “Surely, you are a bridegroom of blood to me,”she said. Exodus 4 v 25 Zipporah circumcising the young son Gershom and touching Moses with the bloody foreskin is a sign that the innocent blood would save all who believe or are touched and covered with the blood of the first born of God, Jesus Christ. The lack of obedience to the Jewish covenant by Moses and his family to the mandate of circumcision had angered the Lord God enough to want to kill him. Zipporah, after preempting the judgement of God and purchasing forgiveness for Moses, in her quick and decisive act, referred to Moses as the “bridegroom of Blood” signifying the calling of Moses, under the old covenant and then, Jesus, under the new covenant to pay with blood for the salvation of their followers. But Moses did not shed any blood and therefore, the reference by Zipporah to the Bridegroom of Blood is a prophetic utterance pointing to the Messiah Jesus shedding every drop of His precious blood for all were touched by it, all who took cover under it. Just as the innocent blood of the young Gershom was efficacious to protect Moses from the anger and judgement of God, the innocent blood of Jesus would protect all mankind who would allow themselves to be touched by it. Our dirty clothes, meaning our past and guilt, is washed in the blood of the Lamb provided by God and made white and pure. The confirmation that Jesus Christ is indeed, the Bridegroom of Blood to the world-wide and historic church, His redeemed bride, is found in Revelation 19 v 13:” He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God. “ The purple robe that the mocking soldiers made Him wear turned dark scarlet with the blood that congealed and dried on the garment to fulfill the prophetic word uttered by Zipporah, the Midianite and the priest’s daughter. The robe of blood donned by Jesus made all circumcision thereafter, both inadequate and unnecessary since it was sufficient to cover all the multitude of sins of all mankind. Yet, the religious Jew continues with the practice, blinded by tradition that the Bridegroom of Blood stands by their side to embrace them as an honoured part of the Bride, the church.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Confronting the Giants of Our Lives

UV 4292/10000 Confronting the Giants All those gathered here will know that it is not by the sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands. 1 Samuel 17 v 47 David, moved by the power of the Holy Spirit, not only foresaw that he would kill Goliath but that the Israelites would totally rout the powerful Philistines. He was not relying on the power of his weapons, his skills or his fighting prowess but on the Lord God of Israel. He was filled with conviction that the Lord would give all of them into their hands. David spoke his faith before he acted on it. We, too, in this age and time, as we confront powerful forces that oppose us, attack us, challenge us, need to confess our faith in the Lord. We are not to rely on our strength, skills, resources or weapons but go forth to face our challenges in the name of the Lord, clothed with His power, assured of victory. For the battle is not ours but the Lord’s. If we go out to fight relying on the world, on our connections, our resources, our strength, it is akin to David weighing himself down with a heavy armour and sword. Of course, David then used his skill and natural strength with the sling and the stone. It implies that our primary source of reliance is spiritual, the strength and might of the Lord and our secondary source to fall back on is our God-given talents, abilities, strengths and resources. After much prayer, praise and worship, we need to step out like David to confront our challenges, to enter the battle. We cannot slink back in fear looking at the sheer size of the enemy and his power. When God is on our side or rather, we are on God’s side, the odds diminish, the barriers to our success in whatever domain disappear or get levelled out. However big or powerful our enemy, our foes, the Lord is much, much bigger. He is infinitely stronger. We only need to partner with Him, pair our strength with His. Like David we should not entertain an iota of doubt that the Lord can enable us to wrest victory. With Jesus, we are heroes. Without Him we are zeroes. With Him our every thought, stand, goal, word and action will bear results or fruit that will glorify the name of God. Without Him, we are living a life of vanity and vulnerability like the rest of mankind. The Lord strengthened the spirit and mind of the young David to be fearless, to be the hero Israel was looking for. He caused His sling swinging arm to be both strong and accurate that not a stone was wasted and the very first throw hit the giant Goliath in the temple of his head. After Goliath collapsed unconscious to the ground, David used Goliath’s own sword to decapitate him. The words we employ to affirm our faith in God is like the stone David threw at the mocking and snarling giant. The sword is akin to the word of God that we can use to finish our task, complete or fulfill our purpose. Words of affirmation of our faith in a specific situational challenge followed by the specific word of God relevant to complete the challenge are the way we need to confront our giants.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Dealing with Fears and Living In Joy

UV 4291/10000 Dealing With Fears and Living In Joy Do not fear, O land; be glad and rejoice, For the Lord has done great things! Joel 2 v 21 The Lord has done great things beyond our expectations or our asking. Hence, we need to be glad and rejoice thinking of these. We need to not allow any doubt, fear or apprehension to enter our hearts and minds. We just need to count our blessings and be thankful for each one. He has filled our storehouses with grain and filled our vats with wine and oil. He has compensated us for the years that we lost due to fears, worries, enemy attacks. He has dealt wonderfully with us over the years. He will never let us be put to shame. He has broken our chains and healed our pains. Prayer, praise and thanksgiving from a grateful heart breaks the vicious cycle launched in our lives by the enemy of fears, doubts, anxiety and worries. Faith is a powerful shield to extinguish, to defend, to vanquish these subtle forces that try to take control of our lives. The enemy wants us to be depressed, sad and weak. But as we pray, praise and rejoice in the Lord Jesus, we are strengthened. We need to recount the testimonies, our own and those of others whom the Lord had helped to overcome many difficulties and obstacles in their lives. This will restore courage, hope, confidence back to us. We need to constantly remember that nothing is too difficult or impossible for the Lord to accomplish. He is the One who gives us immediate triumph as well as ultimate victory over all circumstances of our lives. Living in constant fellowship with the Holy Spirit helps us experience the joy of the Lord. The Holy Spirit comforts us, counsels us, guides us in our thoughts, words, decisions and actions. We need to only continually heed His quiet voice and not ignore Him. He reminds us as the Remembrancer of the promises of the Lord, of the great things He has already accomplished for mankind as a whole and for each of us, personally. The word of God is also another source of strength and power to enable us to be joyful and hopeful all the time. We need to anchor or focus our minds on a specific portion or promise of the Lord that is relevant to the current situation we are in.