Archive | February 2014

YOU CANNOT IMAGINE JESUS, ONLY FAITH CONNECTS

 

Bible In One Year-Day 59 (Friday, February 28, 2014)

Commentary: Matt25-28. This part of our reading narrates Jesus’ journey to Golgotha. He left two messages; in the last two parables for the Christians and the workers in the vineyard. There were 10 virgins, which means they were Christians living undefiled lives. They had lamps signifying exemplary lives, i.e. by the word of God (which is a lamp unto our feet). But the factor for separation into two is the oil, i.e. prayer life. One set had the word of God but no prayer life. They were so confident in their ability to preach powerful messages without the leading of the Holy Spirit. Such might be reading the bible only when they want to preach or argue. Their messages are full of knowledge without the inspiration or leading of the Holy Spirit. Such become shaky and unsettled at the sound of spiritual warfare. They only pray when they see darkness getting closer and the power of their lamp running down; such are those who run to the mountain when troubles looms. They are reactive instead of proactive. They are so fearful when they hear genuine end-time messages. But the other set are full of the power of the Holy Spirit and prayer. They fast and deny themselves mostly without any compromise; all for the purpose of the kingdom. Any money they have, they use it for the purpose of the kingdom because they regard it as their treasure; they buy the truth with their resources. They are very well prepared, day and night. To them prayer isn’t a burden but pleasure and always at alert. In the second parable, the workers were addressed there. They were also separated into two; the profitable and the unprofitable. What qualifies one as a profitable Christian is Matt25:35-37 and the qualification for an unprofitable Christian is Matt25:42-43. There are different kinds of Christians; some say they hurt no one, some work for gain and praise, for recognition, some for the love of God etc. the standard of measurement is what Jesus laid out in chapter25. All in all, one thing is common and sure, there shall be a separation on the last day. Whatever gift you have, it is to make more of it for kingdom’s sake and not gain into the pocket; train more and make discipleships. This is Christ commission as laid out in the last three verses “make disciples of all nations …” To be guilty of burying the talent is to leave the gift of God inside of you unused or seeking for money with it instead of lost souls. From Jesus birth to His ascension, His life was a miracle. He never stopped surprises. He created surprises as He willed, He became a surprise when the need came and He spoke surprises to make the wise look foolish. He is still doing that till today; He never changes but creates changes. What a God in human form. His disciples thought they knew Him each time, but at another time, He made them to open their mouth in awe. Why? Because, the book of Isaiah had prophesied that His name shall be called “WONDERFUL, COUNSELOR, MIGHTY GOD, EVERLASTING FATHER, PRINCE OF PEACE”. He surprised everyone all the time. At 12 years, they called Him wisdom. In His first ministry in the synagogue, they said He was a Teacher, later they said His teaching was with authority, i.e. different from what they were used to. But with time they said he worked miracles but could not understand how, because He made science look as nothing. Again, when they thought Him to be a Prophet, He manifested in another dimension, then, they said He was more than a prophet. Eventually, they calledHim the Son of God while He was on the cross dying for you and me. When the devil thinks he is winning, at the mention of that name, JESUS, knees bow. The power in that name is still there and ever shall be. The efficacy is still a mystery to science of all types. The security in that name is so strong that there is no ballistic missile that could penetrate. It is a refuge for the righteous. The name justifies, cures, heals , delivers, subdues powers, promotes, blesses, glorifies, changes status, shields, raises the dead and gives life, melts mountains and exalts valleys, changes situations while it remains the same name. What a name! Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” I love the song:

“His name is higher above all other names

His name is JESUS,

His name is LORD”

Before the name could be a strong tower to you, you need Him, fully, in your life. All you need to do is ask Him to come into your life. He is loving and caring; He will come. He is JESUS!!!!!!!!! Our next reading is the book of Numbers1-3; here we shall see the journey of the Israelites in the wilderness and their troubles and how the name of the Lord worked for them. That name JESUS shall work for you. SO SWEET A NAME, JEEEEESSSSUUUSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!

 

FAITHFUL TO GRACE

Bible In One Year-Day 58 (Thursday, February 27, 2014)

Commentary on Matt22-24. At the wedding, those who eventually attended were those called by grace and not by right standing. However, among those called by grace, there was another selection for proper dressing. In other words, the right dressing for that occasion was absolutely necessary. The dressing was not as you like it, i.e. your own way of dressing or “who cares” type of dressing, but a dressing that shows loyalty and faithfulness. The gentiles are the ones called by grace and only the proper dressing will make one qualify for the great occasion to the glory of Jesus; self justification or self righteousness is a disqualifying factor. There is difference between the garment of salvation and the garment of righteousness. All may have the garment of salvation, but more importantly, the garment of righteousness is needed. ‘I don’t care’ attitude in kingdom work or walk can lead to everlasting destruction. Handling the things of God should be done with absolute reverence and in the fear of God. It is self righteousness and justification that was killing the Pharisees and the Sadducees that made them to agree together to attack Jesus’ ministry frequently. They were so much in contact with Him but never changed because they believed in pleasing the Lord by the principles of the law and therefore, they rejected grace in Jesus. These two sects were never in agreement hitherto, but just to hinder Jesus from disgracing their teachings, they agreed together. And each time they come to confront Jesus with their knowledge, they realized how foolish they were, after Jesus must have answered them. This is in fulfillment of Isaiah44:25/ 1Cor1:20.

Isaiah 44:25 “That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish;”

In Matt22:34,46, we read that Jesus silenced them and from that moment they dare not ask questions from Him anymore. I pray that the mouth and the wisdom Jesus promised in Lk21:14-15 shall be your portion in the name of Jesus. Though Jesus had been taking it easy with them, the story changed in chapter23. He confronted them openly, describing who they were and pronounced their doom. This was because they refused to change. The word of God must come fearlessly and without any favor or prejudice. The rebuke was so great that their next action was to plan His arrest fast. He called them vipers and murderers of the righteous. Their nakedness was exposed without any respect for who they were. Please take time to read Matt22:16. Jesus showed how the word of God should be preached; no sugarcoating or saying it is well when it isn’t (Prov30:5-6). After dealing with the Pharisees, Sadducees and the Scribes, He called His disciples and gave them the end-time message. In His teaching, He warned them of deceptions, told them of endurance, alertness and preparedness. Those things are still valid beloved. Take nothing for granted for anything can happen at any time. Again in the last verse of chapter24, He repeated the same word “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth”. BE PREPARED!!! Prayer: O Lord, show me my weakness and give me the grace to overcome it, in the name of Jesus. Next mile on the trip Matt25-28. Keep the fire burning and alive.

REWARD FOR THE HIRED

Bible In One Year-Day 57 (Wednesday, February 26, 2014)

We just read Matt19-21. Chapter20 has parables and interesting scenarios which addressed workers in the vineyard of God. The first hire agreed for a certain amount of money or reward. The agreement of the wage was per day. Many workers were brought in afterwards. Therefore, technically, the landowner did what was agreed on. But logically, they were expecting whoever comes in later to receive less than whatever they received. They, indeed, bore the heat of the day; the sufferings, hardships, difficulties in clearing the land etc. comparing these levels of hires, we could see that the landowner was more gracious to the last hires. If there was any set of people who should be more thankful to the landowner, it should be the last hires. The fearful aspect of Jesus’ saying in the parable is Matt19:16 “So the last shall be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few are chosen.” Let’s look at some lessons in this parable. First, it is not the number of hours put into the work that determined the pay. Secondly, grace changes status, i.e. the last can be the first and an outcast to be divinely accepted. Thirdly, reward of the vineyard is equal to all, i.e. they shall live together as one. Fourth, reward of the vineyard is not measured by human standard but by the wish of the owner, 1Cor4:4-5. Lastly, those who actually did the job are actually the first hires and so the reward is measured by agreement. In essence, there is no greater reward than the initial promise. In applying this to kingdom work, beloved, the first hires were the Apostles; they did all the work; otherwise, you and I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of the gospel. The hardship, persecutions, difficulties and sufferings they passed through are unparallel. All of them died cruel deaths for the sake of the gospel. There is no greater reward than the promise given to the Apostles, Matt19:27-30.  We, therefore, have no excuses to be hardworking in the vineyard. If they have reward for their work, then we better work harder in the vineyard of God. Many count offenses while doing this work of God rather than being thankful for God’s graciousness. The number of years spent in the church could offer positions but not the kingdom requirement. The problem of many ministries and churches are the foundation members who attack the zeal of new members. Rages, envies, jealousies, indignations and fights among the members and workers just as we noticed when the sons of Zebedee asked for greater anointing and Jesus granted them, Matt20:24. A lot want anointing through easy path just to lord it on people as the gentiles do. The Master said it shouldn’t be so amongst us. The first position, by the kingdom’s standard, shall be by diligent service. Jesus said that if the harlot and other so called sinners eventually turn to do God’s will, they shall be candidates of the kingdom while the deceivers will be denied. Unfortunately, there are a lot of fig trees occupying the vineyard of God now, upon which Jesus could not find any fruit of the Spirit. The house of God has become ‘den of thieves’. More stones are thrown at Jesus inside the church than what Jesus is experiencing outside of the church. Once the principles of love are affected, Jesus is affected. The only chair you could give Jesus to sit upon in any congregation is the chair of unfailing love. We have no righteousness to offer Him because ours is filthy. We are enjoying the righteousness of Jesus and nothing else. The last hire enjoyed the landowner’s grace, so we are enjoying God’s grace as the last hires and therefore, we ought to extend this gracious heart to ourselves and outsiders. Let us ask ourselves the question; the standard of work you’re doing for God now and that which the Apostles did, comparing the two, are you qualified for the same denarius? LET CHRIST REIGN SUPREME in our hearts. May His light glow the more in our souls in the name of Jesus. Prayer: My first shall not be the last in the name of Jesus. Reading for today is Matt22-24. Keep the fire burning and alive.

POWER OF VISION

Bible In One Year-Day 56 (Tuesday, February 25, 2014)

Our commentary is Matt16-18. It is true that many are called, but equally true that not all are chosen. To be called is different from being chosen. What singled Peter out was the revelation of Jesus he received. From the conversation, we could see that the flesh could reveal (drawing knowledge from physical observation) and God could give revelation. Jesus said “… for flesh and blood has not revealed …” The revelation of the flesh are the teachings we receive from man’s knowledge, especially from the bible schools and colleges. And one could be very brilliant in it to the extent of getting a PhD. That was the type of revelation the Pharisees and the Sadducees had, which Jesus told His disciples to be very careful about. Classes upon classes we attend are not bad; at least they impact knowledge of the word of God into you. It edifies us, i.e. it builds and improves our moral and religious knowledge. In terms of revelation, this is another level of the truth. In revelation, a veil is removed to see what is at the other side of it (light and understanding might not go with it to give interpretation). That is, human element or natural element is removed by divine means for you to have a glimpse of the other side (outside of the natural). The benefits of this are that it changes your status, thinking, stand and orientation. It is an evidence of God giving you attention. This, in most cases, comes after serious prayers. With revelation you fight spiritual warfare. And that is why Jesus said “… the gates of hell shall not prevail ….. and whatsoever you bind on earth …” Having revelation does not mean that one has the fullness of the understanding of it. This is why some have revelation after prayers and still confused, however, they could narrate it just as Joseph did to his brothers. This is the need to pry vision. The power of vision is unfathomable. You will get a better understanding of these two things by comparing Matt16:17 and Matt17:9.

Matthew 16:17 “And Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed art thou, Simon-Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 17:9 “And as they were descending the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.”

In the former, Jesus referred to what Peter said as being revealed but in the latter, He called what happened as vision. On the mount of transfiguration, the disciples saw Moses and Elijah with Jesus. That was revelation, but without understanding. Peter then said they need to build tabernacles. But a cloud covered them and they heard a voice which humbled them and they were afraid. That word from heaven gave light and understanding to them. The light and understanding made the difference between revelation and vision and this is what God said we should run with; VISION. You will notice that immediately after that, the question of the disciples was to challenge the knowledge they got from the scribes and also gave better understanding of who John the Baptist and Jesus were, Matt17:13. Vision swallows all doubts, becomes fire in the bones and propels you with an unusual force. I would have shed more light into this but the scope of this writing is a limitation. Meanwhile, in summary, only the Holy Spirit could give the light and understanding. By the time Joseph stood before Pharaoh, the Spirit of God was already working in Him; he had moved from receiving revelations to seeing and interpreting visions. You need the Holy Spirit. He is the God in us. Unfortunately, He is the most ignored by Christians. Prayer: Holy Spirit, rest on me, in the name of Jesus. Next mile on the trip is Matt19-21. Keep the fire burning and alive. IT’S ALL ABOUT JESUS.

POWER OF GRACE

Bible In One Year-Day 55 (Monday, February 24, 2014)

Commentary: Matt13-15. The gospel of grace seeks for the sinner to restore as saint. Grace is given not to continue in sin but to overcome sin. As we defined grace in our previous discussion, God dwelling in us or the righteousness of God (the Holy Spirit) dwelling in a sinful nature, our lives should no more be ours but His. If the Holy Spirit dwells in us, then there should not be sinning but we should be dead to sin. Instead of the works of the flesh, the fruit of what dwells in you is what becomes evident because He works through you. Therefore, grace is not a privilege to sin but to overcome sin because we are dead to sin, Rom3:31/6:1-2.

Romans 6:1-2 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”

God is good. As we said hitherto, the word sanctifies, i.e. it brings about changes within us by the working of the Holy Spirit. This sanctification continues until rapture when we shall be totally transformed and changed to meet the King of kings and the Lord of lords. It is only those who are sanctified by the word that yields profitably, Matt13:23. Everybody hears the word of God but not all understands (i.e. receives the light in the word) the word. In the parable of the sower, the categories of the ground are the categories of the people in the world. In essence, everybody will hear the word in one way or the other; by the road side, on the rock etc.  If you are still living the life style that is full of fornication, adultery, lying, rivalry, enmity etc, sanctification is not there even if you are justified by the name of the Lord. Only those sanctified will inherit the kingdom of God, 1Cor6:9-11. In Acts20:32, the word of grace builds you up, i.e. sanctifies you (1Tim4:5).

1 Timothy 4:5 “For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”

This is the reason Jesus emphasized deeply on hearing of the word God. Remember He said those who hear the word of God and do them are His own. You do only what you understand. To help the understanding of Jesus’ listeners, He used numerous parables. Parables are for those whose lives are locked against the light of the word of God to help them unlock. But when you have the grace of the fullness of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah11:2), you don’t need parables because mysteries of the kingdom will be revealed to you by the Spirit that dwells in you, Mat13:11. One thing you must know, beloved, is that the Holy Spirit is the Kingdom of God in you according to Jesus’ word in Matt12:28. Therefore, do everything possible not to sell or trade-in this great treasure; the Holy Spirit is the Treasure in earthen vessel. In chapter15, we could see the asceticism of the Pharisees; delighting so much in the principles of the law to please God rather than trusting in His mercy. They foolishly fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah; drawing near to God with their mouth but far from Him with their heart. It is the voice of the heart that God listens to because the state of the heart determines who you are. Jealousy, rivalry, hatred etc are not actually of the mouth but of the heart, Matt15:19. The word of God is to be received with the heart. And if this does not change the person, as Jesus said in Matt15:14, leave them alone; they have made their choices. Prayer: fire in the word of God, explode in me in the name of Jesus. Next mile on the trip is Matt16-18. Keep the fire burning and alive. When Jesus says “YES” who can so “NO”? His answer to your prayers is YEEEEEESSSSS!!!!

BY HIS GRACE ALONE

Bible In One Year-Day 54 (Sunday, February 23, 2014)

Commentary: Matt10-12. Matt10 is an account of the cost of discipleship. Before a man builds the house, he sits down first to count the cost. In this account, Jesus told them about how the work they do will feed them, the trust and help of the Holy Spirit. He further made them to know the hardship involved. All that Jesus taught them was what He practiced. Jesus had to let them know so that they do not get discouraged and be offended in the way if they faced some difficulties. Many Christians are getting discouraged nowadays for the difficulties they face as they get deeper in the Lord. I pray that the grace of God will strengthen you in the name of Jesus. Chpters9-11 are Christ’s lamentation for His rejection by the Jews. But in chapter12, His doctrine changed. Matt12:7 particular condemned their belief and manner in pleasing God. They thought they could please God by the works of righteousness, i.e. following the law (evidently deceivingly). The law does not justify, neither does it sanctifies. It is faith that justifies and the word of truth that sanctifies, Rom3:20-27. Therefore, beloved, there is no boasting at all in the works of righteousness but by the law of Faith. In all ramifications of the law, Paul was in no way qualified to be an Apostle of Jesus. But through grace he was saved, by faith he was justified and through the word he became sanctified. The law is seeking for the righteous to condemn as a sinner while the gospel of grace seeks for the sinner to restore as saint. Jesus came for the sinners. The person you grew up with in your community, who everybody knew for his notoriety, could be the greatest evangelist of tomorrow and his past becomes history (testimony). This is the work of God and it is grace at work. In weighing the word of God and miracles, the word (i.e. sound teachings) is better off, because it works you through change. Miracles are just attractions and confirmations to the truth you teach or God saying ‘yes’ to what you say. The greatest problems in Jesus’ ministry were the Pharisees. They confronted Him to the last. They believed in the law so much that grace was irrelevant to them. These same set of people were John’s problem; they resisted the kingdom of God from being preached to people. John had to leave the township for the wilderness to set up his pulpit. They were the forces that Jesus was referring to as “the kingdom of God suffers violence …”. Anything that will hinder you from entering the kingdom of God is the thing you need to fight with violence. Such Pharisees are the problems of the gospel today which we have discussed when we were studying the book of Luke. They are likened to the strong man Jesus talked about in chapter12. Therefore, battle with the strong man is everywhere; within the church, at the office, in the family, on your street etc. DON’T GIVE UP. The works of righteousness does not take us to heaven, only the GRACE of Jesus. Grace is God the Holy Spirit dwelling and working in us, i.e. righteousness dwelling in a sinful vessel. Once the Holy Spirit takes His place in you, to do the will of God becomes natural to you because you are no more living your own will but by the will of God.

Matthew 12:49-50 “And he stretched forth his hand towards his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whoever shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

In chapter12:49-50, Jesus made a clear distinction between those who are His and those who aren’t. By their fruit you shall know them.  Prayer: Lord Jesus, let Your light chase out the darkness in me. Reading for today is Matt13-15. Keep the fire burning and alive. You are blessed and highly favored.

THE NARROW WAY

Bible In One Year-Day 53 (Saturday, February 22, 2014)

Commentary: Matthew7-9. In Matt5:17, Jesus emphatically told His listeners that He never came to destroy the law but to fulfill it. His teachings, so far, has been to expound the law and carefully linked it with grace. In Chapter7, Jesus talked about three people; you, others and God. Judging others is one of the things a Christian should be extremely careful about. Judgment could be by the Spirit or by the flesh. The Spirit looks beyond the physical while the flesh stays on the surface (the flesh) and this is the simple meaning of “deep calleth unto deep”. The Spirit says “as is” before God and nothing else. The flesh has spiritual cataract. Jesus said that you don’t judge by seeing through the speck in your eyes because you might be seeing the speck in your eyes and you will think it is in the eyes of another person. You need to remove that to see clearly. Such specks are the works of the flesh in you; bitterness, anger, unteachableness (permit me this word please), envy, pride, lying etc. If you know who you are and how good God is to you, you will be extremely lenient in dealing with others. Many defend their own shortcomings and try to focus on others; you are preparing the measure by which you are to be judged by God. This is how some correct their own error in others, i.e. what they are guilty of is what they want corrected in others, perhaps forcefully. By the New Testament, anger is allowed, but don’t cross the boundary into sin. It is therefore better to abstain from it since you can’t know where the boundary lies. There is only one way with God and that is the narrow way. In this way only the will of God is allowed. On the other way, your will and that of others are allowed. Those who find the will of God and do it are the ones who pass through the narrow way. Jesus said it is not an easy route because of the influences of life and satanic signboards by the sides. Satan was an influence on Adam and Eve, while the fruit was the signboard. Those tricks of Satan have not changed, but still effective in different packages. The source of water for the tree of your life determines the fruit that comes out of it. If the water is from the flesh, the result is the works of the flesh and if from the Spirit, the result is the fruit of the Spirit, Gal5:16-26. Jesus said that by their fruit you shall know them. The shortcomings (works of the flesh) in our lives are spiritual leprosies which we battle with everyday and we are looking for help. We regret ever doing it a times, and wondered why we ever did it. Beloved, these are the leprosies Jesus referred to in Matt8:3, “I am willing; be cleansed”. I pray that the hand of Jesus which touched this man will touch your weaknesses. Faith is the only connection. A prayer of faith receives answer according to Matt7:7-11. This was what the centurion acted on. This was somebody who never followed Jesus but his faith was rated very high with the word “great”. How great is your faith as a child of the living God. You could imagine those that would sit with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom; not the sons of the kingdom but those with unshaken faith in the word of God, Matt8:10-12. Jesus healed all manner of sicknesses. I love that song “He has taken my sorrows away (2x), Halleluiah Jesus is Lord (2x)”. Jesus Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses. If He is sleeping in your life, wake Him up with your little faith, i.e. if your faith is little, use it to wake Jesus up to help you and you will be amazed how everything will obey Him. Through our reading, and in the instance of healing, FAITH played an immeasurable role. But where deliverance was carried out, the factor lies on one side, the deliverance minister, and that factor is power and authority. The man of Gardarene needed no faith because his mind had been robbed by the devil; it was Jesus who exercised His authority and power. And this is why you are seriously warned not to go into that type of ministry without the baptism of the Holy Spirit because demons will ask you questions just as the children of Sceva were asked. You need the Holy Spirit for specific assignment. He alone gives the comfort in that assignment. Just like other vessels in the scripture, Jesus told Apostle Paul “I will be with you …”

Acts 18:9-10 “Then spoke the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.”

Prayer: Holy Spirit, comfort me in the name of Jesus. Reading for today is Matt10-12. Keep the fire burning and alive. JESUS IS THE ANSWER.