Archive | February 2014

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.

FRUIT OF REPENTANCE

Bible In One Year-Day 52 (Friday, February 21, 2014)

Commentary: Matt4-6. John the Baptist was prophecy incarnate. But the revelation he received after baptizing Jesus made the difference. Just like him, we are prophecies incarnates but we need revelation to fulfill that prophecy. There is no life that is accidental; there is a purpose for that life. Three things are related to life; discover purpose, be connected to purpose and live the purpose. Deviation from any of this will not result in a fulfilled life. And there is no way one could achieve purpose without the Holy Spirit. John’s baptism is different from Jesus’ baptism and the different could be seen in Matt3:11.

Matthew 3:11 “I indeed baptize you with water to repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire:”

As a way of explaining this; a man must be dead before he could be buried. The same way, one should have repented from sin before being baptized in water, i.e. you must have been in the position of repentance before baptism (total immersion in the water). Therefore, John’s baptism is to fulfill all righteousness while Jesus’ baptism is to fulfill purpose and destiny. Meanwhile, the baptismal ceremony is one, the fruit of repentance matters more, Matt3:8.

Matthew 3:8 “Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:”

Matt4 reveals the truth while a lot of Christians fall. There are two basic types of personal fasting; being led by the Spirit and being led by the flesh. That of the flesh goes with boastings and pride and totally contrary to God’s ordination, Isaiah58. Jesus was led by the Spirit and the devil could not defeat Him. The fasting yielded result and brought about purpose. You could see that Jesus did not start His ministry without the Holy Spirit. By the Spirit all His actions were measured. You need the fullness of the Holy Spirit otherwise it would be difficult to fulfill the prophetic life for which you are created. When the jobs at hand were getting larger, He had to select workers. He sat them down and started teaching them, in preparation for the work. The disciples never started their ministry without the baptism of the Holy Spirit which Jesus alone gives. In His teaching, He made them to know what would be expected of them, what they would get back from people and how to handle things that come their way. He demonstrated His teachings with actions; by their fruits we shall know them. The fruit of repentance should be seen in you as a Christian; this is the demand of John in Matt3:8. Ceremonies are by the way, fruit yielding is more important. Through fruits, you salt the world and give light to those in darkness. By your fruit Jesus derives satisfaction, Mark11:12-13. He made them to know that He never came to abolish the law but to fulfill it. In addition, He made them to know that doing the commandments will give you the status of heaven. These are to prepare them for what He was about to teach them; immorality, divorce, tolerance, anger, lack of love, worries etc. these are the areas where human logics are being utilized to excuse the law. He gave detailed explanation to all these areas. The problem of people then was that they had excused themselves from the law and are teaching others same things; Jesus came to make corrections. Forgiveness is absolutely needful and care for tomorrow is out of order. In the Lord’s Prayer, there is a clause we must be conscious of when saying it “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” think on this each time you kneel down to pray. May the grace of our Lord Jesus abound towards us, AMEN. Next mile on the trip is Matt7-9. Keep the fire burning and alive. JESUS IS THE LORD forever more. AMEN!!!

ONLY BY GOD’S SPIRIT

Bible In One Year-Day 51 (Thursday, February 20, 2014)

Commentary: Matthew1-3. Matthew revealed a lot of prophecies about Jesus Christ. Even when Herod heard about the birth, he gathered all the priests and inquired about Jesus. They confirmed it. You could imagine the priests having the knowledge of prophecies but no revelation about Jesus. They were loaded with the knowledge of the Old Testament but, unfortunately, there was no light to give understanding. This simply means that knowledge is different from revelation. One could have PhD in Bible knowledge but lack revelation of the truth in the scripture. In reality, facts are not the same as the truth. You could be taught about the facts, but you need the Spirit to reveal the truth. Jesus says in John14:6 “… I am the way, the TRUTH and the life: …” To know Jesus, you need the Spirit of Christ in you.

1 Corinthians 12:3 “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit.”

Peter received the revelation of who Christ is by the Spirit of God;

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.”

Nichodemus was a teacher of the word but did not understand being born of the spirit. Knowledge is brain power, but revelation carries light. The easterners who were gentiles got the revelation and were led by a star to where the revealed truth was. Those with the knowledge of prophecy did not see any star. A prophet could declare a prophecy to someone, it is the duty of that person to seek for more light into the prophecy. People who seek for prophecies don’t, in most cases, realize it because they could not get the understanding and the light in it. They may have the prophecy but without the revelation they can’t be led by any star. The easterners missed the way to Herod’s, the star did not follow them. But when they came out from Herod’s palace, the star led them again. The star was a guide to lead to the revealed truth. Revelations are to lead us. The moment you see that there is blankness or confusion, STOP and review your steps. There is always a lead to a revealed truth even if there are evil signboards (trials and temptations) on the way. Herod’s sword could silence the prophecy but could not kill the revelation. A child of God must seek for revelation in waiting and praying. Prophecies are not bad but revelation is better sought for, in order for you not to make a mistake. The Old Testament gave prophecies while the New Testament gave the revelations. The teachings and preaching of Jesus was a problem to the Old Testament priests because He taught and preached the revealed truth; what they thought they knew became foolish before Him.

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

You need the light of God to understand prophecies. The book of Matthew started with the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Interestingly, it is only in Gen5 that you could see another book of genealogy and it is of Adam. These two genealogies are for the two Adams; first, how sin came into the world and second how grace and salvation came into the world, Rom5:11-17. God’s plan is wonderful, Isaiah55:8-11. Those who say the bible has errors and mistakes only need the light of God for their souls. We mostly criticize what we don’t understand. If the Holy Spirit did not interpret what He has written to a person, it could be difficult to understand. In Jesus’ genealogy, He was mentioned as the Son of David and the Son of Abraham. Talking about Abraham first; Abraham’s son was Isaac through whom God said He was going to have His covenant. Isaac was put on the altar for a sacrifice before God stopped him and mysteriously provided him with a ram caught in the woods; Jesus became the lamb for our sacrifice. David’s son was Solomon who built the temple; Jesus built the spiritual temple for the Holy Spirit to dwell in. the Holy Spirit is that light of heaven that gives deep revelation, 1Cor2:10.

1 Corinthians 2:10 “But God hath revealed them to us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yes, the deep things of God.”

To have this great grace, you must wait and desire Him. In teachings, counseling, preaching and evangelism, we need the Holy Spirit as light for edification and life. We have a lot of high priests in positions in different ministries who are loaded with the knowledge of the bible but with the light missing. I was shocked at a wedding where a retired Bishop of an orthodox church said emphatically that speaking in tongues is an insult on God and that churches that are claiming to be born again are misled. Remember that the high priests were the ones that planned the death of Jesus. Prayer: O Lord, help me for the bible I carry not to stand against me on the Day of Judgment in the name of Jesus. Next mile on the trip today is Matt4-6. Keep the fire burning and alive. Think JESUS and talk JESUS!

CALL TO REPENTANCE

Bible In One Year-Day50 (Wednesday, February 19, 2014)

Commentary: Lev26-27. “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land” Isaiah1:19. The reading of Lev26-27 was quite interesting. Lev26 especially talked of three important things; idolatry, blessings attached to obedience and repercussions of disobedience. God will not share His glory with any other god because they are vanity. Whatever He did for the Israelites, the glory should not be given to another deity who never made heaven and earth. All glory must be to God. How good it is for us to read Lev26 clearly with meditation; the fear of God will come upon you. One beautiful thing about our God is that His chastisement and dealings are not to destroy but to correct us. We could see that the way He said He was going to correct them was in stages until they repent. He is still calling for repentance today because He loves us and because of His covenant in Christ Jesus. The shed of His blood on the cross of Calvary was our ransom. However, repentance is inevitable for us to enjoy the fullness of Christ just as God told the Israelites in Lev26 that they would enjoy Him if they kept His statutes and commands. The rule has not changed beloved. We live in grace now, but it is not a liberty for sinning (Rom3:31/6:2&15). God gave detailed tutorial about the standard of living as His people; relationship between one another and with God Himself. The importance of tithing was not left out. You could ask yourself ‘on the last day, if the account of all the monies ever given to you and tithes you have ever given were shown to you, are you sure you have given what is due?’. Leviticus is a book of the law. Before we proceed to Numbers, let us read the book of Matthew where we would see Jesus gave detailed instructions about the standard of life to His disciples. God will not set your feet on any assignment without detailed tutorial, instruction and empowerment for the job. Our next reading on this trip is Matthew1-3. Keep the fire burning and alive till His coming!!!