Saturday, June 26, 2010

Keeping The Will Of God In Mind

Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

Friends, family, elders and even people in ministry are blessings to have around you. There are times when you may need to talk to someone or make decisions, and you go to them. In doing so, always keep in mind the will of God.

In the scripture for today, Jesus Christ was telling His disciples about His death and the things that will lead to it [Matthew 16:21]. Peter, a very close disciple to Jesus, took him aside and began to rebuke him. He probably did not want to lose his friend and Master, no not in such a manner as Jesus described. He said, "Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!" Jesus knew His death was for a purpose. If He accepted and dwelt on what Peter was saying, maybe He may have changed His mind. But He had the will of God in His mind, and His meat, His desire, was to do the will of His Father. Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

You may be a lady waiting on God for a husband. A close friend advises you that to get a man committed, you need to sleep with him. She even gives you instances of where it has worked. But you know Your Loving Father does not want you to have premarital sex. She is a very dear friend, no doubt, but if you consider her advice, you will be making a decision which is against the will of God.
Or you may be a man, waiting on God for the job He has promised, and your wife tells you to change your age on your CV to enable you be more appealing to the human resources team. Your wife may have given you valuable advice in the past, you need to ask yourself if this one is consistent with the will of God. Do you think God would want you to lie? 

Beloved Child of God, no matter the advice, suggestions or "words of wisdom" you receive, remember to check it against the will and word of God. Even if it comes in the form of a scripture from the bible, check it side-by-side the will of God for you, because even the devil knows scripture and can use it to deceive you [Matthew 4:5-7]. Do not lose sight of the fact that God does not need manipulation to bring to pass what He has promised you. He is God all by Himself, Almighty and Self-sufficient, and knows the best way and time to bring to pass what He has promised. He knows what to say to you or whom to use to bring to pass what He has promised you, and these will be consistent with His will and His word.

Prayer: My Loving Father, I am sorry for times when I have failed to consider Your Will and Your Word in taking advices and making decisions. Thank You, Father, that Your plans for me are for good only, to bring me to an expected end. As long as I keep Your Will in my mind and Your Word in my heart, I would not derail from Your plans for me. Help me to identify anyone who will be a stumbling block to me as I choose to do Your will. Give me the courage to lovingly say no to such a person. Strengthen me and envelop me with Your grace, as I wait on You for the fulfilment of Your promise. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Promise Of Ease

And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven
[Matthew 16:19, NLT]

Peter demonstrated a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ when he answered the question posed to the disciples. His knowledge of who Jesus is came from God’s own revelation, which commanded a declaration of blessings upon the Church and upon the disciples. And Jesus said, ‘I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven’. This was repeated to the rest of the disciples in Matt 18:18.

As Children of God, the blessings of our Father extend to us when we walk with God in faith (the faith that brings about our salvation and makes us his disciples). The Holy Spirit comes into our lives and gives us personal revelations of who God truly is. With the revelation of God in our hearts, we are given the keys of the kingdom of heaven. This represents secrets that unlock the favor and support of God himself. It causes the heavens to open up over our lives with no holds barred. So much so that whatever we forbid on earth is forbidden in heaven and whatever we permit on earth is permitted in heaven.

As disciples of an all-mighty God we are given special privileges to operate in ease because Heaven gives us full support and backing. Whatever we ask according to His will, we will receive by the promise of His word. Let’s embrace the opportunity given us and refuse to live in lack or oppression as we exercise the full support of heaven to glorify God here on earth.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for revealing your truth to me. Thank you for empowering me to live a life of ease and plenty, thank you for making me victorious in everything. Lord Jesus I ask for the revelation of your kingdom that will enable me to access open heavens in my life. With your backing, let me influence other lives and speak peace to their conditions, let your glory reign in Jesus name.

One-Year Daily Bible Reading Plan - June 25 2010 - Psalm 1-5 (OT), Galatians 1 (NT)

Pray for someone today - Let’s pray for God’s children who are not exercising their God-given authority to rule here on earth. Son’s and daughter’s of God set apart for exploits but operating otherwise, that they will rise and take their place in the working of the kingdom.

God's love and mine...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Heart That Bears Fruit

Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

When Jesus Christ was explaining the parable of the sower and the seed, He explained that the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces fruit, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
We often times desire to see every area of our lives yielding fruit. We would expect that when we study, we will pass with good grades. We will expect that when we work, we should get recognition, even promotions. We expect that when we minister, we bring in a harvest of people. We also expect that when we sow, we reap.

But Jesus Christ explains that the man that produces fruit, who yields many more times that he sowed, is the man who hears the word and understands it. To truly understand the word, some things must be in place:-
1. You must be born again, for the person who is not born again cannot understand God's Word: The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
2. You need to hear the word: You hear the word through avenues like listening to scriptures and messages, attending services and fellowships, etc.
3. You need to know the truth as found in God's word: To do this, you need to read the word, memorize it, make out time to study the word and meditate on it to enable you get insight into the word. 
4. You need to take advantage of the Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit has been sent freely to you to teach you things and bring things to your rememberance. When you want to read or as you are about to hear the word of God, you can ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand it.
5. You must realize that understanding is a gift from the Lord and hence you need to be right with the Lord, be spiritually prepared and ready to receive understanding from Him.

Like Jesus Christ has taught us, to bear much fruit, you need to understand the word of God that it will have application in your life. Understanding the word of God, in such a way that it dwells richly in you, does not happen overnight. It builds up. It involves effort. Do not feel discouraged if you are not there yet. Your Loving Father is ready to help you once you call on Him. As the word of God continues to dwell in you and transform you, and as you apply the word, may your life bear much fruit. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Prayer: My Loving Father, when You created me, You commanded me to be fruitful. I desire to see every area of my life bear fruit. But on my own, I cannot do it. Thank You for Your Word, which is seed to be sown in my heart. I pray, Father, that I come to that point where I understand Your word, that I will begin to apply it in every area of my life. Prepare my heart to be good soil to receive Your word. As I continue to spend more time in Your Word, may my life continue to bear fruit, more than I have sown. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Heart Amongst Thorns

The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.
[Matthew 13:22, NIV]

In the parable of the sower, Jesus described a kind of person who received the word of God and their soil was fertile enough for their roots to grow deep. The word of God germinated in their lives in a promising way, but just before they could begin to bear fruits they get choked by thorns and die.

This kind of soil describes a vast majority of Christians who receive the word of God with delight. The heart of this Christian is very well cultivated and conducive for the word of God to flourish. This person has a genuine love for God and the things of the kingdom, they start on a promising note, you could see the future of this person blessing God and his generation, indeed there is potential. However, God's dream for this life doesn't get to fruition despite the amount of Godly awareness, despite the knowledge of God and personal encounters with God.

Along the way, this heart got involved in many things at the same time. Worldly engagements got our friend uber busy with any or several seemingly legitimate concerns. The heart amongst thorns is so pre-occupied with work it cries out, 'This job is not letting me serve God like I should'. In other forms, our friend is concerned with enjoying this life to the fullest, not wanting any pleasure to pass by in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and traces of God are wiped out with every exposure. We hear this heart say '... I remember the days when I walked with God like no other'. In yet another instance, this heart has grown so rich by worldly parameters (money, fame, power, etc), Godliness becomes unfashionable and too demanding. The fear of God is quenched from this heart and it becomes business as usual.

As children of a loving God, let us examine ourselves and be wary of things around us that strive to separate us from our father and choke our faith. Stay clear of things that make us unfruitful in our Christian walk but cling to those that draw us closer to God. 1 Corinthians 6:12 tells us 'All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any'. Whichever voice we choose to obey between God and the pleasures/worries of life becomes our master. The good Lord bless your every effort as you make Him first in your life in Jesus name.

Prayer: Dear Father, grant me the wisdom to identify thorns in my Christian walk, give me the will power to overcome their influence and help me to bear fruits according to your call on my life. I pray Lord that I will shine your light in my life that men may see your good works and glorify you in Heaven. Blessed be your name forever in Jesus name.

One-Year Daily Bible Reading Plan - June 23 2010 - Job 37-39 (OT), 2 Corinthians 12 (NT)

Pray for someone today - Pray for Christians who have forgotten their first love for God and have been carried away with the events of life. Pray that the grace of God will find them where they are and guide them back into His fold.

God's love and mine...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Heart If Tested...

Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.

After Jesus Christ told the parable of the sower [Matthew 5: 1-8], He took out time to explain the meaning to His disciples. We still find this parable applicable in our lives today. Jesus explains that the one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.

Those on the rock accept the word, but with a shallow faith. These are those who hear a word that seem specific to their situation, they receive it with joy but in their privacy, they wonder if the word is true, if it is effective, or they do not know the implications of the word. It is not until they face trials that their faith is revealed. Many Christians buckle when their faith is tested.

You may have decided to stand on a word of God and it appears that word of God is being tested. In your walk with God, your faith will be tested. If your heart is not rooted deeply in the word of God, you could almost give up your walk with God.

Are you in a situation where the Word of God you received is being tested? Is your walk with God feeling like mere religion without roots? Do you have convictions that hinder you from letting the Word of God dwell richly in you? It is time, in humility, to break up your soil and remove the rocks. It is time to let go of anything that will hinder you from experiencing the power in the Word of God. Walking away from your Loving Father is not the solution. Let us pray. 

Prayer: My Loving Father, search my heart and reveal to me if there is any area I have hardened to believing Your Word because of disappointments, personal convictions or trials. Help me to work on the soil of my heart to remove those rocks that are hindering me from truly believing and receiving Your word. Lead me to those who will encourage me and pray with me should I find myself in trying situations. May I not buckle under trial but let the testing of my faith develop perseverance. May this perseverance finish its work so that I may be mature and complete, as You desire, not lacking anything. Thank You, My Loving Father, for Your grace is sufficient for me. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Heart Like The Pathway

As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up

A sower went out to sow his seed in the field, just as Jesus continually pours out his word to us in the world today using various media; such that the word is not scarce. The state of one's heart represents the soil or type of ground on which the word of God falls. The state of one's heart determines the level of reception to God's word and hence, the productivity of the word in yielding results. It is possible for a person to constantly portray characters of a particular state of mind in everything he/she does. It is also possible for a person to have differing states of mind on different subjects of his/her life.

As the sower sowed, some seed fell on the path, representing soil that has been trodden by countless feet, so that it has become condensed, consolidated and hard. Such soil has no permeability, it has become hardened. If a single grain of corn should fall on it and grow, it will be as great a wonder as of grain growing in the street. The seed which lies on the path remains exposed till it gets crushed by another passerby, or till the birds swoop down to swallow it up, leaving nothing behind with the hope of germination.

The hardened heart is one on which worldly wisdom and ideologies have impressed upon so hard, every softness or sensitivity to the word of God is expunged, and their remains no room for truth to abide. It is a heart with constant inclination to negate the truth of God's love towards it. Jesus describes this heart as one which cannot understand. It form's the 'hearer's only'. The word of God may catch its fancy, in which case it will ponder over it and possibly discuss it for a while, but along comes the enemy or other worldly amusement and immediately the word of God that was heard becomes history, never to be remembered. The many factors waiting to eat up the word of God from this person include jeering friends, mocking family, forgetfulness from the devil or other pleasures. At the point of hearing the word of God, there may be a decision to go home, kneel beside the bed and pray about the topic, but right on the way home, the decision is forgotten and the commitment never to be remembered, it had been snatched by birds of the air along the way.

For anyone with a heart that is not permeable to God, which cannot understand how the word of God translates to any form of truth, there is help available to plough the land of your heart and make room for understanding of the Truth. Tears cannot soften such hardened earth, but a loving God has provided the blood of Jesus to soak and cultivate your heart. Invite the blood of Jesus to soften the material of your heart that the truth of God's word will abide in you and produce result. This indeed applies to all of us, that at no point should our hearts be found hard against the word of God, at times in ignorance. Let us pray.

Prayer: Dear God of love, I submit my heart to you without trying to justify my actions. I know my effort cannot change my perception and reception of your truth so I invite you to soak my heart with the precious blood of Jesus today. Create in me a new heart that receives and retains your word alone. Give me understanding of what you say to me my father. Let heavenly results sprout from my actions in life and let your name be forever praised because of me in Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Power In Agreement

Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.

The Prayer of Agreement is one of the types of prayers found in the bible. Jesus is telling you that if you join with another, in agreement, that thing which you are praying for will be done for you by God. When you and someone else come together in His name, He will be with you. If Jesus is with us, that means that He is agreeing also. So in effect He is also praying with you. This is a very powerful prayer.

In marriage, the prayer of agreement is very important. When a man and wife agree on something in the name of Jesus, it will be done for them. Sometimes, one of the spouse may be in agreement by mouth but not in agreement in the heart. This could lead to unanswered prayers. For the prayer of agreement to have effect, it must be something that you all are in agreement on. If you are praying for a third party (interceding on their behalf) they must also be in agreement with you.
Are you believing God for something for yourself or another person?  Confirm the will of God from His precious promises in His word. Find someone to agree with - a prayer partner, a friend or a man of God. Jesus Christ has promised that when two of you agree on that thing, it will be done for you by Your Loving Father.

Prayer: My Loving Father, thank You for Your great and precious promises, including the promise of answered prayers. For every prayer of agreement I have prayed in the past, I now know that they have been answered. I pray that I find Your will concerning whatever I ask. Knowing that there is power in the prayer of agreement, help me to find someone who will truly stand in agreement with me as I make my requests known to You. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.