Cross- carrying and burdens- bearing

share burdens‘Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens and in this way you fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. ..Each one should carry his own load’ (Gal 6:1-5)

Ministry is not easy. If a brother backslides, it is the responsibility of the mature believers to confront him, to bring him to the Cross and to help him come back to his senses. Pride is the main reason why believers deceive themselves and others and fall into sin.
Each child of God has to obey the command of Jesus: ‘deny yourself, carry your cross and follow Me’. This command is personal. No one can deny his flesh for another. No one can carry the cross of another. No one else can follow Christ on your own path and your own destiny. This is your personal responsibility. It is what God expects from you directly. You cannot delegate your cross-carrying to another.
But there are times when a brother falls into sin. That is an emergency. A spiritual mature believer can stretch his hand of compassion and help him out of the fire. Please be careful! Deliverance is a dangerous process! In the medical field, any surgery has a potential to kill the patient while trying to save his life. Pride is like leprosy that appears on successful ministry, in particular in the deliverance ministry. It is so easy ‘to feel good’ in the presence of needy brethren, all desiring your ‘anointed prayers’. Be watchful at the possibility of pride entering the heart, hand in hand with the success of ministry.
God placed restrictions so that the flesh will not ‘enjoy’ ministry while doing ministry. My enjoyment should be God alone! For example, the fragrance of incense was not to be enjoyed by any man, not even by the priest who offers it. It was to be for God’s nostrils alone. Enjoyment of the fragrance of worship was taken to be the same as sharing in God’s glory. That priest will lose his life for manipulating the worship of God for his own selfish desires (Ex 30:36-38).

As a brother is overtaken or caught in a sin, he needs to be attended to. The word ‘overtaken’ refers to the sin of being impatient, undisciplined or presumptuous. Literarily it means to be in a hurry to eat the food, long before all the family gathers at the table. This sin of impatience has brought many down. That is the place when the devil will add more burdens than he can carry. These are weights that pin him down, unnecessary anxieties and troubles. The backslider cannot restore himself and God will not do it directly. He will delegate this delicate work to ‘a spiritual brother’ who comes to pray, with strength, discernment and compassion. With the help of the Holy Spirit he will be able to dis- entangle the fallen soldier and restore to him his dignity. Jesus died to save your soul. But when it comes to the restoration of the prodigals, Jesus desires the cooperation of His servants. Great reward awaits those who are able and willing to enter the territory of the enemy and to rescue their fallen colleagues.
There is still another danger! Once the believer is back on his feet, he may wish to remain dependent on ‘the good Samaritan’ and to take his love and help for granted. It is the influence of the evil spirit of religion that makes people lazy and irresponsible. The Pharisees placed heavy weights on others and did not want to help at all (Mt 23:4). Gently but firmly, you must remind the former patient that he has been discharged from the Spirit -Hospital and from now on he is well enough to be responsible for his own burden and call in ministry. Do not over-help anybody! Learn how to say ‘No!’

‘Dear Lord Jesus, help me to know the difference between Your burden and the devil’s wicked bondages. Help me to cooperate with You and rescue souls fallen by the way side. Circumcise my heart in such a way that I will be dead to any seduction of the enemy. I am willing to pay the price for a higher level of faith. I am willing to take more risks for Your name to be lifted higher in this city. Help me to love like You love! Help me to pray like You pray! All for Your glory alone! In Jesus name I pray, amen!’

Imitate the faithful and the patient!

‘Imitate those who thru faith and patience inherit what has been promised’ (Heb 6:12).

Imitate the humble, faithful, good and holy man (or woman) of God, who denies his flesh, carry his cross daily and follows Jesus! Imitate him who proves his walk by his spiritual fruits that none can deny!
Do not imitate the religious fake, the loud, the wayward, the proud, the worldly, the spiritual barren men (or women)! Stop! Draw back from them, repent and readjust to the truth of the Gospel!
Proud people always ignore the God ‘factor’. They do not believe that God is interested to help the helpless who ‘day and night’ pray for mercy and grace at His Throne. Please see the danger of doubt coming from the spirit of religion thru false believers who infiltrate church. This evil spirit will tell you that you are wasting your time by praying; that you do not need to pay the price to seek and find Jesus, the Author and Finisher of true faith in God; that you are too insignificant to the God of the Universe and that He does not know you; that you should abandon the holy place of prayer and do something more ‘practical’ than that.
God judges the proud by refusing to justify them, to give them peace or to answer their prayers. God is the Rock of defense and the Avenger of them that put their trust in Him.
Woman, you who pray for the salvation of your husband or children… You barren woman who pray to receive the fruit of the womb… You single woman who desires the gift of marriage… You who are sick in the body and mind, persecuted and lonely… You who pray for finances to use them according to the will of God…CONTINUE TO PRAY AND HAVE FAITH IN GOD!!! No man that continues to pray shall ever regret the time spent on his knees!
Prayer is God’s invention! God is never too early and never too late. He has heard your cries and has seen your tears. He will surely come and rescue you from this heavy burden that no man can carry. He will come to give you the testimony of victory and of a changed life! O…the blessing of a new beginning! To the glory and honor of the name of Jesus Christ!

The weapon of prayer

woman prayingIn this parable Jesus introduces us to a woman who is in great need (Lk 18:1-8). Let’s identify with her and we shall only gain. The first thing we are told about her is that she is a widow. She has no human helper. The trust in man is cursed by God. There are people that say that they do not trust anybody but they trust themselves. That will end in disappointment and failure…. The result of this misplaced trust is a spiritually blindness and bareness, a lonely, isolated soul. Repent and turn your heart towards God. Have faith in God alone and you will never be put to shame. God will position you in a ‘watered’ place where you will be fruitful and a blessing to many. The result of this blessed life is that you will be free from any fears the natural man experiences. This holy assurance is a sign that your faith is in God alone (Jer 17:5-8).
Let’s go back to our ‘sister’, the widow. She is poor, lonely and troubled. She has an enemy who knows she is vulnerable and weak, takes advantage of that and persecutes her continuously. She is the picture of the true believer. The attacks from the devil are strong and unfair. For a long time she can only cry for ‘justice from the adversary’. She does not take the matter into her own hands, but goes to the official judge who alone has the authority to help. Her situation is made difficult by the fact that the judge is a hard person, with no respect for God or man.
She wisely recognizes the fact that all authority comes from God (Rom 13:1-5). It does not matter if the official, the leader is a kind person or not. It does not matter if he is willing to attend to her case or not. She is too poor to bribe him; her poverty is strength because she has nothing to lose and no fear from ‘the big man’. She is humble and she knows that God is in charge of all situations on earth and He will answer them that have faith and cry to Him ‘day and night’. This is a stumbling block to rebellious and proud people. They do not acknowledge the sovereignty of God who delegates His authority to whom He wants, to saints or sinners alike (Dan 5:21). It is God that has the last say in all human affairs. You should know that it does not matter if the leader, the boss or the judge is good or bad to you. God is in charge! I am a believer and God is on my case! If God says ‘yes’ no man can say ‘no’! This ‘little’ secret is the foundation of successful Christian life! God is in charge of His creation and God answers the prayers of His people! The Almighty God is your Father! That is all you need to know! Amen!
Please note: this woman does not seek vengeance but JUSTICE!!! Also observe that this woman has only one option to escape the torment of the enemy: the weapon of prayer. It may not look like much, but prayer is the greatest power given to man.
‘Dear Lord Jesus, by the power of Your Spirit, help me to be strong in my inner man, confident of Your presence and sure victory! Wake me, Lord!!! Do whatever it takes to wake me from this slumber or doubt! Help me to be alert and ‘to pray in the Spirit on ALL occasions with ALL kinds of prayers and requests’ (Eph 6:18). I vow to Give You alone ALL the Glory, for the improvment of my prayer life and for the sure reward, In Jesus name I pray, amen!’

The danger of giving up the ministry of prayer

‘Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up…there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea: ‘Grant me justice against my adversary’…will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones who cry out to Him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? I tell you, He will see that they get justice and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?’ (Lk 18:1-8)

Some prayers are answered immediately. Some are answered after a long time. As a general rule, we have a tendency to think that God is too slow in responding to our requests. It takes spiritual maturity to trust God without complaining for the timing and the modality of answer to our prayer. The cross has done its deep work and the heart has been circumcised by Christ for the man to remain joyful and grateful under the burden of yet unanswered prayers. The danger is that we get impatient, restless, lazy or passive spiritually; become deceived about the value of prayer and decide to stop it. This is called spiritual ‘fainting’, a major hindrance to a successful prayer life. Once you chose to give up prayer, what is left is just wishful thinking that things may change one day. You lose the active faith to push forward and expect an answer to your request made long ago.

Let’s look at the word ‘to give up’. What does it mean? In Greek the word means to fail, to faint in the heart, to become weak and wicked, to harm yourself and others thru doubt and rebellion. The same word is defined to abandon an action because of despair of success. The man becomes a coward; he fails and betrays his destiny when he estimates that the miracle has become impossible even for God to perform. For example, he chooses to believe that the sickness is incurable and God is not available or able to heal his body. He accepts and declares defeat without waiting for the final hour when God judges and rewards according to each man’s work. This spiritual fainting is worldly sorrow and a symbol of death. By choosing to stop prayer, a man abandons the desire to see a miraculous change in his circumstances and he aborts his dream. The choice to stop prayer is the silent but sure signal of backsliding. Selah!
We see that ‘to give up’ means to surrender to failure, to discontinue a good work or to resign. It is a matter of control. Like the man who commits suicide just to prove that he is in charge of his life. Spiritually speaking it means to deliberate chose to allow the enemy to take over your position of standing before the throne. You surrender your blessing of communion with God to another with no possibility of resuming it in the future. What a tragedy to stop the prayer of faith! What great loss!
The opposite is to hold on, to abide, to dwell in the same place of waiting without interruptions. In other words, pray until something happens (‘PUSH’). It is a great dishonor to God to give up prayer because of circumstances that look contrary to the expected miracle. This is a great revelation! The devil does not care if we start a prayer request; he does not care if we join the line of waiting before the throne. But later he comes to persuade that we have waited too long and he offers himself to stand in our place. Satan is a thief and a fake ‘intercessor’. He desires to take over your place of blessings!
Be careful! The pressure from the enemy will increase as you get closer to the moment when the prayer will be manifested in the natural realm. Then pray like the widow: ‘Lord – grant me justice against my adversary!’ Pray for the justice of your cause as you continue to give glory to God! Jesus is giving us a warning here not to be fools. Do not abandon the place of waiting which will eventually become the place of testimony, blessing and miracles!
‘Dear Lord Jesus, please strengthen me today, by Your Spirit, to continue to pray, until I see results or I see Your face…Amen!’

Who touched Me? (Mk 5)

The woman with the issue of blood…twelve years of torment and suffering…isolation, shame and sorrow…No going out, no friends, no husband, no children, no fellowship in the House of God….just this slow poison death that never dies…she has spent all her valuables on the doctors…Dr. Religion failed; Dr. Mammon failed; Dr. Legalism failed; Dr. Self failed; Dr. Apollyon failed… some they cheated her, some deceived her with dead hopes, some mocked her for her foul odor, nowhere to sit down, except on the floor, outside…how many hospitals, cold nurses, sharp needles, the smell of preserved corpses down the corridor…all tests expensive….still no treatment…when the money was gone, they drove her away, shouting: ‘No free medicine here…Go home and die…Only God can help you, woman!’
All strength gone, all hope gone, all the silver coins gone…no improvement, the bleeding still goes on…she became worst, angry and bitter at the loss of all things, the deceitfulness of riches, the man -made hope that vanished in the morning, the plastic smiles, the fake greetings…yes, the end is worse than the beginning when sin is the king…
Then one day she heard a voice, a song, a bird preacher at the window…she was calling for all who are ‘heavy laden’, to come to God…for healing and freedom and miracles…The Gospel of peace…By grace…thru faith…Come, for the free gift of life eternal…
For the first time in years, her heart said ‘Yes!’…She got up, stumbled and fell, but got up again…
’Can I apply? Yes!
Can I come? Yes!
Am I worthy of the blessing? No!
But can I still come, just as I am, with one foot in the grave? Yes!
She got up from the place of nothingness and started moving on… without stopping to think…just pure faith…’He shall be pleased with me… Lord, I believe… If I touch His robe, I shall be healed!’…
I know You, my Lord, The Word made flesh, the Word igniting faith, God on earth…You do not need to pray to another…You do not need to ask for power…All power is in You, miraculous, abundant, death destroying power…Time is in Your hands…Wait for me , my Lord…’’
She had just one matchstick of faith in her hand…all fear lost, passing thru the crowd, she came behind the Master and touched His robe…the touch of faith, the touch of joining, the two became one, the touch of one- last- breath in His arms, the touch that started the flame, the touch that exploded the faith….the body shook as life found its place inside…and just like that…she was healed!!!
‘Virtue left Me – He said- the power resident in Me, the high voltage miracle power dropped a volte or two, I felt it; It went into a container of expecting faith; Who touched Me – He asked…?’
Trembling at His feet, strong enough now to worship, she testified to the truth…the crowd that pushed aimlessly drew back in respect as this lonely character, a stranger to many, was lifted up by the King, His lost daughter now found…
‘Go in peace, My lamb…your faith in Me has made you whole, complete and beautiful…use your strength to preach, use your joy to sing, use your life serving others in My name…’
‘Yes, Lord…Forever Yours…’

Abundant harvest

‘You have planted much but you have harvested little’ (Hag 1:6).
‘Give careful thought to your ways…’ appears three times in this letter. It is a command to use your mental faculty, to remember God’s promises and to think. One of the ways you can test yourself if you are filled with the Spirit is to test your mind. This is a simple question: how easy is it for you to think? How easy it is to remember the scriptures or the lessons of the past? Do you have any anxiety that your mind will ‘fail’ you when you teach others? Then you may have a problem. We are commanded to have the sound mind of Christ; it is a mind filled with God’s Word and ‘soaked’ in the Holy Spirit. We are to train ourselves to ‘wholesome thinking’ (2Pet 3:1, 2) by memorizing God’s word, His prophecies and promises.
The people neglected God’s House… like the servant who buried his talent (Mt 25:24-30). Instead they went to do their private business, to build their ‘paneled houses’ (Hag 1:4). This word in Hebrew means a roof, a cover or anything that protects or hides. The picture is one of secret sin, rebellion involving whole families. But we are reminded here that God knows and sees everything. Haggai gives us ‘a formula’ to detect if there is hidden secret sin in the house: If all your labor is just to build and furnish your house, you and your family will never know satisfaction! Read this: ‘there is not enough…they are not filled…they are not warm…there is not security…’ (Hag 1:5, 6). By ignoring God’s House, the family does not have peace, rest, joy or hope for the future. It is the sin of the parents that visits the children. In this time of global economic recession, this quiet hypocrisy, this hidden sin of neglecting God’s House may be one of the factors why so many struggle financially, why so much depression and broken homes! Selah!
Each time you have the feeling that you work much, you invest time and energy in your job but you still lack the basic things of life and you still have borrow money just to ‘survive’, then just stop and think. Pray and think! Think! It may be that you work in disobedience to God. ‘The devourer’ will have access to your finances. ‘You earn wages only to put them in a purse with holes in it’ (Hag 1:6).
The ‘emergency’ advice is this: Stop working! Repent! Humble yourself and ask God to reveal to you your secret sin. It is possible that you have become insensitive to the reality of your situation. Sin hardens the heart! You need the Holy Spirit to convict you of sin. God always answers the prayer of ‘a contrite heart’. God only blesses only the work He initiates. Any work that proceeds from flesh, from envy of others, from selfish ambition, from the ‘sweat of man’ is cursed by Him and no intercession can avail (Gen 3:17-19).
The work of God is easy and His burden light (Mt 11:28-30). Remember God’s House and the pastors there! Pay your tithes! When you are a co- laborer with God, you work little, you have peace and joy and you sleep well. But you make great profit, rich enough to help and impact others! A child of God is never forsaken by God and never begs for bread (Ps 37: 25, 26). This is the life style I will forever recommend to you! This is royal pattern of success for the children of God! May your eyes be open to see the Door!