A NIGHT IN THE LION’S DEN

 

“Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you” (Dan 6:16)

 

Daniel was a Jewish captive in Babylon. He was a man ‘of excellent spirit’ and got a high position in the Government of that country. Then Darius, the King of the Medes took over. He was also impressed with Daniel’s character and planned to promote him to be over all his governors and officials. These people got jealous and made a counter plan to destroy Daniel. They knew that he is a faithful servant who cannot be bribed or corrupted. The only way to destroy him and his reputation will be thru Daniel’s religion. They manipulated the King with flattery into signing a foolish law that said: any man, who prays to any other god than him, shall be thrown into the lion’s den.

When Daniel heard about how his master was deceived to ignorantly sign his death warrant, he got ready to meet God. In life or death, he knew that God was near. He went to his house, opened the windows towards Jerusalem, knelt down and, as usual, he prayed to God. The wicked men caught him breaking the law of his master. It is true that the law was foolish but the signature of the king was there on it. Daniel was reported and found guilty. The king tried to save his most faithful servant, but could not. The law has no mercy. If the king releases Daniel after breaking the law, he will lose his respect and his throne.

So Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den to die. The king felt guilty for betraying his best friend and could not sleep the whole night. Early in the morning he found that Daniel was not only alive, but not hurt at all for the Angel of Jehovah shut the mouths of the lions the whole night. The king was very happy and brought Daniel out. The king then judges the wicked false accusers of Daniel.  Together with their wives and children, they are sent to the same lion’s den. But there is no Angel to save them and they all perish. And yes, Daniel still got his promotion at last.

 

This is a story even the children can tell. A whole chapter in the Bible is dedicated to it. What are the lessons here? What is God telling you? The first thing we learn is that it pays to serve the Living God, continually and faithfully. Most people do not believe in purity of character. It is true that this world is corrupted and religion is even worse. It is said that if a man was not a thief before entering an office, he will become one after he leaves. But God is telling us that like Daniel, as a Christian, you do not have to be corrupted to be successful in this world. Faithfulness to God’s Word brings success!

Do you believe that?

 

Another lesson is that payer is a most powerful weapon. Your faithfulness as a prayer warrior shall be tried in fire. Daniel was ready to break the law of his earthly master, and even to die, for the privilege of prayer. Is prayer a matter of life and death to you? Are you ready to die than to stop praying?

 

The name Daniel means God’s judgment. God is a God of justice and He surely punishes the wicked. It is a terrible thing to falsely accuse a true servant of God, to oppose his ministry and anointing or to desire his death. The persecutors of true believers shall suffer, together with their families. It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Living God!

 

Lastly, when God wants to promote you, men and devils shall become jealous and persecute you even unto death. Do you know that? When face to face with the lions of death, are you ready to stand trusting God alone? For at that time even your parents, spouse, boss or best friend shall betray you. The Angel who shut the mouth of the lions was our Lord Jesus Christ. He died on the Cross to shut the mouth of the devil. Your enemies shall be speechless and disgraced. It is faith in God alone that will save you. Can you stand alone, having only God as defense?  Do you trust God for your total vindication? Is God enough for you? Is your faith in God working for you? Are you saved? For in the times of trials all men shall abandon you to your fate and even kings cannot save you. You shall either die or live to declare God’s mercy and His wonders. But once you successfully pass thru this fire, no devil and no man can ever destroy your testimony or stop your promotion for you shall be called the friend of God!

 

In Christ I declare:

The God of Daniel is my God!

I serve God continually!

God shall save and deliver me from all trials!

My unrepentant enemies shall fall for my sake!

Even in the grave Jesus is Lord!

In Jesus name

Amen!

UNDISTRACTED WORSHIP

 

“Attend… Serve, the Lord without distraction… Live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord” (1Cor 7:35)

We are commanded to examine ourselves if we are still in the center of God’s will. One of the most common hindrances to true worship is a divided, cluttered, distracted heart. The word ‘distraction’ in Greek means to drag heavy things around the house; to be full of domestic cares that have the ability to draw you out from God’s presence. To be distracted it means to have your attention diverted from the right object to another, to lose your focus, to mix your priorities, to become complicated emotionally, to get confused with conflicting motives. This warning against dangerous spiritual distraction applies only to the true believers for the unsaved cannot worship God. It is a sign of internal backsliding. If uncorrected, it becomes a sin leading to bondage that may require deliverance.

The main cause for spiritual distraction is the devil. He is able to attack the mind bringing confusion, division and distraction. The devil deceives you by offering confusion in place of the pure simplicity of Christ, which he calls ‘boredom’. He tempts you to ignore the true Gospel of Christ Crucified and to grieve the Holy Spirit and trade it for ‘other gospels, saviors or spirits’ (2Cor 11:3, 4). You may think that no true believer will fall for its tricks, but many mighty men joined the world thru this old deception.

Other sources of spiritual distraction are business and worldliness. The mind is too preoccupied with things about jobs, promotion, money, marriage, children, worries about life and death in general. All these thoughts cause doubt or anxiety. These are able to hinder the flow of worship.

The best example of a distracted worshiper is Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus. She was busy with cooking for Jesus until she became too frustrated to worship Him. She became jealous on her sister who just sat at His feet, listening to His Word. She was lovingly rebuked by the Lord who said that Mary has chosen the best place in the universe: an undivided attention to God’s Word and worship (Lk 10:38-42)

The solution is to come back to Jesus, back to your First Love! Come back to the Cross and remind yourself of the price of true Love! You have to identify these hindrances as sins. Repent! Purify your heart and motives for ministry! Your love for the Savior should be the only reason for your sacrifice of worship! You should need nothing else! Nobody should beg you to worship God, to pay your tithe or to come to church! Desire to worship God from your heart! Be jealous and protect your quiet times with the Lord! Be faithful in the study of the Word and prayer! It is better to read less scriptures but with an undivided attention and honoring God, than to read much and retain nothing. Make sure that you read the Bible more than the newspaper, Christian books more than novels, listen to worship music more than the secular radio, watch spiritual movies more than the news on the TV…

Even lady Delilah, as wicked as she was, complained about Samson being distracted and in the same time confessing love to her…

“How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me?” (Jdg 16:15)

MY TESTIMONY

Spiritual distraction is a sin I had to fight often. I am much better now, but not completely healed. From time to time my mind wanders and I just forget God’s presence. Slowly, my worship becomes mechanical and my devotion reduces to a mere routine. It becomes hard to think of Jesus in a loving way. I start to worry about many little things. My mind ‘scatters’ in different directions. My heart becomes cold. I read the Bible but I lose the excitement of searching for a fresh revelation. I feel sleepy when I should not sleep. I remember some gossip I should not have listened to in the first place. I cannot compose a song; poetry looks crazy and prophetic utterance a burdensome weight. The flow of inspiration gets dry… The river of life becomes a poodle…Things do not make sense…

This down spiral mind can last for minutes, hours or days…

Then I wake up as from sleep. I rebuke myself, I feel bad, I cry, I repent and run back to the mercy seat…I painfully long for God’s sweet voice and for His embrace once more…I look at the Cross and I see the price Love had to pay to save my soul…I weep and kiss His feet…God is so merciful…His Spirit draws me back to Him…

O, how I hate the devil and any distraction that will drag me away from the Lover of my soul…

O, how I love Jesus…

“With my whole heart have I sought You, inquiring for and of You and yearning for You; Oh, let me not wander or step aside [either in ignorance or willfully] from Your commandments” (Ps 119;10, AMP)

In Christ I declare:

I reject any distraction, doubt or confusion of mind!

I look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith!

I worship God in Spirit and in Truth!

In Jesus name

Amen!

LETTER FROM A YOUNG MAN BITTER AGAINST HIS DAD

 

 

Dear Malia,

I ask that you pray for me. My relationship with my father is not good. The way he treats me and my siblings and even my nieces is not the way it should be. I pray for him but my heart is turning cold towards him. I ask God to remove bitterness and un-forgiveness out of my heart but I still feel the same. He’s always treated me the worst although I was always the best child from their ‘standards’.

I understand it’s a spiritual warfare, but I am human and it’s difficult not having a biological parent that I’m close to…

 

MY ANSWER:

Dear…

I pray that your eyes be opened to see the root of this problem. Not just a superficial solution but a deep work of the Holy Spirit, when Christ is glorified. It is possible that you want him to be somebody he can never be…for example, he can never be your best friend, your encourager or your mentor…etc. God can choose other people to fulfill these positions of blessings for you. For a born again, the natural relationships are the least fulfilling of all.

It is also possible that you have to look for another church, for a spiritual mentor, a pastor who truly loves you personally, inspires you with a living vision of success and covers you spiritually so that you can grow without fear. Then you will be free from this pain of having an uncaring natural dad. Lastly, draw closer to God, thru His Word and prayer. He is the best Father you can ever have!

 

“A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,

Is God in His holy habitation…

God sets the solitary in families;

He brings out those who are bound into prosperity…” (Ps 68:5, 6)

 

Love in Christ alone

Malia

SAVED AND HEALED!

 

“If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you!”  (Ex 15:26)

 

If the medical treatment is not working and the pain is increasing, then you need a miracle of healing from God. You have to also ask God for mercy and forgiveness for doubting His power, willingness to heal and love towards you. Most people just say that they believe God but in reality they do not believe as they should. For healing, you need more faith than ‘the regular’ faith of just surviving. Even as you pray for healing, there are different levels of faith. For example you need more faith to trust God for healing from AIDS than from a headache. Doubt is an enemy to faith. Fear of failure is also an enemy to faith. Bitterness is an enemy to faith! Religious pride is ‘a cancer’ to faith. Identify the hindrances and deal with them ruthlessly. Uproot any ‘convenient lie’ of the devil! Examine your heart for any compromise with the thinking of the world! Do not be sorry for the devil! Most people deceive themselves about the reality of their level of faith. The eternal truth remains: God has commanded us to pray and He has promised to hear our prayers, to be concerned about our weaknesses and our infirmities. God cares for us. Stop and think of this ‘simple’ revelation. Say to yourself again and again until every cell in your body and soul believes it: ‘God cares for me! God loves me!’ God can use the doctors and the medical treatment. But God is not bound by them. God is limitless in His creative methods of healing.

Jesus died on the Cross of Calvary to save your soul and to heal your body. Some people say that healing is not part of the gain at the Cross. Why do you believe the doubters? What do you lose if you believe the whole truth? Why not join the ranks of them who have greater overcoming faith?

‘By His (Christ’s) stripes you are healed’ (Is 53:5)

O…that you may completely trust God today! O…that you may desire to have a fresh testimony of God’s healing power towards you! You do not need money, but you need faith! May God grant it to you! This is God’s word for you today!

 

In Christ I declare:

I am saved!

By His stripes I am healed!

I believe 100%!

Doubt is 0%!

All glory to God!

In Jesus name

Amen!

EMBRACED BY GOD

 

“Though the sheep pens are sheepless

 and the cattle barns empty,

I’m singing joyful praise to God.

Counting on God’s Rule to prevail,

I take heart and gain strength.

I run like a deer.

I feel like I’m king of the mountain!” (Habakkuk 3:17-19; TM)

 

This is the wonderful faith declaration of Prophet Habakkuk. His name in Hebrew means ‘Embrace’. Habakkuk is longing for an Embrace from God but God seems distant and uninterested with the state of His people… He complains to God that things are hard and nothing makes sense anymore. Sin prevails in the land and the prophets are ignored or disgraced. The enemy gains ground and none can oppose his advances. The wicked men look happy and successful. Then God speaks…Please take note…God will always speak at last!!! He assures His lonely and frustrated servant that He is still in control of His universe. In the midst of much negative complains God embraces him with clear words of hope.

 

First, God commands the prophet to write down the revelation of this hope of glory. This is a decree to continue to preach the Gospel of Christ. Even if things seems slow, sooner or later, the visible results shall follow. Holy seeds shall produce a holy harvest! Eternal Life shall win the battle against sin and death in the land. This is God’s decree and the revelation that shall surely ‘speak at the appointed time’. There is no fear of failure or fear of the future in the ministry of preaching Christ. Let all men be liars, if that is what they want, but God shall prove Himself to be true at last. Men may receive or reject the Word of God. But one thing is sure: God loves them and He has proved His love by sending His only Begotten Son to die for their sins. The sinful and proud man may boast of his strength and success. But the humble righteous man shall live by faith in His Savior. That shall be his strength, his righteousness and boast! This is the Gospel we preach: Christ Crucified; Raised from the dead and Lord of lords forever!

 

This is the eternal truth: Sin can never prevail for it has been defeated on the Cross of Calvary. It is the glory of God that wins at last. The earth shall be filled with the knowledge and the revelation of the power, beauty and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, ‘as the waters cover the sea’. Nothing can stop that! Nothing can change that!

Another thing is sure: the Almighty God exists! He dwells in Heaven, in His Holy Temple. Let all men stop complaining and keep quiet!  Let all creation bow down and worship God! In the middle of trials, sickness, poverty, persecution, opposition and much peril of life, let all men rejoice in the hope of the glory of Jesus Christ! For as long as you breathe there is still hope that things will change! Dear Child, God has not forgotten you! God is faithful to all His promises! Has He said something to you in the past? Then He shall surely bring it to pass! For God owes no man!

May God strengthen and revive your heart today!

 

This should be your prayer:

 “Lord, I have heard of your fame;

    I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord.

Repeat them in our day,

    in our time make them known;

    in wrath remember mercy” (Hab 3:2, NIV)

 

In Christ I declare:

Jesus is Lord!

God shall fulfill His good will towards me!

All God’s promises in the Bible are yes and amen!

I trust God!

In all circumstances I shall worship God forever!

In Jesus name

Amen!

I SEE HIS STAR AND I REJOICE

 

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,  saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him…the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy” (Matt 2:1-10).  

 

The story of Christmas is two thousand years old. Generations of young and old rejoiced in its mystery and beauty. Among the best loved ‘characters’ of the drama are the wise men. They could have been three or more. They saw a bright star in the East and they followed its path. They rejoiced when the star lead them to see Baby Jesus. We don’t know much about them. But surely, these are educated men who could read the sign of times. They are wealthy men too, for they sponsored themselves on such a long journey, bringing expensive gifts. They were spiritual men, for their desire was to find the King of glory and to worship Him. They were just not looking for a baby. They were looking for the King of glory in charge of their destinies and One who is worthy of their devotion. In the natural, it’s not easy to bow down to ‘a foreign’ king. Except that King is so special that all the money and time spent in seeking Him is worth it. That is why they are called wise, for they found Him, the best Treasure man can ever have.

 

These were not ignorant travelers or adventure seekers. They surely prayed before they decided to bring their special prophetic gifts to the King. They brought gold, fit for a king’s crown; frankincense, an offering for a priest and myrrh, to embalm the body of the dead. They believed that the King of glory is a Royal Priest and that He will mysteriously die one day. This is so strange… God revealed so much to strangers who paid the price to come and worship the King of the Jews. Their sacrifice of worship is even greater knowing that the Jews refused to welcome or worship Christ. Herod wanted Jesus dead. But these wise men from the East are an example to us; spiritual, bold, faithful and wise men indeed. I believe that heaven will be full with great surprises, for the last shall be first and the first shall be left behind.

 

Jesus said: “whoever seeks shall find” (Mt 7:8). This is God’s law. Worship is very expensive. It is not for the fainthearted, casual and superficially curious entertainers. You may have to leave your comfort zone and follow a star…you may have to trust the wind… or the fragrance of incense blowing in the air…men may laugh or they may plan to kill… but keep asking… keep moving with the leading of the Spirit…the star may stop over a humble lonely abode, but if God is there, you shall become an established worshipper in the courts of heaven. God rewards diligent, patient and humble seekers. He rewards them with His very presence and personal blessings. The story of Christmas is going on even today. Wise men still seek Jesus. God Himself is seeking worshippers too (Jn 4:23). There is a place in the Spirit realm where the holy seekers shall gather, from east and west, they shall come and meet and rejoice together.

Do you seek Jesus? Do you desire to worship Him? Are you ready to lose all things you purchased with money, for the joy of finding the Excellency of knowing Jesus Christ? Then God will reward you and you shall rejoice! I know it for sure! This is your wisdom indeed!

Merry Christmas to you all!

 

In Christ I declare:

I continue to seek Jesus until I shall find Him!

Jesus is my very own eternal treasure!

In Jesus name

Amen!

O HOLY CHILD OF BETHLEHEM

“O Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are but a small Judean village, yet you will be the birthplace of my King who is alive from everlasting ages past!” God will abandon his people to their enemies until she who is to give birth has her son… And He shall stand and feed His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God, and His people shall remain there undisturbed, for He will be greatly honored all around the world. He will be our Peace. ..
He will deliver us from the Assyrians when they invade our land. Then the nation of Israel will refresh the world like gentle dew or the welcome showers of rain, and Israel will be as strong as a lion. The nations will be like helpless sheep before her! She will stand up to her foes; all her enemies will be wiped out” (Micah 5:2-9, LB)

Prophet Micah lived in the 8th Century BC. He saw the coming of the Messiah who was to be born in the small village of Bethlehem Judea. In Hebrew, Bethlehem means the ‘House of Bread’. The word Ephrathah means ‘Fruitfulness’. It describes the spiritual blessings coming to such a humble location, chosen by God to have His Son to be born there. What a mystery…The Living Bread came to its House.
Even today Bethlehem is still a small town. The population is only about 25 000 people. More than half are Muslims and the rest are Christian Palestinians. The main industry is tourism. Most of the inhabitants manufacture and sell little crosses made of olive wood. The church that houses the manger where Jesus was born is one of the oldest in the world.
God could have chosen any other city for the birthplace of His Son. But according to Micah’s prophecy, the little town of Bethlehem became that unique and blessed spot on earth. God loves to use things of insignificance to create great things of wonder. We have a tendency to despise little things or little beginnings. We assume that for great things to happen, we need to start with big ‘capital’ and much fanfare. But God is different. He uses things that men reject to create wonders men admire. This is the pleasure of God, to use the weak to confound the strong and foolish people to shame the worldly wise.

Micah prophesied that the King born in Bethlehem shall destroy the Assyrian army. This prophecy can only be applied to what happened when Sennacherib wanted to destroy Jerusalem. It means that the Angel who killed 185000 Assyrians that night was in fact Christ (2Kg 19). That was the end of the enemy’s attack upon Jerusalem. He who was born in a manger is able to destroy all His enemies with only His breath! Like in Egypt, during the Passover Night, the ‘silent night, holy night’ became a time of horror and judgment to all His enemies. He who brought peace on earth to the men who have His favor, He is able to destroy all opposition to His Kingdom. Is this how you imagine Baby Jesus?

From such a humble beginning, in the little town of Bethlehem, the King of Glory was born. The Baby in the Manger is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He was born as a little baby. He lived and died as a Man, became a substitute for sinners that they may be forgiven. He was buried in Jerusalem and rose again after three days. He then sent the Holy Spirit on His Church. He is our strong Shepherd to protect and feed us with His Word. He is our Prince of Peace and our eternal prosperity. Like long awaited showers during the dry season and like the mysterious dew covering the desert in the morning, He is the only hope of revival for the nations. Christ is the Sovereign Ruler of all the earth. All creation shall bow down to Him. All His enemies shall be defeated.

This beautiful picture is what Micah saw eight centuries before the birth of Jesus. Do you see the King of Glory, undefeated and eternal? There was no room for Him to be born in a palace. A stable and an animal’s manger was the best humanity could offer to His Creator. But this is the strange true Story of Redemption, the Romance of God who chose to dwell among men.
I wish you Merry Christmas!

This is our prayer…
“O Holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel”
(by Philips Brooks)

In Christ I declare:
Jesus Christ is my Savior and my Lord!
In Jesus name
Amen!