THERE IS A LIFTING

“Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven” (Lam 3:41)

This is a great model to help ignite prayer or praise. Sometimes you are discouraged. Life is not easy. The devil sends its fiery darts of fear, doubt and depression. You do not ‘feel’ like praying. Your hands are limp, going down and your heart goes with them. But then, the Word of God tells you what to do, for the Holy Spirit to revive your soul. You cannot lift up your heart directly. But you can make the effort to lift both your hands towards God in heaven. By faith, your heart, your spirit and soul shall be stirred to go up too.

There is a lifting in the Spirit realm! I command every evil spirit of discouragement, depression, empty religion, doubt or witchcraft to leave you and to go away in the name of Jesus!

Child of God, be revived! The Word of God is an injection of life. Have faith! Practice the Word! It has worked for millions of believers! It works for me! It shall work for you! Now, lift up your hearts, to your hands, as you praise your Father in heaven!  Glory to God!

THE SUCCESSFUL FAMILY

We have been praying for months for revival in our church, our homes and our city. We have followed the Psalms of ascents, going closer to God. We have prayed for our ‘dreams to come true’. Tonight our theme was the success of our homes, the godly marriages and families with children. There was opposition to our prayers.The devil wants us to ignore the need for intercession for our families. But we did our best in prayer and trust that the Holy Spirit will continue the work in the hearts of the people of God! This was the message:

“Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep” (Ps 127:1-2)

This is a Psalm written by King Solomon. It describes the beauty and power of a godly spiritual and victorious family! It can be applied to your natural family; father, mother and children. It can also be applied to the spiritual family, in particular your local church, as a part of the Universal Body of Christ. It describes spiritual parents, mentors, teachers or pastors who invest their lives in other people, thru the Word of God and by personal example. This family is a spiritual unit that God blesses and becomes stronger with time.

This is a song of ascent! It does not seem to do so! The interest of the family does not seem like ‘ascending’! After praying for months about ‘dreams to come true’ this looks like going down not up. But God wants us to have a deeper revelation of the grace, beauty and sweetness of marriage and family life with children, with grandchildren. The word ‘ascent’ means to go on a journey to a higher place or degree and promotion. Therefore a godly happy home is counted as a greater achievement than all the material blessings combined.

The most important lesson here is this: human labor without the Holy Spirit is useless. It is in vain. In Hebrew, the word ‘vain’ means a lie, something evil, destructive, useless, deceptive and false. It also means vanity and idolatry. The root of the word describes a storm that destroys everything in its path. It means without God, all our work, watching and worrying, will only be able to build sand castles in the path of the coming hurricanes. These labors and dreams will not last. Their fall, their destruction is sure and it means painful loss and danger to all. Without God, human labor ends in failure! That is the source of much sorrow to many!

This a great lesson: No matter how hard you work, how much educated you are, and skillful or talented you are, you cannot guarantee your prosperity in this life! It is God who blesses (or not) the work of your hands! There is no true success without God. But with God all things are possible and success assured!

KNOCK AT THAT DOOR

knocks
All the doors in Malta have knobs for knocking. For centuries, the people there are very good in making them. Some are very old. Some a new and shining, ready for sale. I took this picture from a little shop selling them. It reminds me of the command of Jesus not to be intimidated by closed doors. “Knock and the door shall be open to you” (Mt 7:7)
This evening I made up my mind to keep on knocking, keep on praying and believing until God comes down to me! In Jesus name, amen!

MY CARPENTER (2)

“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him” (Mk 6:3)

Because I want to know my Lord better, I searched some information of what makes a good carpenter. This is what I have found: A good carpenter needs the following:

*Passion for his work; an admiration and understanding of the beauty of wood

*A desire to be perfect, to improve through experience having the skill of using wood to create durable and beautiful things that stand the test of time

Carpentry is not an easy work. It is not learned in a class room out of text-books. A carpenter learns most of the technical skills directly on the job. He is taught by an older carpenter who is his master while serving as a helper for three or four years. A good carpenter is focused on the details. An error of one inch can make a huge difference between success and failure. He can’t afford to be distracted when measuring and cutting.  A good carpenter is dedicated to his job. Old carpenters say they can train anyone with adequate manual dexterity and simple math skills to become a skilled carpenter. But it’s the attitude toward the job, the passion and the dedication to do your best that can’t be taught by men. Being humble, diligent, hardworking, grateful, happy and faithful to the Master are highly sought qualities in an apprentice.  A good carpenter needs good health and physical strength. The job is hard and requires considerable standing, bending, kneeling and climbing for many hours.

Our Lord worked as a carpenter for 18 years. Surely he had all the qualities listed above. Joseph, his foster father thought him all he knew. Because Jesus worked so long and so hard, he made work for daily bread to be special. By His labor, He condemned laziness and stealing. Many are unhappy with their jobs. They think that it is too low for their social status. Look unto Jesus and learned from Him! Never be ashamed of the labor of your hands! Jesus made yokes for the oxen. I am sure His yokes were the best in the country, smooth and easy to carry. All the oxen that were privileged to carry His yokes were happy and grateful animals. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Mt 11:28, 29)

Spiritually speaking, He was faithful to His heavenly Father, who was also His Teacher and His Mentor. Jesus Christ is God, but as a Man on earth He learned obedience to God by the things He suffered. That is why He is the Source of eternal salvation to all His obedient children (Heb 5:8, 9). He humbled Himself even unto death. He died on a Cross made by a carpenter like Him. Humanity is His raw material, His wood. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are His tools. Each time He touched a soul, something eternally beautiful was created for the glory of God! That is how we should be, trained by the gentle and strong hands of the heavenly Carpenter! Dear children of God, welcome to ministry!

MY CARPENTER (1)

“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him” (Mk 6:3)

Between the time when our Lord was 12 years old and His Baptism in the River Jordan that announced the beginning of His public ministry, nothing is said about Him in the Bible. These are called the 18 silent years. From the scriptures we deduce that He worked with His adopted father, Joseph, as a carpenter. This is a great revelation! Our Lord’s preaching ministry was about three years in duration. But His quiet ‘secular’ work as a village carpenter in Nazareth was six times longer than that. The lesson here is that preparation for full time ministry takes a long time. It is a time of quiet difficult labor done in obscurity, very far from the public praises of men. May we never be in a hurry! May our foundation be on the rock!

The people of Nazareth were amazed and also angry at the power of the Lord to do miracles and also at His wisdom. They could not see how or why their humble village carpenter suddenly received such supernaturally gifts. They became jealous and angry, and rejected Him from Nazareth. They did not mind Jesus to be their carpenter but they hated Him as a preacher. This is another lesson: when God calls you to ministry, the same people who accepted you in your secular work will reject you as a servant of God. For example, my husband and I, we are medical doctors by profession. When God called us to change our private hospital into church, most of our patients were angry with the idea. They wanted a doctor and not a preacher. They wanted medicines and not scriptures. But God’s will prevail at last! To God be all the glory!

A WONDERFUL TIME

“His father said, ‘Son, you don’t understand. You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours—but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he’s alive! He was lost, and he’s found!’” (Lk 15:31, 32; TM)

This is known as the parable of the prodigal son. But a better name could have been the parable of the sad religious son. Our Lord spoke this parable in response to the accusation coming from the Pharisees; that Jesus is a ‘Friend of sinners’.  They complained: “He takes in sinners and eats meals with them, treating them like old friends.” Their grumbling triggered this story. The main character in this parable is not the prodigal son. It is the older brother who represents the religious teachers and leaders. The main lesson here is not repentance from backsliding, coming back from the world of ‘harlots’.  It points to a religious proud spirit found among the people who attend church. The father stands for God. Here we have the clear revelation of the Father’s love for men, for sinners. Their repentance produces joy in heaven.

Who is this older son?  First of all we can say that he is a good boy. Any parent will like a son like him. He goes to church always, active in ministry and he pays his tithes. He marries a Christian girl and they have nice children. He is a hardworking man. He is a friendly man with his own group of faithful friends. So then what is wrong with him? You can never discover his fault, except by the direct revelation of the Holy Spirit.

He is a religious man who obeys God’s laws but without joy. He is faithful to God and to his wife, but without holy romance. His has forsaken his first love and he is not bothered about it. He does not understand the ways of love. He plays safe. He does not understand the Lord, who came to seek and save the lost. He does not understand why God should be excited about saving sinners. If the Father had quietly killed a small goat for the welcoming party, he may have hidden his anger and jealousy. But sacrifice the special fattened calf? Are repentant sinners’ royalty? He does not believe that!

He does not understand a heaven who bubbles with joy for the sake of one sinner who falls on his knees and repents of his sins. He does not understand the power and the passion of the Cross. He does not understand the fountain of Blood flowing from Emanuel’s veins… He does not understand the risk love is taking to stretch its hand to a desperate lost soul. He does not understand the price love is willing to pay so that one weak, foolish and confused soul may be set free. He does not understand why the ointment of the alabaster box should be wasted at the feet of the Lover… He hates a God who loves sinners. He hates the love that invented Calvary. His religion is good but cold. His feet are steady but they never dance. His handshakes are strong but they never touch another. His salvation is sure but there is no song, no romance and no holy joy in it. Does this describe you?

Listen now to God the Father speaking:

“Son, you do not understand Me… you work so hard… so close to Me, living every day, in My house and yet, you do not understand My heart…  or My longing to set the prisoners free, to make the blind see, to destroy the spell of ignorance, sadness and fear in the hearts of men… to declare the acceptable year of the Lord… the reveal the miracle of resurrection life imparted to humble broken men… to see Salvation revealed on earth… to offer things money cannot buy… to hear men lovingly calling the name of my only Beloved Son… to have a place of praise so that I can inhabit the earth in their mist… Son, you do not understand Me… Pray that you do, for only then we can have true fellowship together… only then you shall taste and see that I am good… let’s draw together with joy from the wells of salvation on earth… open your heart and your eyes and see… this very season it is wrong to be sad and serious… it is the right thing to celebrate… No bride should walk to the altar with tears on her face… she should smile and dance and rejoice, for her childhood dream has come true… listen to the sound of laughter… join in the dance…sing with the willing volunteers who assemble to make the choir… this is a wonderful time for all of us… for heaven and for earth… for angels and men… feel My heart… feel the fire of love that never fails to cleanse… see the light of love that never fails to shine… love is strong… love lifts higher than you imagine, embracing eternally… we are forever one…

My Son, please, understand…”