LIFTING, LOOKING AND LIVING

 

“Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” This He said, signifying by what death He would die” (Jn 12:31-33)

These are the words our Lord spoke before He died on the Cross. It is clear that the victory of the Cross manifests as the ‘casting away’ of satan, called ‘the ruler of this world’. The victory of Christ is total and perfect. Nothing can be added and nothing can be removed. The glory is His alone. Christ took our sins on His body and died in our place. He died naked and forsaken. He took away our disgrace as condemned sinners. He opened the door of life eternal. He is the eternal hero of heaven and earth!

 

Christ’ death was painful and fearful. Men are supposed to run away from the Cross. But oh, the wonders of love… there is a strange magnetic attraction to go closer and see the Son of Man dying for me. The Blood shed on the Cross for my sins speaks of love never ending. The tears that fell at the foot of the Cross water any dry heart that lost its hope. Just as Moses lifted the serpent in the desert, so the Son of Man was lifted up. Like a banner of the army, directing and encouraging its soldiers to victory, so the serpent is lifted on that pole for all to see. But one glance is not enough to appreciate the death of the Lover of your soul.  You must look long until what you see changes your heart. Love changes hearts. In the desert there were poisonous serpents that killed the sinners (Numbers 21). There is no man-made medicine that can destroy the poison of sin. Doctor Jesus prescribes the only cure available to men. It is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ! Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! Do not look at yourself. You cannot save your soul and you cannot heal your sickness. But nothing is impossible with Jesus! That ulcer is not in your stomach. It is hanging on that pole. That fibroid is not in your womb blocking the way to pregnancy. It is there hanging on that pole. Look well and see malaria hanging there… If you believe, you shall be healed. But you need to look long to see Christ crucified. You must feel the pain and you must experience the victory. I declare that even now there is a lifting unto life. There is also a looking of faith. If you see what I see, if you see the truth of God’s sacrifice, then you shall live. You shall be healed! I promise you!

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PEACE BE WITH YOU

HAPPY WITH CHURCH TONIGHT
“And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!… And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man… Then the Lord said to him, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.” …” (Jdg 6:12, 16, 23)
 
The prayer meeting was very good. The presence of God the Holy Spirit strengthened us to draw closer to the Cross, to worship God. The anointing had the fragrance of perfect love that never fails because it drives out all fears. “I’m in love, I’m in love, I’m in love… Sweet Holy Spirit, I am in love…” We have declared a season of Peace! We read from Judges 6. The people of God ‘did evil in the sight of the Lord’. This is sin in the house of the Lord. The people suffered. They were hungry and depressed. Then God initiate action (He always does that!). He calls a humble man, Gideon. He addresses him as a ‘Mighty man of valor’ (your identity is based on God’s Word to you, and not what you or others say about yourself). When God calls you all fears and inferiority complexes disappear. Gideon complains (complaining is the song of the devil. Do not join the choir of hell!). God overrules. God declares the victory even before the battle. God makes your life so easy… Gideon has faith and offers a sacrifice. God receives the sacrifice (we now offer sacrifices of praise). As you come to church and serve God, that is a sacrifice of praise. God accepts it. As you work for God, he will work on your behalf. As you worship God things happen and circumstances change. God proclaims peace! The fear of failure and future is gone! The fear of death disappears! The presence of God and your identity in Christ as a mighty man (woman) of valor will lead you from victory to victory! No man can stand against you all the days of your life! There is no need to worry about what will happen next week. The victory has been decreed and peace has been released on the land! God has spoken! It is written! The praise shall continue! In Jesus name, amen!

DURIAN – KING OF THE FRUITS

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us triumphantly as captives in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. For we are to God the sweet aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one, we are an odor of death and demise; to the other, a fragrance that brings life. And who is qualified for such a task?” (2Cor 2:14-16)

We just came from a nice vacation in Thailand and Singapore. These countries are blessed with many exotic fruits and vegetables. For example, I have never in my life eaten mangoes so sweet like the ones we bought from the river market in Thailand. But one of the most interesting fruits we saw was the Durian. It is called ‘the king of the fruits’. The outside layer is hard and has spikes. If you are not careful it may wound you! It has a very bad smell (like rotten meat). But the inside of the fruit is yellow, sweet and soft like vanilla custard. If you are able to ignore the smell you will be surprised how good the inside is. They say that this exotic fruit has many healing properties: it prevents cancer, diabetes, headache, anemia, insomnia, depression and anxiety. Because of its smell this fruit is not exported. You need to go to Southeast Asia to eat it. It is forbidden inside most hotels, halls and malls. It is always sold and eaten outside on the streets.

To me, this fruit is like a Spirit filled born again Christian. On the outside, we may look tough and harsh. We may wound others with our preaching. Our ‘aroma’ is unpleasant to the sinners but sweet to the believers. Inside, the Holy Spirit has made us kind, gentle and wise. The unbelievers may refuse to invite us into their homes but outside on the streets we are free and we preach Christ Crucified and Resurrected. Our aroma spreads the sweet scent of heaven. This prevailing spiritual perfume makes us leaders and heroes. Surprisingly, in Thailand, the durian (‘the king of the fruits’) was my inspiration to draw closer to the King of kings! Halleluiah!

durian

INSULTED BUT BLESSED

 

“If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you” (1Pet 4:14)

 

As a true believer, there is a peculiar pain that you must experience. From time to time the devil will use people to ‘insult’ you, not because you do bad things, but because you please God and the Holy Spirit ‘rests’ on you. If you do not understand this scripture you may become discouraged during these attacks and think of backsliding. This is the devil’s plan. But you should resist the devil and he will flee from you!

 

This strange pain comes to the born again Spirit filled believer who has allowed the Holy Spirit to ‘rest’ on him. The word ‘rest’ in Greek means to repose, to remain undisturbed, to stop working, to take it easy, to refresh, to take or to give rest. This is the picture of a mature believer who loves the Holy Spirit. Let me put it this way: Jesus found rest and peace in the house of His friends, Martha, Mary and Lazarus. Others mocked Him or demanded miracles from Him. But in the house of His friends, He could be Himself and He was loved sacrificially. In the same way, the Holy Spirit searches for Believers who allow Him to be Himself without demands, troubles or manipulation. The devil hates this glorious intimate fellowship and will use religious people to attack these humble believers.

 

In Greek, the word ‘insult’ means to be defamed, reviled, upbraided and taunted. Insult means disrespect and scornful abuse. It means to slander and to bring shame.  One of the names of the devil is ‘the accuser of the brethren’ (Rev 12:10). You need to prepare your mind for these prophesied insults. Do not be surprised when they come! Regard them as a blessing. Thank God for this sign, though painful, that the Holy Spirit of glory rests on you. This pain of persecution cannot be healed by mere human sympathies or kind words. Pray to the same Holy Spirit to comfort, encourage and strengthen you in your ‘inner man’. He alone understands your pain. He alone can heal your broken heart. His comfort is deep and total. It comes ‘packaged’ with a Spirit of wisdom and revelation. You will understand the foolishness of the world and the love of God like never before. Be grateful that even in the midst of the storm the Holy Spirit rests undisturbed on you. Finally, in all things give thanks!

KEEP THE FIRE BURNING

 

“A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out” (Lev. 6:13)

One of the symbols of God’s Spirit is fire. Jesus Christ is the Baptizer with fire (Mt 3:11, 12). Just like John was baptizing repentant people in the water, so the Lord Jesus Christ will baptize your spirit in a river of holy fire. The purpose for that is to cleanse and purify your faith. Everything you say that you believe must pass thru God’s fire. If your words are true, they will come to pass. If your words are lies, they shall be burnt and you shall be called a liar. It is like gold passing thru the fire. Nothing can produce spiritual purity, anointing and power except this baptism of fire. In the Old Testament the priests were in charge of the fire at the tabernacle of God. This fire was miraculous. God Himself sent the fire on the sacrifice. But the maintenance of that holy fire was the duty of the priests. Even when they traveled the priests had to carry the fire burning with them. The priests received three main instructions about this holy work. There are two additions and one subtraction:  +sacrifice + wood – ashes!

(We too can learn from this)

 

*They should always place a sacrifice on the altar so that the fire will burn it. Without a sacrifice on the altar the fire becomes ‘idle’ and it is a danger of quenching. For example: a new born baby must be placed at his mother’s breast to suck. The breasts are ‘stimulated’ to produce milk. If not, the glands will stop working and the breasts will dry up. In the same way, the sacrifice ‘stimulates’ the fire. If the fire is quenched the priest is in serious danger. He has failed his work of God. He may be tempted to produce a ‘man-made’ fire which is called ‘the spirit of religion’. This will surely be rejected by God. Many churches and Christians have become lukewarm because of neglecting God’s true anointing and fire. We must daily present our bodies as a living sacrifice on the altar of God. Let God’s fire burn in your bones! You may feel uncomfortable but this is how God’s work is done! Take care of your body the best way you can (diet, exercise etc). Do this not to become stronger, healthier or more beautiful, but because your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit ‘walking’ on earth. Take care of God’s temple!

*They should always place wood every morning so that the fire can burn. You need to daily study the Bible and pray. That is added material (‘wood’) to the fire.

*Every day the priests should always take the ashes outside the camp to a ‘clean place’. The priest who does this special work should be clothed so that the ashes will not stick to his body. These ashes represent the end result of the work of the Holy Spirit. At the end of your ministration (singing worship songs, preaching, giving help to the needy etc) the people are to give glory to God and not to you. But if you receive the praises of people, the holy ashes will stick to your naked body and God will be angry with you. Another reason why the ashes must be removed is because they will quench the fire. The altar must be clean so that the fire can burn brighter. Yesterday’s work is gone! Today is a new day to serve God with a clean, submissive heart!

“Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive. Serve the Lord” (Rom 12:11). May the Holy Spirit help you desire a pure heart, anointing and power for ministry! May your heart continue to burn for the Lord Jesus Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit! May revival come!

TROUBLE BEFORE PEACE

 

“Then it came to pass, at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh had a dream; and behold, he stood by the river… So Pharaoh awoke. He slept and dreamed a second time… So Pharaoh awoke, and indeed, it was a dream. Now it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. And Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them for Pharaoh… Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon; and he shaved, changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it.” So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace” (Genesis 41)

 

Pharaoh had a dream. It was not an ordinary dream. God was talking to him about his future. The survival of his country Egypt was at stake. Pharaoh’s sleep was interrupted. He ‘woke’ up. He was supposed to think and pray about the meaning of this strange dream. But this state of being awaken did not last long.  He went back to sleep. In Hebrew the word ‘sleep’ means to be slack, negligent, stale and spiritually lazy like an old dying man. To be stale refers to old dry bread; it is food no longer fresh and not pleasant to eat. This is the description of Pharaoh’s spirit who was not sensitive when God was talking to him about his very destiny. Please observe God’s patience in dealing with spiritually sleepy men. God comes back the second time with another dream. This time Pharaoh wakes up and cannot go back to sleep. ‘His spirit becomes troubled’. The word ‘troubled’ here means God knocking at the door of his heart. It means to shake, to fear and to become agitated. As unpleasant as this troubling is, this is the correct reaction to God’s Word. We must fear God and tremble at His Word. We should not sleep like the foolish virgins when God is near. Troubled and afraid, Pharaoh does not rest until he finds the solution to his problem. Somebody must remind him of the forgotten dreams and interpreted them. His magicians could not help him. He presses on until he eventually finds Joseph who gives him an answer of peace. Joseph is a type of Christ, who is the Prince of peace.

 

What is the lesson for us? When God speaks to you, thru dreams, thru visions, thru the Bible or thru prophetic utterances, pray that you may hear and respond immediately with the fear of God. Your spirit should feel agitated. Do not ‘ignore’ God! This is not the time to go back to sleep. You must seek God with all your heart and you shall find Him. The only True and Living God has revealed Himself thru His Son Jesus Christ, who is the ‘heavenly Joseph’. You must pay the price and find Jesus! Men in your church may have put Jesus ‘in prison’. They may tell you that Jesus does not exist. Your freedom may be in bondage. Your peace may be in chains. Your hope may be lost. This is work of the evil spirit of religion telling you that there is no hope for you and you should go to sleep. Do not listen to lies! Get us! Stay awake and pray! Go to the Cross! Find Christ! Fight for your soul! It is the Holy Spirit who is troubling you! You cannot fight Him! The Lord Jesus Christ shall come and help you! I am a witness! I know! Awake you sleeper and Christ will shine on you!

Joseph before Pharoah

IN ME YOU MAY HAVE PEACE

“Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (Jn 16:31-33)

These are the words spoken by our Lord just before He went to the Cross. He challenged His disciples to believe that He alone is the Savior of men. His disciples were ‘scattered’ and left Him alone to die. In Greek, the word ‘scattered’ is ‘skorpio’. It means the sting of a scorpion, so painful, that men run away and scatter abroad. Peter, who represents all of us, ran away from Jesus and even denied knowing Him. The devil, the evil ‘scorpion’, has done his worst. But Jesus encourages His disciples by reminding them of who He is. Jesus is Lord! Even when we are unfaithful, He remains faithful. Even when we fail, Christ can never fail! He is the victor over sin, sickness and death! Salvation was done by Jesus Christ alone. We ran away. We cannot share in His glory as the only Savior of men. The glory is His alone, the Lamb upon the throne, slain for the salvation of sinners like you and me. I believe!

Jesus is preparing His disciples for what shall come. His words are eternal. In this world we shall have ‘tribulation’. In Greek, the word ‘tribulation’ means to be hard pressed, to be stressed or to be squeezed into the mold of the world. The world is the system of men who live without Christ. The people of this world hate God but love religion. They strive against one another. ‘Dog eats dog’ is their strategy to succeed. They have bitter envy and selfish ambition in their hearts. They lust for sex and material things. The devil is ‘the god of this world’. He will try his best to make you backslide, for you to enter the world system and to live like them. The devil will try to teach you how to seduce, manipulate and intimidate others so that you ‘succeed’ in this world. Resist the devil and he will run away from you!

What shall we do then? What is our hope and shield against this flood of evil in our minds? It is the peace of Jesus Christ that ‘passes all understanding’. Jesus left this peace to us on earth! This is not the natural peace you may have when all things go well. The supernatural peace of Jesus becomes stronger when things go wrong, when hearts break and tears fall. Filled with this peace Jesus went to the Cross. He died in peace. He rose from the dead in peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace! Our Lord is the greatest Champion who has ever lived. This is His anthem: ‘I have overcome the world!’ Never forget that! Thru His peace Jesus has overcome the world system of greed, lust, envy and wickedness. Peace is stronger than them all. In Him alone we find this peace. ‘In Me you may have peace!’ That is why in Christ, we too, are champions. No matter how loud the world shouts about its success, anyone outside Christ is a loser!!! Do not be intimidated by then! But anyone inside Christ is a winner! We move from one triumph to another, from one testimony to another! Victory is our portion! Jesus says: “Be of good cheer!” Thru all things in this life, be strong, faithful, courageous and confident of the God you serve! There is no one like Him! Give God the Glory! Child of God, I say to you: Be encouraged today! Be filled with the Holy Spirit! May the peace of God fill your hearts today and forever! In Jesus name, amen!

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