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An exhortation to live a life pleasing to God

For a believer in Christ is there is no better life than to live a life pleasing to God.  Do not be concerned with pleasing a fallen world which is highly fickle and sinful. They do not have a true to sense of justice and easily fall prey to their lusts and vanities of life. You have been taken out the ways of darkness into the light of Christ in which you are encouraged to live on forever. Do no fall back into the world. Remember this; And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:17)

Making the world your backbone is one of the worst choices one can do. Because the world will be judged due to its sinfulness then on what would one lean on? Though the world loves sinners yet it also ends up dishonoring them in the end. For instance, the world likes lustful movies which promote adulterous lifestyles but if a man gets divorced due to his adultery, then the world is the first to condemn him, that’s how hypocritical it has become. Besides, the world will only love you as long as it can extract benefits from you. After that it will keep away from you as if you never existed.

Therefore, put your trust in the Lord God and do not live for the sinful ways of the world. You got out of the grime of wickedness by God’s grace, so now keep yourself clean. This is not about yourself but rather about God. Yes, our God who has willed by Jesus Christ that you be saved from sin and damnation. You are not living for yourself but for Christ Jesus! Live by the Holy Spirit for the glory of God every hour and every day. That is the real best life now (and forever).

Here are a few verses from the Holy Scriptures to reflect upon (a bit long but worth the reading):

  • So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body. (2 Corinthians 5:9-10)
  • Now this I affirm and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; they are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart they have become callous and have given themselves up to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of uncleanness.  You did not so learn Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus. Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:17-24)
  • Finally, brethren, we beseech and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you learned from us how you ought to live and to please God, just as you are doing, you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from unchastity; that each one of you know how to take a wife for himself in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like heathen who do not know God; that no man transgress, and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we solemnly forewarned you. For God has not called us for uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. But concerning love of the brethren you have no need to have any one write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do love all the brethren throughout Macedo′nia. But we exhort you, brethren, to do so more and more, to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we charged you; so that you may command the respect of outsiders, and be dependent on nobody. (1 Thessalonians 4:1-12)

Destroy the strongholds of sin and disobedience

expose falsehood

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

The word of God encourages us to love and obey God and also to reject sin. Every evil thought that comes against the Lord God must be removed out of your life. If your mind is not set to obey Christ, well then it’s on the way to disobey him.

The way of sin may seem nice with the ill gotten pleasures it appears to give. However, in the end it will bite like a poisonous snake. There are lots of lies spoken that the Bible is not God’s word, Jesus did not rise from the dead, there is no Devil etc. All of these come from the Evil One who beguiles his earthly minions to do his bidding on earth for free. A better way to describe these minions is them being slaves who are blind to the truth, who only live for their foolish lusts and desires and have made up their minds to be shut to the truth. Their lies are deceptive. They try to promote stupidity, rudeness, lack of respect and mindless chatter. The truth is the defense against their vile ways. The truth will set you free but first you got to know it. No wonder you must read the Holy Scriptures as often as you can.

Here a just a few applications of using the Word of God to cast down sinful strongholds:

A temptress may try to beguile a man into adultery but if he holds the commandment which says not to commit adultery, he will save himself a lot of trouble. He will realize that the way of the temptress may lead to dishonor and even divorce. So he will resist her sweet but poisonous words.

You shall not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14)

Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death. (Proverbs 7:27) (this is describing a temptress)

The insanity of starving oneself ie anorexia just to look better can be avoided by a Christian woman if she holds closely to the fact that she is the temple of the Holy Spirit. She would do her research and find out that so many young girls have died to anorexia so much so that in certain countries they had to ban any propaganda or fashion promoting it. So she would keep away from trying to please the world by harming herself in the process.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

A child would not spend time into mindless hours of TV or social media knowing from scripture that we are to make the best use of the time. So he/she would balance out their studies, duties with any other fun activity. They would prepare well for the future instead of being dazed with celebrities who morals are as fickle as lightning.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,  making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  (Ephesians 5:15-16)

The leader of a church would know not to steal money from the church at all because nothing in all creation is hidden from God. So a person who is called to preach the word of God would refrain from vain pursuit of money and focus on actual preaching.

The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15:3)

“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:1)

Psalm 67 (A call to all people to praise God)

Let read Psalm 67 which is a call to all people to praise God. Here we go:

1 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah 2 that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving power among all nations. 3 Let the peoples praise thee, O God; let all the peoples praise thee! 4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for thou dost judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah

5 Let the peoples praise thee, O God; let all the peoples praise thee! 6 The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, has blessed us. 7 God has blessed us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!

wheat at harvestWhen reading the above Psalm you must have seen the word ‘Selah’ and then wondered what does that mean. It’s not an English word so it’s hardly used when talking in general. It’s a Hebrew word which in the context of the Psalm means to pause and praise. There are things in life which we must not skim over and let it go. These are things to be valued and cherished. Though there are many ways to do appreciate things, one of the ways is to pause for a moment and think of it.

In the same way when you think of the things of God like his grace, blessings and saving power you just don’t do a blink and a miss on it. You take time to relish the Lord’s goodness towards us. So that is why you must pause and praise God for his revelation of love for us.

People love their blessings from God and want to be blessed even more. Who wouldn’t want their families to be prosperous in all aspects of life? However, that’s not where it ends. One of the reasons God blesses us is that the people of the earth are made aware of his saving power. Let’s therefore, not ask to be blessed only to keep it within our loved ones but also so that God’s gracious nature is manifested through us to a world of people who live in despair.

The Lord is the God of justice. Many a times people try to take revenge, sometimes they succeed and sometimes they don’t. Yet true justice eludes them. There are the oppressed poor who have no one to speak for them. Very few care about their existence. It’s true that, we live in a fallen world and evil things do happen. The Lord God, time and again raises up men and women who strive for justice and peace for the poor and oppressed, even though not all of them know Jesus as their savior. These agents of justice have their season on earth and then pass away into eternity. The work of justice still goes on even as more people are called by God to help others. Besides, the Lord God himself executes judgement against the powers of darkness and those who love it, so that there is justice done. May the people of the world realize this truth and turn their hearts towards the Lord.

jesus with diff types of childrenOur Lord God is not limited to judgement alone. He is the God of true and lasting blessing. He blesses his people on earth. He rewards their good deeds in this life and in the next. Even our ability to good works ultimately comes from the Lord. No doubt a person must be willing for it, and surely he or she shall be rewarded, yet we must realize that it’s mostly God’s grace in the midst of it all.

By our own works and merits we do not deserve his grace. It’s only by faith in his Son our Lord Jesus Christ, can we approach his throne of grace in times of need (see Hebrews 4:16). God’s loves those who love Christ. But he has a heart for sinners too. He also cares for the lost sheep who are still in the darkness. No wonder though they are not seated in heavenly places like us who believe in Jesus, he still let’s it rain on them too (see Matthew 5:43-45).

The harvest of the earth though has human effort and wisdom applied but it is the Lord God who protects it from dangers when we are least aware. He is the one who prevents the workers of the Evil One from doing their vile deeds against you. It is the Lord who blesses the farmer with good health, so that there is an abundant harvest. No wonder in this light of the revelation of his grace and love towards us, we must praise and thank God for his mercy and for his blessings towards us. Give thanks to Christ Jesus for the salvation that you have received from him.

A few scriptures to reflect on:

  • I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work. (Ecclesiastes 3:17)
  • Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. (Isaiah 1:17)
  • For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. (Romans 13:4)
  • Speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable. Speak out in order to judge with righteousness and to defend the needy and the poor. (Proverbs 31:8-10)
  • Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. (Isaiah 30:18)
  • Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.(James 1:17-18)
  • And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Cor 9:8)
  • Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Whosoever draws his sword against the prince must throw the scabbard away

“Whosoever draws his sword against the prince must throw the scabbard away.” (English 17th Century Proverb)

A scabbard is a sheath for holding a sword, knife or other large blade or gun, such as a rifle with a bayonet.

There are two princes who are at war. First is Jesus Christ the prince of heaven and the son of God. The other is Satan the prince of the fallen world (John 12:31) and the arch-enemy of God.

There is no scope for being a neutral party. The Bible is very clear about this:

He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad (Matthew 12:30).

Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 4:8).

“The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (Luke 10:16).

So when you choose the side of the prince of heaven, you’re at odds with the Devil. You must realize that Satan is on one evil mission. Some scriptures about this that tell about the problem by the Devil & the solution:

Violence like a lion:

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8)

Pretense by the Devil:

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14)

Thieving nature:

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly. (John 10:10)

So know that the Devil is a violent, pretentious thief what must one do?

  • Accept God; Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
  • Resist the Devil; Resist him and be firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. (1 Peter 5:9).

What do I do if the Devil reminds me of my past failings?

Remind him about his future. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet [are], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:10)

Anything else?

Just keep working on doing the right things as mentioned above. You don’t need to much wisdom. You only need God’s grace which is given to those who keep his word.

Thanks for reading. Christ be with you!

(Note: This is a message I had given to a private audience about 4 years ago and had made a record of this. Suddenly during my prayers I felt like God wants me to share this with you, so that you benefit from it.)

 

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The enabling grace of God

 

The grace of God can manifest in various forms. One such type is called enabling grace. It’s the grace that enables you do to achieve whatever good work God has called you to do in His holy will.

It is an axiom in theology that whenever a person is chosen by God for any position, he received not only the qualities,  but also the special graces which enable him to fulfill the duties of that state with proper decorum. (This saying is attributed to St Bernadine of Siena)

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8)

Though I’ve been aware of the existence of enabling grace in some way or other I didn’t actually start using this term until the past few hours. I’ve experienced the enabling grace of God in many ways. At a certain time of my life, I would get an opportunity to preach to people who would habitually end up in jail for petty crimes or even those who never went to prison but were dangerous. In those days I didn’t know how to deal with people who are extremely violent. I would just ask God to make me the person he wants to be and then I could preach bravely to them.

I’ve ended up ministering to people at sudden situations and placed without any special training for it. Once I myself was in need of prayers and had gone physically weak. However, yet when a diabolically influenced (not possessed) Christian teenage boy approached me for deliverance from his violent rage due to writing Satanic songs, I preached the Gospel and prayed with him for his deliverance. It was not a time that  I expected nor was I mentally ready, yet the enabling grace of God helped me to let this teenager receive his deliverance in the name of Jesus.

The enabling grace of God is not for sin and definitely not for the proud. James 4:6 says that; But he gives more grace. Therefore he says, God resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

Now enabling grace is not so that you open a cocaine business or steal from others. Don’t get me wrong but Jesus does not expect nor give grace to you for bad things in life. It’s given so that you glorify the Lord God. You can do this by helping the afflicted, feeding the poor, praying for the sick etc. It can also apply for doing your studies well, fulfilling your duties in marriage and church, doing good ethical business etc. Basically everything that is good which doesn’t go against the will of God.

The prophet Elijah exercised the enabling grace of God specific to his calling in the Lord God as a prophet who executed judgement on sinners due to lack of repentance. You can refer to Luke 4:25, 1 Kings 17:1 and 1 Kings 18:1 for this.

James 5:17-18 says that; Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.

The enabling grace of God is not limited to stopping and causing rain. You can use it to bring healing to people. You can use it to encourage people. You can use it to be a blessing to your church and state.

Now to get the enabling grace of God firstly you need to understand that you can’t earn it. It is given freely to those who believe in God and are open to his holy will. Simply be open to the will of God. Be attentive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in your life.

I would like to encourage you to desire the enabling grace of God by reminding you of how Peter healed the man lame from birth in the name of Jesus Christ. Let’s read Acts 3:1-10

Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.  2 And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;  3 Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.  4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.  5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.  6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.  7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.  8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.  9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God:  10 And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.

Prayer: In the name of Jesus the Son of the Living God, I ask for the enabling grace of God in my life. I renounce every sin, every habit and every though that keeps me away from the will of God in my life. The blood of Jesus cleanses me of all my sins. I close myself to the suggestions of the evil One and of the world. I open up to the will of God in my life. I’m sanctified by the word of God and receive my divine enabling in the name of Jesus. I say a firm yes to all the good works that the Lord God has ordained for me to carry out in my life. Amen.

 

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Beware of what you believe in

liar

Beware of what you believe in. There is much talk by many theologians and preachers. Some of them are highly presumptuous of what God actually wants of a person. Therefore learn to understand what comes from God and what comes from man.

Let me make it real to you in the context of healing though there are other contexts like marriage, finances etc. I’ve been to many retreats, seminars and oratories wherein there was a ‘healing service’ in which the healing minister of God as I would call them, held the claim that he/she healed a lot of people through prayer. Though I didn’t have need of any healing I wanted to learn from them as to how they are used by God to heal.

I would be amazed to see so many people cured of various ills and diseases. I would go to such places often. Then for certain years I wasn’t able to be part of any such things. Years later I decide to go again to such healing ministers. Suddenly instead of the Welcome-everyone-attitude came the legalistic-attitude. Obviously I no longer go at their doors. They would say bold and harsh statements like:

  1. “If you have AIDS or HIV its God’s Gift to you for sinning and God will NOT heal you”.
  2. “It’s God’s WILL and DESIRE that you keep suffering from your sickness like Paul” and they quote 2 Corinthians 12: 7-9 Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
  3. “I sense God is healing some person of this and this disease but I say to this person, come up and testify on the stage right now or you will LOSE your healing”.

Mostly these were the same orators whom I heard earlier but then later their behavior changed. They started putting such conditions that even Jesus himself would not put. Now I’ll tackle all of the 3 statements. Here we go:

  1. What if the person got AIDS or HIV due to blood transfusion? Would it be because of sin, no not at all. Even if a person got AIDS or HIV due to a sinful lifestyle but now is willing to follow Christ why should there be an obstacle in that persons restoration by the Lord Jesus. Sickness is NEVER the Lord God’s gift to any one. Last time I read the Bible and please note that I’ve read the whole Bible end to end, I never saw a verse about any one being “gifted” a sickness by God. Such lies are INVENTED in Hell and must rejected by every person who believes in Christ.
  2. In all the Bible there is only one case in which a person was not getting cured/healed by God. Only 1. At the same time if you read the same verses above (2 Corinthians 12:7-9) the context is completely different as to why was the case. Also these verses are highly disputed by many theologians. The main point here is that Paul had to get a PERSONAL revelation and voice DIRECTLY from God that he wouldn’t be cured. What is strange is that such healing ministers say that is God’s Will that you suffer as such but ask them if they Lord had personally told them each and every detail of the sickness of your sickness which you didn’t tell them and now ask them to mention even that revelation in detail. They will begin giving you UNCLEAR and CONFUSING answers. Now you’ll realize man and not God is speaking.
  3. Even when Jesus healed the woman who had the issue of blood (Read Mark 5:25-34 in your free time) he NEVER put a condition on her to Testify or she would lose healing. Not a single instance is ever recorded in the Bible both in the Old and New Testament of any healing minister of God back there saying ‘come and testify right now or you will LOSE your healing’. Scripture tells us to imitate Christ (Ephesians 5:1 and 1 Corinthians 11:1) and obviously putting such limits on a person is not at all Christ-like.

Going to the context of vocations; Never take up any vocation just based on a person’s opinion that it comes from God. Check this out with God himself in prayer and reading of the scriptures. There are truly blessed men (and women) of God who told me a lot of things on vocation and gave some types of prophecies but I didn’t jump the gun but instead just noted their words in a book and went on with my life. Then I kept checking with God as to which of these came from HIM and how to go to the next step.

Some decisions like the vow-of-celibacy (not getting married) or doing full time ministry (both lay and religious) for the sake of the Gospel are “life changing decisions” and should not be based on the words of man but only if God is willing for it. And for this you need to discern.

So to summarize: Learn to understand what comes from God and what comes from man. Do this by praying to God and diligent reading of the Bible (Its a great help in this regard to take help of the Holy Spirit on this).

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