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Man’s greatest honor and privilege is to do the will of God

​”Man’s greatest honor and privilege is to do the will of God. This was what the Lord Jesus taught His disciples. He once said that only those who did His Father’s will would enter the kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 7:21). He also said that His true brothers and sisters were those who did the will of God (Matt. 12:50).” – Zac Poonen

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Once your needs are met do you still pray to God?

pray

I remember a young man at church. He would avoid coming for times of prayer and worship. However, the moment his mother would fall ill, he’d attend every possible instance of group prayer. But when his mother would recover in the hospital, he’d again go back to his delusion self and avoid coming to church. Then again his mother would fall seriously unwell and he’d come again to praying very hard. This happened multiple times over. The Lord God is merciful and kept saving this young man’s dear one despite this man’s shortcomings. I used to then ponder on this and realize that the Lord is indeed good.

Usually on hearing such things, people will praise God’s faithfulness and I know that it’s the right thing to do. However, people must also understand that they cannot mistake God’s mercy as an excuse to not pray to him!

Some people misjudge their capacity for acquiring wealth as solely their own genius. Other’s feel they are special so they get miracles. Both of these ways of thinking are not consistent with the teachings of the Bible.

17 Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18 You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 19 And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. (Deuteronomy 8:17-19)

There are people who mistake the Lord for a miracle vending machine. Their flawed logic is that pray some prayers or donate some money in church and receive one’s miracle. The reality is that miracles happen when its the will of God for them to happen.

Why should the nations say,“Where is their God?” Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. (Psalm 115:2-3)

So when you receive what you’ve prayed to the Lord, don’t go lax on your prayers. Why not pray for other’s who still have yet to get their breakthrough in life? Suppose a man gets a good woman to marry, then he could rejoice no doubt but he can also pray in secret for his friends who are yet to find a suitable spouse for themselves.

There are lots of people who need your intercession. Floods, earthquakes, famines etc still take place. You can pray for the safety of the people in such places. If possible you can also help in whatever other positive way that you can. So don’t stop praying but pray even more. The Lord’s willing to hear humble and faithful believers in Christ all the time.

God be with you!

The specific will of God for you (Part 2)

vigilIt’s vital to know what the Lord God wants you to do in life. You can’t go on aimlessly in your walk with Christ. God has a will for your life which only you can do. He has already been preparing your for it though you may not immediately see how. This is done by the enabling grace of God. He can qualify the unqualified. Remember how David was just a shepherd but the Lord made him the King of Israel. Also, how Jeremiah said he was too young, yet God still encouraged him to be his prophet (Jeremiah 1:1-7).

Even Jesus had to follow the specific will of God for him. He didn’t come on earth without a mission. He came for the salvation of the world as per the will of God.

Jesus said in John  6:38-40 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

If Jesus had to stick to God’s will, how much more are we to abide in God’s will for our lives? No wonder there’s a verse which is part of the Lord’s prayer which is “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). When the Apostles wanted to know how to pray, Jesus gave them a prayer what is popularly called as ‘The Lord’s prayer’ which isn’t a legalistic prayer but aptly points to doing the will of God.

Once you know the specific will of God, never back down on it. Make your life for God abide in him forever. Remember 1 John 2:17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

The Lord will enable you to specifically do what he has called you to do and will confirm it to you. I remember the words by a wise person which go on like this ‘no supernatural revelation without supernatural attestation’.  At certain times of my life, I would meet men and women who I had never seen nor met before and they would say to me that I would do so and so great things for God. It was not about speaking a blessing, these people were very clearly told me the works I’d do, though by prayer only I had witness to those good deeds. No one else knew the plans of God for me but some how they knew it word for word.  This would amaze me a lot.  So after they would speak I normally wouldn’t get to see them again but would feel stronger in spirit.

Now you don’t need a person coming to you all of a sudden to confirm the will of God. You can get it by praying, reading the Bible, being with people who themselves have received the specific will of God for themselves (like I mentioned in one of my earlier posts).

Psalm 138:8 says that; The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Once you know that God has given you a good work to fulfill, be rest assured that he will see you through. He will make sure that you receive all the wisdom, provision and favour that you need to do his will.  Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’

It always about giving glory to God. A believer in Christ our Lord must not focus so much on the good works than the Lord God who is the giver of the good works. Boast not of your good works but rather boast that the Lord God chose despite your limitations. Humility is the key to doing the specific will of God in sincerity both before men and God. It’s that virtue which gives back the glory to God who first blessed you to bless others. It that thing which prevents the Devil from filling you with pride and other vices. This will save you from deception.

May you be always be humble before the Lord God in the service of people whom he chooses to bless through you. What God has given you freely, give to other freely in faith.

The specific will of God for you (Part 1)

You must try to know the specific will of God for yourself. In certain Christian circles this is also called as knowing your vocation in Christ or your specific role in the Church. This might be being a preacher of the Word of God, a prophet, an intercessor, teacher, evangelist etc so that you build your brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus.

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12)

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church: first are apostles, second are prophets, third are teachers, then those who do miracles, those who have the gift of healing, those who can help others, those who have the gift of leadership, those who speak in unknown languages. (1 Corinthians 12:27-28)

You need to keep yourself open to the will of God and attentive to the Holy Spirit. This means that you are determined to be in union with Christ and hold on to the Gospel in your daily life. Let me make is real to you, suppose you feel that God is calling you to overseas missionary work then in your local church do you care for the salvation of the people over there? Do you pray that they are always sinless and in the love of God? Do you like to hear the preaching of the word of God and do you yourself like to read it? Do you feel compassion for the lost? Are you willing to die rather than give up on Christ? Are you willing to get no thanks and no appreciation from majority of the people you are preaching to, but are still will to move on and preach to the next group of people?

If you said a yes to all these questions, then its a sign that your actions are in sync with your calling of being a preacher. But if there’s even a single no, then you need to check your motivation for being a preacher either by yourself or with a sincere and mature Christian. Better to correct your desires now, than realizing it the hard way when you are on an overseas missionary assignment and you realize that you feel too lazy to preach or can’t handle rejection by the people. It could be a serious matter of shame to the ministry that sent you abroad if they realize that you are NOT preaching the gospel but are held up in worthless pursuits.

The same standards apply for being a Bible teacher, prophet, apostle etc for the Lord Jesus. You need to get your actions in sync with your holy calling in the Lord Jesus. Before anything else, you need to pray about the specific will of God in your life. You must never walk into any position of work for God without praying to God about it. It’s a sign of discernment and a sign of respect.

You need to be very specific in your prayer to God for knowing what he specifically calls you to be. Sometimes you can say ‘God make me the person you want me to be’ and wait for your answer. It doesn’t have to be that you will hear a voice audibly. You may just get a strong feeling in your heart that desires to serve God in so and so way, then check if is consistent with the Bible’s teachings. Patience is important here. You will need to be patient as the answer may not come immediately. This where it’s important that you speak to people who waited on the Lord Jesus and then by him are following their specific calling in God.

Even when I didn’t know what was the specific will of God, I wouldn’t waste my time with the skeptics and impious to get me the answers. I couldn’t immediately get to speak to people who came to know the specific will of God. But here’s what I did, I read about their experiences. It read how Christians in the past few years understood the will of God. I didn’t bypass the Bible. The story of how the prophet Samuel received his calling from God as a prophet inspired me. I was thrilled to know how Elisha was chosen Elijah due to the Lord God’s instructions to Elijah. Then in the due course of time, I actually go to speak to people in the flesh who by prayer, tears and hard experiences came to know of what God specifically wanted of them. Some of these individuals didn’t have to undergo hardships to know God’s will. It was surprisingly simple for them. But all in all, everyone who received the specific will of God had a thing in common; the unrelenting desire to know God’s will.

So for anyone who desires to know the specific will of God, have a strong desire towards it. I’m not talking about mere emotions but actions that are in sync with it. This desire should manifest in holiness. You can’t be yelling, shouting to the world that you are searching God’s will. Keep it between yourself and God and only few trusted spiritually mature Christians. You need not be proud. Be humble in spirit and in action. This should get you closer to know the specific will of God.

 

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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What did Jesus say about Satan?

Jesus had a lot to say about Satan. It’s strange that in some Christian circles the preachers and the congregations don’t want to hear about Satan nor his wicked plans when Jesus himself was highly critical of the eternally condemned liar. I find it odd and tragic in equal measure that certain people want to speak that Jesus is victorious but don’t want to mention whom he was victorious against. This brings to my mind the words of 2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

Some people want a ‘customized’ gospel as per their own hearts desires and they find preachers who are willing to ‘tweak’ the gospel for them. By reading 2 Timothy 4:3-4 we are already forewarned about this and must accept the entire teachings of the Bible and not just bits and pieces of it. About such deceived people, may the good Lord Jesus open their eyes before its too late for them. Amen.

Now here’s what Jesus said about Satan. I’ll put a (sub) header or explanation about the context for each of his words about Satan for the sake of clarity. Read on:

On the Jews rejecting Jesus as Messiah but still claiming eternal security by being descendants of Abraham.

John 8:4 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Jesus compares Satan to a murdering thief.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Jesus explained the parable of the sower (Matthew 13: 1-23) and compared Satan to the seed eating birds.

Matthew 13:19  When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.

Jesus explained the parable of the weeds (Matthew 13: 24-29 and 36-43) and called Satan as the enemy.

He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.

When Peter advised Jesus against the will of God.

Matthew 16:23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

When the disciples were amazed that they could cast off demons in Jesus’ name.

Luke 10:17-20 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Jesus spoke to Simon Peter on how Satan wanted to claim Simon Peter for eternity but Jesus prayed against it.

Luke 22:31-33 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”

Jesus clarified that he doesn’t need Satan’s nor his henchman Beelzebub’s assistance to cast out demons.

Matthew 12:22-27 Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw.  And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?”  But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub,by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.

Jesus mentioned that the lake of fire at the Final Judgement (Matthew 25:31-46) has been prepared for Satan and his angels and unbelievers too share in it.

Matthew 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

By reading this, I hope and pray that you don’t take the great deceiver of the world ie the Devil lightly and instead trust Jesus forever. May the the light of Christ always shine in your life. Amen.

 

 

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Focus on the Lord!

focus

 

How to avoid all faithlessness and sinful thinking? Well, you can focus on living a holy life. God has given you a deep ability. This ability is among the greatest and is found in the greatest achievers both in the religious and in the secular world. Its called focus.

Learn to focus on the Lord everyday and every moment of your life. Keep your vision in sight and let it be for the glory of God.

Philippians 3:12-14 says, Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

You can’t get clamped down by your past if you need to make good progress in the Kingdom of God. You need to look ahead to the call that Christ Jesus has given you. Leaving all wasteful things behind.

Hebrews 12:1-2 says, Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Never think you are the only person who have ever been called to succeed in the Lord’s way. A great many people have made it to the Lord’s side and now glorify God in heaven surrounded by his holy angels. Take courage dear faithful of the God when you think you’re alone and remind yourself that you are surrounded by a great number of witnesses.

Lets remember the 10th chapter of the gospel of Luke; As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

The scripture I’ve just mentioned are not an excuse to avoid housework. Housework is always a good thing to do. However, we need to have our priorities right as well. Jesus gave us a great tip about priorities when he said that Mary chose the good portion. Martha was much worried about the housework while Mary her sister directly came to listen to the Lord. Honoring God is even higher than even your earthly duties. Never let your earthly duties be considered higher than your duties towards God.

To focus better on the Lord Jesus Christ, lets consider the following and use them:

Read the scriptures to learn and stay strong. Romans 15:4 says, For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Proverbs 3:1-35 says, My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Be alert always and pray. Luke 21:36 says, “But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man”

Expect the return of Christ any moment. Matthew 24:44 says, therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Note: I can say awaiting the return of our glorious Lord Jesus is an important sign of faith and it keeps you focused. Not expecting him to return is just living a lie. 2 Peter 3:3-4 says, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”

Renew your mind so that you discern the will of God. Romans 12:2 says, do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Ask God for his strength. When you are strong spiritually you’d find yourself much better focused! Always say, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

All this will help you keep focused when you put them to thought and action. So to summarize the above for you:

Focus on the Lord so that you’re holy and glorify him. Keep your thoughts and priorities in check.  Many others before you have been victorious in the Lord, so get inspired by their example.  To be well focused, read the scriptures to learn and stay strong.  Be alert always and pray. Expect the return of Christ any moment. Renew your mind so that you discern the will of God and finally ask God for his strength.

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