Thursday, January 23, 2014

Do not remain silent

This is from the blog Daily Meditation:

Esther 4:14: For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

You cannot keep quiet when you see injustice around you. You need to raise your voice and be part of the solution, allowing God to use you. You are the change-agent this world is waiting for. Your little positive action in your little corner of influence has eternal repercussion and will not go unrewarded.

If you cannot do anything, you can pray. When you move the hand of God in prayer, you get to change things on the earth, as it is written; whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven, the same for whatever you loose on earth. Every prayer effort is real effort.

You may not be able to speak with the President on the need for change but you can speak to God. Paul told Timothy that he wants him to give priority to praying for all men (1Timothy 2:1-6), for kings and all decision-makers so that we might live in peace, godliness and honesty.

We are agents of God on the earth, and as we engage in prayer, saying: let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:9-10). One of the things in heaven is peace. You can draw the peace in heaven to the earth through prayer. We cannot presume, in whatever nation you are, that because there is peace now there will always be peace (which also involved all things that make for prosperity), you need to stand in the gap in the place of prayer to bring the reality of heaven to the earth.

You cannot remain silent when the spiritual atmosphere of a place is being taken over by darkness. We cannot say it is the end of time and leave our role in the place of prayer, allowing things to go into decay. We need to execute kingdom authority in the here and now in this generation. In the last but one psalm, the psalmist revealed that the people of God have the privilege to bind the forces of darkness.

In the place of prayer we get to wrestle against principalities and power to weaken their influences in the realm of men (Ephesians 6:10-18). Our presence of earth should have impact on the operation of the devil. We should shine as light. We open our mouth to resist the devil on the earth (James 4:7) and also loose the presence of God(in light) to come into operation and bring divine liberation to men.

Esther in the focus verse was asked to speak to the king, to get him to act against the enemy’s intention for the children of Israel. Apparently she was safe in the palace of the king; she had hidden her identity while in the contest to be the queen of the land, and now she is queen. But when her people (Israelites) were in trouble (set up to be killed and assaulted on a particular day throughout the land), through the machination of Haman, she had to intercede for them with the king and not keep silent. In this wise, she cannot think of herself, of how dangerous it is for her to approach the king (to go to the king without being invited is to risk being killed). To speak up for others means you have some measure of selflessness, like Christ (Matthew 20:28).

When the apostles got into trouble with the Pharisee who threatened that they should not preach in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:1-33), the church, the bride of Christ prayed and the power of God was released to make even more miracles to happen in the name of Jesus; so that the threat against the church only served to fuel more work of God in the midst of the land, when the church called on God. (No threat should make you shut up; continue to call on God in prayer.) Likewise, on the day Israelites were to be killed, through the intercession of Esther, they were the one plundering their enemies. They were greatly feared.

Mordecai wanted Esther to speak up for the children of Israel, so that relief and deliverance can come for them through her effort. It is the same thing the blood of Jesus does for us; the book of Hebrews says that the blood of Jesus speaks better things than the blood of Abel (Hebrews 12:24). The blood of Abel spoke out in demand for vengeance (Genesis 4:10, Hebrews 11:4, Revelation 6:10), while the blood of Jesus speaks out in demand for justification and redemption for anyone who believes that he has a hand in the death of Jesus; that Jesus died for him. To say Jesus died for you means you acknowledge that you are a sinner in need of a saviour, and that Jesus is that saviour, with that you are saved. Jesus did not seek for revenge, having accepted the call to be the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world.

Cain had a hand in the death of Abel, he was responsible for the shedding of his blood and he was judged for it, we have a hand in the death of Jesus because he died for our sins, and because he rose from the dead, Jesus was able to be a source of eternal salvation for those who believe in him. His blood cried for mercy for us. Jesus’ last request from God concerning man was: forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing (Luke 23:34).
Those who believe in him have passed from death to life, from darkness to light because of the better things that his blood speaks. They receive the gift of forgiveness.

Since he is the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world in the order of the Old Testament sacrificial system, the blood of Jesus speaks forgiveness of sins, it speaks mercy, it speaks justification, and it speaks sanctification.

Because it is through the blood that our conscience gets purged from dead works (Hebrews 9:14), making ready a place for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, therefore the blood speaks for the operation of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Since the Holy Spirit cannot act except when there it is holiness, the blood is important for our relationship with God because it is the Holy Spirit who makes intimate relationship with God possible.

The blood speaks up for our relief and deliverance. It is in the context of that that Jesus is said to ever lives to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25). His blood is constantly speaking for us, making us objects of God’s favour in perpetuity.

The reality of the blood constantly speaking on our behalf is the guarantee that we will be with the Lord in perpetuity, that our sins have been taken away and we are free from bondage to it. That means the blood of Jesus speaks freedom from sin. John declared the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sins (1John 1:7). In the blood is our relief for eternal damnation and deliverance from satanic bondage. (Satanic bondage operates through death which also operates through sin [Hebrews 2:14-15, Romans 5:12, 14].)

What about the word of God in your mouth? We have the mandate to declare the word of God. The word of God represents the will of God, and it is by declaring the word that we declare the will of God. We are God’s spokesmen to declare his counsel, and cause his will to be done on earth. Put his word in your mouth. The bible says you shall decree a thing and it will be established to you (Job 22:28).

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

There is reward for your work

This is from the blog Daily Meditation:

2Chronicles 15:7: But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.”

The work of God can be tasking sometimes, but we need to remember that the reward is assured. Jesus’ work involved laying down his life on the cross; John the Baptist’s work has to do with wearing Carmel hair and eating meagre food, locust and honey, living a very austere life; Paul’s work involved not getting married; Amos’ work involved leaving his business which he loves as a farmer and going to be a prophet. They all will be rewarded.
Paul wrote that we should not be weary in doing good things because we would reap in due time if we faint not, the reward is only for the consistent (Galatians 6:9).There is blessing in serving God, the bible says so (Exodus 23:25).

In the focus verse someone was being told to take courage and not let his hands be weak, because whatever he is doing for God will be rewarded.  These words are important because in the heat of “battle,” because of the fearsomeness of the opposition, it is possible to lose heart.

But Jesus refused to be discouraged. He set his eyes on the goal. For the joy set before him, he despised the shame of the cross (Hebrews 12:1-3). He was focused on the reward, which came to him in multiple folds. Paul said that our light affliction is nothing to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).

The kingdom of God existed in a system of increasing rewards but on this earth the reward we have is to a large extent not for the work we have done, but what Christ has done (however the reward we have in heaven is to a large the result of the work we have done on earth).

For example we are saved not as a result of something we do but as a result of something Jesus did. The only thing we need to do is to believe, and confess him (Romans 10:9-13). This is like appending your signature to claim the benefits of the pain he bore on the cross to take way our pain of eternal damnation. Whatever way we operate on the earth is based on the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, flowing in what he released on the earth as possibilities in our relationship with God and service to him.

In the same way, we are enjoined to have a servant’s heart like Jesus Christ. When we work at our gifts, we bring benefits to others and the only thing they need to do is to receive from us. Since we are all a part of the body of Christ, we should bring benefits to others through our work.

Peter said those who speak should speak as oracles of God and that is a tall order, and those who minster, serve, with the ability that God gives (1Peter 4:10-11); so even in our work it is still God who works in us and we are able to speak and be a blessing through that or offer non-speech assignments, as tools for God.

When the bible says God is at work in us, it therefore means we would be rewarded for releasing ourselves for God to work through us. On our own, we don’t anything to offer, we are merely vessels. Paul said we are earthen vessels with treasures inside (2Corinthians 4:7). Though the vessel is weak, and unadorned with beauty, it is valuable because of what it contains, its capacity. And it is the capacity to express love (1Corinthians 13).

So the reward is for yielding and for faithfulness (1Corinthians 4:2). But when we understand that we are faithful because God enables us to be faithful, then we know that all glory to God and none to us, either in heaven or on earth. For eternity, we are beneficiaries of the goodness of God expressed in Jesus.

However, we still need an understanding of the reward of God, without which we might grow weary. Peter asked Jesus: we have left all and followed you, what will be our reward (Mark 10:28-30)? Abraham followed the dictate of God to leave his father’s house to an unknown land, but along the line, he asked God: what will you give me (Genesis 15:2)? That is to be our motivation, what we set out eyes to. Our labour of love, or service and obedience to him is not in vain. Jesus told Peter that he will receive multiple of what he gives up for him, and God gave Abraham a son through Sarah, his aged wife.

We are told to look to Jesus, set our hearts on things in heaven and not on things on earth (Colossians 3:1-2). When we look into the pages of the bible, we are to see the hope and life in it. When Jesus told Peter and his brother to follow him, he promised to make them fishers of them, a new calibre of fishermen entirely. At the end of the day Peter had his name among the twelve apostles whose names were on the foundation of the New Jerusalem. By following Jesus in time, they gained eternal relevance.

The wise do not focus on the temporary things but on the eternal things, knowing that it is the Spirit that gives life the flesh profits nothing (John 6:63). There is no need to lament about what is lost because there are greater things ahead, greater objectives to achieve, and reward unlimited.

Paul said everyone will receive his reward from God, according to what his work shall be. That is why it is required in stewards that they are found faithful. Paul sent a message to Archippus to ensure that he fulfils the ministry that he has from the Lord (Colossians 4:17), he spoke of Demas that he got distracted from the way of the lord, from his service to pursue pecuniary gains (2Timothy 4:10), he valued natural gain more that spiritual gain.

Talking about reward Paul said that you don’t muzzle the ox that threshes the grain, and it is the farmer who plants that will first eat of the fruit of the farm (1Corinthians 9:1-14). That means you get to share in the positive things that the service that you performed achieved.

Paul said that if he has sown spiritual things to the people he has the right to reap their carnal, natural things from them; he has the right to their natural goods. He commended the Philippians church for their offering to him, as a responding to his need, as he has been a father to them, a spiritual father (Philippians 4:15-20), bringing them spiritual benefit.

Paul also said those who serve at the altar should eat of the altar, in an allusion to the Old Testament where the priest which helps the people with their connection with God, their relationship with God, gets to partake of what the worshippers of God brings to God, as they respond to God’s.

When they give directly to the men of God it is like a sweet smelling savour to God (indirectly they are giving to God), and he will reward the giver for being a channel of reward for the man of God (for his spiritual service), and the cycle goes on.

The bible says that the he who gives to the poor lends to the Lord (Proverbs 19:17), which means that God will reward such acts of selflessness. Jesus pushed for this kind of selfless attitude, telling the people that when they hold a feast they should invite the poor who may not have the opportunity to invite them in turn, and then their reward will come from God in big way (Luke 12-14).

In another place Jesus said that whoever gives a prophet a cup of water because he is a prophet will reap a prophet’s reward (Matthew 10:40-41). For helping the prophet with their physical needs, or some other messengers of God, you join yourself to him for whatever reward that is his for his service, since you have assisted him in that service.