A New Season with God

When God initiates a new season in our lives, He is actually creating another opportunity for us to embrace a fresh perspective of Him. When you stay too long at a particular place, you find it more comfortable to stay the same than to change. When your comfort zone becomes a cage, you are staying stuck than soaring free. New seasons, however, are stressful because we are taking a direction to where we have never been before and we are not sure whether we are going to like what we find. This is why many resist change because they would rather stay on the same and safe road of predictability than venturing into a new path of possibilities with God.

Favour with God

30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. Luke 1:30

What a great truth lies in the reassuring words of the angel to Mary, “do not be afraid…for you have found favour with God.” It shows that there is no exception in God’s favour in whatever circumstance or situation you are facing. God’s favour is never based on your credentials but on His character.

Possibilities

30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Luke 1:30

Sometimes a person's name can attract the wrong kind of attention from people, or cloud the opinion of others towards them. For instance, the name of Mary means "bitter rebellion". We can't be too sure, but it may seem likely that Mary had a difficult time growing up, and perhaps her name wasn't much of a help to her. Yet, in spite of her life's circumstances, God chose to favour Mary because He saw beyond where she had been, and the possibilities of who she could become.

Mary, Blessed Among Women

Grace appears in unusual ways and when we least expect it.

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favoured one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” Luke 1:26-28

No More Reproach

24 Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.” Luke 1:24-25

Something impossible happened to Elizabeth. At an old age she conceived and gave birth to a son.

In His Time

20 …my words shall be fulfilled in their season [their fixed appointed time]. Luke 1:20, Greek Version

God doesn’t tell lies or change His mind. What He says, He will do. When He makes a promise, He will meet it.

Surprised by God

13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.... 18 And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” Luke 1:13, 18

Can God still surprise you?

God Remembers

Good and godly people do suffer for no apparent reason. Consider Zacharias and Elizabeth.

5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. Luke 1:5-7,13

By Him All Things Were Created

16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. Colossians 1:16-17

Christ is the Lord of all things. Before anything else existed, Christ exists.

Jesus the Image of the Invisible God

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. Colossians 1:15

Many people have a wrong idea of who God is. By making God’s invisible qualities visible through Jesus enables you to see God as He really is and how He really feels about you. First, Jesus reveals God is love. Secondly, God loves without limit. Thirdly, God’s faithful love is clearly seen in Jesus—who came not to condemn but to save. As you meditate on these truths, you will always find comfort in God’s love no matter what you may be facing right now.

God Speaks to Us by His Son

1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds… Hebrews 1:1-2

The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews tells us how God has remarkably revealed Himself at “various times and in various ways” but in “these last days” Christ is the only way God chooses to reveal Himself and His heart to us. In Christ, God purposely moves you out of the shadow of the Old Covenant into the light of the New Covenant. In doing so, God changes the way you relate to Him and He with you.

Faith and Politics

36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” John 18:36

Jesus was actually living in one of the most politically charged times in history. Israel was under foreign occupation for a long time, and the land was rife with politico-religious extremists committing acts of terror and violence against their unwelcomed rulers. The ongoing political conflicts and historical tensions bred a culture of fear and distrust, and it is of no surprise why both the Jewish and Roman authorities respectively perceived Jesus as a religious and political threat.

God Is With Us

With every revelation from God, He gives you new insight into who you really are in His eyes. God sees beyond what you can see. His thoughts about you are always higher and more loving than you can imagine.

Fully Reconciled

Mental health experts tell us that the root of a dysfunctional behaviour is broken relationships. The danger is that we can carry our dysfunctional self into the church. We need to recognise that only Christ has the power to heal.

18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18

Grace to Change

11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11

Do you believe the very power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that is working in you right now?

Complete

8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception... 10 You are complete in Him. Colossians 2:8, 10

What does it mean to be complete in Christ?

Cast Your Care

Some people can’t stop worrying. They worry because they have no control over their lives. Here’s the news—statistically speaking, most of the things people worry about never happen. Even if they do, there is little that could have been done to stop those things from happening. The really good news is this: what worries you does not worry God. There is no worry in God’s world. Jesus tells us that worrying cannot add a single hour to our lives (Matthew 6:27). People can worry themselves sick and even die from it. The reason people say that they trust God and still worry is because they don’t trust God enough.

Called to Pray

8 I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere… 1 Timothy 2:8

Prayer is not a chore but a choice. A great man of God once said that prayer is like a thermostat—it sets the temperature of how "hot" or "cold" we are towards God. Surveys indicate that an average Christian spends less than one minute a day in prayer. Now, it is important that we are not talking about the length of our prayers here, but the strength of our faith in God.

Strengthen Yourself in Christ

12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13

Are you afraid of failure or success? The Bible is full of stories about people who allowed their fear of failure or fear of success stop them from getting ahead in life. Think of Abraham, Moses, Esther and John Mark—their fearful thoughts limited God from working in and through them. And God had to wait until they were willing to trust Him.

Unsearchable Riches in Christ

6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ... Philippians 1:6

Thank God that as He begins His good work of salvation in you through Christ, He is going to complete it. He will keep on maturing you through your life in Christ until the day when you stand in His glorious presence. God wants you to succeed in your Christian life, and He is committed to see you becoming a success for Him.

The Mercy of God

12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. Hebrews 8:12

When a court passed a verdict of "not guilty", it doesn't mean the defendant is innocent of a crime. Rather, the case was not proven beyond reasonable doubt of guilt. In our case before God's court of law however, we were equally judged "guilty" and "not guilty" at the same time. "Guilty" because everyone has sinned against God and none can ever get right with Him on their own accord. "Not guilty" because we received a verdict of pardon through Jesus Christ who died as the perfect substitute for our sin.

In Everything, Give Thanks

How can you praise God when you are facing trials? Consider the example of Paul and Silas when they were thrown into the dungeon (Acts 16:16-40). If you were ever in prison during their time, the dungeon was the most miserable place to be in. It was filled with human waste and filth. Yet Luke tells us,

25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Acts 16:25

Every Day I Will Bless You

1 I will extol You, my God, O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever. 2 Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever. Psalm 145:1-2

David rejoiced in God and God’s goodness. And he decided to worship God every day without fail. If you have the opportunity to meditate on all his psalms, you will discover that David did not just worship God every day, but he worshiped God all day. When he woke up, God was his first thought. When he slept, God was his last thought. The thought of God was constantly in his heart throughout the day.

Sons of the Father

Pilate found Jesus innocent of any crime and had sought every way possible to release him. Barabbas was a key part of a clever move orchestrated by Pilate. He thought if the crowd were given a choice to choose between an innocent man and a condemned man, Jesus was obviously the people's choice. However, things didn't turn out as expected.

Redemption

7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. Ephesians 1:7

Are you happy that you are you? Some people are never happy with themselves. They struggle with feeling worthless and undeserving of love. The truth is, in spite of how you feel about yourself, God loves you. To begin with, God loves you not because you are lovable, but He loves you because you were created out of His perfect love.

United with Christ

God made Christ the Source of everything concerning your salvation. And when Christ takes His rightful and preeminent place in your life, you will enjoy everything that comes with your salvation. Pray that the Holy Spirit will enable you to understand the significance of your life in Christ so that you can live your life worthy of God.

Made Alive in Christ

Lots of believers live with a big gap in their understanding of the gospel. Often, they are unaware that this "gospel gap" can affect their growth. As such, the more we grasp the grace of the gospel, the more we are transformed by the truth of the gospel. The Spirit of God wants to reveal deep spiritual truths of Christ to you. He desires for you to live and walk each day in the light of the revelation as found in the gospel.

22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:22

The Greek word for "made alive" is zõopoieõ. Zõopoieõ is a compound word—zoe means "life" and poieo means "to create or to make”—which means "make alive with life". Quickening is a word often used to describe this unique life-giving Spirit of Christ in a believer.

The gospel is not about making an unhappy person happy. Rather, the gospel exists to make a spiritually dead person alive. You were dead in trespasses and sins until you were made alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:1). It is this “life-giving spirit” of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:45) that actively regenerated your spiritually dead life into a spiritually new life brimming with the power of His resurrection.

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus... Ephesians 2:4-6

The Apostle Paul tells us that God richly lavishes His mercy on us because of His immense and intense love. In making you alive in Christ, God had made every provision for you to possess every benefit and privilege that is yours in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:45). When you truly know what God had done for you in Christ, you will live in victory over temptation and habitual sins, and freedom from failure, fear and unbelief.

Raised With Christ

Jesus died for our sins on the Cross and He was raised alive our Saviour. If He had not risen, His death would have signified His failure to save us from our sin. The good news is Jesus rose from the dead! In doing so, God is telling us that the issue of sin is finally and successfully settled, and everyone is at peace with Him.

25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Romans 4:25

Baptized into Christ

3 ...that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death... Romans 6:3

The old life is long dead! Your "old you" was crucified together with Christ and was buried together with Him. Now together with Christ, you live in the power of His resurrection , and in practical terms, your "new you" has no fear of sin, death, hell and the devil because their hold over you are broken. Instead of believing that their old life had already been crucified with Christ, there are believers who want to deal with sin on their own terms. They think the Christian life is all about fighting sin, and so they develop a habit of checking for sins [in their lives and others] without knowing the root of sin is already long dead and buried. To fight sin in this way is actually unbelief and a rejection of Christ's finished work on the Cross. Such believers will expend too much energy fighting a defeated enemy and they will often end up feeling angry, confused, and frustrated. You need to deal with sin on God’s side of reality, not yours. The Christian life is not sin-obsessed but Christ-centred. The Apostle Paul tells us that it is about living in the reality of the crucified life. And the crucified life is of faith—believing that Christ who saves us is also able to keep us safe in Him. Victory over sin is a real possibility because of your new nature in Christ. Having this new nature means everything about you is new. You have a whole new identity in Christ, a whole new reality through Christ and a whole new destiny with Christ.

Buried With Christ

The unveiling of the finished work of the Cross is the essence of the gospel. The Cross is God's way of making us right with Him. How does God do it? He does it by making you complete in Christ. You may ask, "How does God complete me in Christ?" God completes you by defining everything about you in the Person of His Son. Instead of judging you for your sinful acts and imperfections, He looks at the perfect work of Christ alone as the basis of His acceptance and approval of you.

Crucified the Flesh

24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:24

When you were crucified with Christ, your “old you” was crucified with Him so that your “new you” could come. Your "old you", which was your old sinful nature, was put to death in order for you to have freedom over the power of sin.

Crucified With Christ

Christ's self-sacrifice is the glory of the gospel story. The security of your salvation stands on the weight of His finished work on the Cross. It is through the Cross that you are given the possibility of a fresh start with God.

Hidden In Christ

3 your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3

Consider the rich implication of your life in Christ. Everything about Christ has to do with you.

The Exchanged Life

Don’t measure yourself by your own opinion or feeling. Measure yourself according to God’s good opinion and feeling about you. The truth is, in spite of how you feel about yourself, God loves you. To begin with, God loved you not because you were lovable. He loved you because you were created out of His perfect love. You were made by Him for Him to love you.

8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Partners

Passion disappears when you are no longer open to your call—when you stop making it a priority to live up to your purpose and forget God has blessed you to be a blessing. With all the distractions happening around you, it is easy to disengage from what God has intended for you.

I Never Stopped Giving Thanks

15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers. Ephesians 1:15-16

When you pray for your fellow believers, how do you usually pray for them? Paul ceaselessly thanked God for the Ephesians when he heard of their firm faith in Christ and their deep love for Christians everywhere. Faith and love go together.

Serving the Good News

7 I now serve the good news because God gave me his grace. His power is at work in me. Ephesians 3:7

Grace empowers us to live a most fulfilling and productive life.

Passion

Passivity is a first world church problem. Statistics show that eighty percent of an average congregation in the West watch the other twenty percent do the work of ministry. Yet, despite the fact that modern technology has made it accessible and easy for us to get all the Christian teachings and all the revelations we will ever need to grow in God's grace, very few believers have risen to the challenge with more determination to make a difference. Still, we put the demand on our preachers and teachers to give us something new every Sunday even though we have done little with what we have heard last Sunday. What causes passivity?

A Church of Friends

2 Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and brought them to the top of a very high mountain where they were alone. Mark 9:2 Common English Bible

Jesus knew the importance of creating a tight circle of friends where they felt safe with each other and were secure enough to do life together. Peter, James and John were free to be themselves in the company of Jesus. They could say or do stupid things without fear of offending Him or receiving an overcorrection from Him, and if and when they truly messed up, the Lord was there to point out the right way to them. This explains why these three men always felt a sense of belonging, not only to Jesus but to each other.

God Gives the Increase

6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 1 Corinthians 3:6-7

The Corinthians were obsessed with whose teaching they were most impressed and following that it caused divisions and arguments amongst them. This necessitates the Apostle Paul to teach them and us that while God may use different individuals to "plant and water" our faith, but it is He alone who gives us the increase.

Measuring Success

God measures success differently from the way we measure success. To the world, success is the result of hard work. To God, success is a restful increase. To the world, success is having a high living standard, status and possessions. To God, success is an overflow from meditating on His Word.

Good Eye or Evil Eye

A person on purpose is not a selfish but a giving person. For everyone who understands their purpose often wants to make a positive contribution in the lives of others. They leave behind a legacy of giving.

Living the God-Led Life

God wants to transform you into the person He desires you to become. However, unless you desire to change, He cannot change you! God has given you the gift of free choice to choose how you want to live the rest of your life. You can choose to live life by reaction or by revelation. Jesus said,

34 My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. John 4:34

We Need Each Other

As much as a body cannot function without a head, it cannot fully function without all the limbs and organs working together. If these limbs and organs loathe and reject each other (1 Corinthians 12:15-17), Paul tells us the body will fail.

Proof of Faith

There are many amazing stories in the Bible of individuals who received healing after hearing Christ. The woman with the issue of blood (Matthew 9:22), the man with leprosy (Mark 1:40-41), the paralysed man with his four friends (Luke 5:20) and the nobleman’s dying son (John 4:50) are some fine examples. The best part is that Jesus encouraged them with words like, “Be of good cheer...your faith has made you well and, according to your faith let it be to you”.

Believing in God’s Goodness

The greatest tragedy in life is living with disappointment. It is when you stop believing in the goodness of God. Many use their hardships to complain and question God. God never had a dull moment with the children of Israel during their 40 years of sojourn in the wilderness. Their unceasing complaints brought troubles for them on many occasions. In Psalm 78, Asaph recalled the history of this rebellious generation:

40 How often they provoked Him in the wilderness, And grieved Him in the desert! 41 Yes, again and again they tempted God, And limited the Holy One of Israel. Psalm 78:40-41

Complaining does not change circumstances. Believing God does.

Let God’s Word Refine You

17 He sent a man before them—Joseph—who was sold as a slave. 18 They hurt his feet with fetters, He was laid in irons. 19 Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him. Psalm 105:17-19

Most of us are familiar with the story of Joseph, a son sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, but rose to a position of prestige, power and prominence. Since he was young, Joseph knew from God his destiny, but God's Word "tested" Joseph until he was ready to fulfil it.

Taking Hold of Your Purpose

Are you doing exactly what you want to be doing? Most people do have some sense of their purpose, but often they suffer from inertia and lack the momentum to pursue their God-given dream. They choose to take up a very different path; not daring to risk because they want to stay in their comfort zone.

Be Strong in Jesus

We are not spared from problems. We deal with our problems by knowing that there is a “greater power” working in us than the power of the problems.

10 … my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Ephesians 6:10

Face to Face

12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

Have you ever struggled with a conflicted view of life? Regardless of the truth that you are made complete in Christ, you still feel somehow your life is like a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces. Paul tells us the only way to resolve this conflict is for you to quit living your life as you see it but start living your life as God sees it.

Give Yourself to Others

3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

Unhappy people pay too much attention to themselves. Being unable to determine their own happiness, they want others to make them happy. We need to realise that when we make other people responsible for our happiness and blame them for our unhappiness, we are actually using them for our own selfish end.

Cheerful Giver

7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

What's in your mind when the offering bag is passed around or when you heard of someone with a financial need? Do you find it a challenge to give or do you readily seize the opportunity to sow more?

Give in the Right Spirit

Some Christians get it wrong when it comes to giving. They give with the expectation of receiving huge financial rewards in return. If this is true, it would reduce giving into a spiritual formula. It is not right to suppose we give to get. I know of enough believers who got fleeced by this questionable way of thinking. God’s word is clear.

25 The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself. Proverbs 11:25

Taking the Form of a Bondservant

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:5-7

There is a vast difference between choosing to serve and choosing to be a bondservant.

God Foreordained the Gospel

8 The Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. Revelation 13:8, English Standard Version

The gospel didn't begin with Jesus Christ's earthly ministry, but it went back to the very beginning, even before the world began. In His infinite wisdom, God foreordained the gospel, that is, He chose to fulfil His purpose for us and all of creation through the death and life of Jesus. This is to say the cross is not an afterthought or an emergency backup plan.

Ishmael Mocking Isaac

The Apostle Paul warned the Galatians of the Judaizers who had a legalistic understanding of the Christian faith. Opposing God’s grace and the believer’s freedom from the law, they compelled the Galatians to practise circumcision. Paul compared the Judaizers’ attitude towards the Galatians to Ishmael’s mocking of Isaac.

8 And the child grew and was weaned, and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. 9 Now Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, mocking Isaac. Genesis 21:8-9, Amplified Bible

The Blood of Jesus

7 …the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7

On the night of the first Passover in Egypt, God told the children of Israel, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you” (Exodus 12:13). It was the blood that makes the difference between life and death. It was God’s estimation of the blood that saves them. Likewise, it is God’s value of Christ’s blood that saves us. John tells us that it is the blood of Jesus that cleanses you from all sin. No sin is left untouched. No sin is left unjudged. No sin is left unpunished. The Greek word for “cleanse” is katharizõ which means “free from sin and the guilt of sin”. When God sees you in Christ now, He “passes over” you on the account of His Son’s blood and will not judge your sin against you. Knowing this revelation frees you from every condemnation of sin in your life. Many Christians are beset by condemning thoughts. They measure their worth by their deeds, rather than by what Christ had done. No one can free himself of sin by his own will, or change his own sinful nature by his own power. Only Christ can! He paid the dreadful price for your sins with His blood. Believe it is His blood that bears the power to blot out sin and breaks its power over you.

Believe God

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. James 5:13

Bad things happen to everyone but feeling down doesn't fix anything.

More than Conquerors

Many years ago, I chanced upon a comic strip in which a man asked his friend, “What’s the difference between ignorance and apathy?” His friend looked puzzled, and nervously answered, “I don’t know, and I don’t care.” When it comes to the gospel, please don’t suffer from ignorance and apathy.

Life in the Spirit

In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit would come upon a person assigned to a task but then always depart upon completion of the task. It is different in the New Testament. The Holy Spirit is not only given to every believer, but He also abides and dwells in every believer forever.

5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. Romans 8:5

Confidence toward God

Is prayer a personal struggle for you? God does not need us to pray. Jesus prays because He loves the Father and longs for the Father's will to be done in and through Him. We ought to share this same attitude if we desire to grow as sons and daughters of our Father.

Do Not Worry About Tomorrow

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:33-34

Worry is a thief. It steals your joy and robs your peace. It kills your hope and ruins your dreams. To worry is to have more faith in your problems than in God. To worry is to think the worst of things that may or may not affect you. To worry is to waste time and to lose sleep over something which hasn’t even happened yet.

New Name, New Destiny

In the Bible, whenever an individual receives a change of name, it indicates a change of destiny.

40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone). John 1:40-42

The first encounter Simon Peter had with Jesus was when Andrew brought him to see the Christ (John 1:41). The moment Jesus saw Simon, He spoke out his new destiny by giving him a new name: “You are Simon…You shall be called Cephas.” Simon in Hebrew means “hear” or “listen”, and Cephas in Aramaic or Peter in Greek (Petros) means “a rock”. When Jesus called Simon, “Peter”, He saw in him a man who would stand solidly like a rock, steady and single-minded. However, in spite of such great revelation, Simon didn’t quite understand it for himself. It would take him many lessons before Simon became the “Peter” Christ meant him to be. Let God’s revelation of who you are in Christ define you. Your present situation does not determine your God-given destiny. Things may appear bleak or hopeless and you are tempted to give up. However, those things don’t control your destiny because your path in life’s journey is in the hands of God. Stand firm on God’s Word by living decisively in His Word.

Taste and See

Can you recall the most positive thing you have done during a dark moment in life? David was escaping his enemies by feigning insanity when he wrote Psalm 34. He did not let the dire circumstance deter him from praising God. How is this possible? One significant verse in the psalm may give us a clue.

8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! …those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.” Psalm 34:8

Much More

10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Romans 5:10

The cross restores your sense of belonging to God. Even when you were at your worst, before you knew and love God and was at odds with Him, Jesus laid down His life to bring you back to Him. Imagine what great blessings God has for you now when you are at your best!

Become Who You Are

What is the difference between identity and image? Identity is who you are, and image is what you want to be. Most people focus on carving an image that they've forgotten to discover their God-given identity. Your identity is who God creates you to be, and it is only through a vital relationship with God that you fully become the person you are in Him.

Grace and Peace

2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:2

In all of his letters, the Apostle Paul usually greets the believers with "grace" and "peace". More than just a formal or polite way of saying "hello", he was showering them with the blessings of God's grace and peace.

Free to Worship

Worship isn't so much that we are seeking God, but rather God is searching for us.

23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. John 4:23

The Greek word for "seek" is zēteō which means "actively searching to find, to look for something with determination". In contrast with the Pharisees who put on a showy and pretentious worship persona, our Father is earnestly looking for us to enjoy a real and authentic relationship with Him. Only when you recognise God as your Father can you become a true worshipper. And every time we worship, we truly want to reach out to Him even more. People who know and love the Father do not need any reason to worship Him (or give any excuse not to worship Him). Without this revelation, our worship will become cold and distant to a point where we resent and resist God. Worship is returning to the Father, again and again, the love that we have so freely and fully received from Him. Sometimes you are not sure where you are in life, but instead of stressing yourself to figure it out, just keep on worshipping. Be free to give yourself as fully as you can to worship the Father—for there is no sweetest or safest place to be than you being aware of His abiding presence in your life. No matter what situations come your way, go to the Father with childlike faith and you will see that He rewards those who believe in Him with grace and favour far beyond any problem or trouble they have endured since He is infinitely our Righteous Father (John 17:25).

God Answers Prayer

7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. John 15:7

To abide in Christ is to abide in His words.

Serving as Sons

There are believers who have real servant hearts. They give everything without expecting anything in return. There are also those who don’t mind being called servants of God but get hurt and frustrated when they feel they are being treated as servants. Serving others in the New Covenant is not an obligation but an overflow. You are not a servant doing work for your master, but a son doing good works for your Father. Jesus gives us a revelation of what it means to serve:

43 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Mark 10:43-45

Legitimate Sons

8 All legitimate sons undergo discipline; so if you don’t, then you’re illegitimate and not a son! Hebrews 12:8, Paraphrased

We live in a generation that does not want to be disciplined. Often, we see discipline as a punishment because we don't know we are the Father's beloved children. The hard news is God does discipline us. The good news is God doesn't discipline as a form of punishment. Rather, God's discipline is both a form of training and as a means of enabling us to grow and mature as God's sons and daughters.

The Super-Abounding Grace of God

20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more" Romans 5:20

There are those who believe that too much preaching of grace will stir up more sinful behaviour. This gives rise to the muddled idea of wanting to balance law and grace which creates the notion of being justified by faith but sanctified by works. Grace is not a sermon topic. Grace is Jesus (Titus 2:11-12). To say there is too much emphasis on grace is to say there is too much emphasis on Jesus. The question is, can we ever overemphasise Jesus? We can't have too much of Jesus because He is the Source, Supply and Strength of our salvation.

Grow in Grace and Knowledge

18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18

Being made a new creation gives you the power to re-imagine your life in a new direction. You are no longer bound to your past and the culture and environment in which you were raised because you are freed from the power of sin to live a complete life in Christ.

Enemies of the Cross

18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. Philippians 3:18-19

All the New Testament writers warn us of those who distort the gospel of grace.

Grace-Made

8 I cannot think of anyone more unworthy to this cause than I, the least of the least of the saints. But here I am, a grace-made man, privileged to be an echo of His voice and a preacher to all the nations of the riches of the Anointed One, riches that no one ever imagined. Ephesians 3:8, Voice Bible

Many believers have yet to plumb the deep depth of grace.

God’s Grace Is Sufficient for You

Satan doesn’t care what your purpose is as long as you don’t do anything about it. However, once you are determined to live out your purpose, opposition begins. He will hurl every trial and temptation, distraction and discouragement to stop you.

Fully Mature in the Lord

1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. 1 Corinthians 3:1-3

Be forever childlike, but not forever childish. The Apostle Paul was correcting the Corinthian church for its lack of spiritual growth. Although they have received the gospel with joy, they never quite mature in their understanding of it. This spiritual immaturity caused the Corinthians to show some poor judgement and made some bad choices.

The Kingdom of God Is At Hand

Jesus said...15"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel." Mark 1:15

The gospel can be summed up in seven words: "The kingdom of God is at hand!"

Walk in the Spirit

Walking by the Spirit and living under the law are mutually exclusive and are diametrically opposed to each other.

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Galatians 5:16; 25

A Spirit-led Life

18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Galatians 5:18

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Galatians 5: 25

There is clearly a distinction between "being led by the Spirit" and "walking in the Spirit", for the former implies the Spirit guiding us, while the latter shows our obedience to His guidance.

Justified by Law or Justified by Grace

4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. Galatians 5:4, King James Version

There are believers who assume the phrase "fallen from grace" means those found guilty of serious crimes and evil deeds. But, as the Apostle Paul tells us, those who have fallen from grace are those self-righteous people who are trusting in their own ability to earn God's acceptance by keeping the Law of Moses.

An Awakening of Righteousness

7 Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? 9 For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. 2 Corinthians 3:7-9, English Standard Version

The Law of Moses may improve your behaviour for a short time, but sooner or later you will fail and fall back into old sinful habits. This explains why we have so many accounts of revivals in the Old Testament. The people of Israel kept on trying to obey God, but they kept on failing because they didn't have the Holy Spirit to empower them to live a righteous life before God.

You Are Worthy

Years ago, there was a popular Christian song that went like this, "Jesus accepts me as I am.” To begin with, Jesus did not accept you as you are. If that were so, then He would have left you alone and let you continue with your life. Rather, the gospel tells us that it is through the new birth that Christ exchanged your old sinful nature with His spiritual nature.

Willing

40 On one occasion, a leper came and threw himself down in front of Jesus, pleading for his healing, saying, “You have the power to heal me right now if only you really want to!” 41 Being deeply moved with tender compassion, Jesus reached out and touched the skin of the leper and told him, “Of course I want you to be healed—so now, be cleansed!” Mark 1:40-41, The Passion Translation

The gospel writer Mark tells us how a leper came to Jesus for healing. This ill man knew Jesus has the power to heal, but he wasn't sure whether Jesus would heal him. After having been a victim of rejection and lost hope for such a long time, you can’t really blame him for feeling that way. Out of compassion for the leper, Jesus promptly stretched out his hand and touched the leper, saying, “I am willing, be cleansed.” The man was immediately healed of his dreaded disease.

In Latter Times

1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 1 Timothy 4:1-3

In these last days, the Holy Spirit clearly says without any uncertainty that some believers will desert the truth of the gospel and devote themselves to spirits of deception and following demon-inspired revelations and beliefs. The Greek word for “deceiving” is planos which means “wandering, misleading, leading into error”. These so-called believers are caught in a web of legalistic rules that advocates celibacy and dietary restrictions that God doesn’t expect.

God is Good

Have you ever wondered where God is when you are facing trials and difficulties in your life?

7 The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him. Nahum 1:7

When the Prophet Nahum began his ministry, Judah was facing an impending threat of invasion from the Assyrian Empire. Nahum, whose name means "comfort", was certainly apt—for God was showing unrelenting and overwhelming grace to His people in a dark time of their life.

The Incredible Greatness of God’s Power

Our deepest ignorance is not being aware that we have everything we need in Christ to live a life of wholeness and purpose—both now and forevermore. When we don't appreciate what is already ours in the Lord, our prayers become pleas for more faith, more power or more anointing. This desperation can drive us to do futile things and make efforts to get something from God when in reality He has already freely given us all things in Christ.

Holiness Is the Fruit of Grace

When we understand the character of God, His holiness does not terrify us, but we are actually awed by it. For many believers, the idea of holiness seems difficult or out of reach. They often treat it more as a duty than a privilege.

15 but as (God) who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16

Be Perfect As Your Heavenly Father Is Perfect

48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:48

Many Christians have mistaken this verse to mean we should be flawless or without any shortcomings or faults. But if you read this verse in context, it becomes clear that Jesus is not setting an impossible standard of perfection. What, then, does Jesus mean here "to be perfect like God"?

To Know the Love of Christ

17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19

Our Christian life is rested on the firm foundation of Christ's love.

Obeying God

29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. Acts 5:29

When you cannot tell the difference between listening to men and listening to God, you will always feel conflicted and confused in living the Christian life. When the early church made it their first and only priority to obey God, there's no holding back to what they could do for Him and through Him.

Law of Christ

2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

The Bible describes two kinds of law: the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ. Both are mutually exclusive as they define two different covenants, and yet the biggest mistake Christians have made is to muddle these two together.

The Goodness of God

Many believers are taught that God can use evil and suffering to bring about a greater good. While it is true that nothing can ever happen to you can take God by surprise, but it doesn't mean that God allows everything to happen to you. God is our Righteous Father (John 17:25) and the Father of Lights who gives us every good and perfect gift to enjoy (James 1:17). As such, God cannot be an author of evil or would ever use evil for His glory.

Keeping the Law or Hearing of Faith

There is a false narrative within Christian circles that espouses the idea that believers must urgently and desperately seek after God if they want a visitation from Him. These believers are often taught to examine their hearts and perform long fasting and prayers in order to do and see miracles and amazing things. This sort of teaching creates a wrong notion about God, that is, we must do lots of desperate and frenzied things if we want God to show up in our lives or our church meetings. That is the work of the law. It doesn't promote faith because it depends on our human efforts to move God.

Grace as God’s Enabling Power

We often define grace as unearned favour of God; however, a careful reading of the Bible reveals grace as the enabling power of God. I am not saying the first definition of grace is wrong because it still gives us a valuable insight of grace. But when we reduce grace to just a notion of unearned favour, we tend to focus on "getting what we don't deserve in Christ" rather than on "getting to do all things in Christ". Such a lopsided view of grace stunts growth and delay maturity. Without a doubt, grace is freely given by God to all through Christ so that they may become His children. But there is more to grace than just getting saved. Grace is God's enabling power to grow us into maturity and become Christ-like in character and values (Romans 8:29, Ephesians 4:14-15). In other words, the unearned favour of God opens the way for us to experience the enabling power of God.

Unwavering Faith

If you don't know how broken you are, you feel no need for wholeness.

51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked. “My Rabbi,” Bartimaeus said, “I want to see!” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road. Mark 10:51-52, New Living Translation

The Healing of Forgiveness

Both the Pharisees and Jesus wanted people to live right before God in a sin-ruined world. However, their approach was different from each other. Basically, the Pharisees saw sin as a crime to be punished and Jesus saw sin as a sickness that needed healing. You can see this contrast in how they treated people.

God Will Do Us Right

20 (Abraham) did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Romans 4:20-22

I always thank God for answered and unanswered prayers. Knowing that He is our Righteous Father, God will never do anything that might harm us or potentially cause our prayers to hurt others. We must take comfort that God will do us right even when we don't get to see the big picture all the time.

Following Jesus

33 Then they said to (Jesus), “Why do the disciples of John fast often and make prayers, and likewise those of the Pharisees, but Yours eat and drink?” Luke 5:33

What does it mean to follow Jesus?

Grace is Sin-resistance

Anyone who says that grace is an excuse for sin actually misrepresents grace. This makes God's grace unattractive. It is as good as saying that God is responsible for our sinful choices and lifestyle. Unfortunately, this lie has produced a reaction in the body of Christ that resulted in a rejection of the truth of God's grace and a resurgence of legalism and self-righteousness. The Apostle Paul tells us that grace gives us the basis and power of overcoming sin.

11 God’s marvellous grace has manifested in person (of Jesus), bringing salvation for everyone. 12 This same grace teaches us how to live each day as we turn our backs on ungodliness and indulgent lifestyles, and it equips us to live self-controlled, upright, godly lives in this present age. Titus 2:11-12

A Change of Heart

12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. Hebrews 7:12, English Standard Version

With the change of the provisional Levitical priesthood to the permanent priesthood of Christ, we also see a change from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant and a change from the Law of Moses to the Law of Christ.

The New Covenant Life

3 And understand this: if you choose to be circumcised, then you will oblige yourself to do every single rule of the law for the rest of your life. Galatians 5:3, Voice

Those who insisted that the Old Testament law is applicable to Christians today are often culpable for not upholding their position in its entirety. Somehow, they will arbitrarily tell you that we don't have to observe the ceremonial part but only the moral part of Moses' law, that is, the Ten Commandments.

Praying in the Reality of the New Covenant

14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 1 John 5:14

Many believers have trouble with prayer because they don't actually know the difference between knowing God's will and guessing God's will. This explains the unsettled feelings and worries after praying because they are not sure whether their prayers are heard or not. The truth is, praying according to God's will is not difficult, if we learn to pray in the reality of the New Covenant.

Pray Without Ceasing

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

None of our prayers are ever lost—but I am not sure exactly why God doesn't answer them in the way we expect or want it to be. I, however, know for sure that God loves us deeply, and we are dearer to Him than we can ever imagine.

In the Knowledge of Jesus

17 (For I always pray to) the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation (of insight into mysteries and secrets) in the (deep and intimate) knowledge of Him. Ephesians 1:17, Amplified Bible

What do you pray for your fellow believers? The Apostle Paul did more than thanking God for the Ephesians. He also kept praying for them to grow in revelation so that nothing hindered their growth in grace. He desired for God to flood their hearts and minds with His Spirit so that they might know Jesus personally.

Praying In Jesus’ Name

Jesus’ ministry was obviously saturated with prayer. To Him, prayer was not a chore or a duty or a pious act. That is why He detested the Pharisees for turning their prayer life into a public performance. The basic element of prayer is communion with our Father God. It is through praying that Jesus discovered the heartbeat of God. His prayer was always to be one with the Father (John 8:21-22). Jesus was able to accomplish much in so little a time because His ministry was fuelled by a prayerful heart.

God Will Carry You

One of the imponderables of our life in Christ is why God doesn't answer our prayers the way we are hoping. Even if you are wondering why your prayers have yet to be answered, don't be discouraged but keep on praying because God is still listening even though He is telling you right now to wait or no. Instead of worrying about your prayers, just focus on who God is.

Time and Chance Happen to Them All

11 The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. Ecclesiastes 3:11, New International Version

It is not always the swiftest or the strongest or the smartest or even the most skillful who succeeds or wins. Sometimes ordinary people can truly make the most extraordinary difference, if and when they dare to seize their God-given opportunity.

Making Disciples

Jesus is still calling for faithful disciples, not church members.

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19

Jesus wants everyone to become His disciples and Jesus wants every disciple to make disciples. Very often, our idea of making disciples is to invite people to church and hope that the pastor will "save" them so as to increase church attendance. But that isn't what Jesus had in mind. Jesus did not command us to go and make church members or a follower of a denomination. Rather, He commanded us to go and make disciples of all nations. I know of a man who took Jesus' command very seriously. Ying Kai started with teaching a group of believers how to make disciples. His passion led him to launch a training program, "Training for Trainers" or "T4T". Over the course of ten years, T4T became a movement that saw some 160,000 churches planted in various parts of the world and nearly 2 million baptised believers. God did not use Ying Kai because he was exceptionally gifted or special. Rather, God uses him because he faithfully obeyed Jesus' command. In the same way, your obedience can often open doors for you to change lives you never thought was possible. To make disciples is not as difficult as you think. It is about growing intentional relationships with those in our circle of influence. It can be a family member, a friend or a work colleague, or anyone else whom God is prompting you to lead to Him. Discipling someone in its basic form starts with conversations, like Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well. Having a conversation is a wonderful way of sowing seeds of God's truth without being "preachy" or "pushy". Remember, God's word out of God's mouth will never return to Him empty but will ACCOMPLISH ALL that He desires and will ACHIEVE THE PURPOSE for which it was sent (Isaiah 55:11). Never argue with detractors. Just teach, preach and live the gospel so as to reveal Christ in all of His beauty and righteousness. Believe me, if your words are often peppered with life-enriching truths, people will draw to you and are keen to hear from you. Sooner or later, they will ask you to give a reason for the hope that is living in you (1 Peter 3:15).

Persistence

Persistence is the ability to stay faithful to God's purpose despite difficult circumstances, discouragement or obstacles. The Apostle Paul is a fine example of one who shows persistence and great courage to fulfil his calling as an apostle of Christ. In spite of strong oppositions and death threats, he faithfully proclaimed the gospel and planted churches everywhere.

Released from the Law

Before God gave the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel, they proudly declared in Exodus 19:8 that "we will do everything the LORD has said." They were attempting to obey God by their own self-efforts and performance as opposed to fully trusting God to keep them faithful. The truth is, Israel couldn't keep the law of the Old Covenant and God took the nation to task for its sins many times. The giving of the New Covenant ended the Old Covenant and its ministry of death and condemnation. Those who entered into this New Covenant can have a fresh start with God and enjoy a new relationship, not based on law but on grace. The Apostle Paul tells us the New Covenant changes the way we approach God and the way we approach life.

The Law Brings the Knowledge of Sin

The Apostle Paul tells us that God never gave laws to make the children of Israel righteous but to reveal them as sinners.

19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:19-20

The law brings the knowledge of sin.

Be Careful What You Think

23 Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life. Proverbs 4:23, Easy-to-Read Version

Many of us have the tendency to think more negatively than positively. Negative thinking breeds negative consequences. Often those negative thoughts are repetitive and unproductive in nature. They trap you in an unending cycle of defeat and failure that affects your energy level, makes you less confident in your abilities, robs you of joy and contributes to straining your health and relationships.

The Positive Effects of Worship

Worship has amazing effects. It draws you closer to the heart of God, gives perspective of your life in Christ and even boosts your health.

25 Worship the LORD your God, and His blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, 26 and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span. Exodus 23:25-26, New International Version

Created for Worship

Usually, when we think of worship, we think of Sunday. In doing so, we are limiting God and frustrating what God wants to do because we are not fully conscious of His amazing presence in our everyday life. Worship is not just an aspect of our lives, but the very essence of our being.

Good Things

35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things. Matthew 12:35

Your spiritual growth and maturity are connected to your identity.

Save to the Uttermost

25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25

The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews was describing the transition of the passing priesthood of the Old Covenant to the permanent priesthood of the New Covenant. While every Old Covenant priest died and ceased from ministry, Jesus our Great High Priest of the New Covenant lives forever and is always ready to save us completely and perfectly through His endless ministry.

Ready to Give, Willing to Share

17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. 1 Timothy 6:17-19

Some believers never see the importance of giving. Many also have a misconstrued understanding of Scripture regarding giving. They have become so used to certain ideas about money and possessions that they are unwilling to change their way of thinking or their spending habits—even though what they are doing can hurt their relationship with God or others.

Abide in God’s Love

Your identity is in the image of God in you. Given that God is love, you are His love personified. Begin each day in receiving His love and then become His offering of love to all.

Never Cease Praying for One Another

15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers. Ephesians 1:15-16

When you pray for your fellow believers, how do you usually pray for them? Paul ceaselessly thanked God for the Ephesians when he heard of their firm faith in Christ and their deep love for Christians everywhere. Faith and love go together.

Faithful in Christ Jesus

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:1-2

The epistle to the Ephesians is regarded by many to be the best of all the Apostle Paul's letters. It was written during his first imprisonment (AD 60-62). He was addressing believers who behaved like paupers when they were incredibly rich beyond measure in Christ.

Changed In Christ

Many believers desire change in their behaviour. They try to change but when they can’t, they are engulfed by feelings of frustration and self-loathing. Thinking poorly of themselves, they often can’t see the change that had already taken place in Christ. Change without Christ is self-effort and hard work. Unless it is given up, there is no rest and will ultimately attract failure. Change in your behaviour lies in God’s hands. God cannot change your behaviour without first changing your nature.

Living in Grace

22 Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. 23 When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. Acts 11:22-23

The Apostle Barnabas was sent by the church in Jerusalem to verify the rapid growth of Gentile believers in Antioch. When he arrived and saw the incredible evidence of God’s grace amongst them, he was both pleased and glad by the Lord’s doing.

Called

The Father has loved us so much! This shows how much he loved us: We are called children of God. And we really are his children. But the people in the world don’t understand that we are God’s children, because they have not known him. 1 John 3:1, Easy-to-Read Version

Over the years, I encountered individuals who are waiting for God to call them to do something. The truth is, you don't need a call—you are already called. The Apostle John tells us that we are not only called to be sons and daughters of our Father God, but we are also called by Him into the world.

Dealing with Life’s Storms

28 Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.” 29-30 He said, “Come ahead.” Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. Matthew 14:28-30

We all have storms in our lives. The question is not why, but how do we deal with these life's storms when they happen. God never sends storms to test us. Rather, He uses storms to train us for greater things. If it was not for the storm, Peter would not have walked on the waters.

Legitimate Sons and Daughters

8 All legitimate sons undergo discipline; so if you don’t, then you’re illegitimate and not a son! Hebrews 12:8, Paraphrased

The good news is that God doesn't punish us for behaving like orphans. However, God will discipline us because He regards us as His children. We live in a generation that does not want to be disciplined. Often, we see discipline as a punishment because we don't know we are the Father's beloved children.

Search Me, O God

When David wrote Psalm 139, he was repenting before God after a season of moral and spiritual failings. Without giving any excuse to absolve himself, David explored why everything had gone wrong with him, and why he had made those poor life choices leading to dire consequences. Yet, the more he thought of his past, the more he was strengthened to find his future in God's grace. This led David to conclude his psalm with a resounding shout of triumph.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; 24 and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

In His Presence

3 Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.” 4 So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Exodus 3:3-4

The story of Moses and the burning bush teaches us an important lesson on how we can have a personal encounter of God. The text suggests that Moses walked on by the burning bush because he wasn't aware of God's presence. It was only when he decided to turn aside to look at the burning bush that God revealed Himself.

From Glory into Glory

Experts say that most people can’t walk past a mirror without looking at themselves for a few seconds. Mirrors don’t lie. They truthfully reflect what’s standing in front of them. Paul tells us that Jesus is our mirror who truly reflects the person we are in Him.

18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18

Sanctified by the Truth

There is a teaching that, just as diamonds are formed under intense pressure, God uses persecution and suffering to perfect His church. There isn’t a shred of truth in the New Covenant to support this teaching. How then does God “perfect” the church?

The Grace Effect

10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10

Grace cannot be confused with laxity. Many Christians use "grace" to justify their lazy habits or mask their failings. Grace allows us to accept people as they are, but grace doesn't allow us to leave them as they are. Such an idea of grace will handicap growth.

Experiencing God’s Love and Forgiveness

47 This woman has been forgiven much, and she is showing much love. But the person who has shown little love shows how little forgiveness he has received. Luke 7:47, The Voice

God gives us many wonderful pictures of justification and sanctification in the Bible.

Established in Righteousness

14 In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you. Isaiah 54:14

The devil never quits bothering the saints, even when he's on the losing end. Don't allow him to oppress you with feelings of discouragement and fearful hopelessness. Learn to recognise that such feelings come from a spirit of heaviness that seeks to accuse and condemn you of sin and failure.

Right Time

At the right time I, the Lord, will make it happen quickly. Isaiah 60:22, God's Word Translation

Every promise of God involves a process. What is required of you is for God to get you ready for what He has in store for you.

In the Strength of Christ

The Apostle Paul was in prison when he wrote his epistle to the Philippians. In spite of the many difficulties and obstacles, Paul wasn’t frazzled because he knew his life in Christ was greater than all of life’s harsh circumstances.

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

Peacemakers

9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Matthew 5:9

In one of His beatitudes, Jesus sees all believers as peacemakers.

Made Perfect in Love

18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18, English Standard Version

Believers with a misplaced idea of grace are often worried that God will punish them if they miss church or leave off giving or serving. This is because they are living the New Covenant life with an Old Covenant heart. They may have a veneer of grace, but beneath the facade, they still see their relationship with God on the basis of "crime and punishment" instead of love and commitment. They have yet to fully understand what the grace of God entails because they are measuring holiness according to fulfilling expectations.

In Fear or In Love

18 Where God's love is, there is no fear. God's perfect love takes away fear. It is punishment that makes a person fear. Anyone who has fear does not have perfect love. 1 John 4:18, (Worldwide English Version)

Is your relationship with God based in fear or love?

The Kingdom Is At Hand

7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Matthew 10:7

The gospel of the Kingdom is God's invitation card to everyone, letting them know that they are welcomed to enjoy His hospitality and friendship in Christ, and they don't need to stand in line to get in. And once you are in, you are always in!

Don’t Shrug off God’s Discipline

5-6 Then My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines the child he embraces, he also corrects. Hebrews 12:5-6, The Message

Together with Jesus the Begotten Son, we who are sons and daughters of God share a corresponding relationship with the Father. In the gospel, sonship is not gender specific but an indication of your point of origin. It means God is your progenitor, the originator of your being and initiator of your purpose. He is also the affirmer of your hope and dreams and the source of your confidence.

Follow Christ

You are called to be both a believer and disciple of Jesus. To be a believer is to trust Jesus for your salvation. To be a disciple is to follow Jesus for your spiritual growth.

Knowing God’s Love First

If you want to enjoy a personal relationship with God, the first thing is not about knowing His will, but to experience His love. If you limit your experience of God to just how well you know His will, it reduces your relationship into a performance. All you are concerned about is how well you perform and how faithful is your performance. If all you ever think about is whether God is pleased with you or not, you are no longer thinking like a son or daughter, but as an orphan. When you centre your life in the Father’s love, you will hardly miss out on the Father’s will. Intimacy with God gives you the momentum to go all out for Him. You dare to risk it when you believe His love for you never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8).

Not Orphans, but Sons

18 I will not leave you orphans. John 14:18

Believers who can’t relate to God as a “Father” often suffer from an orphan spirit. They will have a hard time trusting God and having faith in His purpose for them.

God’s Eyes Are On the Righteous

15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry... 17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. Psalm 35:15-17

A common mistake amongst many believers is that they hold on to an unhelpful image of God especially when they are facing pain and sorrow. To them, God is neither good, all-powerful nor loving. This makes it difficult for them to have faith in Him and fully trust in His purpose for their lives.

Come Boldly

According to the Apostle Paul, Jesus our Great High Priest is superior to all the high priests of the Old Covenant (Hebrews 4:14-5:6). Why is this so? Year after year, the high priest needed to atone for the sins of the people. Jesus our Great High Priest, however, paid the one perfect sacrifice that took away that which kept us from God and opened the way for us to the Father.

Choosing Life over Death

You are created with the gift of choice. Your life is not fixed by some predetermined program but fashioned to fulfil a predestined purpose. What you choose to believe about God and yourself will shape and shade your perception of life.

Partakers of Christ

It takes a moment to get saved but a lifetime to mature as a believer. Consider these words of the Apostle Paul:

14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end. Hebrews 3:14

Consumer or Contributor

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” John 21:15

Do you see your church as a place you go to, or a community you belong to and believe in?

Acceptance and Love

20 For I tell you this: you will not enter the kingdom of heaven unless your righteousness goes deeper than the Pharisees’, even more righteous than the most learned learner of the law. Matthew 5:20, The Voice Bible

Both Jesus and the Pharisees wanted people to live righteously, but the difference lies in their approach. The Pharisees were good at telling people what's wrong with them and how undeserving they were of God's mercy. Jesus, however, exposed their flawed sense of righteousness and their misuse of the Law to control people and make them feel unwelcomed by God.

Compelled by Love

"Christ’s love compels us." 2 Corinthians 5:14

More often than not, many believers are motivated by guilt or fear in living the Christian life. This wrong reasoning flows from an inability to fully appreciate the gospel and can lead to stress, burnout, and even depression. The Apostle Paul tells us it is Christ's love that compels us to live for Him.

Faithful Friends

6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Proverbs 27:6

We live in an age where personal accountability is a rare quality. Often people mistake accountability for controlling behaviour or finding faults. And unfortunately, there are those who misuse it to abuse others by taking advantage of their vulnerability.

Resolving Conflicts

37 Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. 39 Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus. Acts 15:37 -39

Conflicts in the church are more common than you think, and all of us will face one at some point or another, and knowing how to respond healthily and harmoniously will prevent a situation from escalating into a crisis.

A Healthy Church Life

A church is not a place that is focused on meeting everyone’s need. Rather, the church is a community of people who gather around Jesus Christ, believing only He can meet all our needs according to His riches in glory (Ephesians 1:18).

Energised by Love

6 faith working through love. Galatians 5:6

Most of us stress over whether we have enough faith. That's not the question. Rather, the real question we should ask ourselves is, "Do I really know God and His love for me?"

Behold!

29 “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29

John the Baptist called everyone to "behold" Jesus as the Lamb of God who came to take away our sin. The Greek word for "behold" is ide which means "to look, see, carefully consider" (Strong's G2396). But ide involves far more than seeing with our physical eyes, but to behold Jesus with eyes of faith.

Be Confident and Steadfast In Christ

6 you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. Matthew 15:6

Jesus castigated the Pharisees for resisting God's grace because of their religious spirit. A religious spirit is deceptive as it portrays godliness as a product of self-effort and not as an empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

Hiding from God

10 So [Adam] said “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” Genesis 3:10

Adam hid from God because of his sin. He assumed if he stayed hidden and worked things out himself, God wouldn't find out what he had done that might provoke God to deal severely with him.

God’s Love Never Fails

There is a management concept known as “zero-defects” which aims to reduce the number of defects and errors in a product or system. To develop a fail-proof method of doing things is not easy and often proves unsuccessful. Sometimes the biggest mishap is caused by the smallest mistake. In 2009, NASA lost its Mars Climate Orbiter to a simple mathematical error because the American and British teams were using two different units of measurement to calibrate the device.

8 Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:8

God’s Love Endures All Things

Are some people in your life difficult to love? Or maybe your attempts to love them haven’t brought about the changes you desire? This is how God felt when His people rejected Him. No matter how many times God reaches out, they choose to spurn His love. Yet, God never gives up.

7 Love endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7

God’s Love Hopes All Things

God is good. It is out of the reality of His love that we receive the ability to face life with hope, and not fear. Don’t see problems as acts of hostility, but rather as opportunities for God’s love to shine through. In our eyes, problems are obstacles to our plans of happiness. In God’s eyes, problems never obstruct His plan for our happiness.

7 Love hopes all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7

God’s Love Believes All Things

Have you ever met people who are often suspicious of others and finding it hard to trust them? Plagued by a “siege” mentality, they see the world as an unjust place, for which they would rather doubt and reject the possible goodness of people rather than believe the best in every person.

7 Love believes all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7

The Greek word for “believe” is pisteuō which means “to think to be true, place confidence in, to trust”. What God believes about you is not based on what you have done or not done, but by what He had done in and for you. In His eyes, you are a “finished work”, a divine masterpiece of His hands. In this sense, God doesn’t test us to make us better people. He knows you will be tested by the trials and troubles of life, and inadvertently by Satan. That is why He has filled you with all of His fullness. It is so that when the test comes, everything of Him in you will be revealed. It’s not to show how weak you are, but how strong He is! Satan tested Job, but God blessed Job with double of everything he lost (Job 42:10). Of course, Job is an Old Testament type of Jesus whose suffering was redemptive. James however, tells us to consider Job as an example to keep believing God in spite of everything that tells you not to.

10 My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. 11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord— that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful. James 5:10-11

Job the prophet had “seen the end intended by the Lord”. “Seen” here is oida which means “revealed knowledge” and “the end” is telos which means “perfect fulfilment”. Like Job, go beyond just seeing problems in your life but to see your life prophetically in God’s purpose. Don’t quit on God, believe Him even if life doesn’t make sense. Don’t live by how you feel today but see the end intended by the Lord. It is good! Believe that God has made (and not trying to make) everything beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). It is already a done deal!

God’s Love Bears All Things

Someone once told me, “Pastor, it’s easy for you to say, ‘Don’t worry’, but it’s difficult not to worry. If I don’t worry, who will?” Well, the idea of not to worry comes from God, and not from me. Life may contain sorrow and sadness, trials and troubles, but life cannot overcome God’s love for us. Nothing in all creation, neither death nor life can ever separate His love from us.

7 Love bears all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7

God’s Love Rejoices in the Truth

If a child suspects that his father does not love him or her, he or she develops doubt, mistrust and emotional distance. This can also hinder the future growth of their relationship. No matter how much the father does to show his love, the child stays suspiciously cold and detached. The only way to restore the relationship is for the child to appreciate and accept the truth of the father’s love.

6 Love rejoices in the truth. 1 Corinthians 13:6

God’s Love Does Not Rejoice In Iniquity

A corrupt judge was paid a huge sum of money to sentence an innocent man to death. With little regards for justice, he agreed to do so. To his great regret, the judge later found out the innocent man who died was his own son.

6 Love does not rejoice in iniquity. 1 Corinthians 13:6

God’s Love Is Not Provoked

Two brothers who lived in the same house had such a bitter quarrel that they stopped talking to each other for forty years. Friends and relatives tried their best to reunite them, without avail. One day a new pastor arrived and everyone implored him to speak to the two brothers. The pastor asked them what their quarrel was about and one of them replied, “I can’t exactly remember when or why we fought but I am still mad at him!”

5 Love is not provoked. 1 Corinthians 13:5

God’s Love Thinks No Evil

Have you ever been hurt by someone so much that you wish you could get even with them? No matter how justified you perceive yourself to be, the Apostle Paul tells us not to pay attention to a suffered wrong.

5 Love thinks no evil. 1 Corinthians 13:5

“Evil” in Greek is kakos which means “foul, destructive, to do harm" and “think” is logizomai which means “to take into account”. Simply put, Paul is saying, “Don’t keep an account of a wrong done”. God didn’t. If He did, who can stand? In the same way, we ought not to keep any record of wrong against those who have wronged us. God who is our Just and Justifier holds the power to work everything for our good. Let’s learn from Him on how to do good and not evil.

10 Love does no harm to a neighbour. Romans 13:10

After the Second War World, the United States invested billions of dollars to rebuild the economy of their former enemies. Instead of making their lives more difficult, the Americans decided to prosper their enemies. Both Germany and Japan, like the proverbial phoenix, rose from the heap of ashes and became America’s most powerful political and economic allies. Wounds were healed because someone made the first move to end the curse of enmity by offering the cure of amity. Anyone can get even with those who have done them wrong, but to truly prosper your enemy is a “God thing”. When he was dying at the hands of his enemies, Stephen pleaded to God, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” (Acts 7:60) This man of God thought no evil of his murderers but appealed to God to show them grace. And his prayer eventually led to the conversion of Paul who was, at that time, overseeing Stephen's stoning. Is there anyone you need to forgive and love? Believe God to deliver the evil of your heart, for the strength of His love can lift the strain off your wounded soul.

God’s Love Is Not Self Seeking

Do you deny your family or friends your love and affection unless they give in to your demands? That's being selfish and self-seeking. Once I read a story of a billionaire who used his wealth to control his loved ones. He deviously threatened to disinherit them unless they acceded to his whims and fancies, no matter how unreasonable they were. Some cowered to his demands but others chose to walk away, not willing to suffer the indignity of losing their self-respect.

5 Love does not seek its own. 1 Corinthians 13:5

God’s Love Does Not Behave Rudely

Two life-long business partners butted heads right until they were parted by death. When someone asked the surviving partner to comment on his colleague’s death, he remarked, “My mother often told me to say something good about the dead. He’s dead. Good!”

5 Love does not behave rudely. 1 Corinthians 13:5

God’s Love Does Not Puff Up

Have you ever met someone who loves to flaunt their wealth, making a point that they are rich? Or flaunt their intelligence to win adulation, or their bodies to gain admiration? Seeing life from an inflated view of self-importance, these prima donnas believe everything revolves around them.

4 Love is not puffed up. 1 Corinthians 13:4

God’s Love Does Not Parade Itself

Once I knew a believer who loved to talk about how much he had done for his church and how the church could not survive without him. Sadly, no one ever took him seriously because they saw through his insecurity. They would just humour him every time he regaled one of his embellished tales of “mighty exploits for God”. It was a painful sight to see this man trying so hard to impress people who did not care very much about what he had to say.

4 Love does not parade itself. 1 Corinthians 13:4

God’s Love Does Not Envy

There are two distinct meanings for the word “jealousy” in the Bible. The first is “zealous” and the second is “envy”. Zealous is “good” jealousy. Envy is “bad” jealousy. Zealous is redemptive passion. Envy is destructive resentment. When the Bible calls God a “jealous God” (Exodus 20:5), it means He is not an envious God but a zealous God. His jealousy comes from a place of strength, and not of weakness. It comes from His perfect love, and not a personality flaw. God is not jealous of us, but He is jealous for us. We belong to God. This is why He sent Jesus to redeem us so that we can return to Him.

God’s Love Is Kind

Some people entertain very frightening ideas of God. There is more fear than trust in their thoughts of Him. This kind of thinking results in an unpleasant and unbearable relationship with God. Jesus defines everything He says and does from the perspective of His relationship with His Father. In this sense, He is mirroring the kind of relationship every believer can have with God.

4 Love is kind. 1 Corinthians 13:4

God’s Love Is Longsuffering

God gets lots of bad press. Jesus, however, came to strip away every false idea about God.

4 Love suffers long. 1 Corinthians 13:4

The Greek word for “longsuffering” is makrothymeō which means “to not lose heart, mild, slow to punish”. It is a compound word (makros meaning “of long duration” and thumos meaning “anger”) that depicts God’s slow anger or longsuffering towards us. This Scriptural idea of God stands in contrast to the silly but bad idea (which is often preached and presumed) of God’s sudden anger that overtakes people in calamities, disasters, and tragedies without warning.

God is Faithful

66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. John 6:66

In John 6, Jesus went on a discourse on Himself, saying: "I am the Bread of Life." (John 6:35) Many followers who couldn’t accept His teaching turned away from Him. They acted like they were faithful and knew Jesus well, but wouldn't commit further when Jesus wanted to bring their relationship to another level.

Trust in the Lord Completely

5 Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make. 6 Become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you go. Don’t think for a moment that you know it all, Proverbs 3:5-6 The Passion Translation

Some of us are better at worrying than trusting God. Jesus tells us worrying is pointless because it does not add more years to our lives. Rather, you must learn to trust God in all things. Trust God even when you are in a tight place and everything seems to be working against you. Trust God even when you don't know where life is taking you or what you are supposed to learn along the way. Trust God even when you can't seem to hear His voice or sense His presence clearly.

Feasting on Heavenly Realities

1 Christ’s resurrection is your resurrection too. This is why we are to yearn for all that is above, for that’s where Christ sits enthroned at the place of all power, honour, and authority. 2 Yes, feast on all the treasures of the heavenly realm and fill your thoughts with heavenly realities, and not with the distractions of the natural realm. Colossians 3:1-2, The Passion Translation

The Apostle Paul tells us to identify with Christ so that everything He obtained for us through His finished work becomes ours by faith. This is the essence of living a Christ-centred life, where we no longer live for ourselves but for the one who died for us and now living in and through us.

Sit, Seek, Set

1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. Colossians 3:1-2

The Apostle Paul tells us once we are raised with Christ, from death to new life and from an earthly place to heavenly places, we are to grow a new perspective on living the Christian life.

Co-seated with Christ

5 Even when we were dead and doomed in our many sins, [God] united us into the very life of Christ and saved us by his wonderful grace! 6 He raised us up with Christ the exalted One, and we ascended with him into the glorious perfection and authority of the heavenly realm, for we are now co-seated as one with Christ! Ephesians 2:5-6, The Passion Translation

Once we are saved, we are not only made a new creation in Christ, but we are also raised up to sit with Christ in heavenly places. We must comprehend the implication of our new life and a new location in Christ. On one hand, we move from living the old life of sin to living a new life of overcoming sin. And on the other hand, we are reigning together as co-heirs with Christ to the glory of God. What does it mean to be co-seated with Christ?

Real Rest

Whether we admit it or not, many of us cram too many things into our lives that we are either trying to catch up or running away. While we may say we have the abundant life in Christ, we often feel drained and empty, and even frustrated when we seem unable to live up to those expectations of achieving great things for God.

28-30 Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30, The Message

Christ at the Door

20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. Revelation 3:20

Picture this—we open two doors for Jesus Christ to enter into our lives. In Genesis, Jesus is the sin offering laid at the door of every non-believing heart and whoever opens the door and believes in Him, will begin a new life through Him. In Revelation, Jesus is the Saviour standing and knocking at the door of every believing heart and whoever answers and welcomes Him, will experience the presence and power of His life in them.

Right Thinking

5 bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

Every action and behaviour is rooted in your thought. So, what you think about is what you bring about. And this is why it is important to bring our thoughts into obedience to the mind of Christ so that we can reject every thought that does not line up with the gospel.

The Productive Life

7 I now serve the good news because God gave me his grace. His power is at work in me. Ephesians 3:7

Grace empowers us to live a most fulfilling and productive life.

Come to Jesus

Many believers tend to misunderstand rest. They often use rest as an excuse for laziness or a lack of motivation. Rest is not about doing nothing. Rest is doing everything by God's leading and empowerment.

Enter That Rest

11...make every effort to enter that rest. Hebrews 4:11

If our understanding of the gospel doesn't cause us to rest, we have not understood the gospel at all. Rest is not passivity or doing nothing, or even an excuse for laziness. Rest is about recognising and wanting more of the life that Christ has graciously given us in His Name. A life of true rest is not something we earn, but it is for us to embrace a new way of living where Christ gives us the passion and power to live right before Him.

God’s Silence

1 Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, and do not be still, O God! Psalms 83:1

The Psalmist echoes the feeling of helplessness we experience when God doesn't seem to be answering our prayers, at least in the way we expect or want. Often the silence will give rise to a "darker picture" of God which makes us doubt His ability and goodness. Don't take God's silence as a "no", but learn to recognise how His silence affects how you perceive Him.

The Light Shines in the Darkness

5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. John 1:5

Some periods of our lives are so confusing that we find it very difficult to explain our feelings. Our need to make sense of it all can cause us to feel angry, conflicted and even suspicious of God and doubt His goodness.

The Strength of God’s Grace

Many people really do believe that they are unlovable and unworthy of love. This lie is unfortunately reinforced further by significant friendships that ended abruptly and without explanation, leaving them feeling betrayed and hurt. The fear of being forsaken by friends is particularly daunting. This is because when someone walks away from us, it leaves us wondering whether we could have said or done something to redeem the friendship. And when there is no opportunity to make right a possible wrong, it makes recovery slow and difficult.

Sensing the Presence of God

8 And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8

Have you ever come to the place where you feel nothing toward God? In one of her letters, Mother Teresa bemoaned her own crisis of faith, of how she spent nearly half a century without feeling God’s presence in her heart. This is certainly surprising, especially when her work for the poor originated from her faith in God. Instead of judging her, we need to learn and grow in our understanding of what it means to feel God's presence. The truth is, even though you may not feel God, He is nevertheless with you.

Partnership with Christ

15 You must catch the troubling foxes, those sly little foxes that hinder our relationship. For they raid our budding vineyard of love to ruin what I’ve planted within you. Will you catch them and remove them for me. We will do it together. Song of Songs 2:15 (TPT)

The Song of Songs depicts the love of the Shepherd-King and the Shulamite woman, and in a way, it is a parable that celebrates the relationship between Christ and the Church. In the context of the above verse, our Lord wants us to be aware of "sly little foxes", that is, compromises we make that can hinder our relationship with Him.

Consider Jesus

Your new identity is the testimony of your righteousness. The moment you are a believer, God declares you as righteous, holy and blameless. This is your new identity in which God gives you a new nature to live in a new reality. God through His Holy Spirit will convict you to live consistently to who you really are in Christ. He does it by aligning your thoughts and actions to the revealed truth of His Word.

Give What You Have

5 Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” 6 But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do... 9“There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?” John 6: 5-6, 9

There is an increasingly selfish indifference that immunes many from caring more for other people. Two-thirds of the world's population goes to sleep hungry every night. That's about five in every seven persons! They are hungry not because there is lack of food but a lack of compassion that blinds people to their plight.

Doers of the Word

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22

A vast majority of believers don't take their faith seriously. Instead of caring for their own spiritual growth, they just want someone else to do the growing for them. If you do not have a desire to grow deep in your relationship with God, you will never develop an appetite for God's Word. Besides, you do not mature simply by hearing about God's Word but by acting on what you heard from God's Word. This is precisely what the Apostle James meant when he admonished us not just be hearers of God's Word, but also doers.

Intercessor

26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Romans 8:26

Prayer is not a solo act. The Holy Spirit helps us when we don't know how to pray for what we need.

Witness of the Spirit

16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. Romans 8:16

You belong to God. It is good to know your identity and value are connected to the truth that you are His.

Live Out Your Identity

48 “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Matthew 5:48, The Message

Having being born again, you are given a new identity in Christ from which you will learn to live differently from before. This "learning to live differently" is your purpose in the Christian life. Your identity is not a product of your purpose, but your identity is the reason for your purpose. The more aware you are of your identity in Christ, the more able you are to pursue your purpose in Christ.

Defined by Your Identity in Christ

14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. Romans 13:14, New International Version

What do we mean by "finding your identity in Christ" and why does your identity matter? Your identity in Christ is about living out the truth of who you are and who you can become in Christ. As you grow in your understanding of what it means to be "in Christ", you will possess everything "through Christ". This, of course, requires you to have a genuine relationship with Christ—for, without Christ, the Christian life is impossible.

Identity and Healing

1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1

Knowing our identity in Christ is the basis for our healing.

Your Identity Comes from God

4 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:4-5

What’s the difference between identity and self worth? Self-worth is feeling-based, and identity is truth-based.

The Importance of Identity

The avodah life is not about what you are doing, for it is centred and empowered by your being. When you see life through the lens of your identity, you will do and achieve more in less time. As such, if you ever want to accomplish anything of value in life, it is your identity you should be focusing first. Identity is the key to everything.

God’s Perspective of Your Identity

No one is born with low self-esteem; it is a bad habit that we develop when we forget who God made us to be. When individuals suffer from low self-esteem, they feel unlovable and not good enough to be loved. Such a feeling sows the seeds of self-loathing and insecurity, and if it is not dealt with, it may even lead to the path of destructive behaviour.

Grace Rests on Jesus

4 For certain intruders have stolen in among you, people who long ago were designated for this condemnation as ungodly, who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Jude 1:4, New Standard Revised Version

If you use grace to do things that you shouldn't be doing, it is not grace but a warped perception of grace. Anyone who makes use of grace to justify bad behaviour or to excuse consequences of their wrongdoings actually distorts the gospel. The Apostle Jude warns us to watch out for those so-called believers who use the grace of God as a pretext for an ungodly living. The Greek word for "licentiousness" is aselgeia which means "unbridled self-indulgence; to contaminate what is clean or pure". Here the Apostle Jude describes how these believers flagrantly twisted the gospel of God's grace out of context to indulge in their sinful living.

The Grace of Freedom

8 Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” Luke 19:8

Tax collecting was not a reputable occupation in Jesus' time. The Jewish people held a high disdain and contempt for tax collectors because they were levying monies on behalf of the Roman Empire. Since they were seen as the faces of fiscal oppression and exploitation of the poor and a running dog of a foreign political power, no self-respecting Jew would ever associate themselves with these individuals, but not Jesus.

Rejecting God’s Counsel

11 Then the Lord said to Moses: “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? Numbers 14:11

No matter how many times God showered His grace on the children of Israel, they remained ungrateful and kept on resisting Him. Yet, God never gave up on them because they were His chosen people. In spite of their disobedience, God remained faithful to them even when they were faithless.

The Shield of Favour

12 For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favour You will surround him as with a shield. Psalm 5:12

When David wrote Psalm 5, he was facing many conflicts and adversaries standing between him and the victory he sought. Yet, instead of letting the situation erode his confidence, David learned how to strengthen himself in the Lord, knowing that God would vindicate him at the end. We can see it in this Psalm because it culminates by assuring us with a sure promise that God shields the righteous with favour.

Reign in Life

The gospel declares that it is for freedom that Christ has set you free (Galatians 5:1). The freedom He won is both absolute and complete. There is nothing more for you to do, but to simply accept the truth and put your trust in His finished work. Have you ever wondered: if Christ really came to set you free, how come you don’t always experience it in your daily life? Why do you still struggle day after day with the same sinful habits, the same worries and the same shortcomings you have always disliked and fought against? Why do you find it a challenge to truly live in the complete freedom you have in Christ?

Experiencing Jesus

We are flooded with countless competing philosophies of life. Many may sound seemingly appealing and persuasive, but all of them are mirages, a flight of the imagination when held against the light of God’s revelation. Life is not a philosophy but a Person. And this Person is none other than Jesus Christ. Life is not striving to live; rather, it is thriving in the life of Christ. Life is not a search for a truth; it is the access to the truth of Christ. Life is not defined by the words of men; it is determined by the word of Christ. In other words, life is to experience the reality of Christ in every situation.

Persistent Hearing

The gospel is not a religion that makes bad people good or good people better. Rather, it is the revelation of God's grace in Christ that makes spiritually dead people become spiritually alive. This comes only by the hearing of faith.

17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17, English Standard Version

God’s Heart Cry

Sin may keep you from God, but sin can't keep God from you.

9 The LORD called out to Adam and asked, “Where are you?” 10 Adam answered, “I was naked, and when I heard you walking through the garden, I was frightened and hid!” Genesis 3:9-10

Fruitfulness Comes from True Rest

27 And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28 Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27-28

The Pharisees made the Sabbath the "busiest" day of the week. By creating their own self-imposed rules and regulations of what constituted rest, they became so preoccupied with policing and punishing people that they eventually lost perspective of what the Sabbath was all about. Instead of spending the day to keep God in mind, they were using it to carry out their self-righteous routine. This explains why they were more upset with Jesus' disciples for plucking grains than actually doing something to relieve their hunger.

Be God’s Helping Hand

Our love for Jesus will cause us to love each other. We are given to each other the privilege not merely of sharing a life in Christ, but also of suffering together for His sake. Paul tells us that as fellow believers, we are divinely appointed to encourage each other through our joys and sorrows.

26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honoured, all the members rejoice with it. 1 Corinthians 12:26

Be a Barnabas

25 Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. 26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. Acts 11:25-26

Keep away from small-minded people who have a stranglehold on your life. They are the ones who keep reminding you of your failure. Or make you afraid of trying new things. Or keep talking down to you and never inspire you to go beyond where you are right now.

Right Friends, Wrong Friends

The Bible regales many stories about friendships. You rise or fall by the friends you keep. They will influence your life in either a positive or negative way. David was kept out of danger because of Jonathan’s protection. Samson lost his sight and strength because of Delilah’s duplicity. Esther rose to her destiny because of Mordecai’s insights. Rehoboam lost his kingdom because of his friends’ ill advices. Jesus was arrested because of Judas’ betrayal. Paul was brought into ministry because of Barnabas’ persistence.

Choosing Friends

26 The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray. Proverbs 12:26

How selective are you when it comes to choosing friends? The Book of Proverbs tells us choosing the right friends is necessary if we don't want to go astray and end up in a wrong place in life. Like it or not, friends have a major influence over us and, more importantly, our call, purpose, and outlook of life. Someone once said, "Friends are like an elevator —they either bring you up or they bring you down".

The Gift of True Friendship

The Book of Proverbs contains many practical insights about how to do friendship well.

6 You can trust what your friend says, even when it hurts. But your enemies want to hurt you, even when they act nice. Proverbs 27:5, Easy-to-Read Version

The Spirit of Excellence

What sort of attitude and energy do you bring to work and ministry? Are you recognised for an outstanding ability to produce quality work of which you can be proud? Or are you associated with half-hearted attempts and indifference? The Apostle Paul tells us that whatever we do, we should do it with a spirit of excellence.

To Finish Well

6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Using the metaphor of a race to describe the Christian life, the Apostle Paul shared how he was like a seasoned athlete completing his final round, eagerly looking forward to being presented with the winner's trophy. This determination to finish well enabled Paul to stay true to the course God set before him—for he was always a focused man who wouldn't let anything hinder him from accomplishing his call and purpose.

You Are Anointed In Christ

Every day is God’s gift to you to make a difference for someone that no one else can. You’ve got something precious to offer. Be open to God and allow His Spirit to move in and through you. Learn to recognise His voice and listen to His word and act on His prompting. When this happens, you will find yourself impacting and influencing others for the better.

The Blessing of Revelation

Each revelation of Christ centres on God's grace—and it is by believing who He is and what He has done for us that draws us closer to the loving heart of God. Knowing the embrace of God's love frees us from the bondage of our sinful fears. And yet, the most challenging thing for many believers is to convince themselves of God's perfect love. This unwillingness sets them to live a life bound by religious duties and obligations, and not a life planted and rooted in Christ. The Apostle Paul tells us that a veil covers the minds of those who are without Christ, but the veil is taken away from those who turn to Him.

You Have Everything in Christ

It is vital to believe and live in alignment with the gospel. If you can’t appreciate what Christ has done for you by His death on the cross, you can't experience all of what He has in store for you through His resurrection from the tomb. Only when you truly know that you have everything in Christ that you are able to fully live and enjoy an authentic Christian life.

Spirit and Scriptures

5 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. 1 Thessalonians 1:5

Holiness is the God-given ability to live the life of the Spirit without ever contradicting Scriptures.

Holiness Is Pure Happiness

16 “Be holy, for I am holy.” I Peter 1:16

We live in a culture of instant gratification where we care less about enduring a little delay for future fulfilment and more about enjoying immediate satisfaction. Instant gratification is like 2 minutes noodle. We expect quick and easy results without much effort. This is most evidenced by its pervasive message, "You should be happy and you should be happy now". If we are to transfer this false assumption into our own relationship with God, any seemingly delay on God's part will create a false impression that God doesn't care about us.

The Revelation of Holiness

14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14, New International Version.

Most Christians define holiness as "not sinning". The Bible, however, defines holiness as "being set apart" or "different from the world". As such, holiness is everything that stands in opposite to the world. If everyone in the world is struggling with fear, worry, loneliness and insecurity, you have already been set apart by God in Christ for rest, joy, acceptance and wholeness.

Fruit of Holiness

22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. Romans 6:22

How is a believer a child of God and yet a slave of God?

Seamless Living

The avodah life of seamless worship, work and service is a life that is resonating with God's grace in everything we do and say, where you live life to express yourself, and not to impress others. It is about authentic living, where you are partnering with God to become who you truly are in Christ.

Christ Our Chief Cornerstone

10 "The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. 11 This was the LORD’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes’?” Mark 12:10-11

In ancient times, a cornerstone or foundation stone was usually the first stone cut and from which all other stones were made according to its measurement. In the same manner, Jesus is our Chief Cornerstone in whom we are chosen together in Him and intricately fitted together by Him to grow together through Him to become together a holy building for Him (cf. Ephesians 2:19-21). What a glorious revelation!

God Is In the Big Things and Small Things Of Life

If you desire to live a seamless life of worship, work and service, you must let the light of Christ's grace and truth shine in every area of your life. However, far too often we contain and confine our experience of God in our everyday living. We can see this in the way we compartmentalize life into sacred and secular segments, where we only welcome Him into some parts while keeping Him out from the rest.

Surrendering in Suffering

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. James 5:13

Don't let your pain diminish your worship of God. I know sometimes the last thing we want to do is to worship. We rather feel our pain than have God touch us and make us whole. Even though you can't understand why certain things happened or didn't happen, the Apostle James tells us to pray in the midst of personal pain and suffering. The Greek word for "pray" in the context of this verse is proseuchomai which means "to worship continually before the Lord without ceasing, to speak purposefully to Him of surrendering our will for His will" (cf. Matthew 6:10). Worship is not circumstantial but a choice. It is choosing wisely to trust God and to rest on His faithful promises than allowing fear to fan anxious thoughts and feelings in us. Worship gives us a fresh pair of eyes to look at our pain and suffering from God's perspective and it opens our hearts for God to work His amazing work in us. God never ordained pain or suffering, but God will use our pain to profit us, and even others. If hardship did not cause Ruth to glean in Boaz's field, she wouldn't have found favour and became the forebear of David, from whom Christ came. If David wasn't hiding from King Saul in the Cave of Adullam, he wouldn't have composed some of his best psalms that came out from his faith in God during those painful times. If Paul wasn't languishing in a Roman dungeon, he wouldn't have written epistles that were filled with great and encouraging revelations of the mystery of God's grace in Christ. Don't let pain be the determining factor of your life, nor let it diminish your worship of God. Instead of being a worrier, become a worshipper. Worship may not change your circumstance, but it will change your life. This is because while pain can colour your view of God or even wash away your faith—worship, on the other hand, will deepen and heighten your experience of a good and loving Father God who will never leave or forsake you. By living out this truth will cause pain and suffering to lose their grips on you so that you can step back into the freedom that was always yours in Christ.

Divine Appointment

5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5, English Standard Version

Learn from the Prophet Jeremiah about the significance of your life and finding your true purpose that you were meant to fulfil. When God called him to be His prophet to the nations, God made it clear, right from the start, that He had forged Jeremiah's purpose long before he was formed in his mother's womb. Even though Jeremiah felt that he was unqualified for the job as he was too young and too inexperienced to speak for God, it didn't deter God from making him one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament times.

Obedience and Grace

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. Romans 10:16

How does obedience fit into the message of God's grace? Obedience is not something you do to obtain grace. Rather, obedience is a response to God's grace; it is an expression of our love for God, and not a basis to win acceptance or earn favour from God.

Freedom from Sin

Grace is not freedom to sin, but freedom from sin. Many believers, however, often fall into two extremes: either they are fighting continually to overcome sin, or they believe grace allows them to sin without feeling guilty. Such thinking comes from a faulty idea of grace. The first group assumes they are saved by grace but perfected by works, and the second group assumes they are saved by grace and comfortable with sin.

Believing What You Heard

1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Galatians 3:1-2

When the Galatians began to drift from the gospel, the Apostle Paul was puzzled because he didn't understand their behaviour of reverting to the law when they obviously understood the gospel and the significance of Christ's crucifixion.

Forever and Fully Satisfied in Christ

13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:13-14

Are you fully satisfied with Christ? Lots of believers suffer from spiritual dryness because they have stopped looking to Jesus for their spiritual nourishment and sustenance. Instead of believing that they lack nothing in Christ, they will somehow sense something is missing or incomplete in their Christian life. This makes it easy for them to become restless, and to feel good about themselves, they will chase after every wind of doctrine to fill the assumed void.

The Gift of Faith

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

When it comes to your salvation Jesus left nothing half done. Jesus did not leave any part for you to complete your salvation. It is all and always His work, and His work alone to save you. Even the faith for you to believe Jesus in the first place does not come from you but from Him. Faith flows from your active hearing of the gospel of Jesus Christ (cf. Rom. 10:17; John 5:24). As such, the faith to believe is not a force you need to churn up within you to get saved, but faith comes from recognising and resting in the reality and truth of God's grace in Christ. To illustrate, the law of gravity always existed, but we were not conscious of it until Isaac Newton discovered it and explained how it worked and why it worked. Gravity does not need your faith to work or need your input to get working. But when you learn how gravity functions, you stand to benefit. In the same way, God does not require your contribution to your salvation. Complete salvation is in Christ alone, and when you try to add your own good works to God's grace, you will turn the Christian life into a joyless religion of self-effort and performance. And as a consequence, you will become preoccupied with an insatiable sense of restlessness and fear, always wondering what God thinks about you and not truly enjoying all the blessings Christ has given you. The Christian life is not about trying your best to please God, but it begins with receiving God's love from a place of intimacy and then whatever you do, you do accordingly to the endless supply of God's grace. It is from this posture that you avoid burnout and disillusionment and even have a greater capacity to give and serve—this is because you are releasing what Christ has already placed in you.

Small Thinking Limits God

54 When Jesus arrived in his hometown of Nazareth, he began teaching the people in the synagogue. Everyone was dazed, overwhelmed with astonishment over the depth of revelation they were hearing. They said to one another, “Where did this man get such great wisdom and miraculous powers? 55 Isn’t he just the wood-worker’s son? Isn’t his mother named Mary, and his four brothers Jacob, Joseph, Simon, and Judah? 56 And don’t his sisters all live here in Nazareth? How did he get all this revelation and power?” 57 And the people became offended and began to turn against him. Jesus said, “There’s only one place a prophet isn’t honoured—his own hometown!” 58 And their great unbelief kept him from doing any mighty miracles in Nazareth. Matthew 13:54-58

The gospel writer, Matthew tells us the story of Jesus visiting His hometown, Nazareth and how He was not only rejected by His own people, even his own brothers did not believe Him (cf. John 7:5).

Jesus Is Qualified In Every Way

When there is a problem, most people know the importance of engaging a qualified person to fix it. What if an unqualified person was hired? The problem may not be solved, and it could even be worsened! Likewise, when it comes to your salvation, you are not qualified to save yourself, but you have a perfect Saviour who is perfectly qualified in every way to save you.

Knowing the Truth

Imagine getting the unexpected good news that you have just received a large inheritance. With such a windfall, you would be able to do things and go places that wouldn't have been possible before. Imagine again, if no one ever told you about this inheritance, you wouldn’t know about your wealth or how to access it. It is the same with the truth of the gospel.

In Christ

There are believers who suffer from a spiritual blind spot in their understanding of the Christian life. Though saved, they are for the most part weak and lame. They have yet to realise what Christ had done for them and what belongs to them because of Him. This lack of revelation leads to them unnecessary struggle in regards to their spiritual growth and maturity. “In Christ” is the key to comprehend the Christian life.

In God’s Image and Likeness

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in our image, according to our likeness. Genesis 1:26

Your worth is not defined by your appearance or school grades, or your income or job title. And yet, deceptively, we allow and use these things to validate our sense of worth and value. This happens because we live in a world of consumers and critics, where being the best and having the best are the only things that matter. At its deceptive core, it is still about your performance and how you measure up to some arbitrary standard of what is acceptance. God does not rate your worth according to your achievements, but God sees your worth in relation to Him. When God made you in His image and likeness, He gave you a worth that reflects His glory and reveals His goodness. In other words, your worth is a gift of God's grace, and not something you strive after—like most people without revelation.

God’s Good Plan

Most of us know the story of Joseph, of how he was betrayed and sold off by his brothers into slavery, and how after many years they would see him again and be surprised by his rise to power. After Jacob died, Joseph's brothers were afraid that he would take revenge against them; however, Joseph assured them with these words:

20 Even though you planned evil against me, God planned good to come out of it. This was to keep many people alive, as He is doing now. Genesis 50:20, GOD’S WORD Translation

We can learn one important lesson here, that is, while God may not change your circumstances, He will change your perspective on how you look at your circumstances.

To Finish Well

6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Using the metaphor of a race to describe the Christian life, the Apostle Paul shared how he was like a seasoned athlete completing his final round, eagerly looking forward to being presented with the winner's trophy. This determination to finish well enabled Paul to stay true to the course God set before him—for he was always a focused man who won't let anything hinder him from accomplishing his call and purpose.

Resurrection Sunday

3 And because he (Herod) saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) 4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. Acts 12:3-4, King James Version

The word, “Easter” appears only once in the Bible.

Silent Saturday

It is interesting that the four Gospels detail Jesus’ final week, climaxing to His death on the Cross on Friday, then—total silence. There is no one Scripture verse that says what really occurred on Saturday.

The War Is Over!

Ever heard of Hiroo Onda? He was a Japanese intelligence officer who fought against U.S. troops on a jungle island of the Philippines during World War II. Owing to poor communication, Hiroo never got to hear that Japan lost the war in 1945. He kept fighting for the ensuing 28 years, and only surrendered after the Japanese government sent his former commander to formally inform him the war had ended. Further, Hiroo was not the only such case. Over the next few decades, there were sightings of other lost Japanese soldiers in isolated parts of the Philippines. As late as 2005, some 60 years after the war, two missing soldiers were discovered. It’s hard to imagine that Hiroo with all these lost soldiers kept fighting an enemy that no longer existed because no one told them the good news that the war had ended.

The New Commandment

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35

Today is Maundy Thursday. The name of this day is derived from Latin mandatum, which means love. It commemorates the occasion when Jesus gave a new commandment, that our ability to love one another is the true evidence that we belong to Him.

Sweet Fragrance of Worship

When Jesus was having dinner in the house of Simon the Leper, Mary poured an alabaster flask of costly nard on His head [Mark 14:1-9]. She was criticised by those present for her “excessive wastefulness” but Jesus commented that she had done a good work for Him. Bear in mind, what Mary did was not impulsive. Jesus said that her act of extravagant worship came by revelation because she was anticipating His death.

Cleansed Conscience

Jesus was in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover with His disciples. The story behind this annual festival dates back to the time when God delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt. To spare every Hebrew firstborn from death, the blood of an innocent lamb was put on the doorposts of every home. When the angel of death sees this sacrificial blood, he would “pass over” that home without inflicting harm. The lamb became known as “the Passover lamb" that the high priest would sacrifice to atone for the sin of the Jewish people.

Cleansing of the Temple

15 So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 16 And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. 17 Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ” Mark 11:15-17

The Temple of Jerusalem was originally built to show God's desires for all nations to worship Him (Isaiah 56:7). However, along the way, that focus was lost, and by the time of Jesus, the Temple was more of a trading place than a worship place.

Hosanna

9 …. “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Matthew 21:9

The narrative of the crowd welcoming Jesus with palm leaves and loud praises shows that it is always easy to worship when you are with others. But what happens to worship when you are by yourself?

Work Out Your Own Salvation

During one of his imprisonments, the Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians to encourage them to continue in growing their understanding of the gospel. Instead of just relying on him alone to teach them, Paul told them to take personal steps to discover the truth of the gospel for their own spiritual growth and maturity.

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13

Coming Close to God

Sin keeps you from God, but sin can't keep God from you.

8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

God didn't wait for us to be good for Him to show us His amazing love. Right from the start, it is God in Christ who made us right with Him, even when, as the Apostle Paul said, we were alienated from God and hostile towards Him by our evil thoughts and action (Colossians 1:21).

The Holy Spirit in You

According to the law of sympathetic resonance, when an object with a particular frequency vibrates and brought close to another object with a matching frequency, it will cause the second object to resonate as well. To illustrate, if there are two pianos in the same room, and when you strike a key on one of the pianos, the exact key vibrates on the other piano. Once we are in Christ, we are a brand new creation with a new nature. And Christ gives us the Holy Spirit to dwell in us so that we can live this new life according to His leading.

Take Courage

Ministry is (mostly) a thankless job. When it comes to serving and ministry, I believe most people are genuine and passionate in what they are doing, but few of us are aware of the effort, risks, and repercussion involved in being passionate for God. It can be discouraging when you have done everything you can, but nothing has turned out the way you expected. It can be painful when you can't seem to overcome a persistent problem that hinders you from enjoying ministry or serving more effectively. It can be hurtful when people don't understand the calling in your life, or perhaps they don't treat you right because of your call.

Called and Chosen by God’s Grace

Do you dare to believe you are God's masterpiece, His workmanship, and God has already called and chosen you before creation to know Jesus and to make Him known to others? This is how the Apostle Paul describes it:

15 But when God, who picked me out before I was born and called me by his grace, chose 16 to reveal his Son to me, so that I might announce him to the Gentiles. Galatians 1:15-16, Common Jewish Bible

Rest by Revelation

Most of us live inconsistently—not because we are lacking in anything, but because we lack the revelation of our completeness in Christ. Scripturally-speaking, revelation is not as much as teaching a new doctrine but the revealing of the reality we now have in Christ.

Knowing God

5 For He [God] Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

Can you know God's will without knowing God?

Wonderfully Made

14 I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well. Psalm 139:14, New Century Version

We are always worthy in God's eyes.

Being Fully Persuaded

14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus. Romans 14:14

It is a necessary part of our life in Christ that we come to a place where we not only believe God is faithful, but we are fully persuaded of God's faithfulness for our every need.

The Gospel Is Perfect Rest

Rest is God’s expression of grace. To depart from grace is to deny rest. This was the reason for the Apostle Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews. Many Jewish believers were quitting the gospel of grace to go back to a religion of works. Paul reminds his readers that God brought their forefathers out from physical labour to a place of promised rest. As such, to return to a religion of works is reverting to a “working” relationship with God. It is the departure from the gospel that already offers you a “finished-work” relationship with our Father.

Highly Favoured in Christ

Our world ties personal worth to performance. Whether you are an athlete or a dancer, a staff or a student, give your best to what you do and succeed. But don’t let your success reduce you to pride. Pride creates a false sense of worth.

Getting Right with God

21 For He [God] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

Many Christians often struggle with the issue of getting right with God. They are constantly worrying about their ability to please God, which in turn traps them in a vicious circle of self effort and spiritual failure. This mistaken need of getting right with God will cause you to think poorly of yourself. It blinds you from grace by binding you to guilt. Don’t measure yourself by your own opinion or feeling. Measure yourself according to God’s good opinion and feeling about you. What exactly does “getting right with God” mean?

The Gift of God’s Love

19 We love Him because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

Both law and grace work on two, not only different but opposing forces—the first is by fear, and the second is by love. The law tells us how we are to live, but it does not enable us to do so. Our failure to live up to its standard creates fear and self-loathing, and the inability to experience and enjoy intimacy with God. When we are afraid of God, we will pull back and hide from Him. That's was what our first parents did in Eden.

God’s Grace in You

Passivity is a first world church problem. Statistics show that eighty percent of an average congregation in the West watch the other twenty percent do the work of ministry. Yet, despite the fact that modern technology has made it accessible and easy for us to get all the Christian teachings and all the revelations we will ever need to grow in God's grace, very few believers have risen to the challenge with more determination to make a difference. Still, we put the demand on our preachers and teachers to give us something new every Sunday even though we have done little with what we have heard last Sunday. What causes passivity?

Deeper Passion

26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. John 14:26

Before Jesus’ return to heaven, He assured His disciples that He would not forsake them like orphans. He told them that the Father would send the Holy Spirit in His place. The Holy Spirit, whom Jesus calls the Helper, will enable them and every believer to grow well in Christ. The Holy Spirit will glorify Jesus.

Right Thinking

5 ...bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

Every action and behaviour are rooted in your thought. So, what you think about is what you bring about. And this is why it is important to bring our thoughts into obedience to the mind of Christ so that we can reject every thought that does not line up with the gospel.

Coming to Our Senses

25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:25-26

Satan, who always plots for our downfall, will devise endless schemes to frustrate our spiritual growth and development. And when we are not living the good news of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, the devil can easily ensnare us in fear, doubt, and worries—which keeps us from holding on to God's promises of freedom, peace, and joy.

Rivers of Living Water

The Jewish people celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles as a remembrance of God’s wonderful provision during their time in the wilderness. For seven days, the priests lead a worshipping procession through the city to the pool of Siloam. They would draw from the pool with a golden pitcher and pour the water on an altar. However, on the eighth day, a priest raises an empty pitcher before the people, reminding them of the disobedient generation who perished in the desert. It was at this highpoint of the Feast, when everyone was in silent awe, Jesus cried out with an invitation:

37 “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive. John 7:37-39

Fullness in Christ

It is possible for any believer to experience spiritual dryness or feel completely disconnected with God. The truth is, when we feel distant from God, or when we don't feel God's love the way we used to, it is because we trust more in our feelings than fully resting in the gospel. The Apostle Paul tells us that nothing ever separates us from the love of God, and that includes the host of emotions that makes you feel out of place with God. Feelings are not always true, and should you use your feeling to validate your faith, you will somehow feel incomplete, not quite good enough for God and undeserving of God's forgiveness and love.

Don’t Become Dull of Hearing

11...you have become dull of hearing... 12 you need someone to teach you again. Hebrews 5:11-12

What you understand of the gospel can either spurt your spiritual growth and help you thrive and transform you as a person, or stunt your spiritual growth and make you dry and dull. The truth is, lots of believers have trouble understanding the gospel. This was the background to the Apostle Paul's epistle to the Hebrews. Somehow, the believers couldn’t seem to grasp the significance of their salvation because they were dull of hearing. The Greek word for dull is nōthros which literally means "no push". It is a lethargic and sluggish attitude of a believer who has no appetite for the things of God. It is difficult to teach a spiritually dull believer because the person is numb to spiritual growth and health. Such a person is not happy or sad—they are just plain bored. This boredom of the gospel is spiritually more dangerous than you may realize. Honestly speaking, if you are bored with the gospel, you have not really heard it. Why? There's nothing benign and harmless about spiritual boredom. If you are dull of hearing the gospel, your faith remains immature. This immaturity of faith actually puts you in a precarious position because you will lack the wisdom and revelation to discern true from false. When believers are not rooted in the gospel, they can be so easily swayed by the immediate culture and the secular way of thinking. Studies show that most believers in the West don't have better moral or spiritual values than non-believers. Still, we can heal ourselves of this spiritual malady by returning to a cutting-edge faith built on the gospel of God's grace. Faith comes by hearing (and keep) hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:17). When the people in the synagogue heard Jesus announcing the gospel for the first time to them, "they marvelled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth" (Luke 4:22). If you are bored with your spiritual life right now, then return to that joyful place where you first heard and believed the gospel and pray that you will never lose the wonder of it again.

Jesus Our Bread of Life

Too often the gospel is presented to meet felt needs. “Do you want to be happy? Do you want to escape loneliness? Do you want peace of mind? Then come to Jesus, He will meet your every need.” This makes Jesus the genie in Aladdin’s lamp. No, the gospel goes much deeper than that.

Healing In The Name of Jesus

29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus. Acts 4:29-30

Some believers think the supernatural power to work signs and wonders died with the apostles. However, there is no biblical basis to support this view. We can read how the Apostle James commanded church leaders to pray for the sick and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord (James 5:14). He did it to reveal to the believers the authority and power they have in Christ to bring His healing to others.

God’s Grace will Catch You

Our generous Father keeps on giving us His grace to meet all our needs. Not just on one or two occasions, but in the face of every challenge and circumstance. In Psalm 23:6, David sang, "So why would I fear the future? For your goodness and love pursue me all the days of my life." The Hebrew word for “pursue” is radaph which literally means “to hunt down, to chase after someone in order to catch”.

There’s More

42 Everyone had plenty to eat and was fully satisfied. 43 Then the twelve disciples picked up what remained, and each of them ended up with a basket full of leftovers! 44 Altogether, five thousand families were fed that day! Mark 6:42-44, The Passion Translation

Before Jesus performed the miracle of feeding the five thousand, He had little to start with except for just five loaves and two fish, but after feeding everyone fully, His disciples collected twelve baskets full of leftovers.

Bring Glory to God

We must not let our work distract us from God. We must consistently remind ourselves that we belong to God and not to ourselves. And if we are truly His, then our desire is to reflect His glory in everything we say, think or do. Consider these words of the Apostle Paul:

19 Have you forgotten that your body is now the sacred temple of the Spirit of Holiness, who lives in you? You don’t belong to yourself any longer, for the gift of God, the Holy Spirit, lives inside your sanctuary. 20 You were God’s expensive purchase, paid for with tears of blood, so by all means, then, use your body to bring glory to God! 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, The Passion Translation

Take God at His Word

5 When Jesus saw the large crowd coming toward him, he asked Philip, “Where will we get enough food to feed all these people?” John 6:5 CEV

God's vision is God's provision!

Believing In God

Have you ever wondered why God doesn’t seem to answer you every time you pray, or give you everything you ask of Him? There are believers who get disappointed or disillusioned with God when they feel He has not heard their prayers. The truth is, God actually gives you more, much more.

God At Work

What you think will affect how you feel. Have you ever wondered, “If I am completely changed by Christ, how come I don’t feel differently or act differently?” Instead of believing in the validity of God’s grace working in you, this line of thinking will cause you to become a “victim” of your feelings. Your feelings cannot change the truth of who you are in Christ. However, your feelings can harm and hurt your relationship with Him.

The Avodah Lifestyle

In Hebrew, the word for worship is avodah, which also, means work and service. Avodah reveals how God desires us to live seamlessly where worship, work and service are treated as one, and not segmented. The truth is, if you don't see life the way God sees it, you won't act the way God wants you to act.

Identity and Security

If you want to live a consistent Christian life, you must constantly define yourself by who you are and what you have in Christ. "Who you are" is your identity. "What you have" is your security. And it is through the process of living out the truth of your identity and security in Christ that you discover your purpose and mission. Simply put, your being gives reason and meaning to your doing. Know who you are before you do.

Authentic Obedience

The Christian life is not about self-improvement, but the God-led discovery to an authentic life, where you are not earning your place on earth, but enjoying your life as God's gift to you and your gift to God. What is an authentic life?

God is Love

8…God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 1 John 4:8-9

God is love and Jesus Christ is God’s love made flesh in human form.

Rooted and Grounded In Love

In his epistle to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul wants all believers to understand the love Christ has for His Church and the importance of taking hold of this reality in its fullness:

17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19

Jesus is God’s standard by which we measure how much God loves us.

Faith Working Through Love

6 faith working through love. Galatians 5:6

So many people struggle with faith. When we don't see the breakthroughs we are hoping for or when our prayers are not answered as often as we want to, we will inevitably question whether our faith is enough—whether it is strong enough or pure enough or good enough. In doing so, we are seeing faith as something more difficult than it really is.

Don’t Grieve the Holy Spirit

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by Him you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30

As a new creation, you are connected to Christ through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit delights in revealing the truth to you for He desires you to live fully in Christ. The Apostle Paul writes how the Holy Spirit is affected by your response to His revelation. To receive the Holy Spirit is to receive His revelation. Nothing gives Him the greatest joy when you understand the truth of who you are—you will find your place of belonging in God’s heart and purpose.

You Are Not Your Own

19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 1 Corinthians 6:19

Many Christians struggle to live consistently. It is a struggle because they think it’s up to them to make it work. Such struggles come from spiritual amnesia. If you don’t know who you are and what you have in Christ, you are never sure of what you need to do and how you should live for Christ.

Witness of the Spirit

16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. Romans 8:16

You belong to God. You are made complete and whole in Christ, and the Holy Spirit works primarily to help you discover and live out this truth. The Apostle Paul tells us the basis of your wholeness and well-being is built on the revelation and reality of your sonship in Christ.

Led by the Spirit

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:14

All of God’s sons and daughters can trust God to lead them. When God leads you, it is not a forced march. The Greek word for “lead” is ago which means “to lead as a shepherd leads his sheep”. God’s leading is both gentle and loving. Like a good shepherd, God will direct you to the path which will bring rest and refreshment.

Super-Abounding Grace

20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more. Romans 5:20

There are those who believe that too much preaching of grace will stir more sinful behaviour. This gives rise to the muddled idea of wanting to balance law and grace, that is, we are saved by grace but to stay saved, we are to keep the law.

God’s Goodness Leads to Repentance

4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? Romans 2:4

The more persuaded you are of God's goodness, the more responsive you are to repentance, and the less you want to sin against Him. The Greek word for "goodness" is chrēstotēs which means "benign, morally good". It refers to a person's character behind an action. God's goodness is the actual quality of His being. This means God isn't just nice to us once in awhile, but He is consistently and constantly showing His favour to us.

God’s Forgiveness Makes Your Faith Stronger

10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you? 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:10-11

God and we often treat sinners differently.

Choose Jesus

Religion and Jesus see sin differently. Religion views sin as a crime to be punished. Jesus, however, treats sin as a wound that needs healing. If we see sin as a punishable crime, then instead of evangelising to the lost, we will "prosecute" people who are suffering from moral or spiritual failure. This is because such a view will breed a kind of spiritual elitism, with one group of people looking down on another because they are living successfully spiritually. It will also create spiritual entitlement, that is, they believe God owes them something for their good behaviour and staunch religious performance.

Cornerstone or Stumbling Block

7 As believers you know his great worth—indeed, his preciousness is imparted to you. But for those who do not believe: "The stone that the builders rejected and discarded has now become the cornerstone." 8 And "A stone that makes them stumble and a rock to trip over". They keep stumbling over the message because they refuse to believe it. And this they were destined to do. 9 But you are God’s chosen treasure—priests who are kings, a spiritual “nation” set apart as God’s devoted ones. He called you out of darkness to experience his marvellous light, and now he claims you as his very own. He did this so that you would broadcast his glorious wonders throughout the world. 1 Peter 2:7-9, The Passion Translation

Self-righteousness is the biggest obstacle to salvation.

Be More Like Christ

15 We are to grow up and be more like Christ. Ephesians 4:15, New Life Version

Being born again is an instantaneous experience but spiritual growth is a process.

A Thin Place

Imagine what would happen if the presence of God and the power of God, so to speak, converge at one single point? In the gospels, we see Jesus—who is the very embodiment of God's presence and power—demonstrating again and again that all things are possible when we offer God a sacred space to move freely without encumbrance.

Know the Word

[Jesus] went on to open their understanding of the Word of God, showing them how to read their Bibles this way. Luke 24:4, The Message

While many Christians agree on the importance of knowing God's Word, a recent survey shows that 80 percent of believers don't have a habit of reading their Bibles daily, and less than 3 percent actually read through the Bible at least once in their lifetime. Furthermore, a huge number shows a lack of basic theological knowledge, and this can be seen by their naive acceptance and uncritical tolerance of heretical and outlandish views of the Christian faith.

Walk Worthy Of Your Call

12 … walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:12

Many believers struggle with the concept of a calling. Often, they assume it has to do with becoming a pastor or missionary. The truth is, a calling has less to do with what you do for God, but more to do with who God created you to be.

True Service

13... Serve each other with love. Galatians 5:13, Expanded Bible

Many Christians make one mistake—in waiting to serve God in a big way that they missed many opportunities to serve Him along the way. Even if you have heard directly from God that He is going to use you mightily in the days to come, keep serving and giving your best under all circumstances. Each assignment provides you the opportunity to grow and work out issues so that the strength of your eventual ministry rests on your God's forged character and competence.

Protecting Your Purpose

1 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers... 2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. Acts 13:1-3

Are you part of a church that recognises and respects God's call for your life and will endeavour to help you fulfil your purpose? Or are you part of a church that just wants you to keep the status quo and not make any radical changes to your life?

Living the “Avodah” Life

Many of us are taught to live a balanced life where we divide our time and energy into several segments based on priority and importance. While the idea sounds good in theory, but in reality, we usually find it hard to balance the demands of work and family life as well as everything else. This leaves us feeling frustrated and guilty because the tyranny of the urgent often outweighs what's truly important. In other words, a balanced life is a myth.

Inconsistency Is Not Hypocrisy

26 But don’t be conceited or make others jealous by claiming to be better than they are. Galatians 5:25, Contemporary English Version

I am concerned for believers who get so upset and self-righteous towards other believers who have difficulty in living out their lives in the light of the grace message. With the same attitude of the Pharisees, these believers like to measure others against their own lofty standard of grace instead of God's. In doing so, their lack of humility and pride actually turns so many people off or makes them so uncomfortable with the gospel that they have actual misgivings about God's grace.

Obedience before Success

The Bible is full of stories about underdogs, of individuals who have to face insurmountable obstacles to get ahead. While many enjoyed a great ending, some never saw any real success in their lifetime. One such person was the Prophet Isaiah. Consider what God said when He commissioned Isaiah to go and proclaim His words to a disobedient generation.

9 And [God] said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ 10 “Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed.” Isaiah 6:9-10

Grace at Work

You can never diminish God’s goodness by refusing His grace, but you are denying yourself from enjoying all His grace has to offer. Grace isn't something you deserve, and it isn’t something beyond your reach. It is a precious gift of God. And God’s grace hasn’t been given for nothing.

In the Love of God

21 keep yourselves in the love of God. Jude 1:21

Life will break you if you feel unloved. Unloved people often carry a baggage filled with doubts, hurts, rejections and false expectations. The pain of feeling unloved is the greatest pain of life. It is only through the gospel, by the grace of God's love, that you discover you are someone worthy of love and worthy to be loved. When you let God's love shine in and through you, you are free from your own fears, and your freedom will inevitably free others. Love is the only real revelation of God.

Captured by Grace

7 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— Ephesians 3:1

If you can't believe that God is involved in your circumstances, you will react instead of responding to what God is doing in you and through you.

Live For Your Purpose

It is in following God’s leading that you begin to discover your greater purpose. Only when you are on purpose, you are real. This is because you are fulfilling what God had in mind for you before the foundation of the world. The clearer you are about purpose, the more willing you are to change to fulfil your purpose. Change is not often easy. Feelings of fear and resistance may rise up because you are letting go of the old and familiar to embrace the new and unknown. Learn to release those feelings because only an uncluttered heart can fully receive what God has in store.

The Kingdom Of God Is Within You

20 Now when [Jesus] was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:20-21

Jesus met a group of Pharisees who demanded to know when the Kingdom of God would come. In contrast to the Pharisees' grand idea of a political King who will vanquish the enemies of Israel to establish a visible kingdom, Jesus interestingly answered them by saying, “the kingdom of God is within you”.

The Shield of Favour

12 For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favour You will surround him as with a shield. Psalm 5:12

When David wrote Psalm 5, he was facing many conflicts and adversaries standing between him and the victory he sought. Yet, instead of letting situation erode his confidence, David learned how to strengthen himself in the Lord, knowing that God will vindicate him at the end. We can see it in this Psalm because it culminates by assuring us with a sure promise that God shields the righteous with favour.

Divine Appointment

5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5, English Standard Version

Learn from the Prophet Jeremiah about the significance of your life and finding your true purpose that you were meant to fulfil. When God called him to be His prophet to the nations, God made it clear right from the start that He had forged Jeremiah's purpose long before he was formed in his mother's womb. Even though Jeremiah felt that he was unqualified for the job as he was too young and too inexperienced to speak for God, it didn't deter God from making him one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament times.

Live Out Your Identity

48 “In a word, what I’m saying is, "Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Matthew 5:48, The Message

Having being born again, you are given a new identity in Christ from which you will learn to live differently from before. This "learning to live differently" is your purpose in the Christian life. Your identity is not a product of your purpose, but your identity is the reason for your purpose. The more aware you are of your identity in Christ, the more able you are to pursue your purpose in Christ.

The Blessing of God’s Love

11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:11

Most people are unhappy in their relationship. They are miserable because they don't have what they wish they had. Most married persons have "two" spouses, the one they have and the one they dream about. Most parents have "two" children, the one they have and the one they dream about. Most office workers have "two bosses", the one they have and the one they dream about. I think you get the gist of what I'm saying here.

Yield to the Gospel

16...I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. Romans 1:16

Some people assume all of their problems are resolved the moment they first believed in Jesus. The truth is, your problems are not fixed at conversion but they are fixed as you yield yourself to the gospel.

Today God Is First

41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42

If you are not focused on making God first in your life, everything else is just distraction. The story of Martha and Mary is a real lesson of putting God before everything. The two sisters were hosting Jesus in their home, but each did it differently. Flustered with chores, Martha lost her patience with Mary to the extent that she asked Jesus to admonish her sister for her unhelpfulness. Jesus did otherwise.

God Will Never Leave nor Forsake You

Do you feel God is far away? Guess, who moved? During the times you don’t sense God’s presence, don’t let your feelings question His faithfulness. Going by your feelings is not the best way to live because you will stay unfocused and immature. You don’t change your circumstances by your feelings but by your faith in God.

Chosen Out Of the Ordinary

God uses ordinary people to change the world. The Bible is replete with stories of God choosing the broken over the beautiful, foolish over the wise, the humble over the powerful, the poor over the rich, the unschooled over the learned and the weak over the strong. God always worked with and through ordinary people to fulfil His purpose. When you fully embrace this truth, all fears and reluctance, all running and hiding and all self-pity and rejection lose their grips on you.

Rivers of Living Water

The Jewish people celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles as a remembrance of God’s wonderful provision during their time in the wilderness. For seven days, the priests lead a worshipping procession through the city to the pool of Siloam. They would draw from the pool with a golden pitcher and pour the water on an altar. However, on the eighth day, a priest raises an empty pitcher before the people, reminding them of the disobedient generation who perished in the desert. It was at this highpoint of the Feast, when everyone was in silent awe, Jesus cried out with an invitation:

37 “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive. John 7:37-39

Wherever the River Flows

Do you feel spiritually dry? Are you dissatisfied with your Christian life? Take heart that God has an answer for you in His word.

9 There will be swarms of living things wherever the water of this river flows. Fish will abound in the Dead Sea, for its waters will become fresh. Life will flourish wherever this water flows. Ezekiel 47:9, The Living Translation

Your Confidence in God

Do you ever feel that someone else’s experience of God outshines yours? Somehow your confidence is shaken because of a seeming gap between your belief in God and your experience of God. You may say, “If God is really with me, I should feel more of Him in my life”. This line of thinking breeds doubt and false reasoning to the effect that “God is not for me; God doesn’t care; God loves the rest best”. It will twist your Christian life out of shape. You stand on shaky ground if your confidence in God rests solely on your experience of Him.

Watch What God Is Doing

19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does the Son also does in like manner. John 5:19

Isn't it strange that we spend most of our lives wondering whether we are good enough or special enough for God to use us? The truth is, God doesn't make use of us as if for a selfish end—instead, God partners with us to establish and extend His kingdom on earth. We are not some fearful slaves cowering under a fearsome and demanding overlord, but faithful sons and daughters taking on our Righteous Father's business.

Conformity to Christ

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. Romans 8:28-29

Most people never pursue God's intended purpose. They are afraid to trust and go where God wants to take them. They prefer to take the easy road, and then discover that road is thwarted with pitfalls and problems. Following God's purpose isn’t always smooth and easy, and at times, it is not the most popular thing to do. Though you will face many twists and turns, stay on course and don't quit.

Obedience of Faith

8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. Hebrews 11:8

Sometimes we become so accustomed to a certain lifestyle or location that a change of season looks confronting and too challenging to pursue. The fear of losing what we already possess is stronger than the faith of taking possession of what God wants us to possess.

God Has Put Eternity in Your Heart

God has put deep within our human spirits a search for our true identity. Sooner or later, we ask life’s big questions: “Who am I? What is my life really about? Why am I here? Where am I heading? How will people remember me?” History tells us of many who seek answers to these questions, and yet of all the philosophers and wise men, Solomon insightfully concluded a life apart from God is a life without meaning.

Be Ready for A New Thing

18 Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19

If you want God to take you to a new season, you need to let go of what you know and make room for Him to move in your life. When it comes to transitions, the hardest thing for you is to stay focused and not get stressed out when things are not what you expected them to be.

Turning Point

1 To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

Many of us are in a season of change and transitions. Just as there are seasons in nature, we have seasons in our lives that we need to adjust. It is not the change but the adjustment to change that many believers find it challenging. And if you choose not to adjust or can't adjust to God's new season, you will stay stuck and not fulfil God's purpose for your life. This was exactly what happened to the children of Israel. When they chose to remain in a place where God didn't want them to be, they ended up walking in circles for forty years.

A Conqueror with Christ

1 “When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, 2 and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. Deuteronomy 7:1-2

God warned the children of Israel that they had to face seven enemies, each one representing a challenge in their quest to possess the Promised Land.

Don’t Let the Devil Deceive You

3 But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3

The Old Testament picture of the Promised Land is the New Covenant reality of our inheritance in Christ. Just as God told the children of Israel to defeat their enemies who kept them from possessing their full inheritance as promised to Abraham, we must not let Satan hinder us from enjoying our birthright and privileges as sons and daughters of our Father.

Don’t Have an Evil Heart of Unbelief

12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God. Hebrews 3:12

From the day they left Egypt to the day they were to enter the Promised Land, the children of Israel were never fully grateful for anything God did for them. Instead of agreeing with God and His Word, they found every reason or excuse to do otherwise. It was their faulty thinking that caused them to lose faith in God. Having an evil heart of unbelief, they grumbled and murmured against God which ultimately delayed them from His plan.

Fear or Faith

26 Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Matthew 8:26

Fear is surrendering to opposing circumstances; faith is overcoming them.

Teach Us to Number Our Days

12 So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Most people don't put careful thought on the life God wants them to possess. Often they become distracted with the cares and concerns that come their way without ever living a more fulfilling life.

God Is Bringing You into A Good Land

6...walk in His ways and to fear Him. 7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land... Deuteronomy 8:6-7

When God moves you to a new season, He will prepare and ready you for what is to come. Just like He did with the children of Israel in leading them out of Egypt into the Promised Land, God will work on you so that your past will not determine your future. And God exactly did that—when He made you a new creation in Christ, He was making sure your sinful past cannot prevent you from possessing your inheritance and future glory.

Breaking New Ground

12 "I said, ‘Break new ground. Plant what is right. Then you will harvest good things from your loyalty to me. It is time for you to turn back to me, the Lord. Do it until I come and pour out my goodness on you." Hosea 10:12, International Children Bible

New beginning means breaking new ground.

The Year of Complete New Beginnings

18 “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19

Welcome to first day of the New Year. As we begin 2018, I believe it is the year when we can expect complete new beginnings in all areas of our lives. Join me in believing that God is bringing an amazing new season of breakthroughs and turnarounds in our marriage, family, career, business, ministry and friendship.

Choose to Give Thanks

As 2017 is coming to a close, let's reflect on everything we are thankful to God for this year. We sometimes think that being thankful is something we do after a problem is solved; if this is our attitude, then our gratitude to God comes with a string attached. When we choose to give thanks, especially in the midst of difficult circumstances, we are honouring God that He is still greater than all of our life's struggles and pain put together. Thankfulness is the outward expression of an inward experience of God's grace.

New Season Brings New Favour

1 To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

God is always interested in doing new things in your life, but you must be willing to adjust and change and obey the leading of His Spirit.

Gift of Heaven

10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11

The telling and retelling of the Christmas story―of Mary and Joseph, of angels and shepherds, of Zachariah and Elizabeth, of Herod and the wise men―is to reveal one central truth, that is, the perfect heavenly gift of God's love in Christ who came to cast out all our fears.

Gifts of Worship

10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:10-11

There is a connection between our worship and our giving.

Worship Precedes Giving

10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:10-11

The Apostle Matthew tells us of the profound effect the Christ Child had on the wise men. It wasn't a casual encounter. They were overwhelmed by the presence of young Jesus that they "fell down and worshipped Him", and after that they "opened their treasures". Worship precedes giving.

Born A King

1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:1-2

Lots of people often think they are too smart for God. To them, the notion of a relationship with God is only for fools and ignorant people. The Nativity story, however, tells us a different picture.

His Name is Jesus

25 And [Joseph] called His name JESUS. Matthew 1:25

What does “Jesus” mean? His name literally means "God is salvation". This is appropriate since Jesus came to save us from our sin and in doing so He opened a new and acceptable way for us to enjoy a healthy relationship with God. Sin can never disqualify us from God's grace.

God with Us

22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Matthew 1:22-23

The heart of the gospel is found in the Old Testament name given to Jesus, "Immanuel". It is literally translated "with us is God" or, as the Apostle Matthew puts it, "God with us".

Dreaming with God

20 But while [Joseph] thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21

Sometimes we assume we know what's best for us or someone else. That was what Joseph thought when he was planning to send Mary away to hide her pregnancy. However, please consider this: what if our best intentions for ourselves and others could actually be undermining what God had purposed right from the beginning?

Don’t React to Life

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. Matthew 1:18-19

What if the life you always wanted didn't turn out to be anything like you imagined?

According to the Word

38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:38

God’s Word never changes but it can change you. Initially Mary brooded over what the angel said. She, however, learnt to turn her eyes away from how she saw herself to become what God saw in her. Mary believed God because God believed in Mary. Her willingness to submit to God’s Word enabled God to transform an ordinary village girl into an extraordinary vessel for His use.

Where Does God Fit In?

35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.” 38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:35-38

After being comforted by the Angel Gabriel, Mary was no longer troubled, and she even said "yes" straight away. Mary said yes—not because Gabriel had explained every detail to her about what to expect when she was expecting or promised her that everything was going to be all right. Mary said yes because she knew, no matter where life took her, she would never fall out of favour with God.

Make Room for God

34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” Luke 1:34

God chose Mary, not because she was the best, most attractive or most educated, but because God believes in Mary as someone who was willing to serve Him in spite of her fear and feelings of inadequacy. Being a virgin makes it impossible for Mary to give birth to Jesus, but when Mary was willing to humble herself, God made the impossible possible.

Favour With God

When God initiates a new season in our lives, He is actually creating another opportunity for us to embrace a fresh perspective of Him. When you stay too long at a particular place, you find it more comfortable to stay the same than to change. When your comfort zone becomes a cage, you are staying stuck than soaring free. New seasons, however, are stressful because we are taking a direction to where we have never been before and we are not sure whether we are going to like what we find. This is why many resist change because they would rather stay on the same and safe road of predictability than venturing into a new path of possibilities with God.

Mary, Blessed Among Women

Grace appears in unusual ways and when we least expect it.

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favoured one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” Luke 1:26-28

The extraordinary announcement of Gabriel to Mary underscores an essential gospel truth, that is, God's favour for us is not based on our behaviour but it is built on God's love and acceptance of us. This was why Gabriel told Mary to rejoice.

Reversal of Jeconiah’s Curse

11 Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon. 12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel. Matthew 1:11-12

It is interesting to note that Matthew mentioned Jeconiah in his genealogy of Jesus. If you trace the history of this wicked king, you will realise that in Jeremiah 22, God actually cursed Jeconiah, decreeing that none of his descendants shall succeed after him.

The Five Women in Jesus’ Genealogy

The Holy Spirit inspired Matthew and Luke to record the genealogy of Jesus Christ for a reason. While most people may ignore or skip reading "who begets who", this information is not irrelevant. The genealogies are far more important and exciting than we often presume. A careful study will yield many wonderful insights. Let's consider part of Matthew's genealogy.

3 Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar... 5 Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, 6 and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah. 16 And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ. Matthew 1:3-16

Genealogies

1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham. Matthew 1:1

23 Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph… 38 the son of Adam, the son of God. Luke 3:23-38

There are many who claim that Jesus didn't exist or if He ever did, Jesus wasn't divine.

A Prophetic Generation

God made us an incredibly prophetic people. 17 ‘This is what I will do in the last days — I will pour out my Spirit on everybody and cause your sons and daughters to prophesy, and your young men will see visions, and your old men will experience dreams from God. 18 The Holy Spirit will come upon all my servants, men and women alike, and they will prophesy. Acts 2:17-18, The Passion Translation The Apostle Peter quoted Joel's prophecy that the Holy Spirit will supernaturally fill every son and daughter of God with His presence, giving them the power to live authentically and amazingly in Christ.

Obedience by Faith

25 Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith— 27 to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen. Romans 16:25-27, NIV Satan doesn't just tempt us to do bad things but he also tempts us to do good things, and the temptation to do a good thing instead of the right thing is called self-effort. For instance, there is a place for fasting, prayer and service in the Christian life but they are never a substitute for Christ.

The Bait of Offence

The most naive thing to believe is that you can find a church without conflict. Like a hospital that is full of sick people, a church is full of hurt people who are incredibly sensitive and easily offended. We tend to get offended because we read too much into what people say and feel about us. While being disliked doesn't feel good, we need to exercise wisdom and discernment and not let everyone's opinion of us become more important than our own opinion—or God's.

Let God Lead You

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Some Christians operate on such a level of fear that they worry most of the time. Worrying is a bad habit and unless it is curbed, it can turn into a terrible addiction. We worry because we want to control things and stay safe, but the truth is, the control we think we have is fleeting and won't last long.

Comprehend With All The Saints

17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19 There is no perfect church; if by perfect, we mean a church that is free from conflicts and inconsistencies. Until we are united in our faith and in our knowledge about Jesus, to become fully mature like Him (cf. Ephesians 4:13ff), every one of us still has a lot of growing up to do. There is a fallacy, however, amongst believers that they can have a relationship with Christ without any relationship with His Church. Such believers often use their disappointments with other believers to justify their estrangement and isolation. This actually goes against the grain of the gospel that teaches every believer is connected with Christ through His Body, the Church (cf. Hebrews 10:25). While certain situations dictate the need to change churches, they do not warrant us to stay away from church. Simply put, if we choose to be “on our own” without any godly fellowship, we will find ourselves making up our own rules or believing anything that seems right to us. The Apostle Paul prays for every believer (which includes you and I) to "comprehend with all the saints" to fully feel and understand how wide and long and high and deep the love of Christ is (even though it is beyond all knowing) so that we are all filled to the fullness of God. What is the fullness of God? Knowing God is love, we are always filled with His fullness to love Him and others (cf. 1 John 4:11). As such, any believer who appears to love God but can't love God's people, their faith is nothing but "a clanging gong or a clashing cymbal" (1 Corinthians 13:1). Their dismissive attitude towards other believers is definitely out of sync with the gospel of grace. Don't give up on the church. Christ didn't. Neither should you.

Power of Grace

33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. Acts 4:33-34 Most believers have a weak idea of grace. They often either use grace as a cover for their erratic Christian life or as an excuse to sin. However, if we take time to grasp God’s understanding of grace, it is nothing less than His free gift of power to overcome all that is against us.

Spirit and Scriptures

5 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. 1 Thessalonians 1:5 Holiness is the God-given ability to live the life of the Spirit without ever contradicting Scriptures.

The Revelation of Holiness

14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14, New International Version. Most Christians define holiness as "not sinning". However, the Bible defines holiness as "being set apart" or "different from the world". As such, holiness is everything that stands in opposite to the world. If everyone in the world is struggling with fear, worry, loneliness and insecurity, you have already been set apart by God in Christ for rest, joy, acceptance and wholeness.

Holiness Is Pure Happiness

“Be holy, for I am holy.” I Peter 1:16

We live in a culture of instant gratification where we care less about enduring a little delay for future fulfilment and more about enjoying immediate satisfaction.

Hearing God

28 Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Luke 11:28, NIV

Do you find it hard to hear God's voice or do you wish God will speak to you more often and more clearly? Our supposed difficulty in hearing God comes from a lifestyle choice.

Life with God

31 “And [the father] said to [the older brother] Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. Luke 15:31

A life with God gives context to how we live for God.

Surprised by God’s Amazing Love

18 Love never brings fear, for fear is always related to punishment. But love’s perfection drives the fear of punishment far from our hearts. Whoever walks constantly afraid of punishment has not reached love’s perfection. 1 John 4:18, The Passion Translation. Have you ever wondered how God feels about you when you go back to your old sinful habits or added a few new ones? Do you think God is angry, upset or ashamed of you because you messed up again and again? Or do you believe that God is still good to you even if you feel completely empty of faith?

Gospel to the Poor

The gospel is for the poor. In Jesus’ ministry, they were the first people to hear the gospel. Jesus’ heart was always for the poor and He based His ministry on reaching out to them.

Taking Hold of Your Purpose

Are you doing exactly what you want to be doing? Most people do have some sense of their purpose, but often they suffer from inertia and lack the momentum to pursue their God-given dream. They choose to take up a very different path; not daring to risk because they want to stay in their comfort zone.

More than Conquerors

Many years ago, I chanced upon a comic strip in which a man asked his friend, “What’s the difference between ignorance and apathy?” His friend looked puzzled, and nervously answered, “I don’t know, and I don’t care.” When it comes to the gospel, please don’t suffer from ignorance and apathy.

Make Your Friendship Count

Do you need friends to give you approval or keep you accountable? Often a low sense of self-worth and the fear of rejection can make a person hunger for approval. Such a hunger can make you vulnerable and easily manipulated by people. And leads you to superficial and dissatisfying relationships. In Christ, our friendship is fuelled by a supernatural quality of love for one another.

In His Time

20 …my words shall be fulfilled in their season [their fixed appointed time]. Luke 1:20, Greek Version

God doesn’t tell lies or change His mind. What He says, He will do. When He makes a promise, He will meet it.

Right Time

22 At the right time I, the Lord, will make it happen quickly. Isaiah 60:22, God's Word Translation

Every promise of God involves a process. What is required of you is for God to get you ready for what He has in store for you.

Begin Again with God

Guilt is the enemy of grace. The startling truth is that most believers are more familiar with guilt than grace. They feel guilty because they never look deep enough to see how justified they are before God. Instead, they choose to suffer under guilt rather than staying free in grace. The Apostle Paul tells the Corinthians not to receive the grace of God in vain.

God Speaks to Us by His Son

1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds… Hebrews 1:1-2 The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews tells us how God has remarkably revealed Himself at “various times and in various ways” but in “these last days” Christ is the only way God chooses to reveal Himself and His heart to us. In Christ, God purposely moves you out of the shadow of the Old Covenant into the light of the New Covenant. In doing so, God changes the way you relate to Him, and He with you.

Knowing God’s Love First

If you want to enjoy a personal relationship with God, the first thing is not about knowing His will, but to experience His love. If you limit your experience of God to just how well you know His will, it reduces your relationship into a performance. All you are concerned about is how well you perform and how faithful is your performance. If all you ever think about is whether God is pleased with you or not, you are no longer thinking like a son or daughter, but as an orphan. When you centre your life in the Father’s love, you will hardly miss out on the Father’s will. Intimacy with God gives you the momentum to go all out for Him. You dare to risk it when you believe His love for you never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8).

The Father and You

The call of every believer is a continuous awareness of his sonship with God and a constant response to who He created you to be in Christ. However, when you lose perspective of the One who calls you, your purpose can become “a beast of burden” that causes you to become frustrated in serving Him. This happens to many believers when they do the work of God without enjoying God. The Scriptural way is to keep an unbroken communion with God.

Friendship with God

23 Abraham believed God...and he was called the friend of God. James 2:23

True faith is not based on a set of theological presuppositions (though they may help us understand what faith is, they don't necessarily increase our faith). Faith is actually rooted in your friendship with God.

Knowledge of the Truth

7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2 Timothy 3:7

As far as the gospel is concerned, knowledge is more than just being aware of the truth, but it involves being changed by the truth. If what you know about God's grace so far hasn't changed you to become more like Jesus, then, you didn't quite believe it in the first place. Many believers need to encounter the gospel again.

The Reality of Truth

31 “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teaching. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32, Common English Bible

Many believers often feel they need more teachings, but what they really need is more practising on what they already know and believe in Christ. There is certainly a place for sound teaching but we do not acquire spiritual knowledge for its own sake. This is because our growth in the Christian life is not based on the accumulation of knowledge alone, but it comes through a true abiding personal relationship with Jesus.

The Revelation of Spiritual Growth

Since, then, I heard of this faith of yours in the Lord Jesus and the practical way in which you are expressing it towards fellow-Christians, I thank God continually for you and I never give up praying for you; and this is my prayer. That God, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ and the all-glorious Father, will give you spiritual wisdom and the insight to know more of him: that you may receive that inner illumination of the spirit which will make you realise how great is the hope to which he is calling you—the magnificence and splendour of the inheritance promised to Christians—and how tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God. Ephesians 1:15-19, J.B. Phillips New Testament We grow to the size of the revelation we have of God.

Surprised by God

13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.... 18 And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” Luke 1:13, 18

Can God still surprise you? He certainly did with Zacharias and Elizabeth. This elderly couple had lived past their prime for childbearing and starting a family, but God still had one last surprise in store for them in the birth of their son, John.

Knowing Who God Made You in Christ

We ask Him that you will live the way the Lord wants you to live, so that you will please Him in everything you do. We ask that you will do everything that is good. We ask that you will see the fruit from what you do. We ask that you will know more and more about God. Colossians 1:10, Worldwide English God unqualified the qualified and qualified the unqualified.

Lordship of Christ

Do you come to Jesus for a quick fix or a lifestyle change? Many believers are, what I call, "rescue" prone but "relationally" adverse to Jesus, that is, they only go after Him as a Saviour for their troubles, but not stay with Him as Lord of their lives.

Real Rest

Whether we admit it or not, many of us cram too many things into our lives that we are either trying to catch up or running away. While we may say we have the abundant life in Christ, we often feel drained and empty—and even frustrated—when we seem unable to live up to those expectations of achieving great things for God.

Intimacy with God

Instead of building your intimacy with God, are you trying to get God's attention and hoping He hears your prayers? The truth is, God desires and longs for us to draw near to Him and enjoy the goodness of His grace. Because of what Christ had done for everyone, there is no longer any obstacle or hindrance that can keep anyone from coming to God.

Curb Your Fault-finding Habit

14 in [Jesus] we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:14

The most important part of the finished work is our freedom from sin. Because of Jesus, sin no longer has any power over you. Instead, you live in the freedom of God’s grace. Accept that everything that was against you has been settled on the cross, and now you are free to live for Jesus.

True Fellowship

11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

By calling God our Father and every believer a brother or a sister, we live our faith by growing together as a household of faith. You can't grow without community just as a baby can't grow without a family. The worst thing that can hinder your growth is to keep away from those who stay with God and stay with those who keep you away from God. Community is essential.

Talk Back to the Devil

The Bible calls the devil by many names. Jesus calls him a murderer, a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). In the gospel of Matthew, the devil is described as the tempter when he appeared to Jesus in the wilderness.

3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” Matthew 4:3

Complete In Christ

When Satan tempted Adam and Eve to eat the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, he wanted them to believe that God was holding back from them what was theirs to possess. He trapped them into thinking they were not complete unless they were like God.

5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil and blessing and calamity. Genesis 3:5 (The Amplified Bible)

Wait

18 Blessed are all those who wait for Him. Isaiah 30:18

31 But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. Isaiah 40:31

There is a difference between waiting for God and waiting on God.

The Goodness of The Lord

Some believers live life with a certain sense of resignation, “Instead of believing that God will take away my problem, I will learn to cope with it.” They are usually the ones with the gaunt and weary look on their faces, often wondering how much more burden they can bear before they break. Don’t be a victim in your mind. You are already a victor in Christ. For Jesus did not overcome the world for you to merely cope with life’s circumstances and situations. By conquering the sinful sum of all your fears, He had made you more than a conqueror in everything that stands against you.

Gloriously Saved

15 Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1 Timothy 1:15

The Greek word for sin is “hamartia” which means "missing the mark". It is the picture of a person who aims his arrow at the bull's eye, but ends up hitting something altogether unexpected.

Rejecting God’s Counsel

11 Then the Lord said to Moses: “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? Numbers 14:11

No matter how many times God showered His grace on the children of Israel, they remained ungrateful and kept on resisting Him. Yet, God never gave up on them because they were His chosen people. In spite of their disobedience, God stayed faithful with them even when they were faithless. What causes people to become faithless?

Accepting God’s Righteousness

3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. Romans 10:3

Many believers often assume God has to lower His standard to love us. However, the cross shows us the opposite. It is through the sacrificial death of Christ that God's perfect standard of righteousness was met—and this totally changes the dynamic of our relationship with God.

Grow in Grace and Knowledge

18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18

Being made a new creation gives you the power to re-imagine your life in a new direction. You are no longer bound to your past, or to the culture and environment in which you were raised because you are freed from the power of sin to live a complete life in Christ.

Gain Christ

Living a grace-filled life is about growing in your identity in Christ and deriving a sense of purpose and focus from it. This will help you to be very clear about where your strengths and passion lie, what you really love, and who you enjoy spending time with and what you value most. In other words, your identity works like a sieve, filtering out the unnecessary that distracts you from finding your true pursuit in life.

Fully Believing God

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. 6 Remember the Lord in everything you do, and he will show you the right way.” Proverbs 3:5-6, Good News Bible

Most of us wish we are better persons but most of us don't know where to start. And as a result, we see little or no change in our lives. Instead of feeling disappointed with ourselves, we can decide to learn and grow in the revelation of our identity. The truth is, if you don't know who you really are in Christ, you won't feel the need to change.

Sons of the Father

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. Romans 8:14-16

Nothing Separates You from God’s Love

38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

When Paul wrote the above verses, he was facing tough times because of persecution and rejection. Yet, in the midst of his hardships, Paul was fully persuaded by this truth: nothing in creation can keep you from God’s love.

Abide in Christ

In John 15, Jesus likened our relationship with Him as a branch drawing life from a vine. As long as we have His life flowing into us, we will bear fruit. Fruitfulness is always the work of God.

Stay On Purpose

I knew a believer who was troubled by the thought that God was calling him to be a missionary in China. Confused and fearful, he kept away from God for years until one day, he prayed, “Okay God, if you want me to go to China, I’ll go.” It was then that God spoke to him for the first time, “Who said that I want you to go to China? My purpose is to prosper you and make you a great success.” The man became prosperous in business and is also an influential godly voice in his industry. Today, he supports missionaries in China. There are believers who ignore what God has made them to be in Christ and through Christ. They choose to follow their feelings rather than God’s leading. I have noticed that people who are led by their feelings are usually repetitive over time in the way that they do things. They are not excited about anything but stay stuck in a rut. Life becomes so predictable that they even complain, “Life is so boring.” Boring people choose to be boring. Purposeful people choose to be purposeful. This was why Joshua told people to make the right choice of life before they entered the Promised Land.

15 …choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15

Joshua was calling the people to make a conscious choice to serve God’s purpose in their lives. When you are right on your purpose, life takes on a whole new meaning. Your purpose will navigate you through many of life’s twists and turns and ups and downs. God will protect the integrity of your purpose but it is up to you to fulfil it. No one else can. Those debt-ridden, distressed and discontented men (1 Samuel 22:2) became David’s mighty men (1 Chronicles 11:11) because they found their purpose through him. Likewise, when you find your purpose in Christ, choose to stay with it until you accomplish it. Don’t deviate, no matter how easy it is to give up or how hard it is to keep it. It is not the person who knows his or her purpose who will prevail, but the one who perseveres right to the end.

Your Purpose Reveals Your Destiny

When God put eternity in your heart, He planted a purpose in you that only He alone can satisfy. Yet, it is amazing how many believers never discover the purpose which God placed inside them. They rather choose to live a life that has nothing to do with their purpose.

I Never Stopped Giving Thanks

15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers. Ephesians 1:15-16

When you pray for your fellow believers, how do you usually pray for them? The Apostle Paul ceaselessly thanked God for the Ephesians when he heard of their firm faith in Christ and their deep love for Christians everywhere.

Changed In Christ

Many believers desire for change in their behaviour. They try to change but when they can’t, they are engulfed by feelings of frustration and self loathing. Thinking poorly of themselves, they often can’t see the change that took place in Christ.

God Will Never Leave nor Forsake You

Do you feel God is far away? Guess who moved? During the times you don’t sense God’s presence, don’t let your feelings question His faithfulness. Going by your feelings is not the best way to live because you will stay unfocused and immature. You don’t change your circumstances by your feelings but by your faith in God.

Walk Worthy of God

12...walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:12

The Christian life is not a fairy tale life. It is not about receiving Jesus and then living happily ever after. We are to grow in the knowledge of our new identity in which we draw on Christ as our source and strength.

Walk Worthy Of Your Call

12...walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:12

Many believers struggle with the concept of a calling. Often, they assume it has to do with becoming a pastor or missionary. The truth is, a calling has less to do with what you do for God, but more to do with who God created you to be in Christ and through Christ. Every believer, including you, has a calling with many promises.

A Worthy Life

Are you living the life you believe in, or are you settling for less than what it should be? Jesus understood that the value of His life was never about Himself but always about us.

45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Mark 10:45

God Demonstrates His Love

Many believers are unsure of whether God loves them. They are led more by their fears and failures instead of living in the revealed Word of God. Consider the Apostle Paul’s words here:

8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Jesus is God’s standard by which we measure how much He loves us.

See Your Life as God Sees It

God always sees you differently from how you see yourself. You may feel unworthy of His love, but God sees you as worthy of His love. No matter how you feel about yourself, God does not see the person you were before Christ, but He sees you as the person you are now in Christ. The person you were no longer exist.

Root and Fruits of Repentance

We are not to confuse the root of repentance with the fruits of repentance. There are too many “fire and brimstone” sermons that call for believers to produce fruits of repentance when the real emphasis should be on the root of repentance. Such preaching brings confusion and condemnation into the body of Christ. Believers wind up struggling with sin all the time and not surrendering wholly to the reality of the finished work of the cross. They often feel discouraged or become frustrated because of the seemingly barrenness in their lives when they should believe unto Christ for fruitfulness.

Remould Your Mind

There are believers who live a “dual life”. They desire to love God and enjoy a self-indulgent life at the same time. They know how to behave and misbehave depending on the crowd. They learn to alternate between the spiritual and the sordid. They want to fulfil the flesh and still want to grow in the Spirit. The gospel does not teach a “schizophrenic form” of the Christian life.

Repent and Believe

People often have the mistaken notion that repentance is a guilt-ridden awareness; that is, the bad feelings that come after doing something wrong. Scriptural repentance is a change of the mind leading to a change in behaviour. The word comes from the Greek word, metanoia which means “a change of mind upon understanding for something better or positive”. This means repentance is by revelation. It is about thinking differently after knowing the truth and not about having bad feelings. In other words, to repent is not to think down on ourselves, but to think up good thoughts about who we really are in Christ.

Hearers and Doers

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. James 1:22-24

The grace-ignorant, the grace-migrants and the grace-natives hear the gospel differently. The grace-ignorant hear but don’t respond exactly. The grace-migrants hear and are learning to respond. The grace-natives hear and respond promptly.

Be a Grace Native

8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. Acts 6:8, English Standard Version

There are three kinds of people when it comes to the gospel of grace: the grace-ignorant, the grace-migrants and the grace-natives.

Be a Blessing for God

Over time, I have come to notice that many believers don’t know how to obey and honour God’s call in their lives. They quit too easily because they feel unappreciated or they shirk from their responsibilities by making up frivolous excuses. God is a debtor to no man. Every time you do something for God, He will remember to reward you.

No Shortfall with God

One practical part of the abundant life is that God gives you more blessings than you require so that you have more than enough to contribute to every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).

The Blessing of Giving

35... And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35

Be the breath and hands of God's grace. Shine for Jesus to every person you meet. Not just in words but also in deeds.

Cheerful Giver

7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

What's in your mind when the offering bag is passed around or when you hear of someone with a financial need? Do you find it a challenge to give or do you readily seize the opportunity to sow more?

Accepted In The Beloved

Our world ties personal worth to performance. Whether you are an athlete or a dancer, a staff or a student, give your best to what you do and succeed. But don’t let your success lead you to pride. Pride creates a false sense of worth.

God Is In Our City

56 Wherever [Jesus] entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched Him were made well. Mark 6:56

We need a fresh understanding of God's presence in our city. Often believers assume God lives inside the church, and they go to church on Sundays to meet Him there. The truth is, God is in our city and He wants His Presence to be felt and found by everyone.

The Grace of Freedom

8 Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” Luke 19:8

Tax collecting is not a reputable occupation in Jesus' time. The Jewish people held a high disdain and contempt for tax collectors because they were levying monies on behalf of the Roman Empire. Since they were seen as the faces of fiscal oppression and exploitation of the poor, and a running dog of a foreign political power, no self-respecting Jews would ever associate themselves with these individuals, but not Jesus.

Let God’s Word Carry You

6 The words of the LORD are pure words, Like silver tried in a furnace of earth, Purified seven times. Psalm 12:6

God's Word is without defect or flaw and cannot be tainted or tarnished.

Let God’s Word Refine You

17 He sent a man before them— Joseph—who was sold as a slave. 18 They hurt his feet with fetters, He was laid in irons. 19 Until the time that his word came to pass, The word of the LORD tested him. Psalm 105:17-19

Most of us are familiar with the story of Joseph, a son sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, but rose to a position of prestige, power and prominence. Since he was young, Joseph knew from God his destiny but God's word "tested" Joseph until he was ready to fulfil it.

Quenching the Spirit

19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22

1 Thessalonians 5:19 is too often misinterpreted or quoted out of context. Most times, we are taught how our ungodly behaviour can "quench" the Spirit, as if our sin is somehow too grave for the Holy Spirit to handle. This misinterpretation happens because we let this verse stand on its own without looking at the real issue the Apostle Paul was addressing.

Eager to Prophesy

31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 39 ...be eager to prophesy. 1 Corinthians 14:31, 39

As a practical way to create a strong and healthy community, the Apostle Paul encouraged the Corinthian believers to release fresh revelatory insights and prophetic words to each other. He wanted them to recognise that it was not just the pastor or church leaders who had the gift and responsibility of being able to prophesy, but everyone could prophesy in turn, so to encourage and build the faith of God's people.

Who Will Move The Stone?

1 Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away —for it was very large. Mark 16:1-4

The Jewish burial process involved meticulous cleaning and anointing the body with sweet smelling spices. Jesus was nevertheless hastily buried in a cave after His crucifixion to avoid breaking the Sabbath law. However, on the morning after the Passover, some women were on their assignment to complete the preparation of Jesus' body—but they had a problem. They were wondering who would move the stone for them, and to their surprise, they found out that the stone was already moved.

Trust In God At All Times

8 Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah. Psalm 62:8

People who have trouble trusting God usually don't believe God loves them. This makes acceptance and obedience to God's purpose in their lives difficult, especially when they are encountering challenges and crises.

Choosing Life over Death

You are created with the gift of choice. Your life is not fixed by a predetermined program but fashioned to fulfil a predestined purpose. What you choose to believe about God and yourself will shape and shade your perception of life. You made your choice, and your choice made you.

Jesus the Image of the Invisible God

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. Colossians 1:15

Many people have a wrong idea of who God is. By making God’s invisible qualities visible, Jesus enables you to see God as He really is and how He really feels about you. First, Jesus reveals God is love. Secondly, God loves without limit. Thirdly, God’s faithful love is clearly seen in Jesus—who came not to condemn but to save. As you meditate on these truths, you will always find comfort in God’s love—no matter what you may be facing right now.

Fallen from Grace

4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. Galatians 5:4-5

It is easy to revert to the law if you are not growing in grace. The law placed the responsibility for our salvation on our own efforts and performance. And those who attempt to please God by obeying the law are actually turning away from Christ and His amazing grace.

Loving God Back

19 We love Him because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

Religion misrepresents the character of God. Religion says God will love you if you change. Grace says God will change you because He loves you. God will love you with everything He has so that you will realise how much you are worth to Him. Sometimes the hardest part of this truth is you believing it.

Consider Jesus

Your new identity is the testimony of your righteousness. The moment you are a believer, God declares you righteous, holy and blameless. This is your new identity which God gives you; a new nature to live in a new reality. Through His Holy Spirit, God convicts you to live consistently with who you really are in Christ. He does it by aligning your thoughts and actions with the revealed truth of His Word.

Greater Works

12 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. John 14:12 (NASB)

Jesus told His disciples that they will do "greater works" after He returned to the Father. In the context of the verse, he was describing how God would use them to take the gospel from a small part of the world to the four corners of the earth. On the day of Pentecost, Jesus fulfilled His promise when He sent the Holy Spirit to empower them (and us) to witness and testify boldly.

Kingdom People

12 And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch. 13 Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. Acts 5:12-13 We Christians are often misunderstood.

Face to Face

12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12 Have you ever struggled with a conflicted view of life?

Obedience of Christ

4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. 2 Corinthians 10:4-6

In the context of the Corinthian church, the believers had become so selfish and self-centred in their attitude that their behaviour and actions were tearing the community apart. By not aligning themselves to the truth of the gospel, their ineptitude led to unhealthy spiritual strongholds in their lives.

Learning Obedience

8 Then I heard the Lord asking, "Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?" I said, "Here I am. Send me." Isaiah 6:8

If God can save you when you are not good enough, what makes you think that God cannot use you because you feel you are not good enough? The truth is, you don't have to be good enough, you just need to show up and say, "Here I am. Send me".

A Thin Place

Imagine what would happen if the presence of God and the power of God, so to speak, converge at one single point? In the gospels, we see Jesus—who is the very embodiment of God's presence and power—demonstrating again and again that all things are possible when we offer God a sacred space to move freely without encumbrance.

Keep Yourself in God’s Love

21 ...keep yourselves in the love of God. Jude 1:21

We have a gracious loving God who loves us without condition or hesitation, and there is nothing you can do or say that can change that. This truth abolishes the lie that you are unlovable and unworthy of love. Besides, when you choose to redefine yourself according to God's love for you, you will stop condemning yourself and be free from the fear of judgment.

God’s Silence

1 Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, And do not be still, O God! Psalms 83:1

The Psalmist echoes the feeling of helplessness we experience when God doesn't seem to be answering our prayers, at least in the way we expect or want. Often, the silence will give rise to a "darker picture" of God which makes us doubt His ability and goodness. Don't take God's silence as a "no", but learn to recognise how His silence affects how you perceive Him.

Wonderfully Made

14 I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well. Psalm 139:14, New Century Version

We are always worthy in God's eyes.

The Power of Revelation

A revelation is when God reveals something for you to learn about yourself in Christ. Every revelation offers you a chance to know clearly who you are and to understand more fully your purpose, where you need to be and what you are supposed to do. Even though you may not fully grasp at once the significance of each revelation, continue to grow a real desire to "listen" so to expand your understanding and it will lead you to live a positive and productive life.

Seeing God

5 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Job 42:5

The story of Job calls for an answer to an important question, "Would you still love and believe God in spite of everything and even when you don't see His plan for your life?"

Believe God

25 Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. Acts 27:25

When the ship was caught in a bad wintry storm, the Apostle Paul shared with everyone the vision he received from God that they would be safe in spite of the roaring wind and raging waves.

God is for Us

31...If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

When I was learning how to shoot in the army, I was taught to watch out for “friendly fire”. Friendly fire is a military term used to describe the situation when a soldier is shot by his own side instead of the enemy. You never get any friendly fire from God. God is for us. If He is for us, who and what can be against us?

Spiritual Warfare

20 And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. Romans 16:20

Spiritual warfare is an attempt by Satan seeking to destroy your identity in Christ.

Power and Weakness

9 [Jesus] said to me, "My grace is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak." So I am very happy to brag about how weak I am. Then Christ’s power can rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 New International Reader's Version

Many believers always seem ashamed of their weakness and afraid of people who may think poorly of them. They spent a lot of their time and energy hiding their fear of being judged or rejected, of never being good enough or worthy enough for God. Our weakness does not disappoint God.

Identity

7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

God gives you a new identity for you to live a new life.

He Who Loves God Must Love His Brother Also

20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. 1 John 4:20-21

The Apostle John tells us that a love for God which excludes the love for others is not love. Once you experience God's love, you cannot stay unaffected by it. His divine love gives you the impetus to love and care for people, whether they are friends or strangers.

Living Life On Purpose

Some people assume that life is something that happens to them without their consent or control. And they are to make the most of what life throws at them. No one lives an accidental life; somehow and somewhere you pick the road to take. Where you are today was decided yesterday. Without a clear sense of purpose, you will suffer from a vague sense of life. Think about it.

Being Fully Persuaded

14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus... Romans 14:14

It is a necessary part of our life in Christ that we come to a place where we not only believe God is faithful, but we are fully persuaded of God's faithfulness for our every need.

Praying in the Reality of the New Covenant

14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 1 John 5:14

Many believers have trouble with prayer because they don't actually know the difference between knowing God's will and guessing God's will. This explains the unsettled feelings and worry after praying because they are not sure whether their prayers are heard or not. The truth is, praying according to God's will is not difficult, if we learn to pray in the reality of the New Covenant. What does it mean to pray in the reality of the New Covenant?

A Covenant-Keeping God

16 So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound —think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” Luke 13:16

You may seem insignificant to most people, but God knows your worth and when you realise it, you will never feel worthless and never alone again.

Appetite for God

8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Psalm 34:8

When David first sang this psalm, he was actually caught in a hard place where he was fleeing away from Saul’s jealous rage to find refuge in enemy territory. It was easy for David to wonder whether God had forgotten all about him. Yet, David reasoned that God was still good despite bad circumstances. And when he started to nourish his spirit by worshipping God, David found grace and strength to overcome all his adversaries. You waste grace by keeping your hunger and thirst for God small.

Identity and Media

21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:21

Media is a double-edged sword. Whether you are aware or not, the media does shape and impact your identity and overall attitude towards life. Because it can have both positive and negative effects on us, we need to take a discerning approach to what we read, see and hear.

Complete

8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception... 10 ...you are complete in Him... Colossians 2:8,10

What does it mean to be complete in Christ?

Accept One Another in Christ

7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. Romans 15:7, New International Version

Lots of Christians will tell you that they get along better with non-Christian friends than they do with each other. One reason for this is that we don't hold both groups of friends to the same standard of expectation. Somehow, we react more strongly when fellow believers disappoint us, and this in turn leads us to judge them or treat them more harshly than we should. If this describes you, then take a moment to consider: what's your understanding of grace? We are to accept one another in Christ, and not how we feel about each other.

Grace Reveals Who We Are

What's the difference between guilt and shame? Guilt and shame are corresponding feelings to how we see ourselves. Guilt is "I've done something bad", and shame is "I am somehow bad". Guilt and shame are self-loathing emotions. Guilt and shame can cause you to develop an unhealthy focus on perfection and performance where failure is difficult to accept when you expect to succeed. It is these effects of guilt and shame that drive people to despair and discouragement. There's something incredibly liberating about the gospel of God's grace.

Dwelling in Grace

21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain. Galatians 2:21

Too often believers make light of God's grace which unfortunately leads to dire consequences for their faith. The Galatians is a good example to illustrate it. They simply saw grace as something rudimentary and only necessary for their salvation, but now they wanted to strictly follow a religious routine of do's and don'ts to keep their salvation. The worst thing is not that these believers had not experienced God's grace, but they unlearned God's grace along the way. Paul was emphatic in stating that we cannot live our Christian life without grace.

We Are the Body of Christ

It is reported by church experts that there are some 30,000 different Christian denominations in the world today. Sad to say, most came out of church splits caused more by personality clashes than theological differences. It is not a new problem but something that has been around since the days of the early church. In his first epistle to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul noticed the believers had heated debates and were strongly divided because of their differing loyalty to Apollos, Peter and himself (1 Corinthians 3:22). He highlighted to them that they should take a lesson from the way a human body functions. Though the body has many limbs and organs, they really are one.

We Need Each Other

As much as a body cannot function without a head, it cannot fully function without all the limbs and organs working together. If these limbs and organs loathe and reject each other (1 Corinthians 12:15-17), the Apostle Paul tells us the body will fail. Your identity is in Christ.

First Love

19 We love because God first loved us. 1 John 4:19, Common English Bible

Love, in the Old Covenant, was to “love your neighbour as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18; Mark 12:31) but in the New Covenant, Jesus went further in His new commandment to “love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12).

Be A Lifelong Follower of Jesus

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 1 John 1:1

The Apostle John was the youngest of Jesus' disciples, and who also lived the longest. His name means "grace".

Freed in Christ

1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1, New International Version

If the gospel you believe doesn't lead you into greater freedom, it is not the gospel.

Our Freedom In Christ

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh,but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2

The freedom of the Christian life comes from this crucial truth, that is, our sins are paid for us—past, present, and future—through Christ's finished work on the Cross. If this truth doesn't set your heart at peace, you haven't really understood the gospel.

True Organic Love

16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

An anagram is where a new word is created by rearranging the letters of another word. It is interesting that we get "true organic love" when we anagrammatize "grace revolution". For the past 20 years the preaching of the gospel of God's grace by various men and women of God has significantly impacted the lives of individuals and churches globally. Some of these changes went beyond long-held beliefs and boundaries, bringing many into joyful salvation and freedom from legalism and spiritual bondages. Jesus is God's grace and love personified.

Be Who You Are

What do you like about yourself? It is wise to have a sense of worth outside of what you do, who you know and what you own. Until you are at peace with yourself, it is difficult for you to get along with others.

The Gospel Is Counterculture

Our culture is obsessed with individualism and personal rights. It breeds an entitlement mentality that the world owes you something and you can have it on demand. In short, “It’s all about me!” This “self-addiction” limits your ability to deal with disappointments and impedes maturity. It hinders you from developing deep relationships and meaningful community commitment. And it gets in the way of a healthy relationship with God, especially when He doesn’t seem to be answering your prayers. The gospel is counterculture.

Blessed With Every Blessing

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Ephesians 1:3

Everything our Heavenly Father has for us is “gift-wrapped” in Christ.

Grace and Holiness

9 God is the one who saved and called us with a holy calling. This wasn’t based on what we have done, but it was based on His own purpose and grace that He gave us in Christ Jesus before time began. 2 Timothy 1:9, Common English Bible

A shallow understanding of grace is more frustrating than no understanding of grace. It leads some people to abuse grace, either through legalism or antinomianism.

No Fear in Love

Insecurity is self-imposed rejection. It is one of the greatest enemies of spiritual growth—for it isolates you from the true worth of your identity in Christ. It was the feeling of insecurity that caused the children of Israel to forfeit God's offer of the Promised Land the first time round. Being afraid of failing and getting hurt, they used their insecurity to exaggerate the potential dangers that lay ahead of them.

Coming to Our Senses

25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:25-26

Satan, who always plots for our downfall, will devise endless schemes to frustrate our spiritual growth and development. And when we are not living the good news of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, the devil can easily ensnare us in fear, doubt and worries—which keep us from holding on to God's promises of freedom, peace and joy. Just as Jesus had taught us, the only and best way to defeat the devil is through the word of God. This explains why the Apostle Paul instructed Timothy to correct those believers who had strayed from their faith with the truth of the gospel so to bring them into repentance.

Right Thinking

5 bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

Every action and behaviour is rooted in your thought. So, what you think about is what you bring about. And this is why it is important to bring our thoughts into obedience to the mind of Christ so that we can reject every thought that does not line up with the gospel.

The Productive Life

7 I now serve the good news because God gave me his grace. His power is at work in me. Ephesians 3:7 NIRV

Grace empowers us to live a most fulfilling and productive life.

Grand Design

35 He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker, in blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen, and of the weaver—those who do every work and those who design artistic works. Exodus 35:35

When God gave Moses the design and specifications for the construction of the Tabernacle, He also gave the builders and craftsmen the extraordinary power of creativity and artistic skills to build something they've never seen before or could imagine.

Prosper In All Things

2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. 3 John 1:2

God wants to prosper you in everything in every way—just as you prosper spiritually.

A Generous Spirit

9 He who has a generous eye will be blessed, For he gives of his bread to the poor. Proverbs 22:9

God gives you the gift of life for you to make your life a gift.

Let God Heal Your Broken Heart

The world is full of angry and disappointed people. They suffer from a wounded heart that needs mending. It is okay to feel hurt, but you don’t have to stay hurt. And don’t let your heart go unhealed. It can make you sick and cause you misery, and even make you a pain to live with. When you stay hurt and angry, you are not truly living. You are simply rehearsing your pain again and again. Don’t let your hurt come between you and God. What hurts you hurts Him. God cares about what’s in your heart. So, let go of the broken pieces—because the more you hold onto them, the more they hold you back from experiencing God's best. Taste God's goodness with your heart and you will find your healing and freedom.

In the Strength of Christ

The Apostle Paul was in prison when he wrote his epistle to the Philippians. In spite of the many difficulties and obstacles, Paul wasn’t frazzled because he knew his life in Christ was greater than all of life’s harsh circumstances.

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

Anchored In Grace

The Christian life is anchored in the grace of God. Yet, we can easily forget and lose sight of what Christ had done for us through His finished work on the cross. It is for this reason the Apostle Paul urged the Corinthian believers to grasp the significance of receiving the grace of God in their lives.

1 We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 Corinthians 6:1

Rooted and Grounded In Love

In his epistle to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul wants all believers to understand the love Christ has for His Church and the importance of taking hold of this reality in its fullness:

17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19

Jesus is God’s standard by which we measure how much God loves us.

Become Just As Christ Is

40 And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men. Luke 2:40,52

Growth is the hallmark of sonship.

Partnership in the Gospel

Every church, including Firstlight, has its own vulnerable spots, limitations and challenges. While it is good to know our weakness, we must also know our wealth. When we fail to do so, we forget our potential and purpose. How often we fail to remember why God brought us together. We are God’s gifts to each other. It is only when we share our gift of life with others that we are truly living as His sons and daughters.

Christ At The Door

20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. Revelation 3:20

Picture this—we open two doors for Jesus Christ to enter our lives. In Genesis, Jesus is the sin offering laid at the door of every non-believing heart and whoever opens the door and believes in Him, will begin a new life through Him. In Revelation, Jesus is the Saviour standing and knocking at the door of every believing heart and whoever answers and welcomes Him, will experience the presence and power of His life in them. The first entry is salvation, the second entry is fellowship.

Sin and Sin Offering

In the Hebrew language, chatta't is the same word used to describe “sin” and “sin offering”. The first mention of chatta’t is found in Genesis 4:7.

7 Is there not, if thou dost well, acceptance? and if thou dost not well, at the opening a sin-offering is crouching, and unto thee its desire, and thou rulest over it. Genesis 4:7 [Young’s Literal Translation]

You Are Made In God’s Image

Have you ever experienced an identity crisis? Psychologists tell us that most people experience an identity crisis one time or another in their lives. They feel within them an unsettled sense of self without fulfilment and wholeness. Their oft cry is “I don’t know who I am”.

Your Identity Comes from God

4 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:4-5

What is the difference between identity and self worth? Self worth is feeling-based and identity is truth-based.

Identity Gives You Authority

The Pharisees often challenged the authority of Jesus by questioning the legitimacy of His ministry and teachings. On one occasion, Jesus proclaimed to the Pharisees:

12 I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. John 8:12

Identity and Healing

1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1

Knowing our identity in Christ is the basis for our healing.

Made Worthy

24 and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:24 NRSV

A New Way of Living

17 Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence. 2 Corinthians 5:17, God's Word Translation

Knowing who you are in Christ changes the way you live and think. Your identity as a new creation in Christ is the starting point of the normal Christian life. The Apostle Paul tells us that we get our new identity from Christ, and it is through a genuine relationship with Christ—that we actually live out this reality in our daily lives.

Defined by Your Identity in Christ

14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. Romans 13:14, New International Version

What do we mean by "finding your identity in Christ" and why does your identity matter?

God’s Love In You

Two brothers who lived in the same house had such a bitter quarrel that they stopped talking to each other for forty years. Friends and relatives tried their best to reunite them, without avail. One day a new pastor arrived and everyone implored him to speak to the two brothers. The pastor asked them what their quarrel was about, and one of them replied, “I can’t exactly remember when or why we fought but I am still mad at him!

5 Love is not provoked. 1 Corinthians 13:5

Fulfilling Your Purpose

2 ...the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Acts 13:2

When God calls you, His intent is for you to bless your generation and build a legacy for a generation to come. And God will take time to shape your character until He knows you are ready to fulfil your purpose.

Protecting Your Purpose

1 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers... 2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. Acts 13:1-3

Are you part of a church that recognises and respects God's call for your life and will endeavour to help you fulfil your purpose? Or are you part of a church that just wants you to keep the status quo and not make any radical changes to your life? Many believers are just going through the motions of church attendance and activities out of habit and obligation. This is not the normal Christian life. The Acts of Apostles shows us the endless possibilities we can experience and enjoy if only we partner with the Holy Spirit and with the community God has placed us in.

True Friendship

25 Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. 26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. Acts 11:25-26

Keep away from small-minded people who have a stranglehold on your life. They are the ones who keep reminding you of your failure and inadequacy. Or make you fearful of trying new things or making mistakes. Or keep talking down to you and never inspire you to go beyond where you are right now.

The Spirit Of Excellence

What sort of attitude and energy do you bring to work and ministry? Are you recognised for an outstanding ability to produce quality work of which you can be proud? Or, are you associated with half-hearted attempts and indifference? The Apostle Paul tells us that whatever we do, we should do it with a spirit of excellence.

Give Your Best to The Lord

23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men... Colossians 3:23

Why do many Christians feel turning out high-quality work in their job is necessary, but in church, it does not matter as long as they turn up? Is it because they fear a bad appraisal or losing their job for poor office performance whereas in church it is purely voluntary, and so no one can insist on excellence from them? Why do the same believers get upset and make threats to quit when their church leaders gently remind them of something they haven't done right or properly? But if the same thing happened in the workplace, they would readily acknowledge their shortcomings and resolve to do better. Perhaps, the problem is more spiritual than habitual, that is, poor attitude and tardiness in church is "acceptable" because "we are under grace, and not under law". The truth is, there is no excuse or reason for you to treat your work in church less seriously than your work in the office, whether you are being paid or volunteering. The Apostle Paul tells us that we don't function from two different work ethics but in whatever we do, we always give our best because we are working for the Lord. The Greek word for "heartily" is psyche which means "the breath of God's life". It is the root word from which we get our English word for psychology. In other words, our Christian "psychology" of work (attitude, ethics and values) should reflect the overflowing life of God in us. This is the picture of the gospel rest. Catch "the breath of God" in everything you do. Endeavour to live consistently from this revelation, and it would change the way you live and serve God and others.

Belonging To Each Other

Over the years, I have come across believers who claim to love Jesus but have practically quit church. They would tell me, “Believing in Jesus doesn’t mean I need to go to church.” Nowhere in the Bible does it state that a believer can belong to Christ without belonging to His Church. In fact, the Bible is explicitly clear that the opposite is true.

Your Gift of Grace

7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Ephesians 4:7

There are believers who will flood to a church with a gifted worship team or a great preacher. But there is more to a church community than just enjoying the talents and gifts of other believers. The Apostle Paul tells us that Christ gave each of us a special gift of grace so that we are God's blessing to each other and everyone else you know. In other words, you are supernaturally empowered to be a contributing member, and not merely a consumer in the Body of Christ.

Divine Appointment

5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5, English Standard Version

Learn from the Prophet Jeremiah about the significance of your life and finding your true purpose that you were meant to fulfil. When God called him to be His prophet to the nations, God made it clear, right from the start, that He had forged Jeremiah's purpose long before he was formed in his mother's womb. Even though Jeremiah felt that he was unqualified for the job as he was too young and too inexperienced to speak for God, it didn't deter God from making him one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament times.

In the Presence of Christ

The Corinthian Church was divisive in nature. There were many episodes of infighting and scandalous activities. One such episode revolved around one person who was causing grief to the church in some ways. And the believers found it difficult to forgive this person for the damage done. The Apostle Paul wanted them to forgive this individual, lest they unwittingly gave Satan an opening to yet create more chaos.

Approved In Christ

People in the public arena, such as performers and politicians, are often concerned with their “approval ratings” because their careers rise and fall with it. To win the crowd’s endorsement, some compromise to the extent of straying from their moral ideals, work ethics and spiritual principles. The fear of rejection opens them to be manipulative and to be manipulated. The fear of rejection plagues all of us. No one likes to be rejected, but it happens. The opposite of rejection is acceptance. Consider the truth of God’s absolute acceptance of you.

Faith and Politics

36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” John 18:36

Jesus was actually living in one of the most politically charged times in history.

Praying for Our Leaders

Christians have political responsibility. It is not wise to shut our eyes to what's happening around us, especially over political and public issues that are impacting our nation. It is good to have a healthy awareness of such issues, but better still when we can offer Christian responses to them.

God-given Authority

9 For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. And this also we pray, that you may be made complete. 10 Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the authority which the Lord has given me for edification and not for destruction. 2 Corinthians 13:9-10

The Corinthian church is a problematic church filled with strife and division. When most pastors would have quit, the Apostle Paul didn't give up on the believers. Instead of tearing them down, Paul told the believers to recognise the authority the Lord Jesus had given him to build them up.

Authority and Power

1 Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. Luke 9:1

Authority and power are neither inborn nor cultivated by hard work. They are established for you through Christ's finished work on the cross. It is because of your identity in Christ that you are given both authority and power to live and act in His name.

My Mouth Will Speak Truth

Are you more concerned with your reputation or your character? Reputation is how we want others to see us, while character is who we are when no one is seeing. It is better to build your character than your reputation. Guard your character and your reputation will show it.

The Shield of Favour

12 For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; With favour You will surround him as with a shield. Psalm 5:12

When David wrote Psalm 5, he was facing many conflicts and adversaries standing between him and the victory he sought. Yet, instead of letting situation erode his confidence, David learned how to strengthen himself in the Lord, knowing that God would vindicate him at the end. We can see it in this Psalm because it culminates by assuring us with a sure promise that God shields the righteous with favour.

Trust in the Lord

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Most of us rely more on our physical senses than on our spiritual senses when it comes to making any plans. Believe me, if God is not in any of them, your accomplishments count for nothing. But when you give God His rightful place in your life, you will discover that God cares enough to align your life to His purpose.

God’s Grace Is Sufficient for You

Satan doesn’t care what your purpose is as long as you don’t do anything about it. However, once you are determined to live out your purpose, opposition begins. He will hurl every trial and temptation, distraction and discouragement to stop you.

Fulfil Your Purpose

Everyone has a purpose, but most choose to bury it because they think it takes too much hard work to succeed. To be less than who God has made you to be is to deny the life you were meant to live. The Bible reveals one significant truth—no great men or women of God ever fulfilled their purpose without Him.

Ask Anything

Some people choose to live a cautiously safe life. They are risk averse, and if there is a probability of failure, chances are, they won't ever try to find out otherwise. As such, they would rather forfeit their purpose than forsake their personal comfort. It is sad that even when they finally get what they thought they wanted, they still feel insecure and unfulfilled in many ways. You can do everything to protect your own interests but unless God is with you on them, you still run the risk of losing everything. Jacob was such a man. He plotted and schemed to get ahead but always suffered defeat because he believed more in himself than in God. He had to learn many hard lessons until he finally discovered God’s intent was always to bless him.

Comfort and Edify One Another

There are believers who judge a church by what they can get out of it and how well it serves their needs. They often have a wrongful expectation of what the church should—and can be—but they will do nothing to give their best back to the church. Remember, our Lord Jesus Christ did not save you for inaction but He saved you to set you into action and good works. Sometimes we work too hard to preserve our individuality that we forget community. Consider the Apostle Paul’s insight on how we ought to treat each other within the Body of Christ.

True Fellowship

11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

By calling God our Father and every believer a brother or a sister, we live our faith by growing together as a household of faith. You can't grow without a community more than a baby can grow without a family. The worst thing that can hinder your growth is to keep away from those who want you to stay with God and stay with those who keep you away from God. Community is essential.

Kingdom Life

A story is told of a man who inherited a farm. The man felt that slaving away on the field was too much work. He decided to sell the farm and seek fortune in a gold rush. However, along the way he faced many failures and losses. Without any means to start over, the man died poor, bitter and broken. On the other hand, the new owner of the farm discovered gold nuggets one day while tilling the field. It turned out that the farm was sitting on a large gold deposit. The man rejoiced greatly over his discovery, for the farm became one of the largest gold mines in the world.

The Kingdom Of God Is Within You

20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:20-21

Jesus met a group of Pharisees who demanded to know when the Kingdom of God would come. In contrast to the Pharisees' grand idea of a political King who would vanquish the enemies of Israel to establish a visible kingdom, Jesus interestingly answered them by saying, “the kingdom of God is within you”.

God’s Forgiveness Makes Your Faith Stronger

10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you? 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:10-11

God and we often treat sinners differently.

Worship the Father

21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. John 4:21

Worship is rightfully placing God in the centre of your being.

Free to Worship

Worship isn't so much that we are seeking God but rather God is searching for us.

23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. John 4:23

Worship in Spirit and Truth

23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24

Worship is not "charming" God for Him to like you or winning His favour.

Partners

Passion disappears when you are no longer open to your call, when you stop making it a priority to live up to your purpose and forget that God has blessed you to be a blessing. With all the distractions happening around you, it is easy to disengage from what God has intended for you.

Fully Reconciled

Mental health experts tell us that the root of a dysfunctional behaviour is broken relationships. The danger is that we can carry our dysfunctional self into the church. We need to recognise that only Christ has the power to heal.

Believing In God

Have you ever wondered why God doesn’t seem to answer you every time you pray, or give you everything you ask of Him? There are believers who get disappointed or disillusioned with God when they feel He has not heard their prayers. The truth is, God actually gives you more, much more.

20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us. Ephesians 3:20

Don’t Be Dull of Hearing

11 of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. Everything that were written in the Scriptures was written to instruct and inspire us. Hebrews 5:11

The Apostle Paul sought to unveil Jesus again to the Jewish believers when their faith was shaken by recent events. He wanted to share many things with them but couldn’t because they were slow to grasp spiritual truth. This made it easy for them to fall away.

Pray Without Ceasing

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

None of our prayers are ever lost—but I am not sure exactly why God doesn't answer them in the way we expect or want it to be. I, however, know for sure that God loves us deeply, and we are dearer to Him than we can ever imagine.

God Will Do Us Right

20 [Abraham] did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Romans 4:20-22

I always thank God for prayers answered and unanswered. Knowing that He is our Righteous Father, God will never do anything that might harm us or potentially cause our prayers to hurt others. We must take comfort that God will do us right even when we don't get to see the big picture all the time.

Put On Christ

Jesus has already set you free from the bondage of sin, but you could still hold on to some sinful habits that can defeat you. When you do not reckon yourself dead to those sins by faith (Romans 6:11), you will feel powerless to overcome them. It is never right for you to say, “I can’t help it”, because God will never let you to be tempted beyond your ability and strength—for He has already provided a way out for you (1 Corinthians 10:13). The way out of temptation begins with a change of focus.

God Is With Us

With every revelation from God, He gives you new insight into who you really are in His eyes. God sees beyond what you can see. His thoughts about you are always higher and more loving than you can imagine. God's plans for you are always greater and better than you can picture. At times, you would not believe that God thinks of you with such grace and favour. Nothing can ruin God’s best plan for your life, even when things seem to work against you.

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

All things work together for our good. Not everything that happens to us is good but because of God’s love for us, He is able to work everything for our good. He is more than able to do it because we are called according to His purpose. By taking hold of each revelation with a believing heart, you are enabling God to fulfil that which He has spoken. Why is it so? First, God is confident. He is not limited by your circumstance or situation. Second, God is faithful. He is always with you, and will never leave or forsake you. Third, God is love. He is able to bring every good thought He has of you to pass. God may not rewrite the chapters of your life, especially the sad and hurtful bits, but He is able to turn tragedy into triumph, defeat into victory and failure into success.

Bought with a Price

How you see yourself can either limit you to opportunities or open you to possibilities. Studies show that people who think they are worthless often find it difficult to deal with life’s challenges. They will jump from one thing to another, never really completing anything. They give up too easily because they lack the resilience to thrive in the midst of fear and uncertainty. They see God as the cause of their misery and blame Him for their unhappiness. They believe they were born to be poor, to be a failure, to lose and to suffer. This is not the life the gospel proclaims.

New Creation in Christ

Any prayer for God to change you is a prayer of unbelief. There are believers who assume that change happens little by little every day, and that they “always need more power” from God to change them. But this is not what the gospel says.

Gracious Words

29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. Colossians 4:29

Paul tells us that we are to avoid “corrupt” words in our conversations. We see “corrupt” words in many forms including gossip, lies, rumours and verbal abuse. They are words that destroy relationships, inflict hurt and ruin reputations.

Sons of Light and of Day

Are you quick to take offence? Some people are. Taking offence is a destructive form of self-protection. It is rooted in the insecurity that others will turn against you that causes you to turn on others before they can turn on you. Your identity is your security.

Good Eye Or Evil Eye

A person on purpose is not a selfish but a giving person. For everyone who understands their purpose often wants to make a positive contribution in the lives of others. They leave behind a legacy of giving.

The Giving Life

You are more than a fluke in the universe, more than just atomic particles and evolutionary biology. You are God’s creation; His work of art and unique handiwork. God gives you life to express His purpose. Just stay on focus and don’t forget your purpose.

Live For Your Purpose

It is in following God’s leading that you begin to discover your greater purpose. Only when you are on purpose, you are real. This is because you are fulfilling what God had in mind for you before the foundation of the world. The clearer you are about purpose, the more willing you are to change to fulfil your purpose. Change is not often easy. Feelings of fear and resistance may rise up because you are letting go of the old and familiar to embrace the new and unknown. Learn to release those feelings because only an uncluttered heart can fully receive what God has in store.

Anointed In Christ

Every day is God’s gift to you to make a difference for someone that no one else can. You’ve got something beautiful to give because you are blessed to be a blessing. Be open to God and allow His Spirit to move in and through you. Learn to recognise His voice and listen to His word and act on His prompting. When this happens, you will find yourself impacting and influencing others for the better.

Of Power, Love And Sound Mind

There are believers who subject themselves to all kinds of unbiblical ideas in their attempt to resolve past hurts and sins instead of believing what Jesus had already accomplished for them. Instead of rejoicing that the finished work of Christ broke the bondages of sin, these believers remain uncertain as to whether they are really saved by grace through faith. Their own feelings of inadequacy before God often cause them to fall easily into the trap of legalism.

Stir Up

6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:6-7

It is not easy to stay faithful to God's purpose for your life, especially when nothing seems to go in the right way. If you feel the same, you are not alone. As a young pastor, Timothy was facing lots of fear and challenges in his church. He became discouraged and conflicted about how he should act and who he should be. The Apostle Paul gave Timothy a much-needed word.

The Power of Prophetic Words

18 Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well. 1 Timothy 1:18 New International Version

Knowing the spiritual conflict that Timothy would have to face for himself, the Apostle Paul instructed him to actively remember the prophecies that were previously made concerning him so that he could stand strong against the attacks of the devil and walk in victory.

The Wonderful Message of Reconciliation

19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:19

The Apostle Paul gives us one of the greatest revelations of grace—of how God completely reconciled us to Him by not counting our sins against us because He had already punished our sins in Christ. And after being reconciled to God, we are called to spread the wonderful message of reconciliation to the world.

Christ Loves His Church

19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Revelation 3:19

In the Book of Revelation, we learn of seven churches in seven cities and how Christ gave a specific message to each one of them. It was necessary for Christ to do so because some of these churches had lost sight of their focus, and others were battling opposing forces which sought to erode their faith. Just like He did with His disciples during His earthly ministry, the Lord was helping these churches to increase their faith in the midst of adversity. Except for Smyrna and Philadelphia, Christ corrected each church with a strong word for their failure to remain faithful and firm.

Without Spot or Wrinkle

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:25-27

Often many believers long to be holy and clean, but somehow, they are unaware or too ignorant to trust, or lean upon the righteousness of Christ working in and through them. Instead, they continue to feel bad and guilty by not learning to rest on the truth of what Christ has done for them.

God Answers Prayer

7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. John 15:7

To abide in Christ is to abide in His words. The Greek word for “words” is rhema which literally means “life-giving words”. And that's what the gospel is! As such, to abide in His words is to meditate on everything the gospel stands for and entails.

God Our Vinedresser

1 I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away... John 15:1-2

There is no such thing as an unfruitful Christian.

Jesus Our True Vine

1 I am the true vine... 5 ... you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:1,5

Jesus likened our relationship with Him to a fruitful branch drawing life from a nourishing vine.

The Beauty of Belonging

20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 1 Corinthians 12:20-21

Have you ever had such a bad experience with some believers that made you want to stay away from fellowship? The thought may have not crossed your mind, but I know of many Christians who have been so affected that they vow not to step back into church again.

Captured by Grace

1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— Ephesians 3:1

If you can't believe that God is involved in your circumstances, you will react instead of responding to what God is doing in you and through you.

Shine

16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Be generous with your life. Wrap your life with God’s gift of love. Don’t shy away whenever and wherever there is an occasion to shine for Him. The reason for doing good works is not about “what a good person you are!” but rather, it is a “what a great God you believe in!”

To Love Again

Have you ever felt that your life is a disappointment? Consider Peter. Never one to shy away from making his thoughts known, Peter made many bold claims about his commitment to Jesus (Mark 14:27-31) and yet, all it took was a little pressure for him to deny knowing Jesus not once or twice, but three times. Overwhelmed by his own sense of failure, Peter wept bitterly and returned to his former fisherman life (John 21:3). There are believers who are like Peter.

In Warm Embrace

The Old Testament word for grace is “chesed”. The word conveys a sense of God’s generous mercy towards all people which opens the door for reconciliation. God never ceases to reconcile persons to Himself through Christ.

You Belong To God

When the Apostle Paul was in Athens, his spirit was deeply stirred when he saw that the city was given over to idols (Acts 17:16). Distressed by the religious syncretism of the Athenians, Paul preached the gospel to everyone—from the man on the street to the men of the Areopagus but with little success (Acts 17:33-34). Why?

You Are Who God Says You Are

Once, Jesus discussed with His disciples what the public thought of Him.

13 "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” Matthew 16:13

They told Jesus that there were various opinions about Him, and they couldn’t seem to agree with one another. When Jesus asked them the question, He wasn’t concerned with how popular He was. Rather, He was leading His disciples to a clearer understanding of who He was to them and who they were to Him. This is why Jesus invited them to give their personal view of Him.

God’s Love for You

1 Think how much the Father loves us. He loves us so much that He lets us be called his children, as we truly are. 1 John 3:1 (CEV)

You know God loves you by the way He describes you. He calls you His child.

Keep Yourself in the Love of God

Your concept of God defines your relationship with Him. You cannot build an image of God based on your own biases, emotions and experiences. You need to begin with a biblical revelation of who He is and what He has done for you to shape your outlook of Him.

Of Doubt and Unbelief

What is the difference between doubt and unbelief? Doubt is the demand of wanting more facts. Unbelief is the choice of not believing despite having all the facts.

Union with Christ

3 So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. 4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. Romans 7:3-4

In the context of Romans 7:1-6, the Apostle Paul uses the analogy of a marriage union to describe the new relationship every believer has with Christ.

Be God’s Helping Hand

Our love for Jesus will cause us to love each other. We are given to each other the privilege not merely of sharing a life in Christ, but also of suffering together for His sake. The Apostle Paul tells us that as fellow believers, we are divinely appointed to encourage each other through our joys and sorrows.

God Watches Over You

8 The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore. Psalms 121:8

Have you ever felt so defeated that you weren't sure whether you will recover? Nowhere in the Bible does it say we are immune to problems and life's challenges, but the Bible is full of promises that God will never leave nor forsake us even during the worst of those difficult days!

Healing In The Name of Jesus

29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus. Acts 4:29-30

Some believers teach that the supernatural power to work signs and wonders died with the apostles. However, there is no biblical basis to support this view. We can read how the Apostle James commanded church leaders to pray over the sick and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord (James 5:14). He did it to reveal to the believers the authority and power they had in Christ to bring His healing to others.

Jesus Our Healer

38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38

Some believers see sickness as a blessing from God. There is, however, no bible verse to support this claim, but there are plenty of scripture verses to show our God is a healing God, and He still heals today.

The Wilderness Experience

1 [Jesus] was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. Luke 4:1

If you have always been walking with God but seem stuck in a wilderness right now, keep in mind that it may have nothing to do with any personal sin or fault on your part. Notice, Jesus was in the wilderness—not because He was weak, but because He was led by the Holy Spirit.

The Answer is Jesus!

Some people question the existence of God because of the evil and suffering they see in the world. To them, if God truly exists, He is weak, malicious or plainly indifferent. Unbelief does not inspire faith. There is only one answer to life’s imponderables—JESUS!

Faith Working Through Love

6 faith working through love. Galatians 5:6

Many believers see faith as something more difficult than it really is. When you live from the centre of God's perfect love, you will change your understanding of faith, from something that is vague or abstract to something real and graspable.

Solid Food

12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. Hebrews 5:12

In his epistle to the Hebrews, the Apostle Paul has to teach again the Jewish believers the most basic truths of God’s Word. Though they had time to grow in the faith, it appears as if they were infants again, still needing milk and not ready for meat. It is alright to feed on the milk of God’s Word but don’t feed on it forever. Any believer who continues to live on “milk” remains immature. Such a person will face great difficulty to differentiate good from evil, truth from falsehood and right from wrong. This will lead to the inability to apply the truth of the gospel in everyday situation. More pragmatic than Scriptural in the way they live, these immature believers do what suits them and cares very little about what the Spirit of God is saying in His Word. They will end up becoming shallow and unfruitful, choosing to live by flesh than by faith. Don’t foster a “spoon fed” faith, always depending too much on others to take care of your spiritual needs. Start and maintain your own "self-feeding" program by being responsible for your own spiritual growth by developing an appetite for God’s Word and all it has to offer. It is good to progress into solid spiritual food to sustain healthy spiritual growth. Learn to dig deep into God's Word if you want to mature as a believer. His Spirit will heighten your ability to grasp and apply spiritual truths—which will enable you to know what is rightly yours in Christ and growing accordingly to the truth. One positive outcome is your ability to instruct others with all wisdom of their fullness in Christ (Colossians 2:10).

Know the Word

4 [Jesus] went on to open their understanding of the Word of God, showing them how to read their Bibles this way. Luke 24:4, The Message

While many Christians agree on the importance of knowing God's Word, a recent survey shows that 8o percent of believers don't read their bibles daily, and less than 3 percent actually read through the Bible at least once in their lifetime. Furthermore, many believers show a lack of basic theological knowledge, and this can be seen by their naive acceptance and uncritical tolerance of heretical and outlandish views of the Christian faith.

True Service

13... Serve each other with love. Galatians 5:13, Expanded Bible

Many Christians make one mistake—in their waiting to serve God in a big way, they miss many opportunities to serve Him along the way. Even if you have heard directly from God that He is going use you mightily in the days to come, keep serving and giving your best under all circumstances. Each assignment provides you the opportunity to grow and work out issues so that the strength of your eventual ministry rests on your God's forged character and competence. Another thing we need to address is the erroneous idea that only missionaries and pastors are the ones who are called by God, and so if we don't fall under either group, there is no reason for us to engage in active service for the good of others. Unless and until we are guided by God's Word, we will develop an unhealthy idea that the people in our church are supposed to serve us and make sacrifices for us. This makes us consumers, and not producers of righteousness. As a consequence, our church becomes a social club, and not a spiritual community of sons and daughters involving in our Father's business. The Apostle Paul calls us to serve each other with love. The Greek word for "serve" is douleuō which means "to yield, do service" (Strong's Concordance G1398). It comes from the root word, doulos which gives the idea of a bondservant. In biblical time, a bondservant serves out of love, and not out of fear. In the context of Galatians, Paul tells us the gospel makes it possible to receive and experience God's love, and our service is an extension of God's love to one another. May we return to a biblical idea of true service that is both God-honouring and life-giving.

God Heals

26 ...I am the Lord, your healer. Exodus 15:26

We worship a God who heals. The precious promise of healing in the Bible reveals both the compassion and unfailing love of God. And nobody demonstrates this truth more clearly than Jesus Christ when He went about healing the sick and restoring them to health. Moreover, Jesus has given us—His church—the same authority that He gave the early disciples to do the works of healing.

The Kingdom Is At Hand

7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Matthew 10:7

The gospel of the Kingdom is God's invitation card to everyone, letting them know that they are welcomed to enjoy His hospitality and friendship in Christ, and they don't need to stand in line to get in. And once you are in, you are always in!

Victory Over Satan

On the cross of Calvary, Jesus challenged every power of Satan, disarming Him and his evil cohorts, making "a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it" (Colossians 2:15). Through His sacrificial death and glorious resurrection, Jesus demonstrated that He is still the true Lord of creation.

16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. Colossians 1:16

Come Boldly to The Throne of Grace

Some people entertain very frightening ideas of God. There is more fear than faith in their thoughts of Him. Nothing can better define God's love for you than the cross of Jesus Christ. It is in the cross that God shows His love to you and it is through the cross that God pours His love on you.

God Is Finished with Imputing Sin

8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.” Romans 4:8

Romans 4:8 tells us that since Jesus had done such a perfect work, that is, the complete removal and total forgiveness of our sin, God no longer imputes sin on us, but He actually imputes His righteousness into us (Romans 5:1; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

God Is Finished with the Law

It is through the finished work of the Cross that we are fully restored to a whole new relationship with God, resting on a whole new covenant which is perfect in every way. Galatians 3:13 tells us that the removal of the Old Covenant was to take away the sting of the curse of the Law that was against us. Now we are aware that the Law is holy, righteous and good (Romans 7:12) but the Law was not given in the first place to save us, but to point out our need for a Saviour.

Jesus Our Mediator of the New Covenant

Consider these words from the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews:

6 But now He [Jesus] has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. Hebrews 8:6

God Is Finished With the Old Covenant

In biblical times, when two parties cut a covenant, it was considered irrevocable until the death of one or both persons. The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews tells us how the Old Covenant wasn’t a perfect covenant. It was deemed faulty by God because of its dying priesthood and repetitive blood sacrifices [which is a picture of man's efforts].

7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second... 13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:7-13

Made for Rest

On one occasion, Jesus saw how the Pharisees were more “busy” catching His disciples for not resting on the Sabbath when they should be actually resting themselves. He took the opportunity to put right the Pharisees’ legalistic and fastidious observation of the Sabbath.

27 And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28 Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath. Mark 2:27-28

Sabbath Rest

After God created Adam on the sixth day, God rested on the seventh day. God rested, not because He was tired. God rested because He was satisfied with His handiwork. And there was nothing else for God to add onto His creation. To celebrate His finished work in creation, God consecrated this seventh day of rest the Sabbath which means “to cease, rest” (Genesis 1:31).

Unsearchable Riches in Christ

6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ... Philippians 1:6

Thank God that as He begins His good work of salvation in you through Christ, He is going to complete it. He will keep on maturing you through your life in Christ until the day when you stand in His glorious presence. God wants you to succeed in your Christian life, and He is committed to see you becoming a success for Him.

Finishing Well

You will face your greatest obstacle when you are close to your greatest breakthrough. Many of God’s heroes of faith like Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David and Paul had to face countless challenges to fulfil their God-given purpose. Their day of triumph was born out of their night of struggle. They kept faith with God even though circumstances told them otherwise. The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews used their life stories as examples to tell us to stay faithful in our faith journey.

Made Righteous by Grace

You are made righteous on the day you are born again. God gives you this gift of righteousness which will abide with you through eternity. In other words, you cannot become more righteous in heaven than you are today. Once understood, this righteousness of God will set you on the right course in the Christian life.

Obedience of Christ

Once God counts you righteous before Him, He will not count your sin against you, but He will treat you as if you have never sinned at all. This is the strength of your righteousness of God in Christ. While you can never lose your righteousness, you can still face circumstances that will disrupt the truth of your righteousness. They make you feel the least righteous, and when this happens, you lose your sense of peace and joy.

Practise Righteousness

Your righteousness, however, is a supernatural gift of God—for which you are totally unfamilar with—and God wants you to practise righteousness so that a holy life rests on His power working in you. As such, you need to take every opportunity to practise righteousness so as to produce fruits of righteousness. Still, there are believers who think "working out" the Christian life is a performance [self-effort] and not a practice [of righteousness].

God’s Gift of Righteousness

God's gift of righteousness opens you to a whole new way of living. Because of its supernatural quality, you will discover how unique and wonderful God's righteousness is—and God wants you to practise righteousness so that living right before Him is a consistent habit, and not a constant effort. To do so, it is good to understand the “grace part” and “faith part” in the Christian life.

Resurrection Sunday

3 And because he (Herod) saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) 4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. Acts 12:3-4, King James Version

The word, “Easter” appears only once in the Bible. Lots of believers assume that Easter is another word for Passover; however, it was a pagan Roman festival which originated from a Babylonia fertility cult of the goddess Ishtar (pronounced "Easter"). Eggs and rabbits were often used as symbols for fertility and rebirth during this festivity.

Silent Saturday

It is interesting that the four Gospels detail Jesus’ final week, climaxing to His death on the Cross on Friday, then—total silence. There is no one Scripture verse that says what really occurred on Saturday.

Father, Forgive Them

32 There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. 33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:32-34

Ignobly treated by the authorities and public, Jesus was crucified on the cross like a common criminal. Yet in the midst of intense suffering, Jesus prayed to the Father to forgive His perpetrators, and not to count their sins against them. Jesus could and can forgive them because He knew that “they do not know what they do.” This prayer of Jesus reflects the significance of Good Friday. It is a day that truly reveals the full strength of forgiveness, in all sense of the word.

Maundy Thursday

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35

Today is Maundy Thursday. The name of this day is derived from Latin mandatum, which means love. It commemorates the occasion when Jesus gave His disciples a new commandment, that they should love one another. Jesus tells us that the ability to love one another is the real proof that we are His disciples.

You Are Perfected In Perpetuity

1 After two days it was the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take Him by trickery and put Him to death. 2 But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar of the people.” Mark 14:1-2

In the Bible God commands against shedding innocent blood, and yet the very people who were supposed to teach and uphold His laws were actually plotting His Son’s death. They wanted to kill Jesus because they were afraid of His popularity. And little did they know that their evil intention opened the way for Jesus to atone the guilty sins of the world through the shedding of His innocent blood.

Christ Our Chief Cornerstone

10 ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. 11 This was the LORD’s doing, And it is marvellous in our eyes’?” Mark 12:10-11

A cornerstone or foundation stone is usually the first stone cut and from which all other stones are made according to its measurement. In the same manner, Jesus is our Chief Cornerstone in whom we are chosen together in Him and intricately fitted together by Him to grow together through Him to become together a holy building for Him (cf. Ephesians 2:19-21). What a glorious revelation! Any believer who tells you they believe in Jesus but they don’t need the church is either arrogant or ignorant. Usually it comes from a place of rejection. They allow their faulty thinking cloud their understanding of the gospel. Like Jesus’ parable of the builders who rejected the stone, they refused to give Christ His rightful place as their Chief Cornerstone to shape and place them into His Church (Ephesians 2:22). You cannot claim to have a real fellowship with Jesus without any real fellowship with His saints (1 John 1:7). By glorifying your “independence” you are not upholding the truth. Don’t try to justify your disobedience because of how other believers have treated or wounded you. Learn from Jesus how to handle rejection. Jesus always knew His place even when others don't. Knowing who and whose you are in Christ offers the best form of protection against all forms of rejection. Rejection happens but what matters the most is staying true to God’s Word.

Cleansing the Temple

45 Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” Luke 19:45-46

Some believers treat the church as a religious social club, providing activities for their members to enjoy. The church does not exist for itself but for the world. And when the church ceases to proclaim the gospel to the lost, it has forgotten its call and purpose. In the same way, the Temple of Jerusalem was initially built to bear witness to God. However, during the time of Jesus, the Temple was more a trading place than a worship place. The designated place for people everywhere to come together to worship God was turned into a bazaar, or as Jesus calls, a “den of thieves”. Hands were busily occupied with dishonest business dealings than in prayer. Hearts couldn’t be further away from God even though they were right in the midst of His house. Jesus the Son is always going about His Father’s business. When Jesus saw the sad state of affairs in the Temple, He demonstrated a strong urgency to restore His Father’s honour into His house. You see a picture of the gospel here. Jesus wanted the people to know that God’s house did not belong to them but to God. They had abused what God had given for their use. Likewise, your life doesn’t belong to you, but to God. If you can’t see life as such, you are missing out. Your body is a house of God where His Spirit dwells (1 Corinthians 6:19). You can’t fulfil your purpose in life until you put life into your purpose. This is why Jesus came to restore your rightful place with God. Let Him deal with what stands in contrary to God’s will for you to walk in your Father’s purpose.

Palm Sunday

“Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!” Matthew 21:9

The narrative of the crowd welcoming Jesus with palm leaves and loud praises shows that it is always easy to worship when you are with others. But what happens to worship when you are by yourself?

Is Jesus Your Reason or Excuse?

Every revelation of Christ brings you to a new level of understanding in your relationship with Him.

3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Colossians 3:3-4

Jesus Our Bread of Life

Too often the gospel is presented to meet felt needs. “Do you want to be happy? Do you want to escape loneliness? Do you want peace of mind? Then come to Jesus, He will meet your every need.” This makes Jesus the genie in Aladdin’s lamp. No, the gospel goes much deeper than that.

Be a Blessing for God

Over time, I have come to notice that many believers don’t know how to honour God’s call to serve. They quit their call far too easily because they feel unappreciated or they shirk their call by making up frivolous excuses. God is a debtor to no man. Every time you do something for God, He will remember to reward you.

Don’t Be Afraid of Change

Our journey with God demands us to adjust to the seasons He sets before us. Think of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Ruth, Esther, and even Jesus Himself. They had to make constant changes to the leading and direction of God throughout their lives.

Right Friends, Wrong Friends

The Bible regales many stories about friendships. David was kept out of danger because of Jonathan’s protection; Samson lost his sight and strength because of Delilah’s duplicity; Esther rose to her destiny because of Mordecai’s insights. Rehoboam lost his kingdom because of his friends’ ill advices. Jesus was arrested because of Judas’ betrayal. Paul was brought into ministry because of Barnabas’ persistence. You rise or fall by the friends you keep. They will influence your life in either a positive or negative way.

Be Strong in Jesus

We are not spared from problems. We deal with our problems by knowing that there is a “greater power” working in us than the power of the problems.

10 … my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Ephesians 6:10

God Is On Your Side

In the Old Testament, travellers often aimed to reach the safety of a city or shelter before nightfall. They understood that if they were not under some form of protection, they would be exposed to the elements and enemies. With abounding dangers, the fear of death would always be on their minds. It was out of this context that people often addressed God as their refuge, their shelter and their hiding place.

1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

New Creation in Christ

Any prayer for God to change you is a prayer of unbelief. There are believers who assume that change happens little by little every day, and that they “always need more power” from God to change them. But this is not what the gospel says.

17 Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ [the Messiah] he is a new creation [a new creature altogether]; the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17, Amplified Bible

“Yes” and “Amen” in Christ

When it comes to your life in Christ, God does not waver about whether He wants to bless you or not. It is always "Yes" in Christ, and you say "Amen!" to it.

20 For all the promises of God in Him are "Yes", and in Him "Amen", to the glory of God through us. 2 Corinthians 1:20

Blessed in Christ

At the beginning of his epistle to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul bursts into praise for God who has blessed every believer with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3-14).

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Ephesians 1:3

To be blessed in Christ means you are freed to live fully for Him without the burden that you must do something to earn His favour. If your blessings were based on the basis of you earning them, you would end up dreading you can never do enough. Just by looking at Ephesians Chapter 1 alone, you can count on God for these blessings in Christ: • In Christ, you are blessed [1:3]. • In Christ, you are chosen [1:4]. • In Christ, you are holy and without blame [1:4]. • In Christ, you are adopted into God’s family [1:5]. • In Christ, you are accepted in the Beloved [1:6]. • In Christ, you are redeemed and forgiven [1:7]. • In Christ, you abound in wisdom and prudence [1:8]. • In Christ, you are shown the mystery of God’s will [1:9]. • In Christ, you are gathered into Him [1:10]. • In Christ, you are given an inheritance [1:11]. • In Christ, you are made the praise of God’s glory [1:12]. • In Christ, you are sealed with the Holy Spirit [1:13]. Each blessing packs a powerful truth about your life in Christ. You can enjoy all of them right here and now. They are, however, only a foretaste of more to come. They are just starters, for you will experience their entirety in the fullness of eternity.

—from 50 Days of Grace & Truth

Blessed Life in Christ

16 For out of His fullness [abundance] we have all received [all had a share and we were all supplied with] one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped] upon gift. John 1:16

The blessed life in Christ is something far deeper than just satisfying our innermost needs.

Full Blessing of the Gospel

The full blessing of the gospel (Romans 15:29) flows from the finished work of the Cross. What Christ had done for you is so complete that nothing holds God back from blessing you fully in Christ.

16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. John 1:16

Bought At A Price

Many of us are hindered in our walk with God because we have no idea of the incredible power of His grace that is available to us. This lack of knowledge not only keeps us from growing, but it also breeds a false idea that spiritual growth is entirely based on our own efforts. This often leads to discouragement and frustration. The Apostle Paul tells us,

7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. Ephesians 1:7

Now in Christ

5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. Romans 6:5-6

By uniting you into Christ's death, burial and resurrection, God had done everything to free you from the penalty and power of sin.

United with Christ

God made Christ the Source of everything concerning your salvation. And when Christ takes His rightful and preeminent place in your life, you will enjoy everything that comes with your salvation. Pray that the Holy Spirit will enable you to understand the significance of your life in Christ so that you can live your life worthy of God.

Made Alive in Christ

Lots of believers live with a big gap in their understanding of the gospel. Often they are unaware that this "gospel gap" can affect their growth. As such, the more we grasp the grace of the gospel, the more we are transformed by the truth of the gospel. The Spirit of God wants to reveal deep spiritual truths of Christ to you. He desires for you to live and walk each day in the light of the revelation as found in the gospel.

Raised Up A Saint

The Christian life is really the unfolding of God’s grace in our daily lives which frees us to possess every right, benefit and privilege that is ours in Christ. Consider the Apostle Paul's words here:

6 and [God] raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:6-7

Raised With Christ

Jesus died a sinner but He was raised alive our Saviour. If He had not risen, His death would have signified His failure to save us from our sin. The good news is Jesus rose from the dead! In doing so, God is telling us the issue of sin is finally and successfully settled, and everyone is at peace with Him.

25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Romans 4:25

Baptized into Christ

3 ...that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death... Romans 6:3

The old life is long dead! Your "old you" was crucified together with Christ and was buried together with Him. Now together with Christ, you live in the power of His resurrection, and in practical terms, your "new you" has no fear of sin, death, hell and the devil because their hold over you are broken.

Buried With Christ

The unveiling of the finished work of the Cross is the essence of the gospel. The Cross is God's way of making us right with Him. How does God do it? He does it by making you complete in Christ.

Crucified the Flesh

24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:24

When you were crucified with Christ, your “old you” was crucified with Him so that your “new you” could come. Your "old you", which was your old sinful nature, was put to death in order for you to have freedom over the power of sin.

Crucified With Christ

Christ's self-sacrifice is the glory of the gospel story. The security of your salvation stands on the weight of His finished work on the Cross. It is through the Cross that you are given the possibility of a fresh start with God.

Hidden In Christ

3 "your life is hidden with Christ in God." Colossians 3:3

Consider the rich implication of your life in Christ. Everything about Christ has to do with you. He was born for you. He lived for you. He suffered for you. He died for you. He rose to life again for you. He went back to heaven for you and He is coming back for you.

True Grace of God

17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:17

Once you realise what Christ had done for you through the Cross, you can stand confidently before God without condemnation. The Greek word for "condemnation" is kataginōskō which means "to find fault with, to accuse". Condemnation is finding fault with yourself. Nothing destroys faith more quickly than when you look at your own failings apart from the grace of God.

18 He who believes in Him is not condemned. John 3:18

God does not condemn you but He does convict you. Condemnation will cause you to run away from Him but conviction will cause you to run towards Him. Those under condemnation will give all kinds of excuses why they failed but those under conviction of grace will give no excuse but only cry for help and expect mercy.

16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

In grace, there is a presence of boldness that is absent in guilt. God is not trying to get something from you; God is trying to get something to you. You can walk right up to God with such an unshakeable confidence, knowing you can always obtain His mercy and find grace at every opportunity in every season. God wants you to enjoy all His goodness that His grace provides. He can bring joy in your despair, peace in your distress and relief in your pain. He can make you fruitful in your barrenness, strong in your weakness and healthy in your sickness. He can make a bad marriage good. He can mend a broken family. He can restore a failed dream. He can deliver a defeated soul. In God there is an endless supply of grace to meet your every need.

—from 50 Days of Grace & Truth

True Life in God

In some Christian circles, believers are taught to have an unwholesome fear of God. To them, God wears a long grim face, humourlessly waiting to strike people down with dreaded diseases or nasty accidents. Every time a storm or earthquake brings damages and untold suffering, they callously pronounce these calamities as severe judgements from God. A poor view of God creates a poor perception of life. When people see God in that light, they will always feel that they don’t measure up to God’s standard and not good enough to deserve His love. Seeing themselves as inherently worthless or bad, they may end up wanting nothing to do with God.

Power Over Satan

After an adoption happens, a son is blessed by his father with the full authority and power to conduct the family business. Jesus Himself was publicly adopted by His Father God on the day of His baptism. The Bible tells us that God spoke from heaven:

22 You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased. Luke 3:22

Enjoying Your Sonship

The biblical concept of adoption is totally different from the Western idea of adoption. The Greek word for “adoption” is huiothesia which means "placing as a son". To be placed as a son of God is our privilege and is for our own benefit. You are set in the place of a son to enjoy the good favour of God. As a son, you bear the dignity of being made in the very image of your Father. You no longer need to base your worth and significance on the approval of others, but on the approval of your Heavenly Father who loves you beyond measure. Once adopted, God never breaks His relationship with us (1 John 2:5) because we stand secure as true sons and daughters of God.

Sons and Daughters

From the moment you become a believer, you are adopted into the family of God. Being a Christian makes you a child of God. However, there is more to this relationship because He also wants you to grow into the full stature of your sonship in Christ.

God’s Unlimited Love

God loves us because He made it His first choice to love us before the creation of the world. Since He made that choice, there is no limit to His love because His love encompasses everyone. This is surely good news.

Accepted and Acceptable

5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you. Jeremiah 1:5, English Standard Version

Don’t measure yourself by your own opinion or feeling. Measure yourself according to God’s good opinion and feeling about you. The truth is, in spite of how you feel about yourself, God loves you. To begin with, God loved you not because you were lovable. He loved you because you were created out of His perfect love. You were made by Him for Him to love you.

Your Identity Is Defining You

5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you. Jeremiah 1:5, English Standard Version

You are not defining your identity — your identity is defining you.

Living Out Your Identity

In Christ you are "born again" to a whole new identity from which you will learn to live differently from before. This "learning to live differently" is your purpose in the Christian life. Your identity is not a product of your purpose, but your identity is the reason for your purpose. The more aware you are of your identity in Christ, the more able you are to pursue your purpose in Christ.

New Identity in Christ

The gospel declares that you are a completely new person in Christ. This is your new identity! You are no longer the same person you were before you knew Him—for now you have a new nature, the "new you". Moreover, you are no longer bound to your old sinful nature, your “old you”, for Christ has freed you to live a new kind of life. This is your new reality. You are worth far more than how you see yourself.

The New You

Jesus cannot make you a "new you" and still let the "old you" stay inside you. This would make you a grotesque creature, and not a new creation. Such a thought will cause you to doubt your salvation because it would imply that the finished work of the Cross is incomplete. You will constantly be subjected to Satan's accusation and be ruined by guilty condemnation.

The New Birth

It is through the new birth that Christ exchanges your old sinful nature with His spiritual nature.

9 put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him. Colossians 3:9-10

This new spiritual nature in Christ is not a modification of your old self but a return to your real identity, that is, to your image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27; Colossians 3:10). This return to your identity restores you to God, who and whose you are in Christ.

In Christ

There are believers who suffer from a spiritual blind spot in their understanding of the Christian life. Though saved, they are for the most part weak and lame. They have yet to realise what Christ had done for them and what belongs to them because of Him. This lack of revelation leads to confusion, condemnation and even despair. “In Christ” is the key to comprehend the Christian life.

Right Believing, Right Living

The Christian life is NOT a journey of you aspiring to become more like Jesus on your own terms. He is not a goal to pursue, or a standard to live by. If so, the Christian life becomes a journey of a thousand miles without an end in sight! Then whatever glory you have attained is just your fleshy achievement, and not His glorious accomplishment in you. The Christian life is the outworking of your completeness in Christ.

Jesus Is Fully Grace and Truth

Consider what the Apostle John says about Jesus Christ:

17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17

Jesus is fully grace and fully truth, and for this reason the gospel is also fully grace and fully truth. Anything less than this means the gospel is no longer the gospel. There can be no greater mistake than to look at the gospel in any other way.

Grace in Christ

God inextricably joined you to Christ for you to enjoy the richness of His grace (Romans 8:17; Ephesians 2:7). Once you are in Christ, God does not see you apart from the life of Christ working in you for you to grow and prosper in every area of your life.

God’s grace in Christ is double-edged.

The Truth of Grace

Grace is the good news of God's gift of love to you, not because you can earn or deserve it but because He freely and willingly loves you without uncertainty or wavering.

The Beauty of Grace

Grace is a beautiful and powerful truth. It is beautiful because God does not demand or expect you to change before He saves you. It is powerful because God will change you to prove He has saved you. Chesed is the Hebrew word for grace.

Defining Your Life

5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you." Jeremiah 1:5, English Standard Version

You are not defining your identity—your identity is defining you.

My Mouth Will Speak Truth

Are you more concerned with your reputation or your character? Reputation is how we want others to see us, while character is who we are when no one is seeing. It is better to build your character than your reputation. Guard your character and your reputation will show it.

Fear or Faith

26 Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Matthew 8:26

Fear is surrendering to opposing circumstances; faith is overcoming them.

The Lord Is On Your Side

Fear destroys rather than builds faith. It's discouraging to think how many believers are crippled by fear. Instead of clinging to their freedom in Christ, they remain victims of their fears instead of being victors over their fears. If you fear more than you want to fight it, then you end up with a defeatist attitude that binds you to failures and frustrations.

Victory Is Already Yours

If you're serious about spiritual growth, expect to face some real challenges that may try to keep you from success. Instead of just wishing them away, learn to stay strong and resist every temptation to quit. Never surrender to those moments of strain and stress, but draw strength from God's word to overcome what holds you back.

The Lord Pursues

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever. Psalm 23:6

Psalm 23 closes with a crescendo. Instead of fearing his enemies chasing after him, David looked forward to each day for God’s goodness and mercy to chase after him. The Hebrew word for “follow” is radaph which literally means “to chase after someone in order to catch”. The Message translates it like this: “Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.”

The Lord Supplies

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Psalm 23:5

Take comfort that in the midst of chaos and calamity, the Lord still knows His own. In their dark days, He remembers them. Your worst experiences cannot beat His greatest blessings.

The Lord Comforts

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

Psalm 23:1-3 tells us how much happier and how much more fruitful we are when we trust the Lord to lead us with His hands. However, there are times when we are unwilling to follow His leading, and that’s how we get into difficulties and trouble. Yet David assures us that the Lord does not forsake us even when we choose not to follow Him. He will make every attempt to bring us back into His fold. Our Lord is ever present and ready to help.

The Lord Restores

3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Psalm 23:3

One reason why many believers fail to fulfil their purpose is that they are usually unwilling or unable to follow our Lord’s leading. For example, instead of obeying Him not to get involved with a certain company, or some business dealings, you may simply shrug off His prompting by saying, “Don’t worry, I’ll be careful.” Our Lord does not count on you to be careful when He expects you to obey. Often we act in this way because we are more concerned about fitting in than standing out. You can never find satisfaction until you boldly obey Him.

The Lord Leads

2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. Psalm 23:2

You are made for rest. David describes how the Shepherd knows where to lead His sheep to rest. When you rest in the Lord's “green pastures” and “still waters”, you will taste the richness of His favour.

The Lord Is Your Shepherd

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1

David’s “Shepherd Psalm” is the best known and most beloved psalm amongst many believers. In this beautiful song, David uses the imagery of a shepherd to describe how our Lord will always treat and care for us with grace and mercy. When you read this psalm from a New Covenant perspective, you will discover the blessed assurance of knowing Jesus as your Good Shepherd (John 10:11).

Grace Gives, Faith Receives

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God 9 — not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Grace and faith are not mutually exclusive but there is a distinction between the two.

Remember Who You Are

Spread across the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City, there are some 300 frescoes painted by famous Renaissance artist Michelangelo during the 1600s. Over the years, soot and dust darkened these great works, making them increasingly difficult to view from the ground. During a restoration work some 30 years ago, experts were amazed by what they discovered, and especially by the variety of artistic techniques employed by Michelangelo. They saw subtleties in his brush strokes and use of colours that had gone unnoticed over centuries. Through this fresh discovery, Michelangelo was reintroduced into the art world as a true master.

God Believes in You

If you can believe in God the way He believes in you, there would be no limit as to what He could do through you. The problem is that many Christians don’t believe that God believes in them.

Forever Faithful

We are witnessing a militant rise of atheism where its generals and soldiers are working furiously to demolish belief in God. No matter how loud their voices are in explaining Him away, God is still here.

Unswerving Faith

1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” Psalm 14:1

When someone chooses not to believe that God exists, it is never just because of an absence of scientific evidence or weak reasoning. The problem is not an intellectual one, but spiritual. The Psalmist calls such person a fool.

Comfort and Edify One Another

There are believers who judge a church by what they can get out of it and how well it serves their needs. They expect the church to give them the best, but they will not reciprocate by giving their best back. Christ did not save you for inaction but He saves you to set you into action. Sometimes we work too hard to preserve our individuality that we forget community. Consider the Apostle Paul’s insight on how we ought to treat each other within the Body of Christ.

Esteeming Others

3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Philippians 2:3

Grace gives us freedom to give and serve others without fear or favour.

Connect to the Vision

Without prophetic vision people run wild, but blessed are those who follow [God's] teachings. Proverbs 29:18, God's Word Translation

It is possible to attend a church and enjoy all the wonderful things it has to offer and not connect to God's vision and direction for that church. This happens because either the person is following his or her own agenda, which is more important than the corporate call of the church, or the person doesn't fully embrace what God is calling the church to do.

Your Confidence in God

Do you ever feel that someone else’s experience of God outshines yours? Somehow, your confidence is shaken because of a seeming gap between your belief in God and your experience of God. You may say, “If God is really with me, I should feel more of Him in my life”. This line of thinking breeds doubt and false reasoning: God is not for me; God doesn’t care; God loves the rest better. It will twist your Christian life out of shape. You stand on shaky ground if your confidence in God rests solely on your experience of Him.

Fruit of Holiness

22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. Romans 6:22

How is a believer a child of God and yet a slave of God?

Grace-Based Holiness

13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

What is the difference between grace-based holiness and work-based holiness? Work-based holiness is trying to earn our righteousness through our futile attempts to please God. It can never bring you into full maturity, but actually stunt your spiritual growth. This is because work-based holiness puts a spirit of fear, and "not of power and sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7) in you―causing you to become more concerned with outward behaviour than with inward belief.

Watch What God Is Doing

19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. John 5:19

Isn't it strange that we spend most of our lives wondering whether we are good enough or special enough for God to use us. The truth is, God doesn't make use of us as if for a selfish end—instead God partners with us to establish and extend His kingdom on earth. We are not some fearful slaves cowering under a fearsome and demanding overlord, but faithful sons and daughters taking on our Righteous Father's business.

Suddenlies

2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven... Acts 2:2

The early church was birthed out of a season of "suddenlies" which began with a mighty move of the Holy Spirit. This was because God wanted His people to receive fresh insights, spread out into new areas and experience possibilities never thought of before.

Stir Up

6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:6-7

It is not easy to stay faithful to God's purpose for your life, especially when nothing seems to go in the right way. If you feel the same, you are not alone. As a young pastor, Timothy was facing lots of fear and challenges in his church. He became discouraged and conflicted about how he should act and who he should be.

The Power of Kindness

32...be kind to one another... Ephesians 4:32

We only remember two types of people in life: those who were kind and generous to us, and those who were unkind and thoughtless towards us. No matter whether we were treated rightly or not, God is our source of kindness and love, and we, who have known and experienced both, can share and spread His love through kindness.

The Problem of Procrastination

4 He who observes the wind will not sow, And he who regards the clouds will not reap. Ecclesiastes 11:4

The mistake most believers make is that they procrastinate instead of progressing. They put off doing anything until everything is perfect. Such delays, however, will cause them to miss out on many wonderful opportunities because they never seem ready or willing to pursue their God-given dream.