Revelation Brings Growth

15-19 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 are only able to grow according to the revelation we have of God and His promises to us in Christ.

Learn to Walk by Wisdom and Revelation

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. Ephesians 1:15-17, New International Version

  Only God can reveal Himself to us.

We Are Sealed With the Holy Spirit

11 Through our union with Christ we too have been claimed by God as his own inheritance. Before we were even born, he gave us our destiny; that we would fulfil the plan of God who always accomplishes every purpose and plan in his heart. 12 God’s purpose was that we Jews, who were the first to long for the messianic hope, would be the first to believe in the Anointed One and bring great praise and glory to God! 13 And because of him, when you who are not Jews heard the revelation of truth, you believed in the wonderful news of salvation. Now we have been stamped with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit. 14 He is given to us like an engagement ring is given to a bride, as the first instalment of what’s coming! He is our hope-promise of a future inheritance which seals us until we have all of redemption’s promises and experience complete freedom—all for the supreme glory and honour of God! Ephesians 1:11-14 The Passion Translation

 

The church of Ephesus consisted of Jewish and Gentile believers, and this was a radical new departure during a time where social norms and values were distinct and even opposite. This is the gospel at work — for it has the power to break the strongholds of pride and prejudice that keep people apart. It too has the power to bring people together and keep them together. This is a much needed message especially when the world is facing increasing cultural and racial tensions in various parts of the world.

We Are Forgiven of Our Sin

Both the Pharisees and Jesus wanted people to live rightly 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 contrasted by how they both saw and treated people.

The Pharisees were always eager to point out other people's sin and make them pay for it. They did it because they felt they had the "God-given" right to carry out judgement and punishment on His behalf. Being God in human flesh (1 John 1:1, 14; 8:58; Colossians 2:9), Jesus knew how sinful and guilty humanity is, however, He did not come to accuse or condemn anyone for their sin. Rather, He came to forgive people and take away their sin.

 

7 In Christ we are set free by the blood of His death, and so we have forgiveness of sins. How rich is God’s grace. Ephesians 1:7, New Century Version

 

Forgiveness of sins brings healing and wholeness.

When we appreciate how we are truly forgiven of all our sins, we are set free to enjoy a healthy relationship with God. The Pharisees were right about the problem of sin, but their approach was unhealthy and wrong. They demanded people to earn God's favour, hoping the good they did would outweigh the bad they had done. Jesus, on the other hand, offered rest to those who were laden down with sin. This demonstrated the richness of God's grace.

God's grace is something we can never earn, but something we will always need. Grace changes the way we view God. Instead of seeing Him as an angry Divine Being, we have come to know Him as our Loving Father. This provides the basis for us to build strong and enduring relationships with those who matter most to us. In other words, Christ's forgiveness gives us grace and freedom to love others, in the same manner to how we have first received love from God.

 

What are the spiritual benefits of knowing that I have been forgiven of my sin?

We Are in the Will of God

9 Making known to us the mystery (secret) of His will (of His plan, of His purpose). [And it is this:] In accordance with His good pleasure (His merciful intention) which He had previously purposed and set forth in Him, 10 [He planned] for the maturity of the times and the climax of the ages to unify all things and head them up and consummate them in Christ, [both] things in heaven and things on the earth. Ephesians 1:9-10

 

The gospel reveals the mystery of God's will, that He had chosen us and called us "holy and blameless". This is not by our own works but instead, God incorporated us into Christ's perfect work. The Apostle Paul tells us that God was working patiently, until everything was in place for Christ to bring all things together in unity through His sufferings and victory.

God reveals His grace to all, allowing everyone the possibility of experiencing His grace without the need for them to do anything on their part. Once saved, we are in God's will and under God's blessing because of our union with Christ. This means that right now, we are all in the will of God for salvation and transformation.

Some people, however, make discovering God's will elusive and harder than it really is.

God's will is about embracing our identity in Christ. In Christ, we are continually transformed by the amazing truth of the gospel. When we learn to live out this truth in every situation and circumstance, God works in and through us. The Holy Spirit instructs us to act in conformity to our identity and inheritance in Christ. When we believe that we are God’s children, we choose and act in the same manner of whom we belong to. This is why the early disciples didn't just sit and wait for God to tell them what to do next. Christ's Great Commission was enough for them to go about intentionally living and sharing their faith daily to everyone. Likewise that should also be our attitude and posture in life.

Knowing that we are already blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ should empower us to take bold steps for God. In Christ, there is no such thing as being out of God's will. This is because a right understanding of the gospel leads us to righteous believing, righteous actions and habits.

It is true that there will be times of doubt and discouragement and even fear because we have "sinned against God". But the truth is that when God puts us in Christ, He has placed us in the safest place possible. It is far away from condemnation and severe judgement. Our position in Christ enables us to experience full recovery and a deep personal healing. We can be assured that God who began a good work in us, is and will be faithful to complete it.

 

Am I living out the truth of who I am and what I have in Christ?

We Are Redeemed in Christ

7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence. Ephesians 1:7-8

 

The phrase, "in Christ" or a variant of it appears some twelve times in the opening verses of Ephesians 1:1-14. The emphasis could not be clearer. Every blessing God wants you to receive is bound up in your relationship with Christ. It is through Jesus, at the cost of His own precious blood, that you have been freely forgiven and fully redeemed from your sin once and for all.

Jesus, the Son of God, cut a covenant with God the Father on our behalf, of which we have become beneficiaries of His death. It is out of the riches of His grace that we enjoy our inheritance of blessings. You are set for life because your Lord can provide for all your needs and wants in accordance to His name. Don't look for blessings somewhere else. You cannot be more blessed or complete than who you already are in Christ. All the blessings in your life are found in Jesus.

There are believers, however, who feel they are not blessed enough. They frequently move from one church to another, one so-called anointed ministry to another, so as to harness more blessings in their life. Sadly they reduce their relationship and friendship with God to a formula or transactional agreement. They are taught to say a certain prayer, thing or behave in a particular way in order for God to bless them even more. In doing so, they are only trying to earn God's blessings instead of receiving them by faith.

God's blessing is not a goal for us to strive towards in our Christian lives. The Christian life is an unfolding of the blessings that belongs to us, given to us as a gift, because we belong to God. We have a good God who does not withhold from us. If we believe otherwise, we will always have an issue trusting God and not rely on Him fully to work all things for our good.

Consider these words of the Apostle Paul:

 

32 For God has proved His love by giving us His greatest treasure, the gift of His Son. And since God freely offered Him up as the sacrifice for us all, He certainly won’t withhold from us anything else He has to give. Romans 8:32 Passion Translation

 

Take time to study the implications of this truth in your life. Live out this truth in your daily life and walk in faith rather than self-performance.

Start by listing the blessings God has wisely and generously bestowed on you, and take a moment to recognise that they are already yours right now. Each blessing is a reality of God's grace — enabling you to live not by your own strength, but by His presence and power working within you.

What impact does Paul's repeated use of "in Christ" have on me?

Accepted in Christ

The world ties personal worth to performance.

Whether you are an athlete or a dancer, a staff or a student, it is important to give your best to what you love doing. But don’t let your success go to your head and lead you to selfish pride.

An unhealthy sense of pride creates a false sense of self worth.

It misleads you to believe that you need to meet certain standards in order to feel good about yourself. Pride can certainly breed a performance-based life. The Pharisees were such prideful people because they were caught up in a performance-oriented game and religion. They measured their own sense of success by their own self-made rules and trusted in their own efforts more than relying on God’s grace.

Pride can rob a person from enjoying the fruits of success due to false feelings of not measuring up and never being good enough. The truth is that it actually limits you. You attempt only things that you are confident of success and avoid things you feel most at risk of failing. It also affects the way you relate to people. You like others who don’t threaten your ego or social standing, and avoid those whose greater measure of success and significance make you feel lesser than how you would like to be perceived and more like a failure.

You are missing the mark if you ever use any standard, even a Christian standard, to obtain a more positive sense of worth. Your sense of worth comes from God, not your performance.

 

6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:6

 

God shows His acceptance of you by ascribing unsurpassable worth to you. By redeeming you with an unsurpassable price through His Beloved Son, the Apostle Paul says that you are accepted in Christ. He means that God is truly satisfied with you because He saves you by Christ’s performance, and not yours.

The word, “accepted” comes from the Greek charitoō which means “to be highly favoured”. You are highly favoured by God because He loves you the same as He loves His Son. Allow this truth to set you free today, and radically change every aspect of your life.

How does knowing God's favour empowers me to overcome every problem today?

Adopted in Christ

Jesus spent some thirty years in obscurity before He began His public ministry. From the little bits that we know of his childhood, it is clear that Jesus understood from a very young age of His call to do His Father’s business (Luke 2:49). In the ensuing years, He grew in wisdom and stature, always in favour with God and men (Luke 2:52).

Jesus was raised in a culture whereby it was important for a father to publicly “adopt” his son into the family business. This adoption is unlike our modern idea of adoption. It is about a son coming of age, ready to take his place and play his role in what his father is doing. As such, Jesus Himself was publicly adopted by His Father God on the day of His baptism. He was totally committed to carry out His Father’s business with full authority and power.

10 And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. 11 Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Mark 1:10-11

 

With the blessing of His Father, Jesus as the Son of God launched into His ministry, knowing that His Father had sent Him (John 8:42). As Jesus was chosen and adopted by the Father as His Son, He also chose us before the foundation of the world to be adopted as His "sons" through Christ.

 

4 Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. Ephesians 1:4-5

 

In adopting us as “sons” in accordance to the good pleasure of His will, God also made us heirs and joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). This is so that we can receive everything that He has obtained for us through His finished work on the cross. As sons, we share in all the benefits and privileges of the Son in this age and also in the age to come.

 

How conscious am I of the importance of my identity in Christ?

Chosen in Christ

4 Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. Ephesians 1:4

 

Have you ever worried about whether God accepts you or whether you are worthy of His love?

We know that God accepts us and loves us because He chose us before the foundation of the world. What does "foundation of the world" mean? The word for "foundation" carries two meanings; one refers to before the creation of the universe and other after the fall of creation. That is to the fall of Adam and the dire consequences resulting from it, and both meanings are applicable. There is no reason why the Apostle Paul should not have both in mind.

Adam's fall didn't deter God's perfect plan for your life.

God called and purposefully planned for you to be one with Christ even from the beginning of creation. Out of His great love and extravagant generosity, God chose or "set you apart" by joining you to Christ. This is so that through Christ, you are made holy and blameless in His presence. In other words, God found you in Christ before you were lost as a result of Adam’s sin and downfall.

The implication is huge.

This means that you were never an accident or a mistake. If you believe this, stop acting like one and stop thinking as if your life doesn't matter. The word "chose" in Greek is ekelgo. It means "honourably elected to fulfil a call or purpose". Ekelgo is a compound word — ek means "out of", and lego means "spoken word". In context, long before you existed or were even born, God had already "spoken out" your identity and destiny in Christ. Your life is a perfect "speech" of God's grace because He compared you to Christ.

Your life is intertwined with God's call and purpose.

You have a significant role to play in God's great plan for humanity. It is time for you to speak out what God has spoken into you. Start to release what He has deposited in you and accomplish what He has already put into you.

 

Am I actively living out my life believing that I have been chosen by God?

The Blessing of 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 being you? Some people struggle with finding happiness in being themselves.

The Blessing of Adoption

5 [God] predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. Ephesians 1:5 New International Version

 

11 In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will. Ephesians 1:11 New International Version

 

Some people believe predestination is about God including some but excluding others from His salvation plan. The truth is that predestination reveals God's character. Out from God's great love and good pleasure, He is and has been working out everything to make everyone His own. In other words, salvation was not God's "Plan B" to fix the fall of creation but rather our spiritual adoption through Jesus Christ. This has always been God’s "Plan A" right even before the foundation of the world.

Blessed in Christ

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.

Blessed in Christ with Every Spiritual Blessing

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. Ephesians 1:3-4 English Standard Version

 

In Christ, God has given us every possible blessing for our growth and benefit.

Not Saved By Works But Saved For Works

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 English Standard Version

 

Ministry is not something we do for God, but something we do with God.

The Fruit of the Spirit: Goodness

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22

 

The sixth attribute of the fruit of the Spirit is goodness.

The Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22

  The fifth attribute of the fruit of the Spirit is kindness.

The Fruit of the Spirit: Long-suffering

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22

 

The fourth attribute of the fruit of the Spirit is long-suffering.

The Greek word for long-suffering is makrothymia which means “to not lose heart, mild, slow to punish”. It is a compound word (makros meaning “long duration” and thumos meaning “anger”) depicting God’s forbearance and extreme patience towards us. The Holy Spirit desires that we demonstrate this same patience to others (and ourselves), so that we can enjoy healthy and fruitful relationships.

Patience is different from passive waiting.

It involves laying the groundwork to bring change and to get things ready beforehand so that you can affect change at some point in time. In other words, patience is calculated action and a well thought out way of doing something well. It is like a farmer who knows the right season to plant, patiently waiting for the right timing to harvest.

When we show patience towards others, especially those who have angered or disappointed us, we are less likely to hurt our relationship with them. This in turn propels us to trust God in turn the relationship around for the better. This was how Jesus portrayed God in the parable of the Prodigal Son. In the story, the father was so full of compassion and patience that he waited and watched for his wayward son to return. The story then tells us that when he saw the son coming back from a far distance, He humiliated himself in public by running towards him, putting his arms around him and kissing him repeatedly.

When you allow God to love you, to unequivocally love you, you will also be able to extend that same kind of love and patience to others. If you find it hard to love someone or show them patience and compassion, give yourself permission to return back to your source and supply. When in His presence and true love, drink deep.

The Holy Spirit is our helper.

You can lean on Him to provide you with what you need. The Spirit will give you the strength and grace to forgive, accept and love people — not when you feel they are deserving. You will find power to do so because the Holy Spirit has already filled your heart to an overflowing point, allowing you to pour your love onto others around you.

  Is there someone that I need to show patience and understanding?

The Fruit of the Spirit: Peace

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22

 

The third attribute of the fruit of the Spirit is peace.

If you have ever prayed to God asking for Him to give you peace, the truth is that as a Christian, you already have it. This is because His Spirit who is also the Spirit of peace resides in you. As such, you don't chase after God's peace whenever you don't feel at peace or are struggling in some way. Rather you are to manifest God's peace by faith because His unshakable peace is ever present within you.

The Greek word for peace is eirēnē which means the binding or joining together again for what was divided back into wholeness. The Apostle Paul tells us the peace of God surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). This supernatural peace is so much more than a warm gushing feeling but it is a profound confidence in God, no matter what circumstances life throws in your direction.

Consider these words of the Apostle Paul:

 

15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts. Colossians 3:15

 

The Greek word for "rule" is brabeuo which means "to act as umpire, to make the call" (Strong's G1018). During Paul’s time, an umpire or a referee is called a brabeus, and his purpose was to arbitrate the game, ensuring all players follow the rules. If a player didn't play according to the rules, the brabeus will stop him from playing because the player is in conflict with the rules of the game. Likewise, when you choose not to believe that God's peace is already in you, you end up feeling as if you are "out of the game". Be at peace and remember to rest completely in the gospel truth again.

When you have God's peace to "umpire" your heart, you are fully assured by a strong supernatural sense of peace and certainty. When everything seems to be against you, think of Jesus, Peter and Paul.

God's peace is the manifested presence of the Kingdom in you.

Let God's supernatural peace rule your heart. Never allow any conflict, contradictory thoughts and feelings or even trying circumstances rob you of your joy and peace for these are rightfully yours, as promised in the gospel.

  Do I keep reminding myself that God's peace is already in me?

The Fruit of the Spirit: Joy

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22

 

The second attribute of the fruit of the Spirit is joy.

The Fruit of the Spirit: Love

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22

 

The first attribute of the fruit of the Spirit is love.

The Fruit of the Spirit

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22

 

The Apostle Paul told the Galatians that their faith is not founded on following the Law, for it leads to bondage all over again. Instead pursue a liberating life in the Spirit built on the wonderful revelations of Jesus Christ.

The Holy 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 a God-given ability to live the life of the Spirit, without ever contradicting the Scriptures.

The Holy Spirit Bears Witness to Your Spirit

15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. Romans 8:15-16 ESV

 

The Apostle Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit comes to bear witness or speaks together with our spirit assuring us that we are truly God's children. The Greek word for “bear witness” is symmartyre, which literally means “testifying in support of someone”. This means every time God speaks to your spirit, He affirms the truth of your birthright and adoption as His son or daughter (John 1:12-13; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5-7).

The Holy Spirit Grieves for You

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 for you to live out your life with a full revelation of 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 and what you have in Christ.

To reject His revelation, however, is to reject the Holy Spirit.

When you reject the truth of what God thinks of you, you not only hurt yourself but also grieve the Holy Spirit. The Greek word for “grieve” is lypeō which means “to make sorrowful”. The idea of grief here is not about feeling sad but the suffering for being doubted or rejected.

How do we grieve the Holy Spirit?

Consider Paul’s words here,

 

31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. Ephesians 4:31

 

In short, we grieve the Holy Spirit by denying our freedom in Christ and returning back to those things we had already been delivered from, since the day we first said "yes" and accepted Jesus as our Saviour and Lord.

How do we avoid such things then?

It is by developing an awareness of His Spirit’s presence in your life and depending on Him to lead and teach you. Jesus tells us that the role of the Holy Spirit is to convict (which means "bringing to light") believers of their righteousness, and we grieve the Holy Spirit when we stop believing the truth of who we are and whose we are in Christ.

The Holy Spirit grieves for us, and does not grieve against us.

When you stop believing rightly about yourself, it becomes easier to start behaving wrongly in your actions. Your sins not only hurt you but also those around you. Though God promises not to hold your sins against you (Hebrews 8:12), what you believe and how you live matter to Him. This is why God gives you His Spirit of grace to change you from within, so that through His presence and power you are free from the spirit of guilt and condemnation. It is by enjoying this freedom that you will find strength to live daily for God.

The opposite of grieving the Holy Spirit is joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

  Have you asked the Holy Spirit to help you today? What has He reminded you about your identity and inheritance in Christ?

The Holy Spirit Leads You

18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Galatians 5:18, 25

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

The Holy Spirit Exposes the Counterfeit Works of the Devil

1 The Spirit clearly says that in the last times some will turn away from what we believe. They will obey spirits that tell lies. And they will follow the teachings of demons. 2 Those teachings come through people who tell lies and trick others. These evil people cannot see what is right and what is wrong. It is like their conscience has been destroyed with a hot iron. 3 They say that it is wrong to marry. And they say that there are some foods that people must not eat. 1 Timothy 4:1 Easy-to-Read Version

 

When Jesus was baptised by John in the river Jordan, the Holy Spirit came like a dove and rested on Him.

The first thing the Holy Spirit did was to lead Jesus into the wilderness to confront the devil. So it wasn't the devil challenging the Son of God but it was the Son of God challenging the devil in the open. Likewise, Christ's desire and expectation of His Church is that we take an offensive position against the devil and his schemes. Jesus promised us that when we do so, we will have victory over the devil and his demonic forces (Mark 16:17).

The Apostle Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Truth, calls all of us to be mindful of the lies and wiles of Satan. By responding to the Spirit's prompting, He will give us the insight and wisdom to expose and defeat the counterfeit works of the devil.

Satan never had an original idea. He likes to counterfeit what is genuine from God and pervert it, so as to divert us from the truth. 2 Corinthians 11:14 tells us that Satan looks and acts like an angel of light, but behind the facade hides a rather diabolical character. Satan imitates God because he wants to deceive everyone into rejecting God, so that they will end up with the same fate as him.

Paul reveals to Timothy that legalism is a counterfeit approach to morality and righteousness. God certainly wants us to walk and live a righteous life, and He helps us by generating the desire within us to do so (Hebrews 10:16). The devil, however, will twist Scripture to his own ends. He will deceive believers that certain practices like falsely imposed celibacy and legalistic dietary restrictions are more spiritual and more pleasing to God.

If deception is Satan's greatest weapon, then the gospel is our unparalleled weapon against the devil. Be like Jesus and use God's Word against Satan. You can resist and overcome the devil with the truth of your identity in Christ and the freedom that comes from it. By being rooted in Christ, the devil can never dominate or enslave you again.

  Am I able to discern false teaching from what God's Word actually says?

The Holy Spirit Convicts Satan of His Judgement

8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. John 16:8-11

Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit brings conviction to the unbelievers of their sin of unbelief. The believers are reminded of their righteousness in Christ, and Satan of his judgement and ultimate defeat. The devil however, refuses to concede defeat because of pride and arrogance. He wages war against the saints but the outcome of Satan’s fate and defeat is guaranteed.

The Holy Spirit Convicts You of Your Righteousness

8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. John 16:8-11

 

When was the last time the Holy Spirit convicts you of sin?

The Holy Spirit Convicts the World of Sin

8 When the Helper comes, he will show the people of the world how wrong they are about sin, about being right with God, and about judgment. 9 He will prove that they are guilty of sin, because they don’t believe in me. John 16:8-9 Easy-to-Read Version

 

God hates sin, not just because it is bad and wrong, but because of what it does to us. Sin hinders us from encountering and experiencing God's love and forgiveness. While we might know that nothing can separate us from God's love, a lack of revelation in the gospel prevents us from laying hold of the benefits and blessings founded upon the finished work of the cross. This is why Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to convict the world or the unbelievers of sin.

It is good to know the difference between the meaning of the words conviction and condemnation.

Condemnation hurts our pride but it doesn't really bring any benefit into our relationship with God. Conviction heals and frees us. It is not about finding a person’s faults, weaknesses and failings. It is about becoming aware of our wholeness and fullness in Christ. It is through the preaching of God's gift of righteousness that helps everyone to walk out of condemnation. Faith comes by hearing and hearing the gospel of Christ (Romans 10:17). The Holy Spirit convicts unbelievers of their sin and releases faith for them to believe their sin has been paid in full.

If someone rejects the gospel, as some might, they are actually rejecting their freedom from sin and their ability to live according to God's intended purpose. This is why Jesus told us not to be surprised when the world hates us on His account. Even so, endeavor to be Christ-like to them and learn to bear the reproach of others when you are identified with Christ.

The Apostle Paul tells us the reason behind their resistance:

 

4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:4

 

Those that are blinded by Satan are unable to see the light of the gospel. It is crucial to pray against deception and spiritual blindness and partner with the Holy Spirit in revealing God's love to hurting people who are in bondage to sin.

  How I have been listening to the Holy Spirit to share the good news with someone? What happened and why did it happen?

The Holy Spirit Teaches You

26 But the Helper will teach you everything and cause you to remember all that I told you. This Helper is the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name. John 14:26 Easy-to-Read Version

 

The Holy Spirit is your Teacher.

He continually reveals everything you need to know about Jesus as you grow into conformity with Christ. If the desire and passion for God are there, there is no end to what you can learn. It is good to know that Father, Son and the Spirit are equal and work in harmony with each other. As the Father sent the Son whom He loved into the world He loves — the Beloved Son sent the Spirit of love (Romans 5:5) into our heart so that we might cry out, "Abba Father, I love you" (Galatians 4:6).

The Holy Spirit helps us in understanding the Scripture.

While the Bible is a closed book to the lost (1 Corinthians 2:14), it is the source of spiritual truth and sustenance for believers. The Holy Spirit desires us to go deeper into the Word of God so that we may discover Jesus who is the eternal, creative and living Word of God. This is especially crucial since Jesus told us everything in all of Scripture points to and finds it fulfilment in His person and work (Luke 24:27, 44).

 

10 God by His Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you. The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. 1 Corinthians 2:10 The Message Bible

  If you think studying the Bible is boring, have a think again and reconsider it for a moment. You might have had a wrong approach to studying God's Word. The Holy Spirit wants to illuminate your mind and give you the ability to comprehend the subtle nuances of the Scripture. Using Bible aids (such as the concordance, Bible dictionaries and commentaries) will significantly help you to understand the Bible. However, when your passion for studying Scripture is coupled with the Spirit's guidance, you will be amazed by what you are able to glean from God's Word. Remember that the Holy Spirit is a willing teacher who wants you to grow into the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13-14). This is so that you will not be vulnerable to false doctrines and willful lies from the devil. Knowing that the Spirit will always exalt Jesus will enable you to discern the truth from anything that does not exalt Jesus. This is because the Holy Spirit has set such a perfect standard for our faith (which is the Person of Christ) that we will not be easily swept away by spiritual fads and unsound teachings.   Can you recall what false teachings, myths and misconceptions that you had believed in the past? How did the Holy Spirit bring you back to the gospel truth?

The Holy Spirit Comforts You

15 If you [really] love Me, you will keep and obey My commandments.16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive [and take to its heart] because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He (the Holy Spirit) remains with you continually and will be in you. John 14:15-17 Amplified Bible

The Holy Spirit Brings Glory to Jesus

14 The Spirit of truth will bring glory to me by telling you what he receives from me. John 16:14 Easy-to-Read Version

 

The Holy Spirit who is also the Spirit of truth will reveal to us all that Jesus desires us to be and do in His Name. We could see how this happened in the lives of the disciples and the early church when they earnestly and diligently flowed with the Holy Spirit to accomplish what the Lord had willed for them. In other words, the work of the Holy Spirit is to give glory to Jesus and to turn people's hearts to trust in Him for their salvation and grow into His image.

The Holy Spirit does not call attention to Himself. He acts as a spotlight would do, pointing us to Christ and will never add nor subtract or even deviate from any revelation of the gospel truth. We, however, must not assume He is some sort of a divine messenger or an errant runner. The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity and He is a Person; not an impersonal force. We can know Him too, just as how we know God the Father and God the Son.

It is important to know the Holy Spirit because He wants to be deeply involved in our lives. By walking with Him daily, you can open yourself up to the opportunity to change the spiritual atmosphere anywhere you go.

When the Apostle Paul laid hands on the twelve men in Ephesus for them to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, it sparked a significant shift in the spiritual texture of the city and its citizens. In Acts 19, we can see the turning of Ephesus and the Ephesians from the darkness of occult practices into the life and light of Christ within a short span of time.

Imagine seeing the same thing happening in our city — I believe it is possible, if and when we let the Holy Spirit move as He wills. If a small virus can shake up the whole world, I wonder what faith the size of a mustard seed can do when we allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through us?

  Am I willing to partner with the Holy Spirit to exalt Jesus and to share His love in practical ways with others?

The Holy Spirit Comes By Faith

2 Tell me this one thing: How did you receive the Spirit? Did you receive the Spirit by following the law? No, you received the Spirit because you heard the message about Jesus and believed it. Galatians 3:2 Easy-to-Read Version

 

If what we read and believe about the Bible doesn't lead us into encountering God or worshipping Him more deeply, we have gained nothing of value. It is somewhat like having lots of head knowledge about God, but without a heart connection to God. That was what the Judaizers tried to do in the Bible. They wanted the Galatians to stuff their minds with rules and laws instead of living their lives by faith. In doing so, they were robbing these believers of the opportunity to experience the spiritual reality of the fullness of God's grace.

The Holy Spirit Makes You New

5 He saved us because of his mercy, not because of any good things we did. He saved us through the washing that made us new people. He saved us by making us new through the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:5 Easy-to-Read Version

 

It is through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit working inside you that you experience the new life in Christ. The moment you are saved, the Holy Spirit abides and remains with you forever. From that day onwards, He glorifies Jesus by helping you to be sure of your salvation and imparts to you fruits and gifts to honour God with your service.

The Holy Spirit Is God’s Gift to You

13 Even you who are bad know how to give good things to your children. So surely your heavenly Father knows how to give the Holy Spirit to the people who ask him. Luke 11:13 Easy-to-Read Version

 

The Father gives us the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit Lives in You

16 You should know that you yourselves are God’s temple. God’s Spirit lives in you. 1 Corinthians 3:16 Easy-to-Read Version

 

What a privilege it is to have the Holy Spirit residing in us.

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

5 There were some godly Jews in Jerusalem at this time. They were from every country in the world. 6 A large crowd came together because they heard the noise. They were surprised because, as the apostles were speaking, everyone heard in their own language.7 They were all amazed at this. They did not understand how the apostles could do this. They said, “Look! These men we hear speaking are all from Galilee. 8 But we hear them in our own languages. How is this possible? We are from all these different places...11 We are from these different countries, but we can hear these men in our own languages! We can all understand the great things they are saying about God.”12 The people were all amazed and confused. They asked each other, “What is happening?” 13 But others were laughing at the apostles, saying they were drunk from too much wine. Acts 2:5-8, 11-13 Easy-to-Read Version

 

The coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost was to give the 120 believers the boldness to proclaim the gospel.

A Legacy of Faith

1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1 English Standard Version

 

How ready are you for change and are keen to move forward to a new season in your life?

A Good and Perfect Father

17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 New International Version

 

We need to remind ourselves that we have a good and perfect Father who gives us good and perfect gifts. Even if we are right in the midst of suffering and sudden difficulty, God is still blessing us in an amazing way. But somehow, we tend to blame God for what we don't understand, rather than trusting God to stay faithful and true to His character. God has promised us in His Word that He will never leave us or forsake us, and that He has the power to turn the worst tragedy into something beautiful.

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. The world defines success as having a high living standard, status and possessions, but to God, success is an overflow from meditating on His Word.

Stand Your Ground

1 The righteous stand their ground as boldly as a young, ferocious lion! Proverbs 28:1, Direct Translation

 

Often when you are struggling, it is common to feel defeated and discouraged. You may pray over what is troubling you, but you can't help but wonder whether God has heard you. And if He does, then when is the breakthrough going to happen?

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 change and transitions, the hardest thing for you is to stay focused and not get stressed out by the unknown or when unexpected things happen.

Think Yourself Happy

Have you ever struggled with the idea that you will never be good enough for God? This kind of thinking alienates you from God and distorts your understanding of the gospel.

Never Rely On What You Think You Know

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 Translation

 

God is not interested in keeping us in our comfort zones.

Christ Formed In You

19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you. Galatians 4:19 English Standard Version

 

Too many people agonise over the question of finding out God's will for their lives.

God Is For You

1 Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear. Isaiah 59:1 English Standard Version

 

God is never silent about our discomfort and pain. And neither is He indifferent or passive about it.

Bearing the Marks of Jesus

17 From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. Galatians 6:17 English Standard Version

 

The Apostle Paul wanted the Galatians to know that the scars he had on his body and by being persecuted, were more significant and substantial than the scar of circumcision. This gave him the right to boast about all he had done and suffered in preaching the gospel. As Christians, it helps to give us some perspective when we too face rejection or get discouraged by people unable or unwilling to receive Jesus Christ.

Boasting in the Cross

14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14 English Standard Version

 

Christians can too often measure their spiritual life by how much they have sacrificed and given up for God and His Kingdom, rather than by how much they have received and enjoyed from the Lord. Instead of boasting in their fleshy works and self-effort, the Apostle Paul boasted in the accomplishments of Christ's finished work on the Cross.

You Are Accepted by the Father

8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid I may have laboured over you in vain. Galatians 4:8-10 English Standard Version

 

What are you doing to make yourself acceptable before God?

Being Sons and Heirs

1 I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Galatians 4:1-7 English Standard Version

 

When we limit the Christian life into just an issue of morality, we miss out on what the gospel is really about. The gospel is not about our personal struggles against sin, but rather it is about our sonship and adoption into the family of God.

Goodness of the Lord

Some believers live life with a certain sense of resignation. They often say, “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, wondering how much more burden they can bear before they finally break.

The Question of Hell

In January 2009, 800 British buses as well as the London Underground carried a poster with the slogan, “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”. Called the Atheist Bus Campaign, this poster was seen across the British Isle and received tremendous support from many members of the public.

Finding Your Sense of Identity

11 Who told you that you were naked? Genesis 3:11

 

When God queried Adam and Eve in the bible asking them, "Who told you that you were naked?", He was questioning their source of authority in their lives and actions. God did not ask so as to humiliate them but to bring them to a better clarity of where they are in their relationship with Him.

New Wine in New Wineskin

22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins. Mark 2:22 English Standard Version

 

When Jesus taught about having new wineskin, He was not introducing the newest formula for church growth, success or implementing the latest style of ministry. Rather our Lord was talking about the condition of our hearts and the need to embrace a fresh perspective on our long-held assumptions.

A Blessing for All Mothers

28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Proverbs 31:10 New International Version

 

Dear mothers, you are truly a blessing to your family. I’m sending big hugs to you on this special day — know that you are valued, appreciated and loved by everyone at home. My prayer is that you will continue to experience God in a fresh new way and brighten the lives of your loved ones around you.

Peace to You

36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Luke 24:36-38 English Standard Version

 

When Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection, they thought it was His ghost. They could not believe that Jesus had truly risen from the dead because they never took His word to heart. No matter how many times Jesus explained the way of the Cross to them; it never seemed to sink into their minds.

Walk by Faith

7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 New International Version

 

We live by what we believe, and not just by what we can see.

Being Tested

Count it all joy, my brothers 2 when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 English Standard Version

 

The Apostle James tells us to count our trials as joy because the testing of our faith produces steadfastness. Steadfastness is a well-grounded faith that endures and even flourishes during times of pain and affliction. Instead of abandoning hope and sinking into fatal resignation, we each become a stronger person; dealing better with problems and disappointments.

God will Sustain You

10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 English Standard Version

 

When the Prophet Isaiah first appeared with this message of hope and strength in the old testament, the people of Israel were exiled from their land. While they were far from where God wanted them to be, He was never far from them. Israel could still experience God's presence and encounter His power of deliverance and restoration in the midst of all of their trials and difficulties.

True Knowledge of God’s Word

6 My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children. Hosea 4:6 New International Version

 

Have you ever made this remark, "I prayed but nothing happened"?

Believing God for Supernatural Provision

10 I am the Lord your God, who brought you up from Egypt’s land. Open your mouth wide — I will fill it up! Psalm 81:10, Common English Bible

 

Perhaps you are one of many who can't find work, for various reasons, as a result of the current COVID-19 crisis. The resulting loss of income, and the extra expenses incurred, have impacted you so deeply that it has changed the way you now trust God and follow Him. This makes worshipping God hard and less appealing, and you are left trying to figure out why God is seemingly silent when this is the time you really need Him to speak to you.

The silence of God is not the absence of God. After all, God has promised He will not leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). This promise was first given to the children of Israel in the old testament when they left Egypt for the Promised Land. In spite of witnessing the presence and power of God through the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night, they were still full of unbelief. Though they ate manna every day and their clothes miraculously never wore out for forty years, they still have difficulty trusting God for their next season.

Can we truly say we fare better today than the children of Israel?

In our lives we are often plagued by fear, doubt and unbelief even though Christ is in us and His Spirit never ceases to remind us that we have every blessing in Him. We act and behave as though God's promises were meant for someone else but not us. When we have no revelation of who we are and what we have in Christ, it prevents us from taking hold of God's promises for ourselves.

Behind the promise of God is backed by the provision from God for all of your needs and much more.

The Psalmist reminded us that God is able to meet all our needs, whether spiritual or physical. The invitation is for us to “open our mouths wide” and He will fill it. Likened to a nursing mother who feeds her hungry baby, God has always something good to give us.

When God appears slow to act, we must remind ourselves that He knows what He is doing. God is sovereign and that is, nothing in life can stop Him from fulfilling His promises to us. When we grow impatient and remain focused on our problems, instead of looking to Jesus as our source and security — take heart for He is our very help in our time of need. Allow Him to come in and His peace and rest will be with you even while you are still in midst of a raging storm.

What promises from God do I need to hold on to, to help me stay hopeful?

Embracing Change

28 Let us be thankful then, because we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Let us be grateful and worship God in a way that will please him, with reverence and awe. Hebrews 12:26-29 Good News Translation

 

Change and transition does not come in a neat little package.

Faith Is Receiving

4 Just as the day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” 6 He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. John 21:4-6 English Standard Version

 

When facing a crisis such as COVID-19, we must learn to receive faith from God through His revealed truth in the Scripture and apply it into our situation. Faith is more than just hearing the truth, but it also involves acting on the truth. This is important even if we have not been fully persuaded or convinced when we hear it for the first time.

Being Like-Minded With God

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:33-34 English Standard Version

  Often we want God to take care of our needs — and He will. As Jesus has promised us that we have a Heavenly Father who knows what we need before we ask Him, He is also able to do more than we realize (Ephesians 3:20). But there are times when what we considered as a need wasn’t one, we ask God to bless our self-centered pursuits and end up out of His purpose for our lives.

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 success to 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.

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?

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 4:13), 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 relationships 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 us that 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 however 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? When we know that 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.

Faith in Community

Spiritual growth and community are closely linked to each other. Yet many believers keep themselves away from any healthy connections with other believers. Somehow, along the way we have lost each other. We are not healthy or whole when we are alone. A healthy church community doesn't suppress others, dominate or make each other feel miserable. We learn to appreciate one another and challenge others to do the same. Community, when expressed rightly, adds a rich texture to faith. You cannot grow well in isolation, so when faith is void of authentic relationships, it can't survive. The privilege of articulating and expressing your faith amongst believers does not just nourish your spirit, but also everyone else around you. Consider this verse:  

24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25

  Community makes everyone's faith bigger and bolder. A lot of believers are spiritual drifters, and they won't settle down until they find the perfect church. Often they harbour a secret hurt stemming from their own fears that people will let them down, and this prevents them from having authentic relationships. But seriously, when is a church ever perfect? The "perfect" church is not the one that is without flaws or problematic people, but the one that you feel like you belong to. When you have that sense of belonging, you feel empowered and this empowerment will also enable you to empower somebody else. This is the power of community — that we can encourage each other to show love and do good.

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, like pleading and struggling to get something from God, when in reality He has already freely given us all things in Christ.

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 this 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 can affect how you might perceive Him. There is always a reason for the time when God doesn't appear to act or speak. This is not because He wants to frustrate you but because God wants to fix your view or the "lens" in how you see your situation or problem. God does not want you to see your relationship with Him as one to revolve around your timetable, but instead in His ultimate timing for you. You won't find the happiness and peace you seek if you continue to struggle against what God has in mind for each season of your life. Learn to let go. We often forget just how much God loves us and how everything He is doing is for our own good. God's silence is not designed to be an obstacle, aimed at interrupting our progress, but an opportunity to believe that God has a far better plan for us that we can possibly imagine. Until we are certain that God knows what is best for us, we will not turn over our plans to Him. The life of Abraham teaches us a valuable lesson; the more we hurry God, the more we hinder Him. When Abraham couldn’t wait, he produced an Ishmael. But when he learned to believe God, Abraham became the father of many nations. God's silence reveals either your level of faith or your level of frustration. Both faith and frustration clarify the basis and focus of your relationship with God — the first is about trust and confidence in Him, and the other is out of need and desperation. If God appears to be silent right now, just focus on your response to Him. Don't be afraid but be patient and take courage. Be assured that God knows where He is taking us, so as to bless you, and not to hurt you.

Believing in God’s Goodness

The greatest tragedy in life is having to live with disappointment, and when you have stopped believing in the goodness of God. Many people use their hardships in life to complain and question God. In the bible, 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 your circumstances. But believing in God does. A complaining spirit reveals an unbelieving heart, and it is this unbelief that limits both God and you. It denies you from receiving from Him. In the gospels, this was what happened to Jesus when He came amongst His own people:  

5 Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And He marvelled because of their unbelief. Mark 6:5-6

  Mark tells us that Jesus marvelled at their unbelief. The word “marvelled” literally means “to lose the mind in bewilderment”. Jesus was certainly baffled by their casual attitude and indifference towards receiving from Him. You can only receive in accordance with what you believe about Jesus. Asaph didn’t end his psalm on a negative note. Rather, he reminded the people that in spite of themselves God had always been and always will be good and faithful to them. Don’t let your pain change God’s plan for you. Stop complaining and start believing and confessing that He is with you, even when you don’t see Him.

Coming Close to God

Sin might keep you from God, but it cannot 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 in order for Him to show us His amazing love. Right from the start, it was 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 actions (Colossians 1:21).

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 that if he stayed hidden, he could work things out himself. And that God wouldn't find out about what he had done, provoking God to deal with him severely.

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 more prone to worrying than trusting God.

Yes to Faith, No to Fear

Are you more connected to your faith or to your fear? Most believers assume it is natural to be fearful and that having faith is something beyond their reach. The opposite is true.

Make Your Requests Known To God

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

  In our lives we can become overwhelmed by our worries and feel anxious because we have no control over life's events, more so with the threat of COVID-19. This leads us to a fearful thinking that makes it impossible to trust God and lean on Him each day.

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

  Whenever a court passes a verdict of "not guilty", it doesn't mean the defendant was innocent of the crime. Rather, the case was not proven beyond reasonable doubt leading to a guilty verdict. In our case before God's court of law however, we were judged both "guilty" and "not guilty" equally at the same time.

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 about 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, spiritual failure and condemnation.

God’s Grace will Catch You

Our generous Father continues to give us His grace to meet all of our needs. Not just on one but on two occasions, in the face of every challenge and circumstance, David sang in Psalm 23:6, "So why would I fear the future? For your goodness and love pursues me all the days of my life". The Hebrew word for “pursue” is radaph which literally means “to hunt down or to chase after someone in order to catch”. Aren't you glad that you can never outpace God's grace? By holding onto this revelation frees us from the fear of moving forward. Many believers are so worried about being out of God's will that they become paralyzed in their decision-making process. God's grace is not only going ahead of you, but also right behind you. It catches you if you should fall, and helps get you back up and stays on track in every step of life's journey. Even if you are walking through the darkest time of your life right now, God's grace will seek you and bring you back on track. What's more, God's grace does not just come in portions but in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus as grace personified is with us always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). In other words, there is no place you can be or any circumstance you are in, where the fullness of God's grace in Christ is not present — for He came to seek that which is lost and scattered. Christ's perfect love for you is objectively real. You can trust Him and in His faithfulness to see you through — even if you subjectively don't feel Him or sense His presence. Beware of letting your feelings determine your trust in God for it will lead to a superficial relationship with Him. Rather, let the truth and power of God's grace as revealed in the gospel catch hold of you. For you to rise above every contradictory thought and feeling, and above every difficult obstacle, become everything God has created you to be in Christ.

God Disciplines Us Through His Words

4-6 Everyone who commits sin breaks God’s law, for that is what sin is, by definition—a breaking of God’s law. You know, moreover, that Christ became man for the purpose of removing sin, and he himself was quite free from sin. The man who lives “in Christ” does not habitually sin. The regular sinner has never seen or known him. 1 John 3:4-6 J.B. Phillips New Testament

  There is a difference between God's judgement of our sin and Him disciplining us to keep us from sinning. The punishment of God on sin deals with our past but His discipline deals with our future. Given that God had already judged our sin in the flesh of His Son, He gives us the spirit of sonship to walk free from the power of sin. If we go about our lives in sin, without resisting it, it means we have not fully understood that Christ's death has removed the power of sin from our lives once and for all.

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?

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 came to your salvation, Jesus left nothing half done.

The Power of the Resurrection

11 Yes, God raised Jesus to life! And since God’s Spirit of Resurrection lives in you,

he will also raise your dying body to life by the same Spirit that breathes life into you!

Romans 8:11, The Passion Translation

 

As we celebrate Resurrection Sunday today, we are reminded that the resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything in how we see ourselves and how we minister to others around us.

By uniting us into His death and resurrection, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. Too often we underestimate what God wants to do in and through us. This leads us to pray for more power, and then still long for more, when God has already given us everything we need. Somehow we trust more in receiving from God through our prayers of unbelief than possessing by faith, what God has freely provided for us in Christ. Unlike in the Old Testament where there was a sharp division between what is holy and what is worldly, there is no longer this divide between sacred and secular. Now that the resurrected Christ lives in you, you can supernaturally manifest His presence and power. Everywhere you go — the atmosphere changes because you are a bearer of Christ in the world. Right now, people need God in this time of crisis more than ever. Even though you cannot be physically close to someone, let your prayer carry with it the power to fulfil all of the Father's promises. The Holy Spirit that works in you will work in the lives of your loved ones and will bring them much needed rest and peace.

Silent Saturday

It is interesting that the four Gospels detail Jesus’ final week, climaxing at His death on the Cross on Friday, but then — a total silence. There is no one Scripture verse that says what really occurred on Saturday. I believe this was deliberate. Now in hindsight, we know that despite an awful Friday when Jesus died, an awesome Sunday was coming marking the day Jesus rose from the dead. But this was not the case with the disciples, in spite of hearing Jesus’ numerous reassuring promises, they were still afraid and unsure of what tomorrow might bring. Are we not just like His disciples? We know that God is faithful, but sometimes we are uncertain if He is going to continue to be faithful to us. Most believers understand the significance of both Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. The suffering of “Friday” brings the victory of “Sunday”. In one way, our faith journey echoes both days and we have seen both “suffering days” and “victorious days”, many times in our lives. In our “Fridays” or “Sundays”, God still speaks. But it is the quiet or silent “Saturdays” we dislike the most. “Saturdays” are silent days — seemingly more contradictory than confirmation of God’s love. “Saturdays” are days when we feel it is most difficult to believe God or trust in His faithfulness. When you think nothing is happening, something is happening. God's silence is not absence or apathy. Sometimes silence is a good thing, especially when our lives are surrounded by distracting noises which divert our hearts and minds from the Lord. This was what had happened to the disciples that Saturday. They were filled with fear and trepidation because Jesus was no longer with them, but when Jesus appeared to them on Sunday, His first words were, "Peace to you" (Luke 24:36). If you are facing a "Silent Saturday" right now — especially in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic, be encouraged because Jesus is now alive forevermore. Instead of wondering whether God has forgotten you or disappointed with you, hold fast onto Jesus' promise that He will never leave you or forsake you.

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.

Love One Another As I Loved You

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 called Maundy Thursday. The name of this day is derived from the Latin mandatum, which means love.

Christ Our Passover Lamb

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 saw this blood, he would “pass over” that home. The lamb that died in place of the firstborn (Exodus 12:1-14) was later known as the Passover Lamb.

God’s Wrath Was Satisfied in Jesus

3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:3-5

  Believers can often lack a clear idea about God's wrath. They might think God's wrath and His love are at odds and irreconcilable. The truth is that God's divine and righteous anger is a proper response to the evil of sin, just like how a protective parent fights back a dog trying to attack his defenceless children. God's wrath comes from a place of deep love and compassion for us. It is not an emotional feeling or uncontrollable rage on God’s part, but it is the manifestation of His just and holy indignation against sin. God's wrath is the natural consequence of sin. If His pure love is never angry with sin knowing how it hurts us us, then His love for us is questionable. It would mean God will not act against sin and bring judgement on it. However, we do have a God who loves us more than what we deserve or can ever humanly comprehend. Many Bible verses warn us of God's wrath stored up against the wicked. We see episodes of when God revealed His wrath against those who hide behind their sins, with the excuse of being ignorant of God and who we are to Him (Romans 1:20). This is why the Apostle Paul tells us that we are by nature children of wrath because of sin working in us. God knew we cannot bear His wrath even though we deserve His judgement. Out of His rich mercy, God justifies the wicked — not by making light of sin or brushing it aside but by bringing it into judgement through Christ's death on the Cross. At the cross we see God's wrath and His love meet intertwined. Christ’s sacrificial offering of love bought us victory over sin. This is good news! God will never again judge us for our sins because the Lord Jesus took our judgement righteously on the cross. As such, please don't be deceived by anyone who claims that COVD19 is God's judgement on the world. Rather, we hold on to Paul's words in Romans 8:32-33:  

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Romans 8:31-33, English Standard Version

  Praise the Lord for the truth of His Word!

God’s Rich Mercy

4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in sins, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and He raised us up and seated us together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7, Modern English Version

  It is through Jesus that we encounter and experience God's deepest love and grace. With the work of the cross already finished and complete, Jesus has done all things possible to bring humanity into His saving grace, and offers a life enjoying a right standing with God. By incorporating us into His death and resurrection, even before we believed in God, Christ removed everything that prevented us from receiving all God had for us. Jesus saved us from both sin and the wrath of God, there is now absolutely nothing that can impede a person from choosing to follow Christ and to believe in Him as Lord and Saviour. The Apostle Paul describes this truth beautifully, telling us that even when we are dead in sin, Jesus in Christ has made us alive together with Him. If we take Paul's words seriously, the clear implication is that we are born again even before we believe. Not what we had commonly presumed, that is we must believe in order to be born again. Salvation is always and still is the grace of God at work. Now it is no longer sin that keeps us from God but it is our unwillingness to receive God's love and grace. It is our unbelief that will keep us living a victorious life in Christ. It is by being made alive with Christ that we can believe in Christ. Having such a great gift of salvation, we assume everyone wants to be saved. But it is not always so. Jesus tells us that there are some who have no sense of their own sinfulness, and as such find no need for a Saviour. Too often they see sin as something only evil people would do, but not realising sin is enmity with God (James 4:4). Sin is not what you do but why you do it. Sin is not deeds but a nature within us that acts against a Holy God. Sin refuses to acknowledge God's sovereignty over us and our unwillingness to trust Him for what He has promised. Having removed sin, Jesus gave us a new divine nature and a right standing. This allows every person to have an authentic and personal relationship with God in Christ. This can only come by grace through faith.

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, or when the church can't meet together in a building? Worship is personal. You cannot depend or expect others to make you a worshipper. While people can inspire or lead you, only you alone can choose to worship God. Worship is more than just singing songs, it is wholistic — being self-aware of God's presence in every area of your life. Notice the people cried out to Jesus as "Hosanna"? Hosanna means “save us now, please”. In other words, you do not worship to get an infilling of God's grace, but rather your worship is the outpouring of God's grace into every circumstance and situation in your life. The reason why many believers find it hard to worship is because of a weak revelation of God's perfect love towards us. This tension comes from a past hurt or a fracture in their relationship with God. Unless there is healing, this clash between God’s faithfulness against your faithlessness will widen further. That’s why it was easy for the crowd to switch sides a few days later. Without a real revelation of Jesus , they could only receive Him one day and reject Him the next. Worship reveals our true heartfelt view of God. He is not an egotistical megalomaniac Divine Being who demands your worship because He needs validation and approval. God is your Father. Jesus says that when you receive the Son, you also receive the Father (John 13:20). Jesus came to reveal His Father, the heart of God, and His death on the Cross was to restore our hearts back to our Father. In this sense, you can’t worship God your Father without a heart of sonship. Sonship gives you your identity and strengthens your security. Sonship builds intimacy and trust, making obedience easy and serving joyful.

Fear Nothing

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation. Should I fear anyone? The Lord is a fortress protecting my life. Should I be frightened of anything?

Psalm 27:1-2, Common English Bible

  David composed this psalm when he was under attack from Saul. In the midst of fearing for his life, he was forging his faith in the undeniable goodness of God. David could sing with such boldness and confidence because God was his light and salvation. He knew his enemies will never triumph over him because God is on his side.

Do Not Be Afraid nor Be Discouraged

8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8 New International Version

  As the nation of Israel prepared to enter the Promised Land, Moses gave them an assuring promise that God will never leave them nor forsake them. Just as God was faithful in His promise to them, God continues to be faithful even in our present circumstances.

The Calm of Jesus

38 But Jesus was calmly sleeping in the stern, resting on a cushion. 39 So they shook him awake, saying, “Lord, don’t you even care that we are all about to die!” Fully awake, he rebuked the storm and shouted to the sea, “Hush! Calm down!” All at once the wind stopped howling and the water became perfectly calm. Mark 4:38-39 The Passion Translation

  Where is God right now in the midst of the COVID19 Virus Pandemic? I can say that God is present with us in the midst of the storm, no matter how bleak and grim the latest reports and forecasts seem to be. Like the disciples who thought Jesus did not care about them when their lives were in dire straits, we too may feel God is slow to answer our prayers and cries. We must learn to be like Jesus,staying calm in spite of our external circumstances. What we need to be assured of is that God is sovereign in all things. He alone can do far more than what we can ask or imagine. God has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us. From a humour point of view, there is no social distancing with God! While some dislike the awful inconvenience, there are others who have suffered horrifying personal pain caused by this crisis. Even if it is hard to explain or understand this terrible crisis, we can still hold on to the love of God. In Romans 8:38-39, the Apostle Paul gave us such a precious truth:  

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39, New International Version

  Paul singles out ten important things that cannot and will never be able to to separate us from God’s love. We can rest in the safety and security of His perfect love towards us. We can come boldly to Him with a great expectation of receiving His mercy and grace in our time of need. Be sensitive and respond appropriately to those who may have been physically or economically affected by this crisis. Instead of just feeling sorry for them, find the means and opportunities to do right by them in a practical way. Whenever possible, give to those in need and support them through these hard times. Through your acts of kindness, you are extending God's love to others. Whatever you do even to the least, you are doing it to and for the Lord Jesus.

Tasting Christ’s Victory over Satan

Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet. Judges 14:14

  Samson fought a ferocious lion and killed it with his bare hands. When he passed by the same way after a few days, Samson saw bees making honey in its rotten carcass and ate the honey. He later turned his experience into a riddle to reveal a greater truth of God's grace.

Baptized Into Christ

27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise. Galatians 3:27-29, English Standard Version

  God fulfilled what He had promised to Abraham through Christ, that we who are Gentiles by birth are His spiritual descendants because of our personal faith in Christ. The Apostle Paul told the Galatians that they were baptized into Christ. He explained that by using the rite of circumcision and by following the Law as entry points into the church, they were both superfluous and not keeping in step with the revelation of the gospel.

The Coming of Faith

23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. Galatians 3:23-26, English Standard Version

  The Apostle Paul tells us that the Law was temporary and a transition before the coming of faith, the Law functioned as a guardian to keep people from sin until Christ came.

The Promise by Faith

22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. Galatians 3:22, English Standard Version

  The Apostle Paul tells us that the written Law or the Scripture was given to reveal we are prisoners of our own sin. The Law sets a standard of righteousness but it cannot produce righteousness to save us. As such none of us can ever be justified by our own works, but only by faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross.

The Law Cannot Produce Righteousness

21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. Galatians 3:21, English Standard Version

  Both the promise to Abraham and the Law of Moses were given by God. They were both not in contradiction but were for different purposes. The apostle Paul tells us that if the Law could produce life, then everyone could become justified or righteous by following it. However the Law brought death because no one could be fully justified by their own works in keeping the law. This is the curse of the law and also why Paul pronounced a curse on anyone who preaches a different gospel. Anyone who seeks to add or subtract from what Christ has accomplished for us through His finished work on the cross is under a curse. True righteousness does not come from the law, but from Christ Himself. Our desire to do right does not come from the dictation of the law but from the direction of Christ as our true source of holy living. The Law however has two main functions in the life of a believer. Firstly the Law set a standard to remind us that none can fulfil its requirements and stand righteously before a holy God. Secondly the Law leads us to Christ by showing us our need for a Saviour. If we still insist on using the law to obtain or keep our relationship with God, then we are only reducing salvation to a self-earned reward rather than a free gift from God. Only Christ can give us the life and power to do good and overcome evil. Paul cites the various Old Testament laws in his epistles to bear witness to the gospel. When he was a Pharisees, he understood the Law in a certain way. But now that He has been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, Paul reads and uses the Law in a whole new way. He tells us that we have a Saviour who has kept the law perfectly for us and borne the judgment and condemnation we deserved. As such, instead of us being under the Law of Moses (where blessings and curses are determined by our obedience), we who are in Christ have a righteousness that is not of our own making but established by the obedience of Christ on the cross. Whenever God sees us today, He looks upon Christ’s perfect righteousness in us and will not impute sin on us (Romans 4:8) because we are made a new creation in Christ. In doing so, God frees us from the accusations of the devil that brings feelings of condemnation and fear. Harbouring the desire to be under the law is to make ourselves slaves of sin again and to stay as enemies of God, pronounce a curse on ourselves, and cut ourselves from Christ and His grace (Galatians 5:4).

Why then the Law?

19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one. Galatians 3:19-20, English Standard Version

  The Apostle Paul tells us the law was "added" to help the Jewish people to become aware of how far they have sinned against God. The two words "added" and "until" implied the Law was not the central theme of God's salvation plan, but it played a secondary role and a shadow of the good things to come (Hebrews 10:1). The Law was "added" and "until" it was fulfilled by Christ who is the promised seed of Abraham, appearing to bring the new covenant. This is both the re-affirmation and continuation of the abrahamic covenant. In other words, the abrahamic covenant was not just for the jews but for all who are in Christ. While the Mosaic covenant is time-limited, temporal and conditional, the new covenant which is the spiritual fulfilment of the abrahamic covenant is eternal and unconditional. As God is one, He ratified His promise to Abraham by Himself. There was no need for an intermediary or any other person to do anything except to accept and believe the gospel by faith. If we are to continue to follow the law in order to be right with God, we are saying that we are still slaves to our sin. Knowing that we have been set free from sin and into the liberty of a new life in Christ, we can walk circumspectly (Ephesians 5:15). It is beneficial to know that Paul wasn't dismissive of the Law. While he repudiates the Law on the issue of circumcision, he re-appropriated the Law for what it is. It was a source leading to the revelation of a new and living way, the gospel of Jesus Christ. For example, in 1 Corinthians 9:9-10, Paul quotes Deuteronomy 24:5 and asserts that the Mosaic call "not to muzzle an ox" was "written for our sakes". The new covenant believers are to financially support ministers of the gospel. It is absolutely impossible to reconcile the gospel with a lifestyle that embraces Old Covenant laws and practices. Such a way of life contradicts all of what Christ had done for us. Instead of seeing the Law as the "legal" authority in the life of a believer, we should acknowledge Christ as our "living" authority over every aspect of life.

The Difference Between A Promise and A Law

17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise. Galatians 3:17-18, English Standard Version

  The Judaizers were teaching the Galatians the necessity of keeping the law because the law replaced God's promises to Abraham. Although the Law was instituted by Moses some 430 years later, the Apostle Paul explained that God's promises to Abraham was irrevocable and sure. This promise was made to Abraham's singular offspring, Jesus and all who put their trust in Him are guaranteed inheritors of the blessings that come from that promise.

God’s Promise to Abraham

15 To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. Galatians 3:15-16, English Standard Version

  It is through His death on the Cross that Jesus redeemed the world out of the slavery and from the curse of the law. He did this by becoming a curse on behalf of us. In doing so Jesus made it possible for all who believed in Him to become the children of Abraham by grace through faith.

Without Mixture

12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. Galatians 3:12-4, English Standard Version

  Some believers find it difficult to believe that God is always fully pleased with them and this is because they struggle with living a holy and perfect life, in all their actions and thoughts. This was the problem with the Galatians as they began well but lost their momentum and way when they believed the wrong idea about pleasing God. They embraced a false gospel which was a mixture of law and grace. They wanted to add their works of the Law into the already perfected and undeserved work of grace. Law and grace cannot be mixed together. When the Christian life is a mixture of law and grace, it is like mixing vinegar and wine. It becomes undrinkable. This mixture Paul warns us, leads to hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is man’s religious showmanship and is not of God. It is both self-serving (you are happy when your own flesh is able to please God) and self-defeating (you become unhappy when your flesh fails you). The Apostle Paul tells us:  

12 Yet the law is not of faith.

Galatians 3:12

  If you trust your own flesh to please God, the Law knows your flesh will ultimately fail you. It cannot save you but it points you to a Saviour. Grace is always greater than Law. It offers a righteousness that the Law cannot give. Again, Paul gives us a precious insight:  

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

  The complete and perfect work of grace is Jesus’ performance and not yours or ours. God is fully pleased with you because of what Christ has done for you. Don’t set aside the grace of God in how you live your Christian life and especially when you fail in your actions and thoughts, it is of faith and by faith.

God Is Finished with the Law

It is through the finished work of the Cross that we are fully restored into a new and eternal relationship with God. We are in rest because our salvation is assured in a new covenant that is perfect in every way founded on what Christ has done on the cross. Galatians 3:13 tells us that the removal of the Old Covenant has taken away the sting and the curse of the Law that was against us.

The Curse of the Law

10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” Galatians 3:10-11 English Standard Version

  Anyone who depends on following the law to please God is under a curse. This is a pretty strong statement but it is undercut by the truth that the gospel of God's grace in Christ frees us from the oppressive self-defeating efforts of earning and keeping our salvation. The Apostle Paul tells Galatians if we crossed the line from resting on the flawless work of Christ to relying on our own fleshly efforts to obey the Law for our salvation, we actually put ourselves under the curse of the law. What is the curse of the law? It is the punishment of sin due to your failure to obey all the demands of the Law. Since there is no provision in the Law for the forgiveness of sin, there is nothing you can do to earn God's pardon. When you attempt to live an upright life on your own efforts, doing good deeds and charitable acts, it is not enough to make yourself righteous. The Law is perfect holiness and man, on any attempt of our own, we are doomed to fail. This act of self-righteousness works against what Christ had done for you, and freely given to all, through His finished work on the cross. You cannot measure your righteousness by keeping to any moral standard. Trying to justify yourself by law-keeping and not believing you have been justified by faith is incompatible with the gospel of grace. God does not want you to live by a cold list of rules and regulations. God does not take pleasure when instead of relying on Jesus’s sacrifice, you rely and observe the old and obsolete covenant law of works to please Him. God has empowered you to please Him through a new covenant of grace based on an unbreakable relationship where He puts in your heart and mind the ability and purpose to live as Christ lived and walk as Christ walked (Hebrews 6:6). It is Christ who provides the impetus to live rightly before God because He is the basis and perfecter of your faith. Instead of trying hard to obey God, why don't you see your acts of obedience as the manifestations of grace through faith? Know in your heart that you have God's favour to live a life of obedience that is perfectly plausible and tenable.

Following the Example of Abraham

6 Just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? 7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. Galatians 3:6-9, English Standard Version

  The Apostle Paul used the example of Abraham to show that justification comes by faith and not by the works of the law. When we believe and are justified by faith in Christ, we become the spiritual children of Abraham. Just as Abraham believed God and was accounted to him as righteousness, we model after him by responding to God's call to salvation through faith.

By the Hearing of Faith

1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? Galatians 3:1-6, English Standard Version

  Knowing that the Law produces death and condemnation but not life or righteousness, the Apostle Paul was querying the Galatians as to why they were relying on the Law. The Law is unable to produce faith, maturity or the mighty workings of God experienced in their midst.

Dwelling in Grace

21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. Galatians 2:21, English Standard Version

  Too often believers make light of God's grace which unfortunately leads to dire consequences for their faith. The example of the Galatians is a good illustration of this point. They simply saw grace as something rudimentary and only necessary for their salvation, but once saved they wanted to strictly follow a religious routine of do's and don'ts in order to keep and maintain their salvation. The worst part is not that the Galatian believers had not experienced God's grace for themselves, but that they had abandoned God's grace in replacement of the Law.

New Life in Christ

20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20, New American Standard Bible

  When Christ was crucified and raised from death, you were crucified and raised together with Him. By incorporating you into His death and life, sin loses its power and cannot dominate you again. You have died to your old sinful self and are now made alive in Christ as a new creation, completely forgiven and reconciled to God.

Crucified With Christ

Christ's self-sacrifice and obedience to His Father is the glory of the gospel story. The security of your salvation stands on the weight and unmovable surety of His finished work on the Cross. It is through the Cross that you are given the possibility of a fresh start with God. There is a double richness in Christ’s finished work on the Cross.

Died to the Law

17 But if, in our endeavour to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. Galatians 2:17-19, English Standard Version

  Both the Judaizers and the Galatians who were beguiled into accepting circumcision charged the Apostle Paul for being a transgressor or violating the Jewish law. His belief was that Christ had put an end to the Law as the way to obtain and maintain salvation. In making such a firm stance, Paul's detractors accused him for making Christ “a servant of sin", where there is no imposition of the Law as necessary to ensure moral behaviour and ethical conduct.

Justified By Faith in Christ

15 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. Galatians 2:15-16

  Both justification and sanctification is the unified work of God in the life of a believer. You cannot both be saved by grace and be sanctified by the law of Moses. We either believe by faith that Jesus has completely fulfilled the Law on our behalf or depend on our full and perfect obedience of the Law and all of its commandments for our salvation.

Compelling Gentiles to Live Like Jews

11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” Galatians 2:11-14, English Standard Version

  The Apostle Paul makes it clear that there is a place for public rebuke within the body of Christ, however it must be done with wisdom and discernment. When Paul rebuked Peter for hypocrisy, he knew what was at stake if Peter was allowed to get away with it.. Peter’s actions stood to mislead others to think that it was not proper for Jewish believers to fellowship with Gentile believers. That happened because Barnabas and other Jewish believers became overly cautious and fearful about being labelled for not keeping to Jewish practices and traditions.

Caring For the Poor

10 Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do. Galatians 2:1-2, English Standard Version

  If the gospel you believe in does not include caring for the poor, it is not the gospel at all. Caring for the poor is more than doing acts of charity, it is also about bringing justice and helping the vulnerable and marginalised. There is a difference between charity and justice. Charity is about giving much needed resources to those who are socially and economically poor. Justice however deals with breaking the cycle of poverty. As such charitable efforts are temporary and short-lived measures but justice brings a cultural shift in dealing with the problems of poverty.

The Right Hand of Fellowship

7 On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised 8 (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), 9 and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Galatians 2:7-9, English Standard Version

  When the Apostle Paul shared about his experience with Peter, James and John, he was showing the importance of building relationships with other preachers of the gospel, even if we belong to different groups or communities.

Keep the Gospel In Place

6 And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. Galatians 2:6, English Standard Version

  The Apostle Paul was not being arrogant when he told the Galatians that the Jewish apostles did not make any additions or modifications to his knowledge and understanding of the gospel message. Rather Paul wanted to prove to the Galatians, as well as the Judaizers, that the content and authority of the gospel that he preached is on par with Peter and James.

Living in the Purity of the Gospel

3 But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. 4 Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— 5 to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. Galatians 2:1-3-5, English Standard Version

  The Apostle Paul was warning the Galatians against the Judaizers who were persuading Gentile believers to follow the law and submit to circumcision. Circumcision is more than a ritual. To be more precise, it is an act of submission to follow the entire Law of Moses.

A Firm Stance

3 But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. 4 Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— 5 to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. Galatians 2:1-3-5, English Standard Version

  False brothers are not non-believers in general. They could well be genuine believers with a deceptive and divisive motive of damaging the faith of believers by undermining the simplicity and integrity of the gospel. In this sense, they are false brothers because they are not holding to the truth of what Christ has already accomplished. Rather, they are deceiving believers with smooth talks and slighted twisted truths to draw them away from the genuine gospel of grace to the pseudo-gospel based solely on self-effort and hard work.

Not Running In Vain

1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. 2 I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. Galatians 2:1-2, English Standard Version

  The Apostle Paul was commissioned by our Lord Jesus Christ to reach the Gentiles. Some fourteen years later, he was prompted by a revelation to present the gospel that he preached to the Gentiles to Peter and James. Paul's purpose of going to Jerusalem was to make sure that these leading church figures will acknowledge his ministry and mission as legitimate and of vital importance. He had not run from and will not now run in vain in obeying Christ in preaching to the Gentiles, the message that they need not have to follow the Law of Moses in order to be saved.

Transformed by Christ

18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him for fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord's brother. 20 (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God because of me.

  How radical has your life changed since you received the Lord as Your Saviour? The Apostle Paul experienced such a radical transformation after knowing Jesus that he began to boldly proclaim the gospel which he had previously rejected and despised. His change was so dramatic and in such contrast to his earlier days as a persecutor of the church that many doubted his conversion.

The Lure and Danger of Legalism

13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. Galatians 1:13-17, English Standard Version

  The Apostle Paul shared with the Galatians about his past when he was trapped in legalism, believing his ill treatment and persecution of Christians was the proof of his love for God. What Paul really shows is that legalism is more than just strict religious observances. Rather it is a destructive form of spirituality. It not only corrupts good people to do bad things to others who don't share their conviction, but may even incite them to do violent acts towards those they disagree with. It is through the revelation of Jesus Christ that Paul saw the glory of God's grace. It not only freed him from his legalistic bondage but it also broke his prejudice against the Gentiles and empowered him to take the gospel to them. Legalism clearly comes from a failure to recognise the true value of the gospel of God's grace. It presumes that God accepts us based on what we do and not by who we believe in and trust. The first breeds pride or insecurity depending on our self-effort, but the second produces godly humility in us because Jesus has set us free, given wholly as a gift. Legalism and grace produces two sorts of expectation and effect. Legalism demands that you get your life sorted out, in order to follow God. It wants to achieve grace despite when it had already been freely given without conditions. Grace however invites you to follow God, coming simply as you are, but assured that your life will be transformed by God’s power and might. This frees you from an irredeemable debt because God has given the best and all of Himself, when He redeemed you through sacrificing His only Son. The gospel of God's grace is much more than a topic in Christianity. It has the power to radically reverse the whole direction of your life so keep your focus always on Him.

The True Gospel

11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:11-12

  The apostle Paul told the Galatians that the gospel should not be perceived as a human tradition but one that is to be received as God's revelation to all peoples. As such you cannot add to the gospel or even subtract from the gospel, but only to stay faithful and firm to the good news of God's salvation in Jesus Christ.

Pleasing God

10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10, English Standard Version

  The apostle Paul was criticised and attacked for proclaiming Christ and His gospel of freedom from the Law. Yet this did not deter Paul from obeying Christ and taking the message of His grace to everyone.

The Revelation of the True Gospel

6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:6-9, English Standard Version

  The epistle of Paul to the Galatians was to address a conflict that was confusing the church, and an attempt to turn believers back to the gospel of Jesus Christ. False teachers in the church were corrupting the purity of the Gospel, and turning Christians back to the Law of Moses. Paul tells us this different gospel is no gospel at all. It is a perverted version mixing legalistic demands of what is acceptable and not acceptable before God with God's unconditional love and acceptance, given as a gift to us in Christ.

The Essence of the Gospel

2 To the churches of Galatia: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Galatians 1:2-5, English Standard Version

  The apostle Paul captures the essence of the gospel, that is God's will for Jesus to save us from our sins by freeing us from an evil and oppressive belief system that keeps us in bondage to sin and Satan.

Our Apostolic Calling

1 Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2 and all the brothers who are with me. Galatians 1:1-2, English Standard Version

  The calling of Paul's apostleship is strongly tied to his relationship with Jesus Christ. To be an apostle is to bear witness to the truth of the gospel. The gospel tells us that those who are in Christ stand perfect and complete, lacking nothing because of the rich grace of God. It is through the finished work of the cross that God is no longer counting our sins against us but brought us back through what Christ Jesus did.

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 have encountered individuals who are waiting for God to call them to do something purposeful in their lives. The truth is that you don't always need a call for you have already been 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. There are a lot of negative attitudes and feelings towards Christians in the world today. Many of them have yet to have a true experience of God's love and that explains their hostile feelings and discrimination against Christians. The Apostle John tells us their antagonistic attitude for the most part, comes from their antagonism towards God. It doesn't matter how the world perceives God or us, for we cannot just stop caring for the world simply because they don't care about us. Why you might ask? This is because God has never given up on them and in his unceasing and great love, He loves them just as much as He loves us. As a son or daughter rooted in God's love, let us not be swayed by what others say or treat us but love them just as Christ has loved us. The mission is God's heart for the lost and we should make it our own personal mission to spread God's love to all. Until people know how much God loves them, they won't change their minds about Him and even less so, surrender their lives to Him. How are they to know if no one loves them with God's love? Take your place with what God has already called you to be in Christ and when you do so, you are creating possibilities for others to call upon Him that they too may become His sons and daughters.

Missing the Mark

10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 1 John 1:10

  John tells us there are those who deny that they have ever sinned and their lies are detrimental to their relationship with God. While God cannot accept sin, He had already given them a way out. When we choose not to believe and turn away from Jesus, we choose to miss out on the abundant life God meant for us in Christ. The Bible defines sin as "missing the mark".

Confession

9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

  The Gnostics claimed that they were already saved because they presumptuously assumed their superior spiritual knowledge had given them mastery over sin. John however pointed out that no one could ever say they were without sin. God had already finished the work in saving us through sacrificing Jesus at the cross, and as believers we receive this when we confess our sins.

The Truth is in Us

8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8

  Beware of self-deception. Self deception is the worst form of deception. It is believing that we are something when we are not. Instead of repenting from sin and turning to God, the Gnostics believed their salvation came through gnosis (secret truths). By believing they possess superior spiritual knowledge, they have deceived themselves that they have attained salvation. In reality they are only lying to themselves. What is worse is that they have failed to see anything wrong with what they have believed in.

Walk in the Light

7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7

  The strength of our fellowship with God and each other stands on the truth of the gospel.

Drawing Close to God

6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 1 John 1:6

Fellowship with God gives you a firm foundation in your Christian life. John tells us that believers cannot be double-minded in regards to their relationship with God. They can't say they love God and yet they are unwilling to walk in His will. Surrendering to God's will doesn't bind us but it actually frees us to live a blessed abundant life, empowering each of us to fulfill our purpose in Christ. In our walk and fellowship with God, we will each grow in our ability to surrender to God in all aspects of our lives. God's will is actually the truth of His gospel. When we cease to love and be loved by God, we can easily slip into darkness. Darkness here is not necessarily a reference to a life of sin, but a life lacking the revelation of the gospel. Feelings of guilt, fear, and rejection arise when we become doubtful about our relationship with our Heavenly Father. This makes it easy for us to pervert the truth of the gospel. We distort the love of God by dismissing it as a license to sin. We misrepresent grace by using it to justify our sinful actions. We misrepresent holiness by making it into legalism. John calls the believers to come back into fellowship with God. God has never left you. Instead of living and believing the lies of darkness, let God speak to you through the light of His Word. It is in the beauty of having His fellowship, you will grow and blossom under His care.

Of His Fullness

Christianity is a faith defined by grace. If you take away grace, what you have left is only religion. Religion and grace are two very different things. Religion focuses on rules whereas grace focuses on truth. Grace always reveals the truth but religion faultily tells you that as long as you do your best, you may well save yourself. Religion makes you proud when you can keep up with what you have to do (to save yourself), but it humiliates you when you fail.

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. In these challenging times we doubt His goodness towards us.

God is Light

5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5

  The Gnostics believe that man is a mixed being of light and darkness, and it is only through a rigorous process of gaining gnosis ("secret knowledge" or "higher truth") that we can purge the darkness out of us. In this sense we claim to be our own Saviour. This is not what the gospel says about us.

Fullness of Joy

4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. 1 John 1:4

  The Gnostics were deliberately troubling believers with heretical ideas of Jesus causing many to question the validity of their salvation. John wrote his letter to restore the joy of salvation back to the believers. Joy reveals our confidence in the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is nothing that can give you a far deeper sense of joy than the gospel, for it is God's proclamation of glad tidings in Christ (cf. Luke 2:10). Joy is not a feeling that comes and goes with a changing mood. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit birthed out from right believing in what Christ had done for us. Joy is not determined by your current circumstances but is fixed on the sureness of the cross, and the surety of our salvation in the Lord. In this way it is possible to keep our fullness of joy in spite of challenging circumstances, for we have the promise of the One who says He will never leave or forsake us. We lose our joy when we stop trusting the Lord. Doubt and worry are joy killers. It is always possible to recover your joy. To recover your joy is to take the gospel seriously and personally. It is to return to who Jesus is to you and what He says about you. Don't compromise with any thoughts, ideas or habits that may erode your faith in Jesus. Face every temptation by the power of His grace. You don't have to fight alone, for His finished work is a testimony that He had fought and will fight your battles for you.

Jesus the Word of Life

2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us. 1 John 1:2

  John wrote this letter to refute a group of believers who practised Gnosticism, claiming to receive exclusive and far more superior revelations from God. These Gnostics found the gospel of God's grace too plain and mundane. They were a prideful group snubbing those whom they considered beneath their intellect and spiritual superiority. Instead of fellowship with other believers, they would hold secret initiation rituals for their chosen few.

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 caught in a hard place where he was fleeing away from Saul’s jealous rage, only 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 the bad circumstances. When he started to nourish his spirit by worshiping God, David found grace and strength to overcome all his adversaries. You waste grace by keeping your desire for God small.

Taste and See

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

Fulfilling God’s Vision for Your Life

32 ...your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:32-33

  We are constantly under stress because juggling and fulfilling our different roles at home, school or work place. We become guilty, miserable or perhaps even angry because our overloaded schedule leaves us with little time for our personal life and meaningful relationships. What we struggle with is not really due to an issue with time management but a struggle over priorities.

The Beauty of Holiness

2 Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. Psalm 29:2

  True worship is giving God the glory He deserves. In Psalm 29 David invites us to worship God by revealing to us who God is, what He has done and will do in our lives. When you have experienced the greatness of God, you don't need any other reason for worship Him. You will search for every possible moment to worship Him. This is because the experience of worship opens you to the reality of being loved by God and the opportunity of loving God in return. In doing so worship actually changes the way you live and view life.

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 are first to change. Grace says God will change you because He loved you and gave Himself up for 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 simply believing it. God’s perfect love for you is the victory of grace.

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 a person a fool.

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 been born again you are given a new identity in Christ from which you will learn and have been empowered 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 the the reason for your purpose. As your personal revelation of Christ finished work grows, it will also give you more clarity allowing you to pursue your purpose in Christ.

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. There is a connection between sin and sickness but the transformative power of God's grace restores and heals us to wholeness. The gospel is clear that Jesus made provision for our healing in the atonement and the new covenant. However many believers are not enjoying the blessings and benefits of their life in Christ because they have not believed or grown in the revelation of what Christ had righteously paid for them on the cross.

Real Rest

Whether we admit it or not, many of us cram too many things into our lives that we were either trying to catch up on or running away from. While we may outwardly claim that we have an abundant life in Christ, we often feel drained and empty. We might even feel frustrated when we are unable to live up to our own expectations in 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

  When Jesus spoke these words to His disciples, they just completed one of the most hectic, demanding and exciting times of their lives. After travelling with Jesus to various cities and villages to preach the gospel and heal the sick, the disciples were looking forward to a break.

Avoid Having Itchy Ears

3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4, English Standard Version

 

In this ever connected and information rich world, there seems to be increasing trend for pulpits and churches to constantly deliver something newer, better and more interesting. In doing so and wanting to satisfy the crowds of people coming to church, we fall into the danger of developing a spiritual appetite that feeds our self-indulgence instead of God's truth. What we only have is a stylistic version of Christianity that appears to have outward appearance of godliness, we might inwardly see a void in our lives without God’s transformational power.

Who Are You Following?

11 My dear brothers and sisters, I have a serious concern I need to bring up with you, for I have been informed by those of Chloe’s house church that you have been destructively arguing among yourselves. 12 And I need to bring this up because each of you is claiming loyalty to different preachers. Some are saying, “I am a disciple of Paul,” or, “I follow Apollos,” or, “I am a disciple of Peter the Rock,” and some, “I belong only to Christ.” 13 But let me ask you, is Christ divided up into groups? Did I die on the cross for you? At your baptism did you pledge yourselves to follow Paul? 1 Corinthians 1:11-13, The Passion Translation

  The Apostle Paul was concerned for believers who were chasing after preachers and places of worship where they assume to have a greater anointing above others. He warns us this unhealthy habit actually divides the Church Christ had founded. Pastors are not celebrities nor are churches performing art centres.

Jesus Our Healer

17 Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. Luke 5:17

  Healing is a necessity. There are some who do not believe in healing or in a God that heals today, and will not even attempt to ask God for healing. They will even go to the extent of stopping others from receiving their healing. In the bible, these religious legalists found fault with Jesus for healing the paralysed man. They were so distracted and upset by Jesus' mode of healing, and more so were not drawn to Him for their own healing. Luke tells us that the same power of the Lord was present to heal them but none of them would receive it. Healthy and healing belongs to us, paid righteously by Jesus on the cross. Health and healing for your bodies are freely given to us through Christ's redemptive work and suffering on the cross. However we need to realise that there are wrong beliefs that keep people from receiving their healing. Some feel they are undeserving of healing and dare not ask for it. Some let their theology get in the way of their healing because they believe sickness is God's way of teaching them a lesson. Some accept their sickness as their lot in life or fate, and never seek wholeness and healing for their diseases. The devil seeks to steal, kill and destroy and He would love to keep us sick and defeated. This is why we need to stand firm on what Christ has already accomplished for us on the cross. When healing doesn't take place, it can be demoralizing and hard to accept. But don't let discouragement and fear stop us from believing the one true God who cannot lie. While we weep and mourn for what has been lost, we lean on God's sustaining power to see us through each day until we receive our breakthrough. Don't judge the sick and afflicted. Be bold and pray for them. That is what James 5:13-15 commands us. Rest on the revelation of the gospel and believe God to manifest His power and goodness every time.

Living Radically for the Gospel

5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Mark 2:5-7, New International Version

  How radical are we in proclaiming and living out the gospel? Jesus' profound revelation of God's grace was so radical that the Pharisees called him blasphemous. The spiritual danger of these religious legalists is in believing that God is not loving enough or merciful enough to forgive the sins of the most undeserving. As such they and many of their modern-day counterparts often treat human disasters or tragedies as divine punishments and not an opportunity for God to work powerfully.

God’s Love Is the Basis for Forgiveness

59 As they hurled stone after stone at him, Stephen prayed, “Our Lord Jesus, accept my spirit into your presence.” 60 He crumpled to his knees and shouted in a loud voice, “Our Lord, don’t hold this sin against them.” And then he died. Acts 7:59-60, The Passion Translation

  We can learn a lot from Stephen's attitude towards those who have gone against him. Despite what they have said and acted, he prayed for God to forgive them for their cruelty and ill treatment. What we believe about the character of God influences the way we pray for others and what we choose to say.

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 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.

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?

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.

Radicalised by Grace

14 But the grace of our Lord ·was fully given [overflowed; abounded] to me, and with that grace came the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 1:14, Expanded Bible

  One of the many great things we can learn from Jesus is to reach out to those whom religion would never touch. They were His targeted audience. Our Lord demonstrated amazing and relentless grace to those who needed it the most. And we ought to ask Him for the ability to do the same.

Open Door

I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Revelation 3:8 English Standard Version

  Searching for a perfect church is a major obstacle to the mission of God. Consider the church of Philadelphia. It was the only church that Jesus praised and had many good things to say to the believers. It was not the biggest church or the richest church and certainly not the most spiritually mature church (in comparison to the church of Ephesus). 

Plant Seeds of Peace

18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:18

  Peace is a misunderstood concept. Often we assume peace to be quiet, gentle, passive, compliant and non-confrontational. But this widely accepted idea of peace is far from what the Bible teaches us.

Knowing God’s Love

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:7-8

  It doesn't really matter how much God loves you –– but if you had never felt or valued it –– you can never understand the implication of how much you meant to God. Believers who cannot fully perceive God's love will often struggle with self-acceptance and feelings of unworthiness. And when you don't like yourself, it's only a matter of time before you don't like others.

Surviving the Betrayal of A Friend

12 Now it is not an enemy who insults me—otherwise I could bear it; it is not a foe who rises up against me—otherwise I could hide from him. 13 But it is you, a man who is my peer, my companion and good friend! 14 We used to have close fellowship; we walked with the crowd into the house of God. Psalm 55:13-14, Holman Christian Standard Bible

  Have you ever been betrayed? It makes you feel so vulnerable and misunderstood, with feelings of hurt because you can’t understand how a friend could turn against you. This makes it hard to find closure because the other person is not looking for reconciliation or forgiveness but had planned to forsake or hurt you when you least expect it.

Releasing Sons and Daughters

1 In the church at Antioch there were a number of prophets and teachers of the Word, including Barnabas, Simeon from Niger, Lucius the Libyan, Manean (the childhood companion of King Herod Antipas), and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping as priests before the Lord in prayer and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “I have called Barnabas and Saul to do an important work for me. Now, release them to go and fulfill it.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they laid hands on them and sent them off. Acts 13:1-3

  When church leaders initiate a culture of open discernment and figuring out what the Holy Spirit is saying, they create a space for better conversations and new ideas to emerge. In doing so, they are drawing out the dreams and destiny in the people they lead. Barnabas and Paul knew the Holy Spirit was calling them to a wider ministry. However, they did not rush out without the prayers and support of everyone. When the time was right for both of them to step out in faith, the Holy Spirit revealed to the leadership that they should send them to the nations. Honoring God’s call in each other’s lives brings everyone to God’s purposeful future. Many churches often keep their best to themselves. They find it hard to recognize and release those whom God has gifted and set apart to serve a wider community. This lack of empowerment frustrates many who are willing to share their lives with others for the gospel sake. Great things happen when a church obeys and submits to the Holy Spirit’s promptings to identify and encourage people to do what God wants for them. Authority should never be confused with control. Fearful leaders exercise control because they believe they are doing what is best for their local church by hoarding God’s talented sons and daughters. Faithful leaders enable others to make significant contributions for God’s kingdom because they know what is most needed in the world. Jesus tells us that we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. This means we are never meant to only exist just within the four walls of the local church. Instead we are called to make a difference in someone else’s life. This call is not just for the individual but for the wider community as well.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

Intimacy With The Father

35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, [Jesus] departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. Mark 1:35

  We live in an incredibly busy world. When work seems to consume much of our time and thinking, it is difficult to find a moment to be still with God. Our problem is not about not having the time for God. It is about not being willing to give our time to God.

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.

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

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.

A Healed Heart

3 [God] heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

A healed heart matters to God. Holding onto your emotional baggage can weigh you down and it keeps you from enjoying the rest of God. If you carry unforgiveness and mistrust inside you, then you will see life through a judgemental and critical spirit. Feelings of fear and worry can lead to a complaining and negative mindset and feelings of anger and resentment may produce an unhappy and sometimes raging version of you.

Righteousness Brings Lasting Benefit in Everything

7 Be quick to abstain from senseless traditions and legends, but instead be engaged in the training of truth that brings righteousness. 1 Timothy 4:7, The Passion Translation (TPT)

  The apostle Paul warns Timothy to stay away from controversial doctrines that do not produce faith but fear in a believer’s life. We cannot blindly believe in every christian teaching we hear in a church sermon, watching a video or reading an article online, as the gospel truth. Remain diligent and mindful for some of these christian teachings can shipwreck your faith and leave you vulnerable and unsure.

Fresh Start in Faith

15 This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them! 16 But here is why I was treated with mercy: so that in me as the worst, Christ Jesus could demonstrate his utmost patience, as an example for those who are going to believe in him for eternal life. 1 Timothy 1:14-16, New English Translation

  The gospel is never just for the worthy but for everyone. It invites even the wrong people and gives everyone a fresh start in their relationship with God. God’s grace humbles us.

True Community

46 Daily they met together in the temple courts and in one another’s homes to celebrate communion. They shared meals together with joyful hearts and tender humility. 47 They were continually filled with praises to God, enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord kept adding to their number daily those who were coming to life. Acts 2:46-47 The Passion Translation

  True community flows from our personal encounter with God’s love and grace in Christ, not from our relationships with other people. It is through enjoying our friendship with God that we grow the capacity to extend His love through us to each other.

Pray Like This

7 When you pray, there is no need to repeat empty phrases, praying like those who don’t know God, for they expect God to hear them because of their many words. 8 There is no need to imitate them, since your Father already knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray like this: ‘Our Father, dwelling in the heavenly realms, may the glory of your name be the center on which our lives turn. Matthew 6:7-9, The Passion Translation

  Do we pray to impress God or sway Him to favoring us because we use certain choice words? Jesus revealed that those who did not believe or know God will act, behave and communicate in long-winded or superfluous prayers. Instead He taught us to pray and relate to God as a Father who cares and loves us.

The Silence of God

1 Then Job replied to the Lord: 2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Job 45:1-5, New International Version

  When our prayers go unanswered and a breakthrough is nowhere in sight, we sometimes grow weary and assume that God doesn't care and is unaffected by our needs. This simply isn’t true. Our fears, leading from an orphan spirit mentality, lead us towards feeling rejected, unloved, anxious, angry, disappointed and even tempted to the point of unbelief. Moments of silence from God often reveals the noises in our hearts. If we truly believe and trust God and his promises to us, we must learn to rest and be still. Perhaps this is the lesson of unanswered prayers. Can we still have faith that God has the power to work all things together for our good even when life is tough? God never answered Job’s question as to why he suffered seemingly without reason. But Job became a much better worshipper because he “sees and hears” God from a whole new perspective through his painful circumstances. If there is something we need to learn through unanswered prayers, it is to relate to Him as a son or a daughter, and not an orphan. When we pray as orphans, our prayers are transactional. We do our part and God does His. However, when we pray as sons and daughters, our prayers are transformational. We invite God into our space and life situation and let God do what He needs to do even when He chooses not to tell us why, how and when. God takes the risk of not answering our prayers how and when we want. It is never to disappoint or hurt us but on the contrary, when prayers go unanswered and it appears that God is silent, it trains us to rest in His perfect love amid life’s conflicts and contradictions. Never cease to pray to your Heavenly Father and be captivated by His embracing love, and God will replace the fears in your heart with His faith.

Overcome Evil with Good

20 It is true that you planned to do something bad to me. But really, God was planning good things. God’s plan was to use me to save the lives of many people. And that is what happened. Genesis 50:20, Easy-to-Read Version

  God can miraculously turn things around for your good. God has the power to take what was intended for evil and turn it for our good. Do not lose heart even where there is injustice and unfairness. Like in the case of Joseph, he saw God's goodness beyond his brother's murderous intentions and deceit. Instead of becoming bitter and vengeful, he showed mercy to those who acted mercilessly towards him.

Enjoying God Everyday

24 This day belongs to the Lord! Let’s celebrate and be glad today. Psalm 118:24, Contemporary English Version

  David calls us to enjoy God in every moment of our lives but how do we actually do that? Sometimes we might think that if today turns out well for me, it is because God is working in my life. However whether we have good or bad days, they are all still sacred and holy because God is always with us. This revelation of God opens up new opportunities for us to enjoy and worship Him even when those moments are most difficult and heartbreaking. He is with us and never leaves us.

Following Jesus

19 Jesus called out to them and said, “Come and follow me, and I will transform you into men who catch people for God.” Matthew 4:19, The Passion Translation

  Jesus’ call to follow Him is clear. The question is how aware are you of that call today?

Staying Connected to Your Call

37 Barnabas wished to take Mark (also known as John) along with them, 38 but Paul disagreed. He didn’t think it was proper to take the one who had deserted them in south-central Turkey, leaving them to do their missionary work without him. Acts 15:37-38, The Passion Translation

  Have you ever left your church or ministry because things got too hard and you just want to give up? This happened to John Mark. He quit in the middle of a missionary journey, leaving Barnabas and Paul when they needed him the most.

Eager to Do Good

14 [Jesus] gave himself for us to set us free from every wrong and to cleanse us so that we could be his special people who are enthusiastic about doing good deeds. Titus 2:14, Modern English Version

  Grace does not produce laziness. Jesus gave gifts to the body of Christ to encourage and equip each other to pursue a fruitful and fulfilling life for God. When we choose not to serve God's people, we are inhibiting our community from growing and flourishing from what the Holy Spirit desires of us. We need to continually depend and draw from God's grace to strengthen and expand our ability to bless others with our gifts and talents. Grace engages us to serve others not expecting only to be served. Who else is a finer example than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Our identity in Christ empowers us to live life with a purpose. Purpose is about identifying potential in people, and releasing them into greater expression of who they are in Christ. Grace helps us to be eager to do all the good we can. In doing so, we are truly sons and daughters of God. When we incorrectly use grace as an excuse not to do what God wants us to do, then we have not truly understood what grace is. Living a life in grace means having a deep belonging to Jesus, and to do as He wills. Grace leads us to rest but not to live complacently from the calling He has placed in our lives. Complacency comes from a place of selfishness and ignorance from what God had set us apart for, which is to be a blessing to others. This approach to the Christian life is not consistent with the gospel, hindering our spiritual growth and hurting our relationships with others. Ask Jesus to give you new eyes, re-frame the way you understand grace, rest and ministry. It will allow you to experience fruitfulness and fulfilment in a fresh new way.

Staying Faithful

9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9, New International Version

  Frustration is the price we pay when avoiding God's calling in our lives. Jonah was a frustrated prophet because he refused to preach God's grace and mercy to a people whom he thought deserved to be judged and punished. He assumed that by running away he could avoid what God wanted him to do. You can refuse to hear God but it does not mean that God will stop pursuing you.

Being Sons and Daughter of God

12 Yet to all who received Him, He gave the power to become sons of God, to those who believed in His name. John 1:12, Modern English Version

  The gift of sonship, becoming sons and daughters of God, empowers us to be who we truly are in Christ. It is also our inheritance in Him. When we are not conscious about who we are in Christ, we forget or are hesitant to exert our authority in Christ releasing the power given to us. This explains why many believers wrestle with feelings of inadequacy and jealousy. They feel negative about themselves and are envious when other believers receive their breakthrough, and they have not.

Lost and Found

15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, first, Jesus Christ might show all patience, as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life. 1 Timothy 1:15-16, Modern English Version

  God's grace has the supernatural ability to transform our understanding of who we are and where our true potential lies. When Jesus stepped into Paul’s world, he experienced such a radical change of mind that he became a whole new person. He was lost before knowing Christ but after an encounter with Jesus, he discovered God's perfect will and purpose for his life.

Developing Kingdom-Mindedness

33 “So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. Matthew 6:33, The Passion Translation

  Jesus is calling us to be kingdom-minded people. To be kingdom-minded means to live your life pursuing a kingdom-reality in all you do and also in the way you live.

Understanding the Times and Seasons

21 It is [God] who changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and establishes kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and [greater] knowledge to those who have understanding! Daniel 2:21, Amplified Bible

  Stretch beyond your comfort zone and move to God's appointed times and seasons. God's timing is always perfect.

A Childlike Humility

4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:4 English Standard Version

  Jesus tells us the standard for greatness in the Kingdom is different from the world.

Dare to Dream Again

19 God’s promise to Joseph purged his character until it was time for his dreams to come true. Psalm 105:19-21, The Passion Translation

  Dare to dream again. Dreams are seeds from which your tomorrow will grow. Learn to guard and protect the dream God has given you. if there is a call in your life, be prepared for "dream killers" that seek to delay or even stop you from stepping out into what God has called you to be and do.

Hope for Your Future

16 When Herod realized that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated. So he sent soldiers with orders to slaughter every baby boy two years old and younger in Bethlehem and throughout the surrounding countryside, based on the time frame he was given from interrogating the wise men. Matthew 2:16, The Passion Translation

  Herod knew the prophecy about the coming king and the reason why the wise men came to him. But unlike the wise men who sought to worship Jesus, Herod sought to kill Jesus. This led to an appalling massacre of young children.

Gifts

10 And when the wise men saw the star, they were so ecstatic that they shouted and celebrated with unrestrained joy. 11 When they came into the house and saw the young child with Mary, his mother, they were overcome. Falling to the ground at his feet they worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure boxes full of gifts and presented him with gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:10-11, The Passion Translation

  The wise men gave Jesus three gifts — gold, frankincense and myrrh. Their offerings represent the expression of true worship. Worship creates for us the capacity and opportunity to mirror back to God. As God gives of Himself to us, we can give of ourselves to God.

Worship Jesus

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

 

Little is known about the wise men.

God Saves

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 1:21

  The gospel tells us that we are more sinful and more guilty than we want to ever believe, but we are more loved and more forgiven than we can ever believe. If you refuse to believe both premises, you are rejecting God's grace entirely.

Full of Grace and Truth

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

  The Apostle John tells us how he beheld Christ’s glory. The Greek word for “beheld” is theaomai which means “to look upon attentively, contemplate, to gaze intently”. The word conveys the idea of finding a perfect view without any obstruction to take in the whole experience. It is like looking intently at a painting and discovering something fresh and exciting that was never seen before. Imagine how this new discovery could revolutionise the way you see that particular work of art.

Sacrifice or Surrender

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

  There is a difference between sacrifice and surrender. When you choose to sacrifice, you are still in charge. When you choose to surrender, you are saying, "God is in charge". To sacrifice is to give "a bit of yourself" but to surrender is to entirely lose yourself to God.

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 your life didn’t turn out to be anything like the life you have always wanted or imagined? Think about Joseph's predicament when he heard the news of Mary's pregnancy, and the explanation she gave about how she got pregnant. Joseph knew Mary's child wasn't his because they were not yet married and they had no physical relationship with each other.

God with Us

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 1:23

  Are you facing a situation that makes you think God has forgotten you? The story of Jesus’ first coming assures us that God will never ever leave us nor forsake us. In the midst of a difficult time when the people of Israel were under the bondage of Rome, God sent an angel to prepare a virgin to give birth to the Saviour of the world. In doing so, God was reminding His people and us that He is always with us, no matter what happens.

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 other’s opinion of 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 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.

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 would be expecting or promised her everything was going to be alright. Mary said yes because she knew, no matter where life takes her, she will 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 fears 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

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 God’s favour has no exception whatever circumstance or situation you are facing. God’s favour is based on His character, never based on your credentials.

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 may find it more comfortable to stay the same than be open to change. When your comfort zone becomes a cage, you are stuck rather than soaring free.

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.

From Visitation to Habitation

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 1:23

  The Prophet Isaiah foretold the coming of Jesus some 800 years before Jesus was born. This prophecy was a message of joy and hope because the people of his time were looking for some fresh, encouraging and comforting words from the Lord. So when the Angel Gabriel announced Jesus as our Immanuel, it was truly good news because he was revealing an amazing truth, that is, God is not just coming to visit us but God in Christ is actually coming to stay with us.

Prophetic Words

76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, 77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven 79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace. Luke 1:76-79, New International Version

  If you do not understand your identity as a son or a daughter of God, you may struggle with feeling perfectly secure in God's love. Your insecurity will affect the way you do ministry and relate with people. You may have a fear of trusting people and may try to control them instead. In your attempt to fix people for their own good — you may end up breaking them and causing unnecessary hurt.

Restoration of Sons and Daughters

5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.6 And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse. Malachi 4:6

  The last verse of the Old Testament spoke of our estrangement from God and how God will raise a prophet in the likeness of Elijah who will initiate a ministry of reconciliation to restore everyone to a right relationship with God. This was fulfilled through John as a forerunner who will prepare a generation for the Lord.

Pressed but Not Crushed

8 Though we experience every kind of pressure, we’re not crushed. At times we don’t know what to do, but quitting is not an option. 9 We are persecuted by others, but God has not forsaken us. We may be knocked down, but not out. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9. The Passion Translation

  Every one of us has gone through one of those times when everything seems so overwhelming that we feel like giving up. The Apostle Paul told the Corinthians how he was affected by rejection, betrayal and broken trust with people who he felt would never hurt him. Still his faith in God never wavered.

Receiving Rest from Jesus

10 Surrender your anxiety! Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God. Psalm 46:10, The Passion Translation

  How often do you remind yourself that God is with you? It is easy to let the day run by with very little thought of God in it. Between being overworked and hard-pressed for time, we often overlook this gift of rest that flows from the unforced rhythms of grace offered to us by Christ.

Discerning the Season for Change

1 And the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “See now, the place where we dwell with you is too small for us. 2 Please, let us go to the Jordan, and let every man take a beam from there, and let us make there a place where we may dwell.” 2 Kings 6:1-2

  It is good to understand when there is a need for change and to embrace a good change. Sometimes we get so used to the way we do things in our personal lives and in church that we may not realise we are limiting ourselves from experiencing a more fulfilling life.

Honouring Others

10 Outdo one another in showing honour. Romans 12:10

  There are many people in our church who spend countless hours preparing, practicing and praying for our weekly worship services and ministries. They do it because they are compelled by the love of Christ. In serving wholeheartedly, they help create an ambience where the rest of us can worship God in His awesome presence. If we truly appreciate their efforts, then we need to find opportunities to honour them and support them the best way we can.

Devoting To One Another In Love

10 Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family. Romans 12:10, The Passion Translation

  The Apostle Paul calls us to devote ourselves in loving each other because we belong to each other as a family of God. The ability to love each other tenderly is not a set goal to achieve but a present reality we can experience in Jesus Christ. When we are able to see more of Christ in each other and in everyone, we will discover the grace of community where we can enjoy trusting fellowship with one another. Trust grows as love grows.

Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

6 Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied. Matthew 5:6, Amplified Bible

  What does it mean to hunger and thirst for righteousness? Jesus tells us that we are truly blessed if we have an appetite to pursue our God-given righteousness. When we have the willingness to think and act in a way that pleases God, we will experience the power of right living flowing over into other areas of our lives.

Free Access to the Trinity

18 For through Christ we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Ephesians 2:18, New International Version

  It is through salvation that you have free access to the Trinity. A right understanding of the Godhead is the key to a healthy Christian life, especially in terms of how each person of the Trinity relates to your growth and maturity. Knowing the Father's love through the life of Christ produced in you by the Holy Spirit gives you confidence in your identity and purpose. In this sense, the Trinity is far more than a doctrine to be understood—it is the revelation of a relationship for you to enjoy intimacy with God.

Don’t Give Up or Quit

9-10 So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith. Galatians 6:9-10, The Message

  Some of us have become tired of serving and helping people.

Fasten Yourself to the Love of God

21 Fasten your hearts to the love of God and receive the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who gives us eternal life. Jude 1:21, The Passion Translation

  Learn to recognise God's goodness in your life in the midst of your pain and suffering.

Creating a Healing Culture

23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. Matthew 4:23-24, New International Version

  We are empowered to do the work of Christ, that is, to seek and save the lost.

Proclaiming the Gospel

1 [Jesus] called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. Luke 9:1-2 English Standard Version

  Preaching the gospel of the Kingdom is not limited to just the pulpit. A community that reveals Christ is greater than one preacher. Being made kings, priests and prophets by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are given the privilege to proclaim the gospel over every situation and bring it into alignment "on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10). We can learn from the example of the Apostle Peter. He proclaimed the truth of who Jesus is and what He has done for the crippled man to receive his healing.

The Grace of Belonging

21 It would be wrong for the eye to say to the hand, “I don’t need you,” and equally wrong if the head said to the foot, “I don’t need you.”

1 Corinthians 12:20-22, The Passion Translation

  Whether we feel we belong to the family of God comes down to our attitude, energy and focus. The Apostle Paul tells us that our feelings of entitlement often cause us to put false expectations on others. This can easily lead to resentment and tension. We may then use the excuse of not getting along with certain people to leave the church. The sad part is that it is naive to think we won't confront similar issues in the next church we attend.

Getting Ready for God’s New Thing

9-10 When the host tasted the water that had become wine (he didn’t know what had just happened but the servants, of course, knew), he called out to the bridegroom, “Everybody I know begins with their finest wines and after the guests have had their fill brings in the cheap stuff. But you’ve saved the best till now!” John 2:9-11, The Message

 

14-21 That’s when Peter stood up and, backed by the other eleven, spoke out with bold urgency: “Fellow Jews, all of you who are visiting Jerusalem, listen carefully and get this story straight. These people aren’t drunk as some of you suspect. They haven’t had time to get drunk—it’s only nine o’clock in the morning. Acts 2:18-28, The Message

 

The first miracle Jesus performed was turning water into wine. The wine was so exquisite that the host was wondering why it was kept back till last. The first miracle on the Day of Pentecost was that the disciples were so filled with the life of the Spirit that they were accused of being drunk with new wine.

We can see a parallel between these two miracles.

New Wine, New Wine Skin

22 And who would pour fresh, new wine into an old wineskin? Eventually the wine will ferment and make the wineskin burst, losing everything—the wine will be spilled and the wineskin ruined. Instead, new wine is always poured into new wineskins.” Mark 2:22-24 The Passion Translation

  In the parable of the new wine skin, Jesus requires new attitudes, new habits and new values from everyone who wants to belong to His kingdom. God is always working something to our good but if we are still attached to past spiritual experiences, we may become resistant to what God is trying to do through us. That resistance is like the old wineskin that cannot hold the new wine.

Who We Are Matters More Than What We Do

“I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18

  God is more interested in who we are than what we do. A lot of times we may place public ministry before personal prayers. We need to understand that cultivating a healthy relationship with God is crucial for our spiritual growth and well-being. Worship comes first before ministry. Unless we enjoy loving God, we won't enjoy serving God.

Grace Overpowers Sin

34 While they were nailing Jesus to the cross, he prayed over and over, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.”

Luke 23:34, The Passion Translation

 

Jesus is never soft on sin but He is soft on people who are caught in sin.

It is for this reason that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of everyone. When we are under sin, we cannot identify with God's love towards us and as such, we lose sight of who we are and to whom we belong. Our hearts become sin-sick and under its control and influence, we rebel against God and resist His kindness in many ways. Though sin changes our hearts towards God, sin doesn't change God's heart towards us. We may sin because we do not have the power or means to resist sin. It can come across as if we are so sin-driven that we really don't know what we are doing to ourselves, both spiritually and physically. Jesus understands what sin does to us. By taking our sin unto Himself — Jesus could heal us from what sin has done and is doing to us. This gives our Lord the right to intercede to the Father for our bondage to sin . Grace overpowers sin. Sin was once our master but now having this new life in Christ, we no longer obey sin. So if we continue to sin after being saved, we are not freely receiving what already belongs to us. That is, we can overcome sin through the resurrection life of Christ working in us. If you are struggling with some recurring sins, the first thing is to learn to rest in the Lord while acknowledging His grace is more than enough for you to be strong in the midst of temptations. Then you will experience God's power at work in your weakness again and again.

A Teachable Heart

10 One word of correction breaks open a teachable heart, but a fool can be corrected a hundred times and still not know what hit him. Proverbs 17:10, The Passion Translation

  Nobody really likes being corrected. It is never easy to hear someone telling us that we are wrong or we need to change. Such words can bruise our ego and leave us feeling defensive or fearing failure. However, if we truly want to grow and flourish through every season of life, we need to have a teachable heart.

Love and Friendship

9 Love overlooks the mistakes of others, but dwelling on the failures of others devastates friendships. Proverbs 17:9, The Passion Translation

  Forgiveness is the greatest test of any friendship. All of us have those disappointing moments when friends let us down or completely forsake us. Some may choose to end the friendship without telling you nor give you an explanation. That can leave you confused and hurt.

Beware of Offence

19 It is easier to conquer a strong city than to win back a friend whom you’ve offended. Their walls go up, making it nearly impossible to win them back. Proverbs 18:19-21. The Passion Translation

  Some believers are easily offended. They allow their feelings to get hurt simply due to their perception that others didn’t treat them right. Most offences in church result from misunderstandings. Many offences could be quickly resolved if the offended party would give the perceived offender the chance to apologise and pray together.

God’s Will and You

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. Proverbs 3:5-6, The Passion Translation

  Some people make the discovery of God's will harder than it has to be, as if His purpose for our lives is some mysterious, hard to grasp and strangely abstract thing. It is this wrong notion that keeps them from stepping out in faith and experiencing everything God has in store for them. They would excuse themselves for not doing God's will on the basis that they are still waiting for some sign or confirmation. You cannot know God's will without knowing God's heart.

Knowing God’s Will for Your Life

28 They replied, “So what should we do if we want to do God’s work?” 29 Jesus answered, “The work you can do for God starts with believing in the One he has sent.” They replied, “Show us a miracle so we can see it, and then we’ll believe in you. John 6:28-30, The Passion Translation

  Jesus tells us God's will is for everyone to believe in Him. To believe in Jesus is more than just acknowledging He exists. It is about having a relationship with Him and enjoying all He has blessed you with through His finished work on the cross. It is through this trusting relationship that you are blessed with the freedom to obey — knowing our Lord gives you the grace and power to do what He calls you to do.

A Total Reformation of How You Think

2 Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes. Romans 12:2, The Passion Translation

  You are in this world but not of this world. It is essential to grow a mindset that reflects the reality of heaven. By discerning who you are, what you have and what you can do in Christ, — you are aligning yourself with God's will for your life.

Every Provision in Christ

God knows your worth and understand your value. That is why He put you in Christ. It is so that His purpose in you is made perfect by His power working in and through you. You don't need more power as much as you need more the renewing of your mind. Unless you begin to see yourself as God sees you and describe yourself as God describes you, it is hard to believe that God has a good plan for your life. Consider what the Apostle Paul wrote:

Rest and Ministry

5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do 7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” John 6:5-6, New International Version

  Rest is lost when your passion for ministry is replaced by pressure. When we find ourselves in a place where we no longer have the drive or energy to do those things for God's glory — it is good to step back or even step down before we end up hating what we used to love.

Taking Communion in A Worthy Manner

29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 1 Corinthians 11:29-30

  The Apostle Paul admonishes the Corinthians to properly discern the Lord's body lest they take communion in an unworthy manner. Many became sick and were dying as a result. The Greek word for "unworthy" is anaxios which means judging something irreverently or disrespectfully. However, some believers twisted what Paul wrote to mean a person should refrain from communion if they are not yet baptised or are battling with sin.

Take Communion in Holy Awe

26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. 27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and [a]blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat the bread and drink of the cup. 1 Corinthians 11:26-28

The Apostle Paul warns us not to take communion in an unworthy manner. Many assume Paul is referring to the need of confessing our sins so as to make ourselves "worthy" for communion. A close reading of the text, however, suggests that we are not to devalue what Christ did for us on the cross. That is, the cup represents the shedding of His blood for our sins and the bread represents His bruised and broken body for our healing.

The Cup and the Bread

16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 1 Corinthians 10:16

We are to treat the partaking of the communion as more than a ritual. The Apostle Paul told the Corinthians to discern the cup as "the communion of the blood of Christ" and the bread as "the communion of the body of Christ". The Greek word for "communion" is koinõnia which means "having fellowship, joint participation and sharing in common".

Serving as Sons and Daughters

19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. John 5:19-20, English Standard Version

  There are three basic ways you can serve God. You can serve as a slave, as a servant or as a son.

The Astonishing Power of Community

4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:4-5, New International Version

  Jesus grows His church through community. Community has a way of growing and maturing us. We can unlock and experience the astonishing power of community when we learn to connect and unite with fellow sons and daughters of God in mutual acceptance and love.

Building God’s House

3 But Jesus is worthy to receive a much greater glory than Moses, for the one who builds a house deserves to be honoured more than the house he builds. 4 Every house is built by someone, but God is the Designer and Builder of all things. 5 Indeed, Moses served God faithfully in all he gave him to do. His work prophetically illustrates things that would later be spoken and fulfilled. 6 But Christ is more than a Servant, he was faithful as the Son in charge of God’s house. Hebrews 3:3-6, The Passion Translation

  You do not serve as a servant but as a son or a daughter of our most loving Father. The Apostle Paul used the example of Moses and Jesus to illustrate that a servant and a son serve with a different mindset and attitude. Moses saw himself doing a task for His God. Jesus, in contrast, proved Himself faithful to His Father. When you are able to make the distinction, you will manifest a spirit of excellence in your life and ministry.

Many but One in Christ

14 In fact, the human body is not one single part but rather many parts mingled into one. 15 So if the foot were to say, “Since I’m not a hand, I’m not a part of the body,” it’s forgetting that it is still a vital part of the body. 16 And if the ear were to say, “Since I’m not an eye, I’m not really a part of the body,” it’s forgetting that it is still an important part of the body. 17 Think of it this way. If the whole body were just an eyeball, how could it hear sounds? And if the whole body were just an ear, how could it smell different fragrances? 18 But God has carefully designed each member and placed it in the body to function as he desires. 1 Corinthians 12:14-18, The Passion Translation

  The Corinthians were a problematic bunch of believers because they focused on their differences and in doing so placed unity amongst them at stake. Some believers felt they didn't belong because of the differences between them. The Apostle Paul, however, tells them that the reason they didn't feel they belong is because they are not seeing themselves as God sees them.

Doing Life Together

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-21, New International Version

  The Apostle Paul's prayer is that we can experience the breadth and depth of God's love through loving relationships in the family of God. The more we grow in our relationship with God, the more we are to reflect the nature and character of His love to those around us. Doing life together builds community.

Praying Out of the Fullness of Christ

16 For out of His fullness [the superabundance of His grace and truth] we have all received grace upon grace [spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing, favor upon favor, and gift heaped upon gift]. John 1:16 Amplified Bible

  How we see Jesus will determine how we pray and receive from Him. The Apostle John testified that Jesus is the fullness of grace and truth. That means when we pray according to who He is, we shouldn't hold back or hesitate from asking boldly. Jesus is more than enough to meet our every need. This is because there is no limit to what He can do and will do for us.

Take Communion As Often As Possible

26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. 1 Corinthians 11:26

  Instead of just taking Holy Communion on Sunday, the Apostle Paul encourages us to receive from the Lord as often as we desire. When we eat the bread and drink the cup, we are proclaiming the blessings and benefits we receive from Christ’s crucified body and blood.

Take Communion As Often As Possible

26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. 1 Corinthians 11:26

  Instead of just taking Holy Communion on Sunday, the Apostle Paul encourages us to receive from the Lord as often as we desire. When we eat the bread and drink the cup, we are proclaiming the blessings and benefits we receive from Christ’s crucified body and blood.

The Value of Holy Communion

23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

 

When we participate in Holy Communion, we are not going through an empty church ritual or meaningless tradition. In partaking the bread and the cup, we are to remember and value what we are receiving from the Lord.

Do Not Hold Back

1 "Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labour; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the Lord. 2 “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes". Isaiah 54:1-2, New International Version

  Sometimes the greatest moments in your life happens after you give up. The greatest moments happen not because you have the faith for it to happen or you have the means to make it happen. It happens because God ordained that it happen — in spite of you not having the ability or capacity to make it happen.

Unfairness Doesn’t Define Your Life

17 [God] 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

  Life is not always fair and you may have all you want in life. The person you love may not love you back. The promotion you feel you deserve goes to someone else. The perfect day you planned didn't go to plan. You may not be able to change your circumstances but you can change what is happening in you. What seems unfair now may actually set you up for later success.

The Work and Ministry of Righteousness

17 The work of righteousness will be peace and the ministry of righteousness, rest and confidence forever. Isaiah 32:17-19, Literal Translation

  There is a difference between inheritance and possession. Someone could bequeath you wealth but you will not gain the benefit of that wealth unless you possess what rightly belongs to you. In the same way, God's righteousness is yours in Christ for you to enjoy the richness of His grace. Yet it is still possible to come under personal condemnation and self-loathing when you do not take hold of the imputed righteousness Christ offers to you.

A Season of Discernment

16 This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16, New International Version

  As we are drawing to the close of another year, it is good to enter into a season of discernment and listen to what God wants to reveal to you in the new year. 2020 is going to be a significant year because it marks the end of a decade and the start of a new one. If possible, we should discern what God has in store for us over the next ten years of our lives.

Faith Is the Consequence of Obedience

4 Jesus said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” 6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.

Luke 5:4-6

  Do you sometimes think that you need a lot of faith to obey God? It brings God delight when his sons and daughters obey Him out of revelation and not just faith. It does not mean faith is not important but our Lord is looking for us to obey and respond to Him.

God’s Love Never Fails

8 Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:8

  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. The Greek word for “never” is oudepote which means “never at any time”. The Greek word for “fail” is ekpiptō which means “to fall powerless, from a place that one cannot keep”. God is perfect. His love is of zero-defect. His love is unconditional. His love is unfailing. His love is unlimited. A story was told of an old man who saw a scorpion struggling with the strong currents of a river. He reached out with his hands to save it, but each time he touched the scorpion, it stung him. A passerby saw what the old man was doing, and he shouted, “You are a fool, don’t waste time on an ungrateful creature that can only hurt you.” The old man replied, “Just because it is in the scorpion’s nature to sting, should I change my nature, which is to save?” Love is in the vein of God’s nature. Never once did God change His nature ― which was to save those who rejected Him. God is not ignorant of our rejection but He does not allow that rejection to remain as a barrier to His love. The cross is the catalyst that brought us into His love. Our nature cannot change His nature, but His nature will change our nature. How powerful is His love in changing you? Powerful enough to cause you to love your neighbour as yourself, to bless your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, and forgive those who do not know what they have done or are doing to you. Love never fails.

God’s Love Endures All Things

7 Love endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7

  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.

God’s Love Hopes All Things

7 Love hopes all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7

  God is not just good, He is infinitely good! It is out of the reality of His perfect 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 the darkness. In our eyes, problems are obstacles to our plans of happiness. In God’s eyes, problems can never obstruct His plan for our happiness.

God’s Love Believes All Things

7 Love believes all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7

  Have you ever met people who are often suspicious of others and find it hard to trust others? 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.

God’s Love Bears All Things

7 Love bears all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7

  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 us from His love.

God’s Love Rejoices In the Truth

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

  If a child believes 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 may stay suspiciously cold and detached. The only way to restore the relationship is for the child to appreciate and accept the truth of his or her father’s love.

God’s Love Does Not Rejoice In Iniquity

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

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

God’s Love Thinks No Evil

5 Love thinks no evil. 1 Corinthians 13:5

  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, Paul tells us not to pay attention to a suffered wrong.

God’s Love Is Not Provoked

5 Love is not provoked. 1 Corinthians 13:5

  Have you reached a dead end in a relationship with someone because of a heated argument or sharp contention? 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!”

God’s Love Is Not Self Seeking

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

  Do you deny your family or friends your love and affection unless they give in to your demands or meet your expectations? If the answer is yes, that would be selfish or self seeking. I once 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.

God’s Love Does Not Behave Rudely

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

  Two lifelong business partners butted heads right until they were parted by death. When a reporter 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!”

God’s Love Does Not Puff Up

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

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

God’s Love Does Not Parade Itself

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

What is the point of living a pious life if no one knows about it? This was the typical attitude of the Pharisees. They were "spiritual" exhibitionists when it comes to earning their own "badge" of righteousness. They flaunted their ability to keep the Law even though they often mingled scriptures with their own self-imposed traditions. To further inflate their self-importance and superiority, they loved to vie for the best seats and parade around for public accolades.

God’s Love Does Not Envy

4 Love does not envy. 1 Corinthians 13:4

  God is jealous but He is not envious. The Greek word for “envy” is zēloō. It means “to be heated or boiling over" (Strong's G2206). Zēloō has two distinct meanings. The first meaning is "zealous" and the second meaning is "envious". Zealous is a good kind of jealousy whereas envy is a bad kind of jealousy. To be zealous is to be extremely passionate for someone's well-being but to be envious is to be destructively resentful against someone.

God’s Love Is Kind

4 Love is kind. 1 Corinthians 13:4

  Some people entertain frightening ideas of God. There is more fear than faith in their thoughts of Him. Fearful thoughts of God is bound to mess up your relationship with God and muddy your belief that God really loves you and He wants to bless you.

God’s Love Is the Basis of the Gospel

1 If I were to speak with eloquence in earth’s many languages, and in the heavenly tongues of angels, yet I didn’t express myself with love, my words would be reduced to the hollow sound of nothing more than a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I were to have the gift of prophecy with a profound understanding of God’s hidden secrets, and if I possessed unending supernatural knowledge, and if I had the greatest gift of faith that could move mountains, but have never learned to love, then I am nothing. 3 And if I were to be so generous as to give away everything I owned to feed the poor, and to offer my body to be burned as a martyr, without the pure motive of love, I would gain nothing of value. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 The Passion Translation

  The gospel is not a kind of fire insurance policy for escaping hell. Neither is it a sin management program used to modify behaviour. The gospel is the story of God's perfect love for us. As a result of Jesus' full and finished work on the cross — nothing can ever separate us from the love of God.

Ordinary People with an Extraordinary God

13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13 New International Version

We are ordinary people with an incredibly extraordinary God.

The Choice of Life

What would you say if someone asks you, 'What's your life really about?" It is a question not everyone can readily answer. The Apostle Paul was explicitly clear about his life. It was hinged on the singularity of knowing Christ, and making Him known.

A Worthy Life

Are you living the life you believe in, or are you settling for less? Jesus understood the value of His life was never about Himself but was 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

 

10 The value of your life is inextricably linked to His. Jesus did not die to make your life more comfortable. He died for you to live a worthy life for Him Colossians 1:10

Grace Reveals Who We Are

What's the difference between guilt and shame? Guilt and shame are feelings that correspond to how we see ourselves. Guilt is "I've done something bad". Shame is "I am bad". Guilt and shame are self-loathing emotions. Feelings of guilt or shame can lead you to develop an unhealthy focus on perfection and performance whereby it becomes hard for you to accept failure, particularly when you had expected to exceed. These effects of guilt and shame can drive people to despair and discouragement.

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 can be described as Satan’s attempts in seeking to destroy who you are in Christ. Satan uses to great effect, feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt to weaken the faith of many believers. If we are not mindful of Satan's wicked schemes, he can weaken our faith with confusion, despair or even convince us to abandon our faith.

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.

When you wait for God, you rest until God is ready to act. It is the ability to trust God’s perfect timing in all things. It is you knowing that He is able to make all things beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

The Law of Christ

2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill 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. Some Christians make the mistake of mixing up the two covenants together.

The Abiding Anointing

27 But as for you, the anointing (the sacred appointment, the unction) which you received from Him abides (permanently) in you. 1 John 2:27, Amplified Bible

  John tells us that we can never lose our anointing. Anointing is God's appointment on your life for salvation and service.

Taking Hold Of Your Purpose

Are you doing exactly what you want to be doing? Most people have some sense of their purpose. However, some people may suffer from inertia and a lack of momentum to pursue their God given dream. They choose a very different path. They do not dare to risk because they want to play it safe.

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 marvelous 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. People often assume that sin keeps them away from God. However, a closer reading of the four gospels tell us that Jesus has far more issues with self-righteous people than sinners. More than anyone else, the Pharisees were the ones who gave Jesus the most problems. They strongly disapproved of Jesus' friendship with unbelievers and sinners. The Pharisees saw no need for God's grace or a Saviour to save them from sin because they thought they were better than everyone else.

True Fellowship

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

  By calling God our Father and every believer a brother or a sister, we grow 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.

Turning Point

1To 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 to. It is not the change but the adjustment to change that many believers find challenging. If you choose not to adjust or can't seem to adjust to God's new season, you will stay stuck and not fulfill 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.

You Have the Spirit of Sonship

6 Because you are His sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:6, New International Version

  What did the Apostle Paul meant when he said, "God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts"?

The Holy Spirit Our Comforter

26 But when the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) comes, Whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth Who comes (proceeds) from the Father, He [Himself] will testify regarding Me. John 15:26, The Amplified Bible

  Some of us may think the role of the Holy Spirit is just to enable us to speak in tongues or do miracles. Jesus, however, tells us the Holy Spirit is our Comforter whom the Father sent into the world to bear witness to the life changing truth of His Person. The more we grow in the truth and grace of our Lord, the more we will become free and behave according to our freedom in Christ.

The Trinity and the Christian Life

4 But when the kindness of God our Saviour and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. 6 He poured out this Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, 7 so that having been justified by His grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7, Holman Christian Standard Bible

  How we perceive the Trinity will affect the way we live the Christian life.

Anchored In Grace

The Christian life is anchored in the grace of God. Yet, we can easily forget and lose sight of what Christ has 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

Faith or Fear

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

  Fear is giving in to opposing circumstances; faith is overcoming them. Jesus' disciples had to learn one constant lesson which was to never let their fearful feelings get in the way of believing in Him. We are no different from them. Often, we are afraid because we do not fully trust in the sufficiency of His grace. We become too worried about getting rescued from opposing circumstances than placing our faith in the Saviour always.

Give Your Best to the Lord

23 And whatever you do, do it heartily as unto 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 no one can insist on excellence from them?

Sinners and Hypocrites

Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, 

and despised others. 

Luke 18:9 

  Some people make the excuse that they would not go to church because there are too many hypocrites there. They often assume Christians are not supposed to sin and when a believer sins, they are quick to condemn the person for hypocrisy.  The truth is all hypocrites are sinners; but not all sinners are hypocrites.  When Jesus told the parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector (cf. Luke 18:9-14), He was giving His own definitions of a hypocrite and a sinner. A hypocrite is someone who views others as "bigger sinners" than themselves and then pretends to be "more righteous" than everyone else. The sinner is someone who does not pretend to be righteous and doesn’t know how to be righteous apart from the grace of God. The sinner recognises his need for a Saviour. The hypocrite supposes he can earn his salvation. Jesus tells us that those who practice hypocrisy are not Christians at all (cf. Matthew 24:51). Both sinners and hypocrites are utterly lost and in need of salvation.  Thank God He sent Christ to save the lost.  He saves the sinner from his sin and the hypocrite from himself. Christ made saints out of both sinners and hypocrites. To be saved in Christ is to return to your true identity in Christ - through which you are the righteousness of God, without any spot of sin or blemish of hypocrisy. 

A Purified Conscience

13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Hebrews 9:13-14, English Standard Version

  The blood of Christ refers to His sacrificial death on the cross and how that sacrifice changes our relationship with God. Sin never kept God away from us. Rather, it is our defiled and guilty conscience that keeps us away from God. That guilty conscience produces a stronghold in which there is enmity in our minds against God.

Purposefully Chosen By God

2 You were chosen according to the purpose of God the Father and were made a holy people by his Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be purified by his blood. 1 Peter 1:2, Good News Translation

  The Apostle Peter described how the Trinity is involved in the life of every believer.

A Healthy Relationship with the Trinity

20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. Jude 1:20-21, English Standard Version

  Jude, the half brother of Jesus wrote his epistle to warn believers to beware of false teachers who preached against the literal return of our Lord. He told them to earnestly fight for the faith. That is, to make an effort to keep the victorious truth of the gospel alive within their households and community.

You Are God’s Beloved Child

14 The mature children of God are those who are moved by the impulses of the Holy Spirit. 15 And you did not receive the “spirit of religious duty," leading you back into the fear of never being good enough. But you have received the “Spirit of full acceptance,” enfolding you into the family of God. And you will never feel orphaned, for as he rises up within us, our spirits join him in saying the words of tender affection, “Beloved Father!” 16 For the Holy Spirit makes God’s fatherhood real to us as he whispers into our innermost being, “You are God’s beloved child!” Romans 8:14-17, The Passion Translation

  Being sons and daughters of God, we have all the rights and privileges of knowing God as our Father. It is through this authentic relationship with God that we discover our identity, inheritance, sense of destiny and purpose. However, some of us may not know this truth and it is possible for us to take on an orphan spirit where we want to earn God's approval instead of receiving God's acceptance.

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

Christ In You, the Hope of Glory

27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27

  No matter how many bad days you have had, it is still important for you to know that God is on your side. Hold on to God's goodness even when you are afraid — for no amount of darkness hurled by the Enemy can ever snuff out the glorious light of God (who is Christ) in you. Many believers assume the goal of the Christian is about becoming more LIKE Christ. They often put themselves through an endless cycle of self-checking as to whether they are right with God The consequences are guilt, shame and personal condemnation. The truth is, we are right with God on Christ's account, and not on our account. Our old sinful self put to death with Christ on the cross. In doing so, God frees us from the slavery of sin and conforms us to the image of His Son. As such, we can declare together with the Apostle Paul:  

20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.

Galatians 2:20

  "Christ living in me" is the basis of the Christian life. It is no longer about becoming more "LIKE" Christ but "LEARNING" Christ (cf. Ephesians 4:20) in relation to His life in you. You may ask, “What is there to learn from Christ's life in me?" For starters, learn how complete you are in Him; learn how you have all things in Him and learn how you have been blessed with every blessing in Him. The Christian life is no longer about becoming less of yourself and more of Jesus but being who you are in Christ ― for you have died and your life is now hidden in Him (cf. Colossians 3:3). By crucifying you with Him, Christ took you out of the equation so that when people see you, they don't see someone trying his or her best to be a good Christian. Rather, they see Christ, the hope of glory, manifest in and through you.

The Lord Is On Your Side

Fear destroys faith. It does not build faith. It's discouraging to think that many believers are crippled by fear. They remain victims of their fears instead of clinging to their freedom in Christ and being victors over their fears. If you fear more than you want to fight fear, you end up with a defeatist attitude that binds you to failures and frustrations.

Simple Prayer

7 The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. 8 Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Matthew 6:7-8, The Message

  Prayer does not give us power. Prayer gets us in touch with the one who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us. This power is the amazing grace of Christ made perfect in our weakness.

Live By the Faith of Christ

2 Let us look only to Jesus, the One who began our faith and who makes it perfect. He suffered death on the cross. But he accepted the shame as if it were nothing because of the joy that God put before him. And now he is sitting at the right side of God’s throne. Hebrews 12, New Century Version

  Some people think faith is difficult because they limit what God can do.

The Gospel is God’s Invitation to Salvation

19 For God was in Christ, restoring the world to himself, no longer counting men’s sins against them but blotting them out. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others. 2 Corinthians 5:19, The Living Bible

  The gospel is not about what you do or do not do — but rather what Christ did and has done.

The Strength of the Gospel

25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began 26 but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith— 27 to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen. Romans 16:25-27, New International Version

  The Apostle Paul tells us that God is the one who establishes you through the gospel of His Son. The Greek word for "establish" is stērizō which means "to make firm, set fast, fix" (Strong's G4741). In other words, the gospel gives you the power and ability to stand strong and live righteously.

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 in achieving this end lies in their approach. The Pharisees were good at telling people what is wrong with them and how undeserving they were of God's mercy. Jesus, however, exposed the Pharisee’s flawed sense of righteousness and their misuse of the Law to control people and make them feel not welcomed by God.

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 recognize that it was not just the pastor or church leaders who had the gift and responsibility of being able to prophesy. Everyone could prophesy in turn, so as to encourage and build the faith of God's people.

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

  The Apostle Paul knew the spiritual conflict that Timothy will have to face for himself and instructed Timothy to actively remember the prophecies previously made about him so that he can stand strong against the attacks of the devil and walk in victory.

Recognising God’s Compassion towards You

8 The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 9 The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. Psalm 145:8-9, English Standard Version

  If you could write a song to describe your experience of God, what will you say? David celebrated God's grace and mercy towards all people - His people and those who have yet to know Him. He knew God’s grace and mercy to be true from his personal experience of God which led him to compose the beautiful psalm above.

Build Your Life in Christ

24 “Everyone who hears my teaching and applies it to his life can be compared to a wise man who built his house on an unshakable foundation. Matthew 7:24, The Passion Translation

  Hearing God is easy but choosing to obey can be challenging. We all need to learn how to apply and respond to the Word of God and understand how it prepares us for every season we are going through. Living out the Word of God can be as individuals, families or church communities.

God Is Your Hiding Place and Shield

114 You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word. Psalm 119:114

Psalm 119 is the longest Psalm as well as the longest chapter in the Bible. It is a song about taking delight in God's Word and experiencing the fullness of His promises by trusting in Him.

Trust and Thankfulness

1Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful. Psalm 33:1

Most times, our eyes are on what is not working out, more than on what God has already done for us through Christ. This is why worship is almost impossible unless done with a thankful heart.

Authority and Power

1Then 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 not inborn or 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.

The Glory-Filled Life

22 For the very glory you have given to me I have given them so that they will be joined together as one and experience the same unity that we enjoy. John 17:22, The Passion Translation

Jesus declared in His prayer that He has given you the same glory our Father God has given Him. In doing so, Jesus unites us with the Trinity and with each other as one family and community. As such, unity is possible and can happen if you believe it, not because of any one of us, but because Christ has brought us together.

God’s Power to Save

16 For 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

One way to understand grace is to think about its opposite, religion. Religion teaches how much God loves you is directly proportional to how you much you work to earn it. As such, some believers spend their whole lives focusing obsessively on achieving or maintaining an outward standard or code of behaviour. Others, however, feel guilty over nothing and constantly doubt their salvation. Their assumptions about God's love often cause them much confusion and fear, and unless they truly understand the gospel, they will continue to live a joyless and self-defeated life.

Led by God

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

Being led by God is not a feeling. Many believers somehow assume that they need to wait for some kind of feeling to move them before they do anything. Moreover, even if such a feeling does come, you will most likely question whether it is from God. To be led by God is to be guided by His Spirit through His Scriptures. For His Spirit can quicken every Scriptural word and make it clear and relevant for you to act accordingly.

The Turning of a Father’s Heart

6 In the last days the Spirit of Elijah will turn the hearts of the Fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers. Malachi 4:6

The Prophet Malachi gave a vision of God sending someone who will come in the spirit and power of Elijah to restore the hearts of the people of Israel and reconcile them to God. This person is none other than John the Baptist who came as a forerunner to prepare the way for Jesus to reveal God's heart as our Father to us.

Life from God

20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ Luke 15:20-21

The prodigal son in the parable was always a son, even when he was estranged from his father. The father had never loved or treated him less favourably, but because the son was unaware of his father's heart towards him, he could never enjoy and reciprocate the relationship.

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. If we live for God without first learning how to live with God, our identity is defined by what we do, and how well we do it, and how God will judge us against certain benchmarks that reward or punish our performance. This line of thinking leads to two divergent emotions which can be painful and confusing. We will swell with pride when we feel we have done well, but wallow in self-pity when we have not done well.  It creates a "yo-yo" relationship where you feel God loves you one day and does not love you the next.

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 do not stay with Him as Lord of their lives.

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.

Gloriously Saved

15 Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1Timothy 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. To miss the mark is more than an error in human judgment or mistake. "Hamartia" spells the fatal flaw inherent in the person that prevents him or her fromever being able to succeed. What follows afterward are tragic consequences which contribute to the person's downfall. "Hamartia" carries the seeds of self-destruction. And no one is spared from their "hamartia" without outside help. This is why everyone needs a Saviour to save them, lest they die. The New Testament writers couldn't have chosen a better word to describe sin. Sin is "missing the mark of God's standard" (Romans 3:23), for which we are judged as being guilty by God's righteous judgment. Through His finished work on the cross, Christ saved us from the power and penalty of sin. By believing in His saving grace, we are no longer missing the mark but right on target. We no longer need to fear the power of sin. God has not only forgiven you of your sin, but He has also given you the righteousness of Christ. What happens now is your recovery from a sin-wrecked life. Having the knowledge of Christ's forgiveness of your sin gives you the power to overcome every sinful behaviour and habit. Allow the Holy Spirit access to every area of your life for He will transform you.

Forgiveness and Correction

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

Jesus was trapped by the religious authorities to put a woman on trial for adultery. After sending away her accusers, Jesus told her since no one is left to condemn her, he wouldn't condemn her either, but bade her go and sin no more.

Clothed in Christ’s Righteousness

22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. Genesis 9:22

Like Ham who despised Noah when he saw his father's nakedness, there will be those who reject you because they cannot accept you for your weaknesses or mistakes. Instead of covering your nakedness, they choose to magnify your flaws and shortcomings. Now, covering does not mean hiding. It is about someone who protects your vulnerability and weak spots and equips you to grow the character and strength to overcome these faults.

Enjoying God

28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being. Acts 17:28, New International Version

Worship is our first and highest priority to God. Yet, too many Christians see worship as synonymous with the happenings at church on a Sunday morning. They say: "Our worship starts with some exuberant singing, followed by a sermon". Or they may think the worship is for them. Then they would say: "Today's worship is great and I got a lot out of it." They would even think that worship is someone else's responsibility to make them happy and keep them coming back.

The Impact of True Worship

9"Here I am! Send me." Isaiah 6:9

We don't worship to get closer to God. We worship because we are close to God. Worship is the fruit of a real and authentic relationship with God. As such, true worship does not depend on physical location or music style. It rests on the heartfelt desire to magnify God and exalt His name.

Accept One Another in Christ

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?

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 be—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 so 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.

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 spend 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.

Grace and Faith

It is good to understand the “grace part” and “faith part” in the Christian life. The “grace part” refers to your status. It’s about being sure of your identity. It’s about you standing right before God through Christ. It’s about who God has already made you in Christ and how God did it without your involvement.

Don’t Grow Weary of Doing Good

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 

The Apostle Paul encourages the Galatians not to become weary or tired of doing good works. The Greek word for "weary" is ekkakeo. It describes the feeling of discouragement in the face of doing something vital for God and for the benefit of His people.

Let Us Do Good

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:9-10

There is a mistaken idea that the more you do, the more God loves you. As such, we can believe in the gospel of God's grace and still pursue a work-based, performance-driven relationship with God. This can be seen by our need to measure our acceptance and significance by how busy we appear to be and how many things we are involved in.

Be of Good Courage

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 2 Corinthians 5:6-9

In 2 Corinthians 5, the Apostle Paul exhorts the Corinthians to be always of good courage even though physically they feel weak and drained. The Greek word for "courage" is tharrhounteswhich means "to be bold and confident". As such, to take courage literally means to cheer up and not be afraid no matter how bad it seems.

The Gift of Church

14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. Galatians 5:14-15

God's gift of the church is good, healthy and wholesome. But because we are not always good, healthy and wholesome, it takes a continual attitude of submission and willingness on our side to trust and believe God why church matters. This means we are to extend this grace of community to one another with lots of love and patience. And I really mean with lots of love and patience.

God’s Power Working Within Us

20 Now to [God] who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20, New International Version

God is the God of all possibilities in the midst of impossibilities.

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.

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

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.

17Therefore 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

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.

Overcoming Satan’s Lies with God’s Truth

44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44, English Standard Version

Jesus told those who opposed Him that they are murderers and liars just like their "spiritual father", Satan himself, who from the beginning has been the enemy of the truth. Even though Satan has been defeated by Jesus on the cross, he still finds opportunities to wage war against the saints and engage the world to tempt and distract God's people from what truly matters (1 John 2:15-17). For example, the Apostle Paul talks of being tormented by a messenger of Satan to stop him from boasting what he had seen and accomplished through the power of the gospel. 

The Logic of Faith

17 Faith operated powerfully in Abraham for when he was put to the test he offered up Isaac. Even though he received God’s promises of descendants, he was willing to offer up his only son! 18 For God had promised, “Through your son Isaac your lineage will carry on your name.” 19 Abraham’s faith made it logical to him that God could raise Isaac from the dead, and symbolically, that’s exactly what happened. Hebrews 11:17-19, The Passion Translation

Most people think faith is illogical or a figment of imagination. However, from a Scriptural viewpoint, faith is logical and reasonable because faith is built on many irrefutable evidences and manifestations of God. It is through God's self-revelation in many ways through many means that Biblical characters came to know that God is real and He rewards the faith of those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

Jesus and Healing

16 When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.” Matthew 8:16-17  

Sickness is not God's punishment or condemnation on any of us. Unfortunately, there are believers who hold dear the belief that God uses sickness to discipline us and keep us in line. It is not as if God has a Munchausen syndrome by proxy disorder, that is, He would first inflict pain on us, and then He would go about saving us so to further inflict more pain and suffering on us. And we are supposed to be grateful for it even when feeling miserable and distressed.

In His Image

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

By creating humanity in His image and likeness, God shows that He is all about relationships, and the art of building and growing healthy relationships flows from an authentic relationship with Him

The Great Cloud of Witnesses

26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 1 Corinthians 1:25-27, New International Version 

Many great men and women of God throughout the history of the church were considered unfit or unusable by their peers and community because of past sin, personal shortcomings, or physical impediments, but everything changed for them when they experienced the transforming power of God's love and grace in their lives. 

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 worry, which keeps us from holding on to God's promises of freedom, peace, and joy. 

Genuine Love Is the Mark of True Discipleship

Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, 10 for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more. 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10

Jesus says genuine love is the mark of the true discipleship. 

Praying for Salvation of Your Loved Ones

1 Brothers, my heart's desire and prayers to God for them is that they may be saved. Romans 10:1

The Apostle Paul spoke of his unrelenting prayers for his fellow Jews to come to know their Messiah. He felt such love for them that he was willing to give up his own salvation if somehow that could bring them into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ (Romans 9:1-3). This was why he was so committed to reaching them with the gospel, even though he would suffer much persecution and rejection.

Counted as Righteousness

20 No unbelief made [Abraham] waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” Romans 4:20-22

Have you ever felt as if you have been waiting too long for God to answer your prayer or provide according to His promises? Well, I am sure many of us have felt and feel this way. However, don't get discouraged or worry about how long it takes. Just learn to enjoy your journey of faith, where your satisfaction does not come from answered prayers themselves, but in God who answers prayers and performs miracles.

Knowing God’s Sovereignty

12 I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. Philippians 1:12

The Apostle Paul wrote an encouraging letter to the Philippians, telling them that everything that happened to him really served to advance the gospel. While the Apostle Paul couldn't control every situation that happened to him, he could certainly see God's sovereignty over all things in his life.

Jesus: God’s Great Gift

15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15

God is a giver. No words can describe how incredible God is when He gives Jesus, “His indescribable gift”. It is in Christ that God freely gives you all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17). It is through Christ that God causes you to give all things freely for His glory.

Prosper In All Things 

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.  Prosperity is not limited to just one area of our lives, but through God's grace, it extends to every aspect of life; that is, in our spirit, soul and body. Take hold of the reality that you are blessed with all things in Christ and you will be enabled to do all things through Christ.

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.  Nothing pleases God more than when you share your life with others. There is no better way to live than to give. Giving is not an obligation but an opportunity. It is an opportunity because it puts your life and possessions in proper perspective. Do you own your possessions? Or do your possessions own you? 

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.

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.

Seeing Yourself as God Sees You

16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints. Ephesians 1:16-18, English Standard Version

We used to sing a song in Sunday School that begins with these words, "Oh, be careful, little eyes, what you see". There is a ring of truth in those words, at least in terms of how we see ourselves as God sees us. 

New Creation Truth

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

In making you a new creation, God has already made you complete in Christ. Instead of working on your flaws, God is working to reveal Christ's presence and power in you.  

Think Well, Live Well

For as (a man) thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7

Many scientific studies prove that there is correlation between your thought life and physical well-being. Negative thoughts and emotions can increase stress and, if not properly managed, can cause a slew of degenerative health conditions.  The opposite is also true. Positive thoughts and emotions increase the body’s immunity and reduce health problems. In other words, the thought that you think today will someday show up in your body.

Surprised by God’s Amazing Love

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 4:19, The Passion Translation.

Have you ever wonder how God feels about you when you go back to your old sinful habits or have 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 God is still good to you even if you feel completely empty of faith?

Accepting God’s Righteousness

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. 

Valuing Prayer

1 Lord, teach us to pray. Luke 11:1

We need to learn the value of prayer. Jesus taught His disciples many things, but prayer was the only thing they actually asked Him to teach them. The reason they asked was because they saw how Jesus valued prayer and how prayer permeated every part of His life and ministry.

Ever-Increasing Grace and Peace

2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 2 Peter 1:2

Our spiritual growth will profit us.  The Apostle Peter tells us that the amount of grace and peace we enjoy is proportionate to the amount of knowledge that God has already revealed to us in Christ. As we grow in the knowledge of the gospel, we will learn all difficulties and sufferings are opportunities for God to reveal His glory and work out all things for our good.   

God Believes in You

If you can believe in God the way He believes in you, there will be no limit as to what He can do through you. The problem is that many Christians don’t believe that God believes in them. The Pharisees didn’t believe in the disciples whom Jesus had called and chosen. They kept telling Him that His disciples weren’t good enough, that they weren’t educated enough. They didn’t talk the right way. They didn’t wash their hands the right way. They didn’t fast the right way.

Chosen and Purposed

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 1:5

In the calling of Jeremiah, you need to recognise that long before you came into being, God had already chosen and purposed your call and life. This means that you are not subject to the world around you. You are the object of God's love. More than just a fleeting thought, you must be fully persuaded by this truth―that you are indeed His beloved―for it will increase your capacity to receive from God, and open you to a whole realm of possibilities where you can fulfil your purpose in Christ.

The Problem of Procrastination

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.

Change of Season

“The Lord our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying: ‘You have dwelt long enough at this mountain.  Turn and take your journey, and go..." Deuteronomy 1:6-7

 Choose for a change instead of staying the same. When it comes to making changes in our lives, we don't lack the opportunity, but we often lack the courage and determination. A study was done to find out from the elderly their deepest regrets, and almost everyone said, "I wish I had the courage to change when I needed to the most." 

Pursuing Your Life in Christ

14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14

Many believers find their lives unsatisfying and boring, but they do little to find the real cause of their problem. They would rather stay stuck in a routine than find the courage to change. 

Identity

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

God gives you a new identity for you to live a new life. If we are the same person before and after we are saved, that means we haven't fully understood the gospel yet. Being aware of your identity in Christ is the key to transformation. Knowing your identity is believing everything God says about you by faith, and living accordingly through faith.

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. 

Stay Clear of Bitterness

31 Stop being bitter and angry and mad at others. Don’t yell at one another or curse each other or ever be rude. Ephesians 4:31, Common English Version

Bitterness is a deeply buried unresolved anger of the heart.  It is a slow and imperceptible poison that creeps into the soul, and when it is allowed to run its course unimpeded, it can cause huge damage or harm to all that is in its path. Unforgiveness fuels bitterness. It is our refusal to forgive that can lead us to commit horrendous or unthinkable evils.  The Bible contains many examples and stories of people like King Herod the Great and Job's wife whose lives were ruined because they couldn't let go of bitterness and resentment so as to taste God's goodness.   Bitterness shows itself liken to a monster with many heads — anger, blame, hatred, ill-will, jealousy, rage, resentment, suspicion and unfriendliness. No matter how justified you think you are as to why you should be bitter or resentful — don't! It's not worth it in the long run. Leave it to God and stay clear of revenge and retribution!

15 Make sure that no one misses out on God’s grace. Make sure that no root of bitterness grows up that might cause trouble and pollute many people. Hebrews 12:15, Common English Version

Grace is the cure to the poison of bitterness. You have a responsibility to keep any poisonous root of bitterness from sprouting up in your heart. Bitterness is a form of emotional pollution that breeds and contributes to toxic relationships. God's grace, however, is a bitterness-killer. When God's grace reigns in your heart, He can turn your bitter memories into sweet ones, your hurts into hope and your grudges into goodwill. It takes the same amount of energy to stay bitter as it does to show love. Both require commitment and dedication, but only one leads to the path of life and righteousness.  Ask God today to help you live your life His way.  If someone's words or actions have affected you, find the opportunity to tell your feelings, what offended you and why it made you feel that way. Always give the person a chance to apologise for the offence and then pray together. In this way, you are demolishing Satan's two greatest weapons: accusation and deception.  There are times that you could be the one who offended another, and it happens without you even realising it. The truth is, sometimes people won't let you off for offending them, but God does.  Remember your righteousness is not based on your ability to do good,  but on His ability to help you walk righteously before Him. That will give you the grace to grow strong in the Lord and the strength to give grace to others.

Forgiving One Another

32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32, New American Standard Bible  

Forgiveness and reconciliation are not the same, though they are intricately connected. 

Forgiveness and Reconciliation

32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32, New American Standard Bible  

Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. Reconciliation is a gift you give to one another. To be clear, forgiveness is not about forgetting the wrong or pretending the wrong didn't matter. Rather, forgiveness is about taking good care of yourself and staying well. It is shifting the focus from reacting to the hurt to responding to God's love and grace. 

To Live 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.

5For 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)

Fuelled by the lie of “you will be like God”, both Adam and Eve fell into Satan’s snare. Eating the fruit did not add anything to them, but actually took away something from them. Robbed of their right standing with God, Adam and Eve felt their guilt and saw their shame and hid away from God.

It is Adam’s fall that makes us worthlessly incomplete.

The gospel tells us that we are made complete in Christ alone. Yet, some believers feel “incomplete” if they don’t own the next best thing. Isn’t this the reason why we have a pervasive consumerism culture catered to complete us? Do we not incline our ears to hear the advertising cries of their (marketing) “priests and prophets” to buy and buy some more? Do we not feel the flush of “god-like power” each time we flash our credit cards to possess what is pleasing to our eyes? This happened to the church at Colossae.  The Apostle Paul had to battle against false teachers who taught the believers to think they were not complete unless they embraced an eclectic concoction of empty philosophy and esoteric religious beliefs besides Jesus. They were captivated by a false idea (Colossians 2:8) and not living the truth. Knowing you are complete in Christ brings maturity and stability. When your identity is built on who you are, and not in what you have, you are free from the desire of possessing the many and you can be possessed freely by the One.

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? 

 21 For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing. Acts 17:21

Christ the Source Of Your Identity

When God made humankind in His image, He wanted us to reflect His glory. However, sin grotesquely twisted God’s image in us such that we would forsake God from whom we were derived. A life without God is a revolt. Yet God did not forget us even though, because of sin, we have forgotten who we are ourselves. We became the lost that Jesus came to find.

3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:3-4

Overflow with the Spirit

Too often, we limit the fullness of the Spirit to the context of ministry, though it is for every aspect of life. 

18 Be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18

Paul is literally saying, “Be continually filled to overflow with the Spirit”. God’s Spirit is already dwelling in you. Cultivate an awareness of Him working in your heart. There is nothing that God cannot do for you, in you, and through you. In Him there is an endless supply of grace to meet your every need. 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.

New Thoughts of God

2...New wine calls for new wineskins. Mark 2:22, New Living Translation

Are you ready for a new season in your life? In His parable of new wine in new wineskins, Jesus calls for a new way of thinking if you want to get a new taste of God's goodness. It is easy to become over-familiar with God, trying to contain Him to fit our assumptions and expectations. Discover new insights and revelations of God, learn from the gospel a little bit more of who He is, and then experience what you have learnt.

A Heart of of Gratitude

18 Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do. 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Contemporary English Version

The Apostle Paul says you are to give thanks always and in everything. This means no matter what is taking place in your life, whether it be good or bad, keep giving thanks because God works all things together for good (Romans 8:28). It doesn't mean everything that happens to you is good, but you can still give thanks because God is good and His love endures forever.  

As You Go, Make Disciples

18 Then Jesus approached them and told them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore, as you go, disciple people in all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. And remember, I am with you each and every day until the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20, International Standard Version  

Jesus is very clear that wherever we go, we are to be making disciples. The truth is, many of us are reluctant to share the gospel because we are afraid of the response, or worse yet, that there is no response at all. Somehow, we have a tendency to complicate things when there is no need to do so.

Inherit the Nations

“I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. Psalm 2:7-8

Psalm 2 is a prophetic Psalm that speaks of Jesus who, as God's Son, is to inherit the nations, not by conquest or force of arms, but by intercession and asking God to fulfil His own word.  And God fulfilled His plan through the finished work of Christ on the cross. In keeping with that, God gave Jesus a Name above every name, and by doing so, God gave Jesus the authority over nations. After which, Jesus gave His disciples (which also includes you and I) authority through His Name to inherit the nations:

The Message and Ministry of Salvation

18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, New International Version 

You are saved by Christ through faith. But when you forget God's grace, it is easy to replace it with some strange or made-up ideas about salvation and the Christian life that aren't true. One such idea links church attendance to being real followers having a real relationship with Jesus. 

God of Endless Comfort

All praises belong to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For He is the Father of tender mercy and the God of endless comfort.He always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering so that we can come alongside those who are in any painful trial. We can bring them this same comfort that God has poured out upon us. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, The Passion Translation

God is not the author of your pain and suffering. Rather God is the healer of your broken heart and fractured soul. While life brings its share of trials, you don't have to bear them alone because God is ever-present to care and comfort you in your troubles. 

God’s Will and You

40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:40, English Standard Version

Sometimes and somehow we make knowing God's will more complicated than we need to. The truth is, apart from scriptural revelation, you cannot know God's will and plan for your life. 

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

Where did the idea that we can live the Christian life without a relationship with our Father God ever come from? This makes you an orphan. And God in Christ promises not to leave us as orphans (John 14:18). God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts (Galatians 4:6) to reveal who He really is and who we really are. He did not give His Spirit to make slaves, but sons. And His Spirit brings such an intimacy that we can call Him “Abba”. Abba is Aramaic for “father” which denotes a close relationship between a child and a father. 

The Father and You

The call of every believer is a continuous awareness of his or her identity. Your identity shapes your purpose. The more aware you are of your identity in Christ, the more able you are to pursue your purpose through Christ.  Your identity is not a product of your purpose, but your identity is the reason for your purpose. And your purpose can become “a beast of burden” when you lose perspective of the One who calls you. This happens to many believers when they do the works of God without worshipping God.

Connected to the Father

35 Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, (Jesus) went out and departed  to a solitary place; and there He prayed. Mark 1:35

Many believers want to know God's will, but not God Himself. They prefer activities over intimacy, busyness over worship, and apathy over wisdom. The truth is, you will never find your place and purpose if God is not your first priority in life.

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.

Fresh Move of God

What kind of attitude should we have when God moves in a fresh way amongst us? On the Day of Pentecost, something undeniably supernatural happened when the Holy Spirit fell on the 120 believers. Those who saw this spontaneous move of God were deeply surprised and could hardly believe it. Yet, instead of jumping to conclusions, they began to ask amongst themselves a crucial question:

 “…Whatever could this mean?” Acts 2:12

Believing God Fully

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.  Make a decision to believe God in spite of your circumstances. 

Under The Grace of Christ

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Romans 6:15

The first chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews tells us God no longer uses the Law or the prophets to speak to us, but it is through His Son Jesus that we learn how to live right before God. Jesus gives us His grace to free us from the power and penalty of sin. So to be under grace is to be no longer under the dominion of sin (Romans 6:14), but to reign in life through Christ (Romans 5:17).

Faith Obedience

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.  

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. Yet, often many believers question God’s goodness, especially when they are facing hard times or struggling with their health or finance. Many give up their faith because they feel God didn’t come through for them in the way they wanted it. It is not because God doesn’t care or seem to hear their prayers, but the truth is, it is their own insecurity and fear of the future that keep them from believing God.

God Writes His Law in Your Heart

10 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their mind and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 11 No longer will they teach their neighbour, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. 12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." 13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear. Jeremiah 31:33-34, Hebrews 8:10-13 New International Version

Once you are born again, God gives you a new heart and a new spirit that makes true obedience possible and not burdensome. While obedience is not the prerequisite for you to receive God's grace, it is the evidence of God's grace working in and through you.

The Gospel is God’s Salvation in Jesus Christ

11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:11

The Apostle Paul told the Galatians that the gospel should not be perceived as a human tradition, but the gospel is to be received as God's revelation to all peoples. As such, you cannot add to the gospel or even subtract from the gospel, but stay faithful and firm to the good news of God's salvation in Jesus Christ. 

God is Full of Love and Compassion

40 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.  Mark 1:40-42, English Standard Version

The story of the leper being healed by Jesus is a comforting one. By showing how tender Jesus is to those who are sick and weary, Mark captures the truth for us of a Saviour who is able to identify with our pain and struggles and who can help us even when we can't help ourselves. 

Not Doing More, But Being More

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10, English Standard Version

Just like a farmer uses good seeds to produce good fruits, God has created and chosen you in Christ to produce good works. Good works are more than doing good deeds. Good works involve a continuous process of transformation, where your thinking and character become more and more like Christ. It is about God producing in you the spirit and the heart to live and act like a true son or daughter. As such, good works flow from the reality of your new life that is planted and rooted in Christ.

Jesus Is the Author and Perfector of Your Faith

Looking to Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. Hebrews 12:2, English Standard Version

Do you ever feel that you don't have enough faith for God to do something in your life? The good news is faith is not something you must have, but faith is something you already have because God has already given you faith to believe and trust Him. Faith is a free gift of God that comes by hearing and hearing the gospel of Christ (Romans 10:17).  As such, if you need to stir up your faith, listen to the gospel again and get back to the place where you are fully persuaded that God will take care of everything for you.

Born of God

9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 1 John 3:9, English Standard Version

There are those who think teaching too much of God's grace encourages sin and fleshly desires. Truth is, it is too much misunderstanding and too little understanding of grace that causes believers to stray from their faith and not experience the victory that Christ has won for us.

Faith and Flesh

No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 1 John 3:6-9, English Standard Version

The Apostle John says you have been given a new nature with a new desire for righteousness. While you no longer possess an old nature that is geared and oriented to sin, it doesn't mean you don't struggle against temptation or fall into sin. For example, the Apostle Paul saw the Corinthians as new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) but he also rebuked them for being carnal-minded (1 Corinthians 3:1-9).

God’s Kindness Leads You into Repentance

4 Do the riches of [God's] extraordinary kindness make you take Him for granted and despise Him? Haven’t you experienced how kind and understanding He has been to you? Don’t mistake His tolerance for acceptance. Do you realize that all the wealth of His extravagant kindness is meant to melt your heart and lead you into repentance? Romans 2:4, The Passion Translation

If you truly understand the gospel of grace and grasp what God has done for you in Christ, then you will discover God is the kindest person you will ever meet. It is because of God's kindness that you enjoy the immeasurable riches of His grace. And if you are not completely amazed by this, it is good to hear the gospel again.

God Wants You Healed

3 He heals the wounds of every shattered heart. Psalm 147:3, The Passion Translation

Don't let your pain make you think you are weak or make you feel you are less than human. Don't fight your pain. Don't treat it as an enemy. Welcome your pain. Embrace your pain and learn from it. 

Learning Christ

20 But you have not so learned Christ. Ephesians 4:20

The Apostle Paul told the Ephesians that what we focus on can increase or limit our spiritual growth. When we let our mind become distracted by all sort of thoughts, it is easy to drift and get lost along the way.  

Don’t Be Afraid of Change

Our journey with God requires 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. Fear is what makes people afraid of change. “What will my family and friends say?” “What if I heard God wrong?” “How am I to maintain my comfortable lifestyle?”  These are some of the things that prevent many believers from taking hold of what God has in store for them. They prefer to meander around the same old routine rather than enter a whole new season. Don’t ever be afraid of change. The children of Israel delayed God’s plan for them through disobedience and they ended up walking in circles for the next forty years. None of that generation, except Caleb and Joshua, got to their ultimate destination.

32 "of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do…" 1 Chronicles 12:32

You do yourself no justice when you steer your life completely in the opposite direction of God’s leading. The sons of Issachar stayed on course by their “understanding of the times”. The Greek word for “times” here is kairos which means “God’s appointed time for His purpose”. This kairos of God is best demonstrated in the finished work of the Cross. Through it, everyone has a fresh start and a new beginning with God without any encumbrances. You can change because change has been made possible through Christ. His kairos will move you from fear into favour, from futility into fulfilment, and from frustration into fruitfulness.  

Give What You Have

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?”  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 go to sleep hungry every night. That's about five in every seven people! They are hungry not because there is a lack of food, but a lack of compassion that blinds people to their plight.

Victory Over Satan

7 Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7

Though the phrase "spiritual warfare" never appears even once in the Bible, its concept is clearly biblical. However, many believers don't have a good understanding of spiritual warfare, and what they usually know is mostly superstitions and misconceptions. This lack of knowledge will cause them to live a confused, fearful and defeated 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. God did exactly that when He made you a new creation in Christ so that your sinful past could not prevent you from possessing your inheritance and future glory.

By Faith, Not By Sight

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

Whenever we are confronted by the conundrum of suffering or challenged by the problem of pain, it is easy for us to question the faithfulness of God over our lives. Instead of imagining that God has turned away from you, believe He never quits on you. 

Seeing God in Your Situation

“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?" 

Jesus is Lord and Saviour

18 but grow in the grace and knowledge

of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18

 How we respond to Jesus reveals our heart's condition.

Jesus is both Lord and Saviour.  Far too often, believers assume that they can have one without the other, but the call to following Jesus involves a recognition of His lordship and saving work. If Jesus is just Saviour and not Lord, it's love without obedience. And if Jesus is just Lord and not Saviour, it's obedience without love.    

Enjoying God’s Love

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:7-8

It doesn't really matter how much God loves you –– if you have never felt or valued it, you can never understand the implication of how much you mean to God. Believers who cannot fully perceive God's love will often struggle with self-acceptance and feelings of unworthiness. And when you don't like yourself, it's only a matter of time before you don't like others.

Knowing God’s Love First

If you want to enjoy a personal relationship with God, the central thing is not knowing His will, but experiencing His love. If you limit your experience of God to just how well you know His will, it reduces your relationship to 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 like 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 take risks when you believe His love for you never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8).  You can see this in Jesus.  Jesus was always willing to flow with every changing moment of life because He knew He was never out of range of His Father’s love. There was not a single circumstance that you would see Jesus agonising over “What is God’s will?”  But He confidently declared:

As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you, abide in My love. John 15:9

Since Jesus perceived the immensity of His Father’s love, there was no conflict in Him to do His Father’s will. Jesus gave from what He received from His Father in heaven.  In the same way, when you learn to enjoy the love of your Father, the desire to do His will happens joyfully and spontaneously.  Doing God’s will does not cause God to love you more. Rather, knowing God’s love will empower you to do more for God from the strength of His grace. In other words, ask God to ceaselessly reveal His love to you in a fresh way every day.

Great Power, Great Grace

33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. 34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked. Acts 4:33-34

God’s grace and God’s power go together.  This is why, when the apostles greatly proclaimed to the church the reality of the resurrection, God greatly poured His grace on them.  For the power of God that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that opens the floodgates of God’s grace to all who believe or shall come to believe.  

Know Him Who Is True

20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. 1 John 5:20

Jesus came to show us how we may know Him as the true God who gives eternal life. It is good to grow in your insight of Him.  Sad to say, many of us are often in a hurry and don't make time to strengthen our relationship with Him. Spiritual growth is an investment. When you really want to know Him, He will make Himself known. He never hides but is always willing to reveal Himself. 

The Wonderful Message of Reconciliation

19For 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. After being reconciled to God, we are called to spread the wonderful message of reconciliation to the world. Salvation and mission go together.

God Is In Our City

56Wherever [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 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”. 

The Gospel of the Kingdom

14 ... Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God.   Mark 1:14 

The gospel is "kingdom-oriented".  Believing the gospel is not about getting ourselves saved and going to heaven, but living in the paradigm and values of God's kingdom. We enter and experience the kingdom of God in Christ, and through Christ, and we are to mirror its supernatural reality in our everyday lives. 

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.  This is reflected in how media and interest groups sometimes unfairly portray Christians and Christianity. Even though their reporting is biased and slanted towards an agenda, it doesn't help when believers are less than Christ-like in their attitudes and behaviour towards those they disagree with or have strong reactions to.  We need to be wise and responsible in how we use the public space to reflect the gospel that we are supposed to be living out.

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 unwelcome rulers. The ongoing political conflicts and historical tensions bred a culture of fear and distrust, and it is of no surprise that both the Jewish and Roman authorities perceived Jesus as a religious and political threat.

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, who you enjoy spending time with and what you value most. In other words, your identity works like a sieve, filtering out the unnecessary things that distract you from finding your true pursuit in life.

The Productive Life

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. Anyone who uses grace to justify their lack of involvement or lack of spiritual growth is actually twisting the truth and does not have a right idea of grace. 

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.  

Be a Grace Native

Stephen, who was a man full of grace and supernatural power, performed many astonishing signs and wonders and mighty miracles among the people. Acts 6:8, The Passion Translation

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

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. Whether or not we were treated rightly, God is our source of kindness and love, and we, who have known and experienced both, can share and spread His love through kindness.

Love Covers Sin

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8, New International Version

Loving someone is not about being blind to their flaws. Love is the ability to look beyond their flaws by focusing on the intrinsic worth God gave them through Christ.  This attitude gives us the grace to be accepting without being judgemental, to be truthful without being hurtful, and to be caring without being imposing.  The Apostle Peter tells us we are to echo God's love in our relationships with one another. He quoted from Proverbs 10:2: "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins." The Hebrew word for "cover" is kacah which means "concealing". In the context of this verse, concealing is not used in a bad way, as if there is an evil intention to hide something, but in the positive sense of forgiving and forgetting.  Jesus is our best example of a love that covers a multitude of sins. He modelled for us how we should relate with people around us. He didn't treat others as they deserved to be treated. Instead, He readily offered His life up for them even though they were most undeserving.  When Jesus was dying on the cross for our sins, He prayed, "Father, forgive them". Being the perfect sacrifice, Jesus did not just cover our sins, but He completely took away the sin of the whole world. In doing so, our Lord revealed the nature of our Father's perfect love towards us. We can reflect this same love by receiving God's grace to forgive and release the hurt people have caused us.  Sometimes it is not easy to forgive, especially when you feel an injustice was done to you, or when you were being singled out unfairly. Instead of trying to forgive and forget in your own power, just confess you desperately need God's healing grace to help you to make the necessary changes in your attitude so as to manifest them in your actions. As children of God, let's imitate our Father in the way we forgive and forget, overlooking offenses and not keeping any record of wrongs, hoping others will do the same for us. We are to love each other deeply and speak with grace and kindness when someone's sin is hurting them, hurting other, or hurting us.

God’s Incomprehensible Peace

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. Philippians 4:6-7, Easy to Read Version

Do you see your life as a series of problems or a series of problem-solving experiences? Jesus tells us we will face problems and hard times, but He also tells us to have faith in Him. The Apostle Paul encourages us to ask God for what we need and, most importantly, to believe God's peace within us will guard our thoughts and emotions so that we experience freedom and true breakthroughs.

A New Covenant of Grace

8 I will make a new covenant...10 I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Hebrews 8:8,10

There are believers who think that God just wants us to behave morally and responsibly. This is, however, only a part of the truth concerning the gospel. The greater truth is that we are saved by grace through faith, and not by our behaviour or deeds. 

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

Valuing Forgiveness and Reconciliation

The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Genesis 3:12-13

When we blame someone for our actions, it is as good as admitting that we are not in control of our words, thoughts and feelings. We will lose objectivity and our ability to look at the real issues affecting our relationship. This was what Adam did, he blamed Eve and blamed God for giving him Eve in the first place. Eve, in turn, blamed the serpent. 

Holiness Is Pure Happiness

16 “Be holy, for I am holy.” 1 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 two minutes noodles. We expect quick and easy results without much effort. This is most evidenced by the 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 seeming delay on God's part will create a false impression that God doesn't care about us.  

The Power of Godly Women

as I think of your strong faith that was passed down through your family line. It began with your grandmother Lois, who passed it on to your dear mother, Eunice. And it’s clear that you too are following in the footsteps of their godly example. 2 Timothy 1:5-6, The Passion Translation

As we join the rest of the world to celebrate Mother's Day, we want to particularly recognise and honour the many godly mothers and grandmothers for their roles in their children's and grandchildren's faith journey.

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

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 can 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. 

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. 

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. One constant lesson Jesus' disciples had to learn was never to let their fearful feelings get in the way of trusting Him. We are no different from them. Often we are afraid because we do not fully trust in the sufficiency of His grace. We become more worried about getting saved from trying situations than placing our faith in the Saviour always.

Thoughts of Peace

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Through the mouth of the prophet Jeremiah, God is saying, “I have it all planned out” (The Message Bible). When you believe God's thoughts are higher than your thoughts, you will love the plans He has for you. God has a clear idea of where He is taking you, why He is taking you, when He is taking you and how He is taking you to a hopeful future that is "exceedingly abundantly above" what you can think or ask.

Plant Seeds of Peace

18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:18

Peace is a misunderstood concept.  Often we assume peace to be quiet, gentle, passive, compliant and non-confrontational. But this widely accepted idea of peace is far from what the Bible teaches us. 

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.  

Be Spiritually Minded

For to be carnally minded is death, to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Romans 8:6

What does it mean to be spiritually minded? It is living consciously in the will and plans of the Father, making every choice or decision that honours God and shows your love for Him. It is developing the ability to listen to His Spirit leading and move in the right direction.  

Grieving 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. It 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. 

The Holy Spirit in You

According to the law of sympathetic resonance, when an object with a particular frequency vibrates and is 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 you strike a key on one of the pianos, the exact same key vibrates on the other piano.  Once we are in Christ, we are brand new creations with 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. 

The Fruit of the Spirit: Self-Control

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22

The ninth attribute of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control. The Greek word for self-control is egkrateia which means "having dominion within or mastery over". It carries the idea of a person mastering his or her feelings and passions. In other words, that person has taken dominion over the things that either hurt or hinder spiritual growth and maturity. Again, such ability is accomplished by God's power in us through the Holy Spirit.

The Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

The eight attribute of the fruit of the Spirit is gentleness The Greek word for gentleness is praotēs which means "temperate, measured". It is closely linked to being magnanimous and forgiving. Gentleness is not a weakness but a strength. It is having the ability to act with restraint when one possesses much power, dominance and authority. This explains why God often shows grace towards us when we least deserve it. While God could have dealt with us according to our sin and repaid us for our wrongdoings, He did not. Instead, God provided a way of salvation for us through Christ.

The Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

The seventh attribute of the fruit of the Spirit is faithfulness. The Greek word for faithfulness is pistis which means "enduring, holding fast, without wavering".  There is a huge difference between knowing God is faithful and actually experiencing God's faithfulness. When we say God is faithful, we mean God will do what is right and good for us in His sight. In other words, God is consistent with His purposes in our lives. 

The Fruit of the Spirit: Goodness

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.

Galatians 5:22

The sixth attribute of the fruit of the Spirit is goodness. The Greek word for goodness is agathōsynē which means generosity towards the welfare of others. It is an attitude of giving extra time, or making the extra effort, or taking the extra step to help out people who could actually use it. This is why when we say God is good, we are speaking of His generosity towards us. In that, God withholds nothing from us and will do everything to save us, even at the cost of His own son, Jesus.

The Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22

The fifth attribute of the fruit of the Spirit is kindness The Greek word for kindness is chrēstotēs which means "to be tender, benign or morally upright".  It refers to a person's character behind an action. God's kindness towards us is the actual quality of His being. This means God isn't nice to you only when you are well-behaved or when He is in a pleasant mood, but God is consistently and constantly showing His kindness to us, no matter what we have done.

The Fruit of the Spirit: Longsuffering

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22

The fourth attribute of the fruit of the Spirit is longsuffering. The Greek word for longsuffering is makrothymia 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 forbearance and extreme patience towards us. The Holy Spirit desires that we demonstrate this same patience to others (and ourselves) so that we can enjoy healthy and fruitful relationships. 

The Fruit of the Spirit: Peace

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22

The third attribute of the fruit of the Spirit is peace. If you ever pray to God to give you peace—don’t. Truth is, you already have God's peace. This is because His Spirit, who is also the Spirit of peace, resides in you. As such, you don't need to chase after God's peace when you don't feel at peace or are struggling in some way. Rather, you are to manifest God's peace by faith because His unshakable peace is ever present within you.

The Fruit of the Spirit: Joy

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22

The second attribute of the fruit of the Spirit is joy. Jesus once taught that by observing a person's actions in daily life situations, you can tell what sort of value system they live by (Matthew 7:17-20). A good tree produces good fruit. Because the Lord wants you to bear much good fruit, He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in you so that through His power you can produce the fruit of the Spirit that reflects God's character — one of these is joy.

The Fruit of the Spirit: Love

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22

The first attribute of the fruit of the Spirit is love.  The Greek word for love is agapē. Agapē love is deemed the highest form of love. It puts those who are loved first and is willing to make sacrifices for their sake. It is the kind of love God had for us when He let His Son take our punishment so that we can truly live free from the bondage of sin. It is the one love that never quits on you because God promises never to leave you or forsake you. 

The Fruit of the Spirit

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22

The Apostle Paul told the Galatians not to base their faith on following the Law, which leads to bondage all over again, but to pursue a liberating life in the Spirit built on the wonderful revelations of Jesus Christ. 

The Power of Reconciliation

Jesus died a sinner, but He arose alive, a Saviour. If He had not risen, His death would have signified His failure to save us. Thank God, Jesus did not remain dead. 

25 He (Jesus) was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Romans 4:25, New International Version

Silent Saturday

It is interesting that the four Gospels detail Jesus’ final week, climaxing in His death on the cross on Friday, then—total silence. There is not one Scripture verse that says what really occurred on Saturday.  I believe it is deliberate. 

Jesus Is Our Passover Lamb

So remove every trace of your “leaven” of compromise with sin so that you might become new and pure again. For indeed, you are clean because Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us. 1 Corinthians 5:7, The Passion Translation

The Passover is a very important Jewish festival to commemorate God's deliverance of the Hebrew slaves from the bondage and oppression of the Egyptians. 

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 a new commandment, that our ability to love one another is the true evidence that we belong to Him.

Overcoming a Betrayal

1 Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. Luke 22:1-4, New International Version

Though Luke doesn't give us a clear reason to explain Judas' action, he tells us, however, that Satan had entered Judas' heart to convince him to betray Jesus. Judas could have resisted Satan's temptation but he didn’t, and that was when he turned from being a dear friend into a deadly enemy. 

A Cleansed Conscience

On the day Jesus entered Jerusalem, thousands of lambs specially that were bred in Bethlehem were also brought in to be sacrificed on the day of the Passover. According to the Law of Moses, it was necessary for the Jewish leaders to examine the Passover lambs over a few days to make sure they had no blemishes or sickness of any kind.  

Remember Your Calling

 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

When Jesus entered the Temple, He got angry with the merchants hawking their wares in the outer court. What was once a sacred place of worship and prayer has become a platform for a profit-driven industry. Jesus reminded the people that the purpose of the Temple was for them to worship God and make known His Name to the nations. When people lose sight of God's intent, they will often corrupt what was once given for their benefit and blessing. 

Hosanna!

Have you ever met anyone who was cynical about God or had an obvious contempt for God's people? As believers, we sometimes inadvertently contribute to this loss of credibility when we portray God in a manner less than what Jesus said of Him.

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 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.

You are God’s Beloved

To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”
Ephesians 1:6

God genuinely accepts you in the Beloved. 

Regardless of what your sins may be, and because of Christ's perfect work on the cross, you are accepted, forgiven and welcomed back with open arms. You are loved by God without any imposed conditions. You are loved on your best days and you are loved on your worst ones; and you are loved most when you feel undeservingly or unlovable. 

Jesus came to change your mind about God and turn your heart towards Him.  

Most people have a mistaken notion about God. They often think of God as some distant divine being living in the sky who is both hard to please and difficult to get along with. That, however, was not how Jesus revealed His Father. Jesus shows us God and demonstrates God's love in real and tangible ways and ultimately on the cross. 

It is ironic that many believers still struggle with God's love towards them. Somehow they feel as though God has not really accepted them, even after hearing the good news and receiving it. This nagging thought makes it easy to lose faith and hard to grow it. 

There is no barrier that keeps God's blessing out of your life - except if you believe there is one. The Apostle Paul tells us that God accepts you just as He accepts Christ as His Beloved. The Greek word for "accepted" is charitoo which means "endue with special honour, highly favoured" (Strong's G5487). Now being a child of God, you have a special place in God's heart, and that positions you for God's favour. 

You cannot work for favour. You simply receive favour. 

If you think you can earn God's favour, you will end up with an attitude like the Pharisees— getting upset with people who enjoy God's favour without any merit.  

Once you are in Christ, all of God's favour rests on you, and as you continue to grow in knowledge of Him, you will see His favour multiply greatly in your life.

Reflection

How aware am I of God's love and favour in my everyday life?

Showing Care

For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God, 10 night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith?
1 Thessalonians 3:9-11

The Apostle Paul understood the importance of building and strengthening the faith of God's people. The Thessalonians had obviously endured much suffering and many trials, and as Paul remembered them in his prayers, he was looking for an opportunity to encourage and perfect what was lacking in their faith.

The Greek word for "perfect" is katartizō which means "to mend what is broken, to equip and put in order” (Strong's G2675). It is like setting right a dislocated joint so that it can regain its full function.    

Most of us probably never experience discrimination or persecution for our faith, but we do have times when our faith is challenged and put to the test. However, when you do have those moments of doubt, fear or frustration, do you have someone like Paul who will support you and remember you in their prayers?

If you do, good for you! 

However, if you don't have anyone who can come alongside to journey with you, then it is about time you empower someone who can really help fan the flame of your faith.  

Paul is explicitly clear that, while our faith is personal, it is never a private matter. We need community and healthy, deep relationships for our spiritual growth and maturity. This is especially crucial when our sense of well-being has been fractured by difficult experiences. 

Truth is, unlike Paul, most believers hesitate to take initiative because they don't want to appear intrusive or imposing. This is why relationships in most churches seem rather superficial and revolve around politeand nice conversations. But that shouldn't be the case because we are supposed to help each other in Christ.

If you sense someone needs your help in some way, don't hold back for fear of looking foolish or getting rejected. Don't make it about you. If you do, you will never get far in any relationship. Trust God for those moments in which you can truly reach out to somebody and show that you care. 

Reflection

Is there someone that God wants me to reach out to help, encourage and minister to?

Be An Example

12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
1 Timothy 4:12

Your faithfulness to God must never be determined by how you are received or rejected by people. Even if you face hindrances or difficulties, don't give up, but stay focused on God's call and purpose in your life. People can write you off, but God's hand over you will always surpass the limit placed on you. 

Consider Gladys Aylward. 

She was deemed unfit for missionary service in China during the early part of the twentieth century because of her low social status and poor education. But her so-called lack of ability didn't stop God from using Gladys in a profound way. Though initially the Chinese people were suspicious of her intent, when they witnessed her godly love and devotion for them, they grew to respect and trust her and eventually they became faithful followers of Jesus Christ. 

The Apostle Paul exhorted his spiritual son, Timothy, to keep growing spiritually, no matter how others viewed him. Instead of giving in to those opposing voices, Timothy was to set himself as a perfect example of one who exhibits the character of Christ in every way.  

Here we see Paul's wisdom, that is, we become what we feed on. 

When we feed on Christ, our spiritual growth contributes to our spiritual maturity. Spiritual maturity leads to spiritual authority, and spiritual authority creates a platform for greater influence in the relationships around us. 

Whenever you are tempted to despise your call and purpose, keep walking in the reality of your identity in Christ. Stay on course, and never steer away from your God-directed path.

 Reflection

 Do I limit God or limit myself?

Wisdom Is Justified by Her Children

33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.' 34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ 35 But wisdom is justified by all her children.”
Luke 7:33-35

No matter what you do or say, there are some people who won’t be pleased by you and won’t think well of you. They are fault-finders who love to accuse and oppose you in many things, and if they can't find any fault, they will create one just to stir up trouble and make your life miserable.

People were dismissive of John the Baptist and Jesus because they expected certain behaviour of them. They vilified John as demon-possessed because of his austere persona and they maligned Jesus as hedonistic because of the people He was with. Jesus compared these fault-finders to spoilt brats who were hard to please and defied any attempt to placate them (cf. Luke 7:32). Somehow, in their name-calling and insults, they failed to recognise God's grace at work in raising John to prepare them for the gospel and Jesus to redeem them through the gospel. They would end up with nothing because of their fickleness in pushing away those whom God had sent to save them. 

Jesus used a proverb—"wisdom is justified by all her children"—to highlight the importance of choosing God's eternal truth over the shifting sands of human opinion and criticism. In the context of this verse, wisdom refers to God's plan of salvation as proclaimed by John and fulfilled through Jesus. And those who choose to receive John and Jesus will find their salvation in God. 

The Apostle Paul tells us that the gospel is "foolishness to those who are perishing" (1 Corinthians 1:18) but those who believe the gospel will see Jesus as God's wisdom of salvation (1 Corinthians 1:30) and through Him they are justified before God. Don't be like the spoilt brats who walked away from God's goodness, instead be like grateful children who enjoy God's gift of grace.

 Reflection

 What have I learned about myself in how I see Jesus?

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 isthrough agenuine relationship with Christthat we actually live out this reality in our daily lives.

You can feel accepted and valued by God because your new identity in Christ shows who you are, who you belong to, and where you find your sense of worth and confidence. Your  identity in Christ defines a whole new way of living where you experience profound changesthat you might not have thought were possible.

I believe the Apostle Paul is our best example of someone whose life was radically changed after his first encounter with Christ. God's grace transformed Paul from being the greatest adversary of Christ to become Christ's greatest missionary. Moreover, God revealed to Paul the mystery of the gospel so that he could teach us and every believer how to ground our identity and validation in the reality of the gospel. 

Like Paul, once you let the gospel take hold of you and change you, you will experience a similar transformation of grace into an identity that reflects the glorious image of Christ. 

Your identity in Christ is now your "real you"!

When you bear the image of Christ, you can drop the ill-fitting mask that seeks approval from others and the superficial veneer of self-importance that hides underlying feelings of loneliness, hurt and anger. This is because your past fears and old wounds cannot get in the way of His love for you, but His love can clear away all that entangles you from living fully in Him.

Reflection

How am I growing in my understanding and practice of my identity in Christ?

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.

The gospel is not about making an unhappy person happy. Rather, the gospel exists to make a spiritually dead person alive. Sin produces spiritual death (Genesis 2:17). Spiritual death marks an absolute and permanent separation from God. It brings about two interlocking consequences: the fear of death and death itself. This fear creates an unfulfilled sense of life. We know that something is missing within us. And we hunger to fill our emptiness with everything other than living out the truth of our full life of Christ that truly satisfies. Jesus said,

35“I am the bread of life.  He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”
John 6:35

To put it simply, Jesus is saying that He is the source and supplier of life. Until and unless you take hold of His abundant life, you live a lesser life. Jesus is our “Tree of Life” personified (Genesis 2:9), and from Him we have His bread of life. Science tells us we are born to die, but Jesus tells us that we are born to live.

Jesus has all the fullness of God dwelling in Him (Colossians 2:9), and that qualifies Him to go beyond meeting our felt needs, to meeting our real needs. Jesus tells us only those who don’t know the Father will keep craving and keep trying to get their needs met. You are not, nor shall you ever be, free from feelings of felt needs until you settle in your heart that only God, who is your Father in heaven, knows your needs and will meet them (Matthew 6:32-33).

In the midst of needs, you stay satisfied because God is your Righteous Father (John 17:25), and He will do all things right in and for you.

Reflection

How has the gospel of Jesus affected you today?

Authentic Obedience

The Christian life is not about self-improvement, but the God-led discovery of 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? 

It is to be like Jesus, being real in your faith and living out your life in obedience to God. Obedience, according to the gospel of Jesus Christ, is never a blind obligation or duty. Rather, your obedience to God flows first from recognising God's perfect love for you (1 John 4:18) and being fully persuaded that nothing can ever separate you from His love (Romans 8:38-39). In this sense, a life of godly obedience is forged from a perfect and secure relationship with our Father God, both now and forever.

Jesus is our perfect example of how we are to live in obedience to God. Though Jesus was equal to God the Father, He fully obeyed God in all things. Jesus shows us obedience is not God forcing His will on us, but our heartfelt desire to do everything God is doing, like a well-loved child imitating his father.

I speak to you timeless truth. The Son is not able to do anything from Himself or through my own initiative. I only do the works that I see the Father doing, for the Son does the same works as his Father.
John 5:19, The Passion Translation

Our relationship with God is not drudgery but a delight, an enjoyment of God and of all His goodness. Enjoying God is the basis of the authentic life. When God is real to us, we will no longer shun Him for fear of judgment and rejection, but we will come to Him with boldness and freedom, because God's perfect love is a welcome invitation to feast on His grace. And it is grace that makes obedience and holy living possible.

Being made a new creation in Christ, God's gift of grace to you is working in you right now, far more than you know or think, for you to believe right and do right.

Reflection

Do I find obeying God easy or hard?

Dead to the Law

So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. Romans 7:4-6

The Apostle Paul tells us that those who are under the law cannot bear good fruit for God. Remember, the law of God in itself is good, but trying to keep the law to be acceptable and pleasing to God actually causes you to sin more. This is because the law was made weak through your sinful self and as such, if you were to break one law, you would break the whole law (James 2:10-13) and that puts you under the curse of the law.  

New Life in Christ

20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20, New American Standard Bible

When Christ was crucified and raised from death, you were crucified and raised together with Him. By Christ incorporating you into His death and life, sin loses its power and cannot dominate you again. You have died to your old sinful self and are now made alive in Christ as a new creation, forgiven and reconciled to God. 

Freedom from Sin

6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Romans 6:6, New International Version

Christ did not just die on the cross for your sin but also to free you from sin. The Apostle Paul tells us that your old sinful self was crucified with Christ and as such, you are set free from the bondage of sin. This means sin no longer has any power over you because right now in Christ, you have a new nature that desires to please God and do His will. Though sin no longer reigns over you, sinful thoughts and habits can still undermine your faith and plague you with fear, guilt, shame and unbelief unless you walk in the freedom that is yours in Christ.

True Reconciliation

19 God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:19

The cross profoundly demonstrates God's perfect love for us.  God knew sin separates us from Him and the consequence of this separation is death. But God also knew that we cannot do anything to overcome sin—and that is why God sent Jesus to save us from our sins. 

In His Presence

Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.” 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 with 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. 

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 they miss many opportunities to serve Him along the way. Even if you have heard directly from God that He is going to use you in a greater capacity in the days to come, keep serving and giving your best under all circumstances. Each assignment provides you the opportunity to grow in your character and work out heart issues that are not aligned with God's desires, so that the length and strength of your eventual ministry will rest on your God-forged character and competence.

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. 

Knowledge of the Truth

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.  

Rise Again

16 For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again. Proverbs 24:16

Proverbs warns against those who want to harm those who are right with God. Their nasty efforts will never triumph over those who have God on their side. No matter how many times they do their best to defeat them, the righteous never stay down for long.  Righteousness is God's "recovery system" to help you start again. 

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 saw him again and were 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 see your circumstances.  

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). Those who heard Jesus were two-minded, they loved His teaching, but they could not accept Him as the Messiah whom the prophet Isaiah foretold.  This was because Jesus was always a carpenter in their eyes and being from Nazareth, a town of no historical significance or spiritual importance, the people never saw anything special or amazing about Jesus, especially due to His humble credentials and family connections.  Because the people were too over-familiar with Jesus, they couldn't possibly imagine that there might be something more to Jesus than what they had already assumed. Over-familiarity happens when we lose our wonder and worship of an awesomely amazing God. 

Worshipping the Father

21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on his mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father...24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. John 4:21,24 

Jesus is right to say that the best location for worship is not set in some sacred surroundings, but within a yielded heart. This frees you to worship God anytime and anywhere.  But if we need stage lights, sounds, and an amazing worship team so as to make our worship exciting and alive, then we are actually turning worship into a production and not an expression of our love for Father God. 

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 cajoling God for Him to like you or trying to earn His favour. Jesus tells us that God is looking for true worshippers. The Greek scholar, Joseph Thayer, translates "true" in the context of this verse as “that which has not only the name and resemblance, but the real nature corresponding to the name, in every respect corresponding to the idea signified by the name, real, true genuine”. In other words, God wants real, true and genuine worshippers who really yearn and yield to Him, knowing only He can truly and fully satisfy the longings of their hearts.

A Healed Heart

3 [God] heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

A healed heart matters to God.  Holding onto your emotional baggage can weigh you down and it keeps you from enjoying the rest of God. If you carry unforgiveness and mistrust inside you, then you will see life through a judgemental and critical spirit. Feelings of fear and worry can lead to a complaining and negative mindset and feelings of anger and resentment may produce an unhappy and sometimes raging version of you. 

God Wants You Healed

20 God sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Psalm 107:20

God desires to see you free and victorious in your struggles.  King David comforts us when he proclaims how God will send His word to heal His people and deliver them from destruction. As such, when you cry out to God for help, He hears and will not forget your cries. Bear in mind, God is mighty to save and will save to the uttermost because He really loves and cares for you.

The Example of Enoch

5-6 It was because of his faith that Enoch was promoted to the eternal world without experiencing death. He disappeared from this world because God promoted him, and before that happened, his reputation was that “he pleased God”. And without faith it is impossible to please him. The man who approaches God must have faith in two things, first that God exists and secondly that it is worth a man’s while to try to find God. Hebrews 11:5-6, J.B. Phillips New Testament 

Have you ever wondered what sort of reputation you would have if someone was to describe your faith walk with God? Enoch walked differently from his generation. He pursued God even though he lived in a time when people were bitter and antagonistic towards God and had no desire to fellowship with Him. As such, the Apostle Paul commended Enoch for his God-pleasing faith which flowed from his exclusive and extraordinary prophetic intimacy with God. 

Open Door

I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Revelation 3:8 English Standard Version

Searching for a perfect church is a major obstacle to the mission of God. Consider the church of Philadelphia. It was the only church that Jesus praised and had many good things to say to the believers. It was not the biggest church or the richest church and certainly not the most spiritually mature church (in comparison to the church of Ephesus).  

The Mission of God

38 Jesus of Nazareth was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit and with great power. He did wonderful things for others and divinely healed all who were under the tyranny of the devil, for God had anointed him. Acts 10:38, The Passion Translation

A biblical understanding of the mission of God provides us with the basis and framework to worship and serve God in every sphere of life and relationship. This should lead us to partner with God in what He is doing in the world. This is how the Apostle Peter sees Jesus: one who was anointed by God and went about doing good everywhere, subduing strongholds in the marketplace, and restoring lives shattered by the evil work of Satan.

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.

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.

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.

Do Not Set Aside God’s 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

Those who imagine that they can approach God on their own terms usually ignore God's grace. The Greek word for "set aside" is atheteō which means "to do away with, despise, frustrate" (Strong's G114). It is to reject God's provision for salvation and feel that we know better than God in how we are saved and stay saved through His grace by faith in Christ alone.

Living a Sin Free Life

9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 1 John 3:9

If you don't understand what Christ has done for you through His finished work, the above scripture verse can appear puzzling and difficult to comprehend. However, being born again through Jesus Christ who is the imperishable seed of God (1 Peter 1:23), you have received a new nature and new heart to live victoriously over sin.

Stir Up God’s Gift in You

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.

Wage the Good Fight with God’s Word

18 Timothy, my son, here are my instructions for you, based on the prophetic words spoken about you earlier. May they help you fight well in the Lord's battles. 19 Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked. 20 Hymenaeus and Alexander are two examples. I threw them out and handed them over to Satan so they might learn not to blaspheme God. 1 Timothy 1:18-20, New Living Translation

Prophetic word gives revelation and direction and opens up new doors for ministry.

Energised by God’s 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?" The Apostle Paul tells us that faith works through love.

God Hears You

13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. 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 5:13-14

Prayer is one of the best ways you can connect intimately with God, and there is no better way to strengthen your relationship with Him than praying with Scriptures. In this sense, prayer is not giving to God a shopping list of desires and needs but prayer is reminding God what He has said and will do according to His Word.

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.

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.

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.

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. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!” Matthew 14:28-30, The Message

We all face 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, the Apostle Peter would not have walked on the water.

Yes to Faith, No to Fear

Are you more connected to your faith or to your fear? Most believers assume it is natural to be fearful, but faith is something beyond their reach. The opposite is true. In Christ, you should see fear as unnatural and faith as naturally supernatural. This is because when your eyes are fixed on Jesus, you will not let your circumstance or situation determine your future. Then, you will act more like a victor in Christ than a victim.

Crossing Over the Other Side

35 On the same day, when evening had come, [Jesus] said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Mark 4:35

While not every experience is welcomed, no experience is ever wasted when you trust God in His love and grace for you.

Walk in A Manner Worthy Of God

11 For you know how, like a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12, English Standard Version

If there is one thing we should all have in common is the desire to live in a way that is worthy of God. But how do we do it? It is not about trying to please God through our fleshy efforts but pursuing a lifestyle empowered from within by the Holy Spirit to live a life pleasing to God.

Behold God’s Love

Satan can plant thoughts in your mind, just as he did with Adam and Eve. His disingenuous thoughts are often lies mixed with truth twisted to mislead and hurt you, especially in your relationship with God. Unless you stay in the revelation of your identity in Christ, it is easy for you to feel discouraged and defeated.

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.

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 is 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 becomes more important than our own opinion—or God's. How did Jesus handle personal offence?

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 people think sickness is a blessing from God. There is however no bible verse to support this claim, but there are plenty of scriptural verses to show our God is a healing God, and He still heals today.

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 would 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.

Don’t Accept Rejection

20 Jesus went back home, and once again such a large crowd gathered that there was no chance even to eat. 21 When Jesus' family heard what he was doing, they thought he was crazy and went to get him under control. 22 Some teachers of the Law of Moses came from Jerusalem and said, “This man is under the power of Beelzebul, the ruler of demons! He is even forcing out demons with the help of Beelzebul.” Mark 3:20-22, Contemporary English Version

Jesus certainly didn't have it easy. He had to endure countless challenges and obstacles, particularly the rejection of his family and community. Rejection hurts because it attacks your sense of worth and value as a person. While you can't stop rejection from happening, you can stop it from stopping you to live the life God meant for you to live.

By the Grace of God

Keep your eyes on Jesus and you will become the most purposeful person you know. This was what happened to the Apostle Paul. The revelation of God's grace gave Paul the basis for a relationship with God, and that relationship passionately inspired a deep purpose for him to impact as many as possible with the gospel. Look at how Paul explained to the Corinthians what it meant for grace to reign in his life.

10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10, New International Version

The Sword of the Spirit

17 [Take] the sword of the spirit, which is God’s word. Ephesians 6:17

The Apostle Paul uses the metaphor of the sword of the Spirit to describe God's Word. In ancient combat, a sword can be used as both an offensive and defensive weapon to fight an enemy. Likewise, use God's Word like a sword to reinforce the victory Christ won for you. The sword of the spirit is one of the many weapons in the armoury of Christ (Ephesians 6:12-17). When you use all these spiritual weapons and protection together, you can conquer and defeat every attack from Satan!

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.

Knowing Who God Made You in Christ

10 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 unqualifies the qualified and qualifies the unqualified.

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.

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 explain what faith is, but they don't necessarily help us to experience faith). Faith is actually grounded and rooted in your friendship with God.

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.

God’s Presence and Power

33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Acts 4:33

It is good to know the difference between the presence and power of God. God is always and fully present in your midst and God's power is the manifestation of His presence. The more aware you are of His presence, the more God will manifest His power in and around you. As such, instead of praying for more power, pray for more wisdom and revelation in understanding God's presence and activity in your life and amongst His people.

Like Clay in A Potter’s Hands

8 Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8, New International Version

Like clay in a potter's hands, be willing and yielding as God shapes you into the image of His Son. If you truly learn to trust God for what He is doing in your life, there is no need to fear or lose hope because you are being transformed into a masterpiece with the most beautiful story to tell.

Fruitfulness, Not Busyness

16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide. John 15:16. English Standard Version

The Christian life is not about what you do but it is about who you are in Christ. It is not your activity but your identity that defines you. That being said, if you are a busy Christian, then you need to ask why you are busy. Don't confuse busyness with faithfulness. God doesn't need you to be busy doing things for Him. Instead, He wants you to be fruitful, ever-increasingly fruitful.

Make Your Requests Known To God

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

We worry and are anxious about so many things because we want to be in control. This bad habit actually makes it impossible to trust God and lean on Him to see us through the day. The Apostle Paul commands us not to be anxious because our stress over uncertainty will cause us to miss out on God's goodness. Rather, Paul tells us to bring everything in prayer and tell God our requests and to thank Him for what He has done and is doing.

God Will Fulfil His Word

10 So the Lord has fulfilled His word which He spoke. 2 Chronicles 6:10

A prophetic word is God's dream for His children and also an invitation to partner with Him to see that dream become a reality. God's Word to you is not just for yourself but for others as well. When you seek to fulfil His plan for your life, many will become blessed because of your obedience.

Not Ashamed of the Gospel

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

Have you ever regretted or lost momentum in following Jesus? Most of us, if we are truly honest with ourselves, will have moments of feeling disappointed and frustrated, especially when we are not experiencing God's promises in our lives. If you don't counter these negative thoughts with the excellent truth of God's Word, they will end up controlling your life and hurting your faith and relationship with God. Don't let momentary trials and trouble sidetrack your faith.

You Are Complete in Christ

9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. Colossians 2:9-10

If you long to walk victoriously and overcome the Enemy, it is crucial for you to know your true identity in Christ. Just focus on Jesus and live in the truth of who you are and what you have in Him. Jesus is the head of every principality and every power because the fullness of God dwells in Him. Truth is, as the Apostle Paul reveals, you too already have this same fullness in you from the moment you first believed. This means there is nothing lacking in you because God has made you complete in Christ.

Accept One Another

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

The background as to why Paul was telling the Christians in Rome to be more accepting of each other was because there were racial tensions and class distinctions between the Jewish believers and Gentile believers. His intention was to bring them together, to heal their wounds and ultimately to save the church from self-destruction. Just as Christ accepts us, we are to accept one another.

Serving As To The Lord

22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:22-24, English Standard Version

The Apostle Paul highlighted to the Colossian slaves who became Christians on the importance of working from a true revelation of their relationship with the Lord, and not for the wrong reasons like pleasing people or earning their approval, or even just looking good.

Serving As Worship

6 But now that we have been fully released from the power of the law, we are dead to what once controlled us. And our lives are no longer motivated by the obsolete way of following the written code, so that now we may serve God by living in the freshness of a new life in the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 7:6, The Passion Translation

Serving God with an eye to earn favour is called works. Serving God with a heart of love is called worship. You can tell the difference between a worker and a worshipper. A worker is not a worshipper but does everything out of misguided zeal and mixed motive, believing their sacrifice of service to the church is greater than their obedience to God. A worshipper, however, is a worker who worships FIRST, and then does everything out of obedience to God's leading.

Responding to Christ’s Call

7 And as you go, preach this message: ‘Heaven’s kingdom realm is accessible, close enough to touch.’ 8 You must continually bring healing to lepers and to those who are sick, and make it your habit to break off the demonic presence from people, and raise the dead back to life. Freely you have received the power of the kingdom, so freely release it to others. Matthew 10:7-8, The Passion Translation

Our Lord is calling us back to the things that matter to Him, to the things that are close to His heart. Sharing the gospel and winning souls matter to Him. Healing the sick and setting free the captives matter to Him. Restoring lives and revealing hope matter to Him. As you learn to walk in His ways to reach a lost and dying world, Jesus will freely supply and sustain you with the power of His grace so that you can minister effectively and freely to others.

Pursue Righteousness

10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 1Timothy 6:10-11

There are many misunderstandings about money. While some churches see wealth and physical comfort as spiritual symbols of faith and faithfulness, other churches believe holiness and poverty go together. Both are extremes and both views are false. The Apostle Paul encourages us to be content regardless of our financial circumstances. Our contentment is grounded and rooted in our relationship with Christ, knowing only He alone who can give us the provisions and security we need.

Fully Satisfied in Christ

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:31-33

We are in need of a fresh understanding to value what God values. Our Lord tells us that life does not consist in an abundance of possessions (Luke 12:15). And I wonder how many of us really take His word to heart and truly make it a lifestyle choice. Nothing can be clearer here. If we are not seeking after His Kingdom, then we are seeking after our own. This approach to life has turned many believers into treasure hunters where they let personal insecurity and selfishness feed and fuel their insatiable appetite for wanting more and more.

Putting Weight on God’s Word

11 Now these [Berean] Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. 13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Berea also, they came there too, agitating and stirring up the crowds. Acts 17:11-13, English Standard Version

Instead of becoming dull of hearing God's Word, we should follow the example of the "noble-minded Bereans" who searched the Scriptures daily to see if the gospel is true and worthy to be believed. Luke told us because of their positive approach to discover the truth for themselves, many individuals and prominent figures became believers.

The Beareans’ Approach to Scriptures

11 The people of Berea were more open-minded than the people of Thessalonica. They were very willing to receive God’s message, and every day they carefully examined the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11, Names of God Bible

During their missionary journey, Paul and Silas encountered the Bereans who were more open-minded than the Thessalonians in their response to the gospel. The Greek word for "open-minded" is eugenesteroi, which means "to be wellborn, noble-minded, having a generous spirit". This is seen in how the Bereans would search the Scriptures daily to prove the gospel is true.

A Fresh Awakening

16 For I am not ashamed of the Gospel. I see it as the very power of God working for the salvation of everyone who believes it. Romans 1:16, J.B. Phillips New Testament

Pray for a fresh awakening to the power of the gospel. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and recalibrate your heart to the truth of who you are and what you have in Christ and dwell in a far greater reality of God's grace, unlike anything you ever seen before or ever imagined.

Love Covers a Multitude of Sins

8 Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8, New Living Translation

No believer is without personal weakness or fault. Everyone makes mistakes and sometimes our mistakes can hurt other people. Now, not every mistake is a sin, but some mistakes are really blatant sins that can really harm the unity and peace of the church.

Love Is Action

18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3: 18, New International Version

It is easier to talk about love, preach about love, and teach about love than it is to love. That said, it is easy to love those who love you back, but to love those who are persecuting you or causing you pain is far more difficult. And to be honest, some people are not easy to love and most times we just tolerate them until we can't tolerate any longer. When that happens, our intolerance can quickly morph into anger, which can turn into retaliation.

God’s Love in Us

11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:11; 16-18, New International Version

Christ is the head of the church and we are the Body of Christ. When this reality really hits us at a faith level, we can begin to love each other into wholeness and healthy relationships. Your faith is only as real as your love.

Built to Last

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27 (ESV)

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus' heartfelt desire is for you to have such a firm foundation of faith—like a house built on the rock that can withstand the winds and waves that hit hard. There are things you can do to keep a strong faith. For instance, you need to have confidence in God's Word and use every revelation you receive from Him wisely for a life of peace, prosperity and purpose.

Jesus Our Kinsman Redeemer

18–19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, and he has anointed me to be hope for the poor, freedom for the broken-hearted, and new eyes for the blind, and to preach to prisoners, ‘You are set free!’ I have come to share the message of Jubilee, for the time of God’s great acceptance has begun.” Luke 4:18-19, The Passion Translation

People were excited when Jesus publicly announced the good news of God's forgiveness and love towards them. This was because Jesus placed both His message and ministry in the context of Jubilee.

From Legalism to Grace

10 And all who depend on the Law [who are seeking to be justified by obedience to the Law of rituals] are under a curse and doomed to disappointment and destruction, for it is written in the Scriptures, Cursed (accursed, devoted to destruction, doomed to eternal punishment) be everyone who does not continue to abide (live and remain) by all the precepts and commands written in the Book of the Law and to practice them. Galatians 3:10, Amplified Bible, Classical Edition

Anyone who depends on following the law to please God is under a curse. This is a pretty strong statement—but it is undercut by the truth that the gospel of God's grace in Christ frees us from the oppressive self-defeating efforts of earning or keeping our salvation.

Increasing Your Capacity to Receive

2 The good news has been told to us just as it was told to the people in the desert. But the message which they heard did not do them any good. Even though they heard it, they did not believe it. Hebrews 4:2, World English Bible

It is obvious not everyone has the same outcome from hearing the same gospel. The Apostle Paul tells us a person can hear the message of God's love, goodness and forbearance without ever being moved by it. He gave us the example of what happened to the children of Israel when they left Egypt for the Promised Land, of how they witnessed God's glory and still rebelled against God. The reason for them to do so was because they lacked the capacity to receive from God.

Wrestling in Prayer

12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. Colossians 4:12, New International Version

Few of us know much about wrestling in prayer. Notice what Paul says about Epaphras, about how he always "wrestles" in prayer for the Colossians. The Greek word for "wrestling" is agōnizomai (where we get the word agony) which means "to combat, to fight, contend for a prize". In other words, Epaphras wasn't making some casual mentions of people in his prayers. Rather, he was actively and intensively praying for the Colossians once he found out that they were struggling with their faith and understanding of Jesus Christ.

Living in Real Victory

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. Ephesians 1:15-17, New International Version

It takes God to reveal God.

Christ in the Storm

47 Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. 48 Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by. 49 And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; 50 for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” 51 Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marvelled. 52 For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened. Mark 6:47-52

Sometimes, when storms suddenly appear without any apparent reasons, we are like the disciples on the boat, crying out in fear, "Lord, don't you care, can't you see that I am drowning?" Just as Jesus could see the disciples' predicament, He can see you in your storm. He knows what you are facing with and how you are struggling against situations beyond your ability to endure. Knowing Jesus is with you is more important than the storm that is against you—for He will not fail or forsake you.

Knowing Christ

7 Yet all of the accomplishments that I once took credit for, I’ve now forsaken them and I regard it all as nothing compared to the delight of experiencing Jesus Christ as my Lord! 8 To truly know him meant letting go of everything from my past and throwing all my boasting on the garbage heap. It’s all like a pile of manure to me now, so that I may be enriched in the reality of knowing Jesus Christ and embrace him as Lord in all of his greatness... 10 And I continually long to know the wonders of Jesus more fully and to experience the overflowing power of his resurrection working in me. I will be one with him in his sufferings and I will be one with him in his death. Philippians 3:7-8, 10

In his epistle to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul describes the Christian life is not about knowing more principles but knowing more about the person of Jesus Christ. And it is not by more reason, but by more revelation about Christ and His finished work that we can access every blessing and benefit by faith.

Valuing Your Church Community

4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings? 5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 1 Corinthians 3:4-6 (NIV)

We live in a culture where the individual is supreme and the community is negotiable.

Think and Act Like Jesus

16 We have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16

God hates what sin is doing to you and you should have the same attitude towards sin as your Father. When God confronts sin in your life, it is not because He is against you but because He is for you. He wants to root out those things that are hindering and hurting you so that you may be healed. As such, when you truly appreciate what Christ had done for you on the cross by defeating sin, you can fully appropriate Christ's victory to overcome every sinful temptation, habit and addiction.

Radicalised by Grace

14 But the grace of our Lord ·was fully given [overflowed; abounded] to me, and with that grace came the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 1:14, Expanded Bible

One of the many great things we can learn from Jesus is to reach out to those whom religion would never touch. They were His targeted audience. Our Lord demonstrated amazing and relentless grace to those who needed it the most. And we ought to ask Him for the ability to do the same.

The Power of Encouragement

13 Encourage each other every day. Hebrews 3:13, The Voice

How often do you encourage someone? Encouragement is so important because it empowers people in their walk with God. This was the reason why Apostle Paul told the believers to encourage each other every day because they were facing persecutions and oppositions for their faith. Wouldn't you want to be encouraged when faith seems weak and joy seems lost?

Stand Your Ground

1 The righteous stand their ground as boldly as a young, ferocious lion! Proverbs 28:1, Direct Translation

Often when you are struggling you can feel defeated and discouraged. You may pray over what is troubling you, but you can't help but wonder whether God heard you, and if He does, then, when is the breakthrough going to happen.

Provoke and Exhort One Another

24 Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good works, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25, World English Bible

Some people would say, "I don't need to go to church to be a Christian". Yes, it's true that you don't have to go to church to be a Christian. However, if you don't go to church, you are not a Christian. Now, this is a strong statement, but I want you to consider it carefully. I am not talking about attendance here, but about attitude and sound habit.

The Accessible God

Jesus tells us that He gives those who believe and receive Him the right to become children of God (John 1:12). What an incredible honour and privilege to have this unique position of favour! Being a son or daughter of our most gracious Father makes intimate fellowship with Him both possible and enjoyable. There is no barrier to cross and there is no hoop to jump through for you to get to God because Christ is your access to God's grace.

18 And now, because we are united to Christ, we both have equal and direct access in the realm of the Holy Spirit to come before the Father! Ephesians 2:18, The Passion Translation

"Access" comes from the Greek word, prosagoge which means "the act of bringing to, leading toward someone or something, approach (Strong's G4318). It is used to describe the context when a person who holds no inherited title or credentials having an audience with a royal dignitary because of the assistance or help of another. Since Jesus makes it possible for us have free access to God, the Apostle Paul tells us, we have the boldness to stand before God with confidence.

12 we have boldness through him, and free access as kings before the Father because of our complete confidence in Christ’s faithfulness. Ephesians 3:12, The Passion Translation

Boldness is the distinctive quality for those who know they have access to God. If you do not identify yourself as a son or daughter of our Father, you will not walk in God-given authority, power and right. This is because you do not have the confidence to believe what God wants you to believe and to do what God wants you to do. To have boldness is to speak freely and easily to God whatever is on your heart. You can pray without fear or hesitation. You don't have to "check and balance" your prayers. You don't need to worry about making a good impression or using the right tone for God to hear you. You can ask God for help in every time of need, believing that He hears you and will come through for you. Knowing God is accessible, don't hold back from God. Just pour out your heart to God, tell Him everything, and I mean everything. For in every problem you face, there is a promise of God's grace. Reflection Is prayer easy or difficult for me? Why?

Sharing in All of Christ’s Accomplishments

18 I pray that the light of God will illuminate the eyes of your imagination, flooding you with light, until you experience the full revelation of the hope of his calling—that is, the wealth of God’s glorious inheritances that he finds in us, his holy ones! 19 I pray that you will continually experience the immeasurable greatness of God’s power made available to you through faith. Then your lives will be an advertisement of this immense power as it works through you! This is the mighty power 20 that was released when God raised Christ from the dead and exalted him to the place of highest honour and supreme authority in the heavenly realm! Ephesians 1:18-20, The Passion Translation

Most churches often start with teaching new believers on the importance of reading the Bible, serving and praying to God. While these lessons are important, they are not as vital as teaching new believers (and mature ones too) what it means to have been crucified, dead, buried and raised with Christ and now sitting in heavenly places with Him.

Understanding Temptation

1 Then Jesus left the Jordan, full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days to be tempted by the devil. Luke 4:1, Christian Standard Bible

If you don't understand your identity in Christ, you can't feel secure in your relationship with God. This makes it easy for you to fall into temptation. When Satan attacks a particular area of your life and pulls you away from God, it is often an indicator that God wants to bring a blessing or a breakthrough in that area. This explains why the devil had to attack Jesus' identity because he knew that once Jesus truly understood His sonship, our Lord will exercise His God-given authority and power to defeat him.

Overcoming Satan’s Accusation

1 Then Jesus left the Jordan, full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over, he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Luke 4:1-3, Christian Standard Bible

One of Satan's major attacks is against your identity in Christ.

New Wine in New Wineskins

37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. Luke 5:37-38, New International Version

When God is leading you, you cannot do things the old way. Jesus warned us not to pour new wine into old wineskins because they will burst and spill out the wine. Old wineskins represent the rigid and inflexible system of the Old Covenant which cannot contain the expanding "new wine" of the New Covenant. This means once you are transformed by the new way of the Holy Spirit; you can no longer fit into the old way of the law.

A Giving Faith

Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense? James 2:14-17, The Message Bible

Our faith is always a giving faith. It starts with God, in giving us His Son without holding back, and Jesus fully giving His life to us so that we can live, and through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we can express ourselves as children of God through giving and showing acts of kindness to others. In other words, we give because God gave first.

Pruning for Fruitfulness

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; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. John 15:1-2

Do you desire new growth and increase in your life? If so, then you must let God prune you. Often people think pruning is a painful process but the truth is, it is a liberation process. It unburdens what is weighing you down and keeps you from possessing all of what you have in Christ.

Worship Opens Doors to All of God’s Goodness

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

Both the Apostle Paul and Silas didn't fret when they were unjustly imprisoned. They instead chose to worship and praise the Lord because their faith in God was not based on where they were but on whose they were in Christ.

Dwelling in God’s Grace

9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 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 15:9-10

Grace is the power of God to change, and grace is God giving you time to change.

All Things in Christ

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Romans 8:31-32

We hold back from God—not because we are weak, but because we do not know how complete and strong we are in Christ. This thought is actually rooted in unbelief and watered by doubt and confusion. This is why we often ask God for more anointing or more power without realising our Father has already freely provided us with all things through Christ. Then, we become desperate for God in a wrong way—because we are looking to God for what He can give us instead of desiring God for who He is to us.

Intimacy with the Father

35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, [Jesus] departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. Mark 1:35

We live in an incredibly busy world. When work seems to consume much of our time and thinking, it is difficult to find a moment to be still with God. Our problem is not about not having the time for God. It is about not being willing to give our time to God.

Alone Time with God

32 That evening at sundown they brought to [Jesus] all who were sick or oppressed by demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 34 And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. 35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. Mark 1:32-35

No matter how demanding life gets, Jesus always found time to be with the Father alone. After a whole night of ministering to the sick and needy, the first thing Jesus did in the early morning was to pray. This "alone" time was most important for our Lord because everything He did flowed from an intimate relationship with God.

Wisdom for Every Season

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 thoughts on the life God wants them to possess. Often, they become distracted by the cares and concerns that come their way without ever living a more fulfilling life.

Dreaming With God

2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep. Psalm 127:2

A busy life is not necessarily a fruitful life. Busy people do not necessarily experience the success they had imagined, or dreamed. Fruitful people, however, can even find success in their sleep. The Psalmist tells us that our Father God provides for those he loves, even while they are sleeping. A good sleep is a gift from God.

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.

Quiet Resting Place

80 So the child [John] grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel. Luke 1:80

John’s name means “God’s grace”. The ministry of John the Baptist marks the end of the Old Covenant and the start of the New Covenant. Before his supernatural birth, the Angel Gabriel foretold John’s significant ministry of grace. And when he was born, his father Zechariah prophesied John’s future as a forerunner of the Lord. John grew and became stronger in spirit. Luke tells us how God withdrew John into the desert to prepare him for his public ministry.

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. Luke 2:40

52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men. Luke 2:52

Growth is the hallmark of sonship.

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.

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 you from God's grace.

God with Us

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 1:23

Are you facing a situation that makes you think God has forgotten you? The story of Jesus’ first coming assures us that God will never ever leave or forsake us.

Marvelled

16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marvelled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. Luke 2:16-18

The gospel is the amazing news of God’s grace.

Wrapped In Swaddling Clothes

12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. Luke 2:12

The shepherds in Bethlehem were responsible in raising sheep for the Passover sacrifice. They would swaddle a new born lamb to protect it from injuring itself so that it is without blemish or defect and perfect for purpose. One night, while the shepherds were keeping watch over the Temple flocks, a host of angels appeared and announced to them the birth of the Saviour. They were told to look for the sign of a swaddled babe in a manger.

Good Tidings of Great Joy

8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 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. Luke 2:8-10

The shepherds were gripped by fear when they saw the angel of the Lord standing before them. Their fear however was soon turned to joy. The change came when they heard the angel announcing to them the good and glorious news of great joy which will make everyone glad.

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.

Glory to God

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:13-14

The gospel is God’s favour resting on us.

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 of "who begets who", these two genealogies are not irrelevant information. They are much more important and far more exciting than we often presume. A careful study will yield lots of wonderful insights.

Genealogies

1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham. Matthew 1:1-17

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 Jesus didn't exist or if He ever did, Jesus wasn't divine.

Word Became Flesh

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us... John 1:14

The birth of Jesus Christ is one of the greatest stories ever told. God in Christ took on our human flesh—the Incarnation—so that He can meet our human problems and struggles in a real, and not magical way. Jesus experienced every part of our human experiences so that He is truly qualified to meet our human needs through a relationship with Him.

Fulfilment

45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfilment of those things which were told her from the Lord. Luke 1:45

We know from the gospel of Elizabeth's barrenness and Mary's bitterness. Just when they thought that life had nothing more to offer them, both women marvellously experienced the grace of God in a significant way. God's grace is God's power turning their trials and tribulations into triumph and jubilations. Grace is revolutionary.

Believe God with His Words

Growth involves change, but often we resist change because we are so used to life as it is now, and unwilling to shift from our own comfort zone to a new season. New seasons are stressful, and they often produce lots of fear and apprehension because we have never been there or done that before. Yet, new seasons are critical because they introduce new perspectives of God in our relationship with Him.

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.

God of the Impossible

37 For with God nothing will be impossible. Luke 1:37

Mary was greatly troubled and confused by the angel’s words and wondered what they meant. Circumstantially she questioned how it was possible for her to conceive since she was a virgin. The angel however assured Mary that nothing was impossible for God.

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.