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.

Fully Reconciled

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

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

Grace to Change

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

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

Complete

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

What does it mean to be complete in Christ?

Cast Your Care

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

Called to Pray

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

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

Strengthen Yourself in Christ

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

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

Unsearchable Riches in Christ

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

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

The Mercy of God

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

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

In Everything, Give Thanks

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

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

Every Day I Will Bless You

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

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

Sons of the Father

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

Redemption

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

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

United with Christ

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

Made Alive in Christ

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

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

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

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

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

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

Raised With Christ

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

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

Baptized into Christ

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

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

Buried With Christ

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

Crucified the Flesh

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

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

Crucified With Christ

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

Hidden In Christ

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

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

The Exchanged Life

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

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

Partners

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

I Never Stopped Giving Thanks

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

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

Serving the Good News

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

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

Passion

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

A Church of Friends

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

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

God Gives the Increase

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

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

Measuring Success

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

Good Eye or Evil Eye

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

Living the God-Led Life

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

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

We Need Each Other

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

Proof of Faith

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

Believing in God’s Goodness

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

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

Complaining does not change circumstances. Believing God does.

Let God’s Word Refine You

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

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

Taking Hold of Your Purpose

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

Be Strong in Jesus

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

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

Face to Face

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

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

Give Yourself to Others

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

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

Cheerful Giver

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

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

Give in the Right Spirit

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

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

Taking the Form of a Bondservant

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

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

God Foreordained the Gospel

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

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

Ishmael Mocking Isaac

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

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

The Blood of Jesus

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

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

Believe God

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

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

More than Conquerors

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

Life in the Spirit

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

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

Confidence toward God

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

Do Not Worry About Tomorrow

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

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

New Name, New Destiny

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

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

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

Taste and See

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

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

Much More

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

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

Become Who You Are

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

Grace and Peace

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

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

Free to Worship

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

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

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

God Answers Prayer

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

To abide in Christ is to abide in His words.

Serving as Sons

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

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

Legitimate Sons

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

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

The Super-Abounding Grace of God

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

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

Grow in Grace and Knowledge

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

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

Enemies of the Cross

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

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

Grace-Made

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

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

God’s Grace Is Sufficient for You

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

Fully Mature in the Lord

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

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

The Kingdom of God Is At Hand

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

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

Walk in the Spirit

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

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

A Spirit-led Life

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

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

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

Justified by Law or Justified by Grace

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

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

An Awakening of Righteousness

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

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

You Are Worthy

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

Willing

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

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

In Latter Times

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

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

God is Good

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

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

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

The Incredible Greatness of God’s Power

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

Holiness Is the Fruit of Grace

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

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

Be Perfect As Your Heavenly Father Is Perfect

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

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

To Know the Love of Christ

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

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

Obeying God

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

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

Law of Christ

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

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

The Goodness of God

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

Keeping the Law or Hearing of Faith

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

Grace as God’s Enabling Power

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

Unwavering Faith

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

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

The Healing of Forgiveness

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

God Will Do Us Right

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

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

Following Jesus

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

What does it mean to follow Jesus?

Grace is Sin-resistance

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

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

A Change of Heart

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

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

The New Covenant Life

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

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

Praying in the Reality of the New Covenant

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

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

Pray Without Ceasing

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

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

In the Knowledge of Jesus

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

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

Praying In Jesus’ Name

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

God Will Carry You

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

Time and Chance Happen to Them All

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

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

Making Disciples

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

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

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

Persistence

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

Released from the Law

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

The Law Brings the Knowledge of Sin

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

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

The law brings the knowledge of sin.

Be Careful What You Think

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

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

The Positive Effects of Worship

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

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

Created for Worship

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

Good Things

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

Your spiritual growth and maturity are connected to your identity.

Save to the Uttermost

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

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

Ready to Give, Willing to Share

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

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

Abide in God’s Love

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

Never Cease Praying for One Another

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

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

Faithful in Christ Jesus

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

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

Changed In Christ

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

Living in Grace

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

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

Called

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

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

Dealing with Life’s Storms

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

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

Legitimate Sons and Daughters

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

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

Search Me, O God

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

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

In His Presence

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

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

From Glory into Glory

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

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

Sanctified by the Truth

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

The Grace Effect

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

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

Experiencing God’s Love and Forgiveness

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

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

Established in Righteousness

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

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

Right Time

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

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

In the Strength of Christ

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

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

Peacemakers

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

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

Made Perfect in Love

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

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

In Fear or In Love

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

Is your relationship with God based in fear or love?

The Kingdom Is At Hand

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

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

Don’t Shrug off God’s Discipline

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

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

Follow Christ

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

Knowing God’s Love First

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

Not Orphans, but Sons

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

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

God’s Eyes Are On the Righteous

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

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

Come Boldly

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

Choosing Life over Death

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

Partakers of Christ

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

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

Consumer or Contributor

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

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

Acceptance and Love

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

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

Compelled by Love

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

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

Faithful Friends

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

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

Resolving Conflicts

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

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

A Healthy Church Life

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

Energised by Love

6 faith working through love. Galatians 5:6

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

Behold!

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

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

Be Confident and Steadfast In Christ

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

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

Hiding from God

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

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

God’s Love Never Fails

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

8 Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:8

God’s Love Endures All Things

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

7 Love endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7

God’s Love Hopes All Things

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

7 Love hopes all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7

God’s Love Believes All Things

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

7 Love believes all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7

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

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

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

God’s Love Bears All Things

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

7 Love bears all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7

God’s Love Rejoices in the Truth

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

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

God’s Love Does Not Rejoice In Iniquity

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

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

God’s Love Is Not Provoked

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

5 Love is not provoked. 1 Corinthians 13:5

God’s Love Thinks No Evil

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

5 Love thinks no evil. 1 Corinthians 13:5

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

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

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

God’s Love Is Not Self Seeking

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

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

God’s Love Does Not Behave Rudely

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

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

God’s Love Does Not Puff Up

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

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

God’s Love Does Not Parade Itself

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

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

God’s Love Does Not Envy

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

God’s Love Is Kind

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

4 Love is kind. 1 Corinthians 13:4

God’s Love Is Longsuffering

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

4 Love suffers long. 1 Corinthians 13:4

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

God is Faithful

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

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

Trust in the Lord Completely

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

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

Feasting on Heavenly Realities

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

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

Sit, Seek, Set

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

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

Co-seated with Christ

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

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

Real Rest

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

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

Christ at the Door

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

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

Right Thinking

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

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

The Productive Life

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

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

Come to Jesus

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

Enter That Rest

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

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

God’s Silence

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

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

The Light Shines in the Darkness

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

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

The Strength of God’s Grace

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

Sensing the Presence of God

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

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

Partnership with Christ

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

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

Consider Jesus

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

Give What You Have

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

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

Doers of the Word

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

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

Intercessor

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

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

Witness of the Spirit

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

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

Live Out Your Identity

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

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

Defined by Your Identity in Christ

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

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

Identity and Healing

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

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

Your Identity Comes from God

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

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

The Importance of Identity

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

God’s Perspective of Your Identity

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

Grace Rests on Jesus

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

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

The Grace of Freedom

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

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

Rejecting God’s Counsel

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

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

The Shield of Favour

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

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

Reign in Life

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

Experiencing Jesus

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

Persistent Hearing

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

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

God’s Heart Cry

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

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

Fruitfulness Comes from True Rest

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

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

Be God’s Helping Hand

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

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

Be a Barnabas

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

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

Right Friends, Wrong Friends

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

Choosing Friends

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

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

The Gift of True Friendship

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

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

The Spirit of Excellence

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

To Finish Well

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

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

You Are Anointed In Christ

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

The Blessing of Revelation

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

You Have Everything in Christ

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

Spirit and Scriptures

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

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

Holiness Is Pure Happiness

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

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

The Revelation of Holiness

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

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

Fruit of Holiness

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

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

Seamless Living

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

Christ Our Chief Cornerstone

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

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

God Is In the Big Things and Small Things Of Life

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

Surrendering in Suffering

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

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

Divine Appointment

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

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

Obedience and Grace

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

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

Freedom from Sin

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

Believing What You Heard

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

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

Forever and Fully Satisfied in Christ

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

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

The Gift of Faith

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

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

Small Thinking Limits God

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

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

Jesus Is Qualified In Every Way

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

Knowing the Truth

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

In Christ

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

In God’s Image and Likeness

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

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

God’s Good Plan

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

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

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

To Finish Well

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

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

Resurrection Sunday

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

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

Silent Saturday

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

The War Is Over!

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

The New Commandment

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

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

Sweet Fragrance of Worship

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

Cleansed Conscience

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

Cleansing of the Temple

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

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

Hosanna

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

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

Work Out Your Own Salvation

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

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

Coming Close to God

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

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

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

The Holy Spirit in You

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

Take Courage

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

Called and Chosen by God’s Grace

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

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

Rest by Revelation

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

Knowing God

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

Can you know God's will without knowing God?

Wonderfully Made

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

We are always worthy in God's eyes.

Being Fully Persuaded

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

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

The Gospel Is Perfect Rest

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

Highly Favoured in Christ

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

Getting Right with God

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

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

The Gift of God’s Love

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

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

God’s Grace in You

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

Deeper Passion

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

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

Right Thinking

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

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

Coming to Our Senses

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

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

Rivers of Living Water

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

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

Fullness in Christ

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

Don’t Become Dull of Hearing

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

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

Jesus Our Bread of Life

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

Healing In The Name of Jesus

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

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

God’s Grace will Catch You

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

There’s More

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

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

Bring Glory to God

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

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

Take God at His Word

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

God's vision is God's provision!

Believing In God

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

God At Work

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

The Avodah Lifestyle

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

Identity and Security

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

Authentic Obedience

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

God is Love

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

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

Rooted and Grounded In Love

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

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

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

Faith Working Through Love

6 faith working through love. Galatians 5:6

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

Don’t Grieve the Holy Spirit

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

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

You Are Not Your Own

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

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

Witness of the Spirit

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

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

Led by the Spirit

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

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

Super-Abounding Grace

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

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

God’s Goodness Leads to Repentance

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

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

God’s Forgiveness Makes Your Faith Stronger

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

God and we often treat sinners differently.

Choose Jesus

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

Cornerstone or Stumbling Block

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

Self-righteousness is the biggest obstacle to salvation.

Be More Like Christ

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

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

A Thin Place

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

Know the Word

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

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

Walk Worthy Of Your Call

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

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

True Service

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

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

Protecting Your Purpose

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

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

Living the “Avodah” Life

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

Inconsistency Is Not Hypocrisy

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

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

Obedience before Success

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

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

Grace at Work

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

In the Love of God

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

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

Captured by Grace

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

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

Live For Your Purpose

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

The Kingdom Of God Is Within You

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

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

The Shield of Favour

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

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

Divine Appointment

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

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

Live Out Your Identity

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

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

The Blessing of God’s Love

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

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

Yield to the Gospel

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

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

Today God Is First

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

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

God Will Never Leave nor Forsake You

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

Chosen Out Of the Ordinary

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

Rivers of Living Water

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

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

Wherever the River Flows

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

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

Your Confidence in God

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

Watch What God Is Doing

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

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

Conformity to Christ

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

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

Obedience of Faith

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

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

God Has Put Eternity in Your Heart

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

Be Ready for A New Thing

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

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

Turning Point

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

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

A Conqueror with Christ

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

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

Don’t Let the Devil Deceive You

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

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

Don’t Have an Evil Heart of Unbelief

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

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

Fear or Faith

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

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

Teach Us to Number Our Days

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

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

God Is Bringing You into A Good Land

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

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

Breaking New Ground

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

New beginning means breaking new ground.

The Year of Complete New Beginnings

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

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

Choose to Give Thanks

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

New Season Brings New Favour

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

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

Gift of Heaven

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

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

Gifts of Worship

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

There is a connection between our worship and our giving.

Worship Precedes Giving

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

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

Born A King

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

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

His Name is Jesus

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

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

God with Us

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

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

Dreaming with God

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

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

Don’t React to Life

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

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

According to the Word

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

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

Where Does God Fit In?

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

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

Make Room for God

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

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

Favour With God

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

Mary, Blessed Among Women

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

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

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

Reversal of Jeconiah’s Curse

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

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

The Five Women in Jesus’ Genealogy

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

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

Genealogies

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

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

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

A Prophetic Generation

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

Obedience by Faith

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

The Bait of Offence

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

Let God Lead You

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

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

Comprehend With All The Saints

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

Power of Grace

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

Spirit and Scriptures

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

The Revelation of Holiness

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

Holiness Is Pure Happiness

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

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

Hearing God

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

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

Life with God

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

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

Surprised by God’s Amazing Love

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

Gospel to the Poor

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

Taking Hold of Your Purpose

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

More than Conquerors

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

Make Your Friendship Count

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

In His Time

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

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

Right Time

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

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

Begin Again with God

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

God Speaks to Us by His Son

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

Knowing God’s Love First

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

The Father and You

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

Friendship with God

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

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

Knowledge of the Truth

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

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

The Reality of Truth

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

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

The Revelation of Spiritual Growth

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

Surprised by God

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

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

Knowing Who God Made You in Christ

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

Lordship of Christ

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

Real Rest

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

Intimacy with God

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

Curb Your Fault-finding Habit

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

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

True Fellowship

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

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

Talk Back to the Devil

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

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

Complete In Christ

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

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

Wait

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

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

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

The Goodness of The Lord

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

Gloriously Saved

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

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