Change that Picture!

Morning Dew

 

Key Passage: Romans 15:13

 

Key Text: Romans 15:13 – “that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.”

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Hope is such a powerful thing. It has incredible power to energise one and keep one going in difficult situations. But hope is also often a misunderstood word. People say I hope to go somewhere. I hope to be someone. I hope to marry. I hope to do this and do that. This type of hope is not the biblical hope that has power to transform. This is more wishful thinking and is only good for a fleeting ‘feel good’ factor. Real hope is more of a state of being, only arrived at after faith has been concretised or established in a person’s heart. It is not wishful thinking; it is a firm conviction of an expected end framed and shaped by the word of God.

Hope is defined in lame man’s terms as a ‘picture framed by the words of God’, that has taken hold of one’s faculties, that any other picture contrary to what is hoped for is only an aberration. Hope has a way of creating joy and pleasurable expectation. But the devil has a sinister way in which he tries to muddy up the waters, by using contrary pictures to create fear and this can affect us negatively. My wife always says that Satan is the master of Hollywood. That he uses photo tricks and manipulated pictures to distort the truth, so one would believe his lies and then be trapped. I agree with her. Satan is a counterfeiter. He knows that God is the God of hope. He knows hope is a picture framed by the words of God. So what does he do? He lies and paints negative pictures and once you believe those pictures, then you are in his evil grasp and he can do harm to such people.

I once became quite ill, with what was a condition that had no real cure, and I entered into a real battle in my mind and soul. The enemy painted pictures of death and hopelessness and quite honestly I despaired and began to sink lower and lower into a deplorable condition. But through the help of the Holy Spirit and some faithful believers, I began studying the word of God and dwelling on all the healing promises. I began confessing the scriptures and I eventually got to the place, where every time Satan brought his evil thoughts and pictures, I countered them with the word of God. The word grew in me and one day discovered I had a different picture inside my heart. I began to know for certain I was healed and would not die of the illness. The pictures filled me with joy and pleasure and I kept them before my eyes. Gradually the pictures of the enemies faded away and the pictures of God’s healing in my life became the only pictures I had. I eventually became completely healed and the doctors were so amazed, they could only call it a miracle.

Hope is powerful. It is a picture framed by the word of God and once it is formed, no power of hell can deny you your miracle. That is why it not possible to have hope without faith and it is impossible to have faith without the word of God. God creates only by His word and everything we need for life and godliness is available through His word. So what are you waiting for?

Finally, remember, that we have a helper, the Holy Spirit, who is the finger of God. He paints marvellous pictures on the canvases of our spirits and souls using the words of God. Just ask Him to change the evil picture and you get under the word of God. Fill your heart and mind with it and leave the rest to Him. He is a Master Painter.

Let’s pray: Father God, you are the God of hope. The God of great outcomes. Please empower me by your Holy Spirit to replace every evil and negative picture in my heart and mind with pictures framed by your words. Fill me with your hope and joy and let me bubble over with hope by the Holy Spirit. In Jesus name. Amen.

God is the The Master of Turnarounds

Morning Dew

 

Key Passage: Psalm 126 (Read this entire Psalm)

 

Key Text: Psalm 126: 4 – “Turn again our captivity, O Jehovah, As the streams in the South.”

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Sometimes it appears as if one is locked into a permanent state of defeat and all one needs to do is learn how to cope with the situation. It could be an incurable illness, a financial position, childlessness, singleness etc. One may actually have lost all hope of a change to the situation, and as such one just settles for whatever that condition is. People pray, fast and sacrifice great offerings and still they haven’t got the desired breakthrough, so it appears that God will never answer those prayers. We resign and just simply get on with life. This is quite understandable, as the bible tells us that hope deferred makes the heart sick. So as a way of coping we simply stop expecting and believing. But today’s scripture tells us something quite marvellous.

God always has the final say. He would be glorified in every situation and we must remember, He is still in control, even when everything looks bleak. The reading today, shows us that God turned around the captivity of Zion. They had been in captivity in Babylon for decades and all hope of returning to Israel and Jerusalem was fading, but God was not done with Israel. God was about to show His power in a desolate situation. He suddenly opened the way for them and they returned to israel after seventy years in captivity.

The writer of Psalm 126, started by saying “When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, we were like those who dream and our mouths were filled with laughter and our tongues with singing.” God is the master of turnarounds and He is the God who suddenly shows up and releases His people, when all hope is lost.  Reading further into this powerful Psalm, one would observe in verse 4 a small prayer “Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south.” The streams of the south actually is a figure of speech describing a phenomenon that happens in Israel. The South is actually the Negev desert or wilderness. If you have ever been there, then you would understand what this means. The Negev is so dry and desolate, it is totally unimaginable that anything can grow or develop there. But at a certain period in the year flash floods from rains sweep suddenly into the Negev desert and within a few days, green shoots appear all over the place. The floods come totally unexpected and quite fast. So most people are never ready, they are just surprised. God will surprise you!

So today, I want to encourage you not to give up. God is the God who turns the desert into a fertile ground. He is the God of the Negev. The God of the turn around. I like what the Psalmist wrote, he said, “we were like those who dream and our mouths were filled with laughter and our tongues with singing. Then they said among the nations, The Lord has done great things for them. The Lord has done great things for us and we are glad.” The Lord will fill your mouth with laughter and your tongue with songs. People will see what God has done for you and they will declare His praise. You will be glad when the Lord turns around your situation.

Sometimes it appears as if God is late, but He is never late. He is always on time!

He is the God who turns things around and makes everything beautiful in its own time!

Let’s Pray: Father In Heaven, I can only gaze upon you majesty and fall in awe of you. I want to affirm that you are the God of the ‘suddenlies’ and the God of the ‘turnarounds’. I wait for You Lord. I want to laugh and I want to sing new songs of praise to You. Come as the streams of the Negev and turn my desert situation into a green lush field. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Pray Your Worries Away!

Morning Dew

 

Key Passage: Philippians 4:6-7

 

Key Text: Philippians 4:6 – “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

 

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It has been said that most of the things we fear are not real and baseless. We worry about so many things and dissipate precious emotional energy just worrying and living in fear. I have personally learnt that worrying is a fruitless endeavour, so I often resist the emotion of worry, when it comes to me. But that does not mean I still don’t worry about something’s, I just have learnt not to give it much time. Honestly, what has your worry produced? What value has it added to your life? Its difficult to find any real advantage worry brings. Actually, what does ‘worry’ mean?

worry |ˈwərē|verb ( worries, worrying, worried 1 [ no obj. ]give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles:  : I began to worry whether I had done the right thing.

• [ with obj. ] cause to feel anxiety or concern:

This is the definition in the dictionary and from this we can deduce something. It is a type of fixation of the mind on dwelling on some difficulty or trouble or some apprehension of a future event. So worrying is a mind thing and can be arrested.

The scripture tells us we should not be anxious about anything. Nothing, means nothing. God does not want us to be worried or anxious about anything, because He is bigger than our problems and there is nothing He cannot handle or deal with. That’s why Paul said what he said in today’s key text. He gave us the way to handle our worries and anxieties. He said we should first pray about them. Prayer means asking God to help deal with the issue or matter. There are many promises in the bible about God answering the prayer of the righteous. Pray and be sure to understand that God is able to deal with the issue. Secondly, we should make supplication, meaning we should entreat God as you request favour from a superior official. We talk to God from the perspective of His power and glory and wisdom. Thirdly, we are to offer thanksgiving. I have written a blog on the power of thanksgiving. In this context, we thank God as a way of affirming that He would handle the matter and would give us the best outcome.

The promise is that the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding will mount garrison over our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. This is an awesome promise. That if we pray and supplicate and thank God for what we are worried about, God will supernaturally send His peace (Shalom), into our hearts and minds and they would act as a garrison or a defense, over our hearts and minds, so we would not be anxious or worried again.

Let me say unequivocally that worrying has no positive fruits. It only increases the blood pressure and damages the heart. It robs one of sleep and emotional energy one could easily use for other productive ventures. Besides all this, why don’t you turn your worry into prayer and turn over the matter to the only Person who never worries and can fix all worries? Turn it over to God in Jesus name.

 

Let’s pray: Father God, I ask you to forgive me for worrying about things. I decide today to obey your word and worry about nothing from now on. I roll all my issues and apprehensions over to you and ask you to help me with them. I thank you for your peace and your assurance in these circumstances. I believe you have heard me and know you would look after me. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

 

Finding Your way in Life!

Morning Dew

 

Key Passage: Psalm 32: 8-11

 

Key Text: Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”

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If we all had a clear understanding of our purpose and direction in life, there would be very little room for petty rivalry and jealousy. Even more importantly, there will be many happy fulfilled people on earth. I have discovered that when a person is in their purpose, they are content and they are happy. They also have an air of invincibility about them, because they are focussed and cannot be stopped. The God, who created all of us, has a purpose in mind for creating us. This is really the crux of the matter. Most of us are unfulfilled because we are not in God’s purpose for our lives. We are still searching, or perhaps in plain disobedience to the Lord.

Today’s passage is a promise by God, that He would instruct us and teach us in the way we should go. There is something very profound about this choice of words. Instruct has to do with expert guidance. If you are learning to drive, you need a good instructor. He tells you what each of the dials on the panel of the car is for, he also tells you how to use them. Instruction is orderly and step by step. God promises to instruct us. Then He also said He would teach us. The Hebrew word here is Yara, which means to flow or point. God says he would point out to us our direction in life. Its quite comforting to know, that if one is lost, God can point pout the way and direction for ones life. If you’ve ever been lost in a foreign country, then you would appreciate the joy of having someone who can just tell you in which direction you should be heading to get to your destination. So God not only commits to telling us the details of our purpose, but also to yara or point us in the direction.

God also added one more dimension to this promise, that He would guide us with His eye. God sees. He sees much farther and clearer than we can ever see. He knows what is round the corner, and He knows what is way ahead of us. If you have a Satellite Navigation System in your car, then you may understand this concept a bit better. There are times when you plot in your coordinates into the SatNav and it calculates your journey, then it tells you there are disruptions along the way and it maps out another route for you to get you to your desired destination in time. The SatNav has eyes. It sees from space the journey ahead and can advice on a better route to take if there are problems ahead. So it is with our God. He sees from heaven much clearer than any human created SatNav system and promises to guide us with his eye. This is powerful.

So why are we not walking in God’s purpose? There are many reasons, but I would only look at one today. Could it be that we have never asked Him. I mean diligently seek His face to tell us what He has planned for us. In Jeremiah 33:3, God said ‘call to me, and I will answer you and show you great and unsearchable things you knew nothing about. The word call here is the word qara, which means to cry out and invite. Have you desperately cried out to God for His plans and direction? I guarantee according to His promises that He would answer and He would show.

 

Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, as the writer of the Psalms cried our to you, that I am a stranger in this earth, do not hide your commandments from me. I confess that I am a stranger on earth and I need you to teach me and instruct me in the way that I should go and guide me with your eye. Father, Please show me the direction of my life and let me walk in it in Jesus name I pray. Amen.

 

Be Gentle to All

Morning Dew

 

Key Text: Philippians 4:5 –Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.”

 

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There are certain graces that make people stand out. God in creating the human being, made him to be interdependent and as such we cannot be an “island unto ourselves”. If this is true, the more we are able to relate and dwell with others in peace and unity, the more successful we would be as human beings. It is quite interesting also, that Christians have the power to heal the sick, cast out demon and even raise the dead; yet it is our ability to be gracious and forgiving and loving and tender and kind and gentle that truly marks us as followers of Jesus Christ.

Our text today, encourages us to let our gentleness be known to all. This word is the same word for reasonableness. It also means forbearance, mildness, considerateness, moderation, equitable, fair, gentle, mild and unselfishness. These graces can work wonders in a relationship. I have met people, that within a few minutes of meeting them, they just put you off because their loquaciousness, verbosity and being simply overbearing, you just don’t naturally like them; and yet there are people you meet and their gentleness is so attractive that you are drawn to them and want to know them even more.

There are many reasons why people are not gentle and people make excuses saying they have a different personality and they are just not the quiet type, that they are vivacious, effervescent and restless, so they can’t really be gentle. I think they miss the point. Personality type is not gentleness. It is a deliberate act of the will, controlled by the Spirit of God. Gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and whenever God is at work in a person, one of the evidences is this ability to be gentle.

Jesus was gentle. He was kind, and even in the face of incredible adversity, He remained gentle and gracious. Take the people who came to arrest him in the garden of Gethsemane; Peter rose up and cut off the ear of one of them with a sword, Jesus got up and restrained Peter and healed the ear of the man injured. The nature of Christ is that of a lamb and we can learn from Him. He said in Matthew 11:29  – “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

This gentleness is also His meekness. Meekness is not weakness as some may think, but a supreme ability to control ones anger and exercise great self-restraint in the face of provocation. Only a powerful person can be called meek. Moses was described by God as the meekest man on earth. People who have power but can keep it under control are known as meek. So gentleness is a form of meekness and we can all be a bit meeker and gentler, with the help of the Holy Spirit. Actually, we can be gentle as we yield a bit more to the Holy Spirit.

The passage today ends with a statement, ‘The Lord is at hand.’ This means fist and foremost that God is coming soon and He would recompense us for all our acts of gentleness. But it also means that He is watching us. Lastly it also means, He is at our side to help us. The Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. So when we are in situations that demand that we be gentle, remember the Lord is present by His Spirit to help us to be gracious.

 

Let’s Pray: Father God, I want to be more gracious and gentle in my relationship with others. Please help me by the presence of Your Holy Spirit to manifest this fruit of the Holy Spirit and be gentle to all. I ask this in Jesus name. Amen.

Grace To Never Avenge Yourself

Morning Dew

 

Key Passage: Romans 12:14-21

 

Key Text: Romans 12: 19 – Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God,”

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The ways of the world are diametrically opposed to that of the kingdom of God. The world teaches that we should push and shove our way to the top; the bible teaches that the way to the top is by humbling ourselves and serving others. The world teaches that we must avenge and revenge if we are wronged, but the bible teaches the exact opposite.

In today’s simple passage, God instructs us clearly not to avenge ourselves. But we should leave this to God. The way it is said is that one should give place for wrath. The wrath of God comes to those who offend us and we refuse to avenge ourselves upon. Wrath is God’s anger towards the offender.

In 1 Samuel 25, David was offended by a man called Nabal. David was so angry he was about to go and kill Nabal and his entire household, when Abigail met him and told him not to be a fool by avenging himself. David understood exactly what Abigail meant and he relented. Soon afterwards, God struck Nabal with a heart attack and he died.

Quite honestly, it is not ones wish for anyone to come under the wrath of God and we actually pray for those who offend us that God will forgive them and not visit them in his wrath, because it can be quite severe. But the first step to this is to recognise that it is not our business to revenge or avenge ourselves. We must roll all our offences to the Lord and allow Him to defend us.

It is hard not to want to avenge oneself. Something in every one of us wants to fight back and retaliate for ills done against us. Some people just love to revenge and they are proud to be called vindictive. Some leaders are known to be so vindictive that anyone who offends them will not escape their wrath. This is not the way of God or the way of Christ. Jesus prayed that God will forgive those who were insulting Him and crucifying Him on the cross, because they know not what the do.

It is worth reading again today’s passage and let it minister to you.

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. 20 To the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

I have heard people say, ‘I can’t let go. I can’t forgive. I have to revenge’. Please understand that you may also be guilty of offending, when you avenge yourself, because you do not know when you may have crossed the line and over avenged yourself.  Take the case of a man whose son was killed by a neighbour, and the man goes into the neighbours house and kills the man and his son in vengeance. Who is now guilty of double murder? That is why God says, “Vengeance is mine!”

If you let go and allow God to come to your defence, you would be surprised at how God will avenge and recompense at the same time. So leave this vengeance to God. If you are struggling, ask God for His grace, never to avenge yourself.

 

Let’s Pray: Father God, I ask you to forgive me for all the times I have tried to avenge myself and revenge for ills done to me. Today, I release all who have offended me into your hands and ask for your mercy in dealing with them. Father, it is not my right to avenge myself, it is yours. Give me the grace to never avenge myself again. Thank you for helping me in this matter in Jesus name I pray. Amen.

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the basis of the Church’s Power

Morning Dew

 

Key Passage: Ephesians 1:15-22

 

Key Text: Ephesians 1: 19-20 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,”

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Knowledge is powerful. Understanding is liberating; But wisdom is most profitable. Wisdom has been defined as the application of knowledge. But without understanding there is no real knowledge. A popular preacher has the habit of saying, ‘you don’t have a financial problem, you have a wisdom problem”. ‘You don’t have a marriage problem, you have a wisdom problem’. ‘You don’t have a health problem you have a wisdom problem.’ In essence he believes that every problem confronting man, has a solution, but it requires that one pursues the knowledge that will be applied in wisdom and the problem will be solved. I like his hypothesis and I believe he is correct. The only addition I would venture to make is to say wisdom in the exclusive preserve of God and unless one is prepared to seek His face, wisdom may elude us.

So today’s passage tells us something quite profound and after being saved for over twenty seven years and being a pastor for about twenty one years, I can honestly say, I have never really contemplated the depth of this passage as I did recently and have just really began to understand the fundamental truth that undergirds the power of a believer in Christ Jesus.

Paul in praying for the Ephesian Church, prayed as follows:

 

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: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 

 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

 

 

Paul felt it was vital for the church in Ephesus to know what the exceeding greatness of His power towards believers in Christ Jesus, which is according to or in other words aligned with and in the same context, with His mighty power which He worked in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places far above…

 

Ephesians 2:6 tells us, “and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus”; this scripture tells us one very vital point, that we were raised with Christ and seated with Him in the same heavenly places in Christ Jesus, far above….

 So here is what I have learnt, and I will be summarising. That God made man and gave him dominion of the earth. That man sinned and lost his estate and dominion of the earth to the usurper, Satan in what is often called ‘the fall’. That Jesus Christ came in the form of man and suffered the death of a sinner on the cross for mankind, taking ‘the fall’ and falling to man’s lowly state, and in this way He somehow bound Himself to mankind and became one with us, except He did not sin. Then as He was raised from the dead, we were raised with Him. (God gave a powerful sign on this truth and you can find it in Matthew 27:51-53, please read this absolutely powerful sign).

 

Every man who believes in Jesus Christ, is automatically raised with Him and seated in the heavenly places far above…In raising Jesus from the dead, God exerted His power, the power to give life, the power of creation, and seated Christ and redeemed man in the heavenly places. Before man had dominion of the earth, but lost it, but in Christ Jesus the dominion was restored, but it extended into the heavens also. So the position of redeemed man is not just to rule and reign on earth with Jesus, but to reign from heaven with Him.

 

The authority of a believer is the authority of Jesus Christ, who is Lord over all. In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me, go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” The Church, which is the body of Christ, has been given the delegated authority of Jesus Christ, because we have been raised with Him and seated in the heavenly places, far above…

Far above what?  

All principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

Here the bible tells us the scope of the authority and dominion. All. So there is no power in God’s creation that is not subject to Jesus Christ and by association, the Church. We are the executors of Jesus authority and power.

22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

 

So, it has become abundantly clear to me that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is basis of the power of the Church, but the Church needs to apprehend the fullness of this power and authority, so we can fully accomplish the mission of Jesus Christ on earth and grow into our role in the age to come.

 

How does this affect you as a child of God? You have this resurrection power resident in you. You have the mandate of Jesus Christ to act on His behalf. You and I are seated with Him in the heavenly places, far above….

 

Let’s pray: Father God, thank you for the authority we have in Christ Jesus as believers in Jesus Christ. Thank you that when you raised Him from the dead, we were raised along with Him. Thank you that you have seated Him at your right hand side in the heavenly places, far above all power and dominion. Thank you that we are seated with him there also. Please help me to learn how to exercise my authority as a believer and remember that the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, dwells in me and that power is available to me for the advancement of God’s Kingdom. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.