Receiving the Word

The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. (John 4:50 ESV)

It is possible to have light and yet be in darkness. Why is this so? Because it’s not about just having the light, but what you do with the light that you have. If you’re in a room, and the room gets dark, and there’s light in the room, but you don’t turn it on, you’ll be in darkness. Same with the Word. You can have it and yet be poor and miserable. You can have it and yet suffer and perish as though you never had it. You may read it, you may hear it preached, and yet never benefit from it as long as you do not receive the Word.

There’s a difference between hearing and listening. Hearing can be spontaneous, but listening is deliberate. That’s why the bible says My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. (Proverbs 4:20).

When the Word of God comes to you and you approach it with a “convince me enough” attitude, you’ll gain nothing from it. The Word of God is light, and you turn that light on by receiving it. To receive the Word is to simply accept it as so. It’s just like learning the alphabet. An A is an A – no questions asked. No one ever asked why an A is written the way it is. Everyone just learns that it’s an A and accepts it as so.

In the opening scripture, a man came to Jesus and pleaded with Him, saying “Sir, come down before my child dies.” (John 4:49) Jesus didn’t go with the man to his home to heal his child. Jesus simply said, “Go; your son will live.” (John 4:50) Then the bible goes on to say that the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. (John 4:50 ESV). This is the attitude that the Lord expects of us when we encounter His Word. Jesus cannot lie, so when He speaks, it’s in our own interest to believe Him without hesitation.

Personally, I tend to worry a lot. But ever since I learned the principle of receiving God’s Word, I always stand on God’s Word in Philippians 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:7. When I have any issue, I pray about it, and stop thinking about it. And every time, I lean on God’s Word that way, the situation resolves in my favour. God’s Word is trustworthy.

As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” (John 4:51-53 ESV) Jesus didn’t go with the man to His house. He didn’t pray either! That doesn’t make sense. But because the man believed, he had his miracle. Don’t be too bothered about the Word making sense. Sometimes it will, and sometimes it won’t. But all you have to do is receive it by accepting it as so, and you’ll be victorious at every count.

Whatever situation you’re facing today, find out what God’s Word says about it and receive it. Stand on it and make a declaration, and then watch the situation resolve in your favour.

God’s Word to You!

The Cross – Outside Time

Everyone living on earth will worship it, everyone whose name is not written in the Book of Life. That book belongs to the lamb who was slaughtered before the creation of the world. (Revelations 13:8 GW)

The reason why there is no more condemnation for sin for all who believe in Jesus, is not because the Lord’s standards have been lowered. But rather because He is a just God. It’s wrong to punish an offender twice for the same offense. And since our Lord Jesus bore our sins on the cross, and took the full punishment for our sins, it’s wrong and unjust for God to punish anyone who believes in Jesus Christ for their sins.

It is assumed and even taught in some places that when you give your life to Christ, your past sins are washed away by the blood, but the future sins you must confess as and when you stumble. But that’s not true because the bible declares that the lamb of God was slain before the foundation of the world. In other words, as far as God is concerned, Jesus paid for our sins before the beginning of time. So to say that the blood of Jesus atones for just our past sins is an error and a big degradation of the blood of Jesus. And if the forgiveness of our sins after we’ve come into Christ is dependent on our confession, then sorry for us! Do you know how many sins you commit on a daily basis without even knowing about it? What about them? Jesus Christ was slain outside time, and that implies that we have forgiveness for all our sins – past, present and future! And notice I said “we have” forgiveness of sins. Ephesians 1:7 says that in Christ, WE HAVE redemption through His blood and forgiveness of sins according to the riches of God’s grace. The forgiveness of sins is according to the riches of God’s grace. That’s to say that the blood of Jesus is an over-payment for our sins. Think of Jesus giving a million-dollar cheque for a thousand dollar debt. This is not to say we should live loose and sinful lives. But this is to assure everyone that your sins are forgiven you completely!

Forgiveness of sins is something every believer has from the day you put your faith in Jesus Christ. When you sin, you don’t beg God for forgiveness. The reason why we confess our sins is for the sake of our conscience as well as the acknowledgement of what Jesus Christ has done for us. The bible declares that if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:7). Notice the word ‘cleanseth’ (cleanses) is present continuous tense. It means that if we’re believers, the blood of Jesus cleanses us (continually) from all sin – not some sin, but all! So why confess our sins? The confession of sins is the acknowledgment of our need for Christ, as well as the acknowledgment of the forgiveness of sins that Jesus purchased for us by His precious blood.

When you go through hard times, never think that God is punishing you for your sins, because He is a just God who will not punish Jesus for your sins, and then punish you as well. He loves you, and that’s why He sacrificed His only Son in order that we might become His sons. When you suffer problems as a result of something you did wrong, it is because the sin you committed has opened doors for evil spirits to come into your life and trouble you. If that isn’t the case, then it’s just nature having its way with you. You cannot jump off a five-storey building and not fall hard and get hurt or even die. You cannot cut yourself with a knife and expect not to bleed. Natural laws aren’t violated without some backlashes. Likewise you cannot commit murder and not expect the law to come after you simply because God has forgiven you. You cannot cheat on your partner and not expect them to get mad and walk away. God’s mercy endures, but the mercy of a human doesn’t!

None of these however changes the fact that all of our sins have been forgiven – past, present and future! The lamb was slain before the foundation of the world, and all your sins have been paid for in full! Next time you confess your sins, you should thank God for the blood of Jesus, because you HAVE forgiveness of sins.

God’s Word to You!

SEE JESUS!

…and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:20 KJV)

Prior to His ascension, Jesus said to His disciples to go in to the world and teach all nations, then He said “…and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” That’s not merely a promise. It’s actually a command from Jesus Himself. He said ‘LO’. That means, LOOK!

Jesus is with us! The scriptures cannot be broken. But until we look and see Him in our lives, it’s always easy to doubt that He is indeed with us. We need to learn to pause with activity and actually meditate on this truth, especially when going through hard times.

Man always thinks “we must do something.” But look at God here: Moses is leading the children of Israel out of Egypt. Pharaoh with his chariots and horsemen are coming after them. They get to the red sea, a mountain on either side of them, and the chariots closing in on them from behind. They’re trapped! Yet Moses said to them, “…Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD…” (Exodus 14:13) The Word translated ‘salvation’ in the Hebrew is Yshuw’ah (JESUS). In other words, stand still and see JESUS!

The bible says to look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2). It is Jesus who gives us a basis for our faith, and it is He who brings His word to pass in our lives when we believe. He is the beginning and the end, the first and the last. No matter what happens in your life, the final say rests with JESUS.

LOOK! JESUS IS WITH YOU!

SAY TO HIM: ‘LORD JESUS, I SEE YOU!’

GET A HOLD OF YOURSELF

Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control. (Proverbs 25:28)

One of the unfortunate realities of life is that natural things will never drive us to serve God and live the kind of life that God would have us live. It is for this reason that self-control is one of the fruits that is birthed in every believer when the Holy Spirit comes to live in him.

If you don’t get a hold of yourself and pray, nature will not help you pray. If you don’t get a hold of yourself and go to church on Sunday, nature and natural desires will never drive you to go to church. If you don’t get a hold of yourself, nature will not hold you back from fornication. If you don’t get a hold of yourself and eat the right foods, nature and natural desires will never help you eat the proper diet that will keep you in good health.

Self-control is a very important virtue. It can mean the difference between the one that accomplishes their destiny and the one who doesn’t. It can mean the difference between success and failure. It can even be the difference between life and death.

When you gave your life to Christ and received the Holy Spirit, all of the fruits of the spirit were produced in you. However, these fruits are like muscles which will be weak and small if left unexercised. When you begin to exercise them, you’ll experience pain and discomfort. But as you keep at it over a period of time, they’ll become strong and you will feel no more pain when exercising and using them. Self-control is in your spirit, and you can begin to exercise them now. You’ll not feel comfortable, but over time, you’ll realize that self-control is always worth it.

Be mindful of the consequences of lack of self-control as Solomon outlines: it’s like a city with broken down walls. A city with broken down walls is vulnerable, because entities that shouldn’t go out can go out, and entities that shouldn’t come in can come in without restrictions. There are sufferings that children of God have no business suffering. There are sicknesses that children of God have no business having. There are losses that a child of God shouldn’t suffer. There are spirits that a child of God should never come into contact with. Whether or not you’re shielded from these things is a question of self-control. Walls are a form of protection from danger. Sometimes danger can be very close to you, but all you need is a wall to shield you from it. Think of the roof over your house. When it’s taken away and it rains, you’ll be under the weather. But when it’s there, it doesn’t matter whether rain or shine, you’re covered. Such is the benefit of self-control.

If lack of self-control is like a city with no wall, then self-control is a wall of protection. Ecclesiastes 10:8 declares that …whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him. Get a hold of yourself, and keep your hedge. Self-control is in your spirit!

God’s Word to You!

STINKING THINKING!

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

The state of mind of the believer is very important to God, to the devil, and to he himself. Whether or not you’re carnal or spiritual depends on your state of mind. According to Romans 8:5, those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on the things of the flesh; but those who live according to the Spirit have their minds set on the things of the Spirit. So it’s about the mind. That’s how come Peter had a powerful revelation, and Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar–jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 16:17). Yet immediately afterwards, when Jesus predicted His death, Peter said something and Jesus replied “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” (Matthew 16:23).

More than once, the Word of God speaks concerning meditation. (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2; 1 Timothy 4:15). And in Philippians 4:8, Apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit tells us exactly what kind of things to think about. That just tells me that what we think about is very very important.

Have you ever woken up in the morning, and the first thing that came to your mind is something dirty and immoral, or a memory of a very bitter experience you once had, or a memory of something terrible someone did to you? That is called stinking thinking. And when you don’t stop it right there, it has enough potential to mess up your entire day, destroy your mood and even plunge you into depression.

He says whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, THINK ON THESE THINGS. This is a command. Thinking is not a passive activity but an active one. That means you have to do it yourself. Thoughts come to us, but we have to make a choice on whether or not to dwell on them. This is a life-long battle, because man is easily drawn to the negative. You can not stop a bird from perching on your head, but you can prevent it from making its nest there.

Make it a point to think about what the Word of God says about you. The devil will always fire thoughts of discouragement, defeat, poverty, failure and every evil thing. You’ve got to stop those thoughts and actively imagine what God’s Word says being fulfilled in your life.

One of the important starting points is to remember that you’re born again. In Ephesians 6:17, take the helmet of salvation1 Thessalonians 5:8 more clearly describes the helmet as the HOPE OF YOUR SALVATION. If you’ve given your life to Christ, you’re saved. And you must hold on to this hope so that you don’t despair in times of difficulty. When you have the hope of salvation, you’re always sure that the Lord is with you, and He that is in you is greater than whatever comes against you. That way, when the devil fires negative thoughts at your head, they’ll hit the helmet and bounce right off.

Meditate on the Word of God. One of the original Hebrew connotations of ‘meditate’ is ‘to mutter’. There are times when it doesn’t suffice to think positively, but you must also speak in accordance to those positive thoughts, that they may be established. Have positive imaginations and speak positive things about yourself and your life. When you wake up in the morning, look at yourself in the mirror and say to yourself “I’M BLESSED!”. When you’re dressed up, look at yourself in the mirror and say “YOU LOOK GOOD! WOW!”. When you go to school or to work, say to yourself “GOD’S FAVOUR SURROUNDS ME LIKE A SHIELD.” When you face an important project or decision declare “JESUS IS MY WISDOM. THE WISDOM OF GOD IS AT WORK IN ME!” Reject all stinking thinking, and set your mind on heavenly, lovely things.

God’s Word to You!

BEWARE OF DISTRACTIONS

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:7 NIV)

One of the biggest enemies of every Christian is distraction. Undivided attention is a requirement when it comes to the things of God. If you’re going to see the hand of God in your life, you have to be particularly aware of distractions and block them or cut them off.

You’ve got to pray, you’ve got to study the Word, you’ve got to meditate, and you’ve got to walk in God’s will for your life – none of which can be effective when you’re distracted. And since the enemy is aware of this, he will stop at nothing to make your attention go off the right thing.

The Lord says don’t turn from His Word to the right or to the left, but meditate on His Word day and night, so that we’ll observe to do all it says. (Joshua 1:7-8). If you don’t meditate on the Word of God, you’ll not believe it, and hence, you’ll not do it. So in your quest to do God’s Word, the enemy’s key strategy will be to distract you so that you no longer have time to study the Word as you should nor yet even to meditate on it.

And the interruptions are neither ugly nor annoying, but subtle, lovely and all around us: phone calls, movies, the Internet and social networks, friends and so on. We love these things, even though they usually don’t contribute to our spiritual growth. You cannot spend more time watching movies than you spend with the Word, and expect the outcome of your life to be like that of one who does the opposite!

Meditating on the Word of God is something the bible commands us to do day and night – this isn’t my theory, it’s simple truth from the Word. Meditating on the Word day and night is a far cry from the casual browsing of the Word that we’re in a habit of doing. This isn’t to say that we should have our noses in our bibles all day long. What I mean is that we should do ourselves a favour by giving as much (or even more) attention to the Word as we do to other things – quality time with no disturbances!

This is equally true in prayer as well. Jesus said “when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.” (Matthew 6:6)

Prayer which isn’t corporate should be done privately. This means that you should be able to have some time alone. Time in prayer should be time alone. And time alone can be converted into time for prayer.

It’s true that we all need somebody to relate and fellowship with. But we need to recognise when friends and relatives consume too much of our time such that we cannot have personal time for God. Jesus was always with His disciples, however at various times, He would distance Himself from them in order to pray. When He went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray, He went with three of His disciples. Yet still He left them at a point and went a little distance from them and prayed by Himself.

You cannot have an effective prayer session when your phone’s ringing every two minutes, and WhatsApp is continually buzzing, and the whole atmosphere around you is just so unstable with noise. You wouldn’t do that in the office of the president – and God is greater than the president. Show some respect!

Another method by which the devil distracts is by getting you to fixate on the problems and issues in life, instead of on the Lord. Friend, everybody has problems – EVERYBODY DOES. And the truth is that most of them are beyond our control. Jesus has control over all things, and is your only answer, no matter what you’re facing.

Commit every thing to God in prayer, and keep your eyes on Jesus. He will handle the storm as you rest in His love for you. Refuse to be distracted.

God’s Word to You – Your Manual for Life!

MAINTAIN YOUR FOCUS

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:2 NIV)

In our Christian walk, one thing we need to have is a fixed focus. At all times we have to look at one thing only! In Hebrews 12:1, we’re admonished to throw off every weight which slows us down, and run the race set before us. And the way we can accomplish this is by keeping our eyes on Jesus Christ.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” (Hebrews 12:1-2 NLT)

When God gives a word, we have to focus on it and not be distracted by anything at all. In Joshua 1:7, the Lord said to Joshua: “Only be strong and very courageous, to observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded you. Don’t turn from it to the right hand or to the left…” He went on in verse 8: “…but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein…”.

In other words, your focus on the Word of God will determine whether or not you’ll believe and therefore do what it says. If you don’t keep your focus on the Word, you’ll eventually deviate from it.

During the crossover night, in your church, you heard your pastor give a Word from God concerning 2013. You’ve got to take it personal and focus on it by way of meditation, just as God commanded Joshua to do. (Joshua 1:8)

That’s what will help you walk in that Word this year, and see the fulfilment of it. In this year, the Lord will do a new thing. He says to stop dwelling on the past. Again He says He will make a roadway in the wilderness and a river in the desert. (Isaiah 43:18-19). If you’re to see that happen in your life, you’ve got to meditate on this Word day after day.

The same applies to your new year’s resolutions you made at the start of the year. Even now, you’ve probably forgotten most of them, because the New year’s air is gone and life has gone back to normal, with students back in school, workers gone back to work and so on. But if you’re really serious about those resolutions, you’ve got to keep them in focus, and constantly review them as you check your life to make sure you’re on track.

God has shown us previously, to look into His Word from North to South (Genesis to Malachi) and from East to West (Matthew to Revelation). Whatever your eyes see is yours to have forever. What have you seen? Are you keeping your focus on it? In other words, are you meditating on it, and speaking it? Are you backing it up with your corresponding act of faith? This is what you have to do. Have a fixed focus!

God’s Word to You – Your Manual for Life!

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