The giver of the GIFT!

During Christmas we hear a lot about Jesus Christ, God’s gift to the world, whose birthday we celebrate. On the other hand we hear very little or nothing about  the Giver of the gift. When we receive Christmas gifts we normally know the one who is giving us the gift very well. Perhaps it could be a fiance, a husband, a wife, a close friend etc..  Paul states in 2Cor.9:15, “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” and in John 3:16 we read, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,…” Do we know the God who loved us so much that He was willing to give us His indescribable gift, His Beloved Son? We could read about Him in the World’s greatest libraries and attend the most famous religious seminaries and still not get to know Him. How do we get to know Him? In the Old Testament He revealed Himself to the patriarchs, His prophets, and His people by His different Names. For example one of His Names is Elohim as found in Genesis 1:26 where it is written, “And God (In the Hebrew- Elohim) said , let us make man…”. Elohim,  that can be defined as “Creator God”,  is mentioned 2570 times in the Old Testament. The name is a plural noun and can only be used when indicating a number more than two therefore  giving us proof of the veracity of the doctrine of the trinity.  Jehovah as found in Exodus 3:14 is another Name for God. It is mentioned 6823 times in the Old Testament. It is translated, “I AM WHO I AM” showing His eternal existence and His unchangeableness as one who will always be what He always has been. El Shaddai is another name for God and simply means, “God Almighty” and is mentioned 48 times in the Old Testament. Among other names for God in the Old Testament the name of “Father” is also mentioned but only 14 times. The Fatherhood of God is not a central theme in the Old Testament. In a quite a few instances God is called the Father of the Jewish nation. We never find any of the Old Testament saints address God directly as their Father. They never dared to do so as they believed it would be disrespectful. For example so sacred was the name “Jehovah” to them that the Jewish scribes before writing this name had to clean the pen or get a new one and wash their entire bodies in a pool of natural running water. God to them was to transcendent to be called “Father”. When Jesus came He astonished and even angered His listeners by addressing God as His Father and even more so when He addressed God as “Abba”.  “Abba” is the Aramaic (language spoken by the Jews during the time of Jesus) familiar and intimate  form for Father. It is a small child’s way of saying “Daddy”. There is no evidence that anyone  before Jesus used this term to address God. When Jesus came He gave us a new revelation of the character of God. He showed us that God is “God Immanuel” (Matthew 1:23) which means, “God with us”, that He is our loving Father who desires to have intimate fellowship with His children. In St. John 17:6 we read a little of Jesus prayer to the Father, “ I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world…”  What Name could that be that Jesus is talking about here?  I maintain that it is the name “Father”. In the New Testament Father is mentioned about 275 times, in the Gospel of John alone He is mentioned about 140 times.

Why this emphasis of Father in the New Testament? Before the coming of Jesus we could not really know the Father in a personal intimate way. After Jesus’ substitutive death on the cross for our sins and subsequent resurrection we now can choose to receive Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Saviour . After we do this He gives to us the Spirit of sonship. We read in Romans 8:15,16, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba Father”. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” Just as Jesus called God, “Abba” we too can now have the same wonderful privilege as we are now a member of the family of God. We begin to live a life in intimate fellowship with God our Father.  Both Jesus and the Holy Spirit make it possible for us to come and dwell in His presence. In Eph. 2:18 we read, “For through Him(Jesus Christ) we both(Jews and Gentiles) have access to the Father by one Spirit (Holy Spirit).” In St. John 14:6 we read, “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” In 1Peter 3:18 we read, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous to bring you to God.” From these verses and others we see that Jesus is the way and the Father is the destination. God’s  Word shows us that it is very important for us to come to the Father and to know the Father. For example in Jesus’ prayer to the Father in John 17:3 we read, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” and not children.

Millions of people are still orphans and are not  enjoying a Father-child relationship with their Creator

This Christmas may we truly get to know  our gracious and loving Heavenly Father, in a personal way and sincerely thank Him for sending us Jesus, Heaven’s greatest gift.

The Devil’s Total Defeat Through the Cross and the Authority We Have Over Him!

“...For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. (I John 3:8)


All the works of the devil were destroyed by Christ, by his sacrifice and death. The meaning of the word “destroy” here means to break up and do away with, to loosen. When Jesus died he bruised and crushed the serpents (Satan's) head to fulfill the prophecy found in Genesis 3:15:


"And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her Offspring; He will bruise and tread your head underfoot, and you will lie in wait and bruise His heel". (Genesis 3:15 AMP)


We see Jesus' great victory and defeat of the devil also in the following verses:


“When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities [those supernatural forces of evil operating against us], He made a public example of them [exhibiting them as captives in His triumphal procession], having triumphed over them through the cross.” (COLOSSIANS 2:15 AMP)


Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. (Hebrews 2:14)


“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”

Luke 10:19 NIV


Through His death on the cross and subsequent resurrection Satan's legal grip over our lives was broken. He was soundly defeated by our conquering Lord Jesus Christ. Christ's victory is our victory but we must by faith believe it and enforce it! God will not do for us what we can do our selves. For example in James 4:7 we read:


“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”


We see this truth also stated in 1 Peter:


“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith,...” (1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV)


God’s Word doesn't say that God will resist the devil for us, but as we, every believer, no matter how weak we may feel we are, assume our responsibility and resist him in the mighty Name of Jesus, he will flee from us. One definition of flee is “to run away as in terror” To “resist”, means to take a firm stand against and refusing to be moved

We do not have “power” over the devil! In our own strength we cannot defeat him! But we have been given “authority”. Just as a policeman who is directing traffic does not have power over all the vehicles that are rushing by but when he blows his whistle and puts out his stop sign the drivers obey him and stop, why? Because he has authority! All the armed forces of his nation stand behind the policeman's badge of authority. In the same way all the armies of Heaven stand behind the person who will resist the devil in the mighty Name of Jesus.

We no longer have to be victims of sickness and disease and slaves to evil habits and bondage’s which the devil, the enemy of our soul has brought on us, for it is he, directly or Indirectly, who is the author of all evil! We can be free for Jesus purchased our freedom by redeeming us out of the hand of the devil through His precious blood and God, our Father, has delivered or rescued us from the power or authority of darkness which consists of bondage, fear, misery and sickness and disease and brought us into the kingdom of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, which consists of peace, joy abundant life and health. Therefore we now can steadfast confess that the devil has no place in us and no longer any power over for victory has been provided for us by the blood of Jesus Christ!  We see this stated in the following verses:


““He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”

Colossians 1:13-14 NKJV


“They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”

Revelation 12:11 NIV


One of the main tasks of the devil is to blind the eyes of God’s people so they will not see what is their rightful inheritance and subsequent victory and authority they have in Christ and also to see that he was totally defeated. What power he has in our lives is what we allow  him to have! Therefore the Bible instructs us, 


“and do not give the devil a foothold.” (Ephesians 4:27 NIV).


We read also in Eph. 6:11


“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” 


If we choose to we can stand against the devil’s wiles victoriously with the whole armor God has provided for us!


Jesus’ ministry while He was here on earth was healing or delivering all who were under the power of the devil:


“how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” -Acts 10:38 NIV.


Jesus delegated His authority to the church on earth to continue His ministry when he said to His disciples before He left them: 


“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”

Matthew 28:18-19 NIV


“...Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

And these signs will accompany those who believe: ...In my name they will drive out demons;...” Mark 16:15, 17 NIV


Let us as the church raise up out of our defeat, unbelief, fear and bondage  and claim what is rightfully ours, resisting and defeating the enemy in our own lives and then going forth with the authority Jesus has given us and in His mighty Name bring freedom, deliverance and healing to a world in great need!

 

 

 

“Our Father in Heaven” (Matt. 6:9)

 

The  opening address of the Lord's Prayer indicates to us what God is like. He is personal, He is intimate, He is our Father and His throne is in Heaven. In the Old Testament Father is mentioned only about fourteen times. We never find one of the O.T. saints personally address God directly as their Father or personally appropriate the Father by stating, “I am your son” or “I am your daughter”. Knowing and worshipping the Father is only possible to those to whom the Spirit of the Son is given- to those who are born again and adopted into the family of God through Jesus Christ. This is the new and living way mentioned in Heb. 10:20. It is a new way because the Old Testament saints never experienced it, it is a living way because we have Jesus Christ, God’s Son and the Holy Spirit living within us and revealing the Father to us. In the New Testament God is called Father two hundred and seventy-five times, one hundred and forty times in the Gospel of John alone. 

In verse one of the Gospel of John we read that "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God  and the Word was God." In this verse we see that the Divine Word, the eternal Son of God was with the Father before creation ever took place. Jesus enjoyed intimate fellowship with the Father from all eternity. In John 1:18we read, "No man hath seen God but the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father He hath declared Him." The Amplified Bible gives an alternative reading for “the bosom of the Father”- “Intimate presence of the Father”. The expression is also used in John 13:23where we read: “Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.” This indicates that the disciple leaning on Jesus’ bosom was enjoying  intimate companionship and fellowship with Him. Jesus was not the Father but He was in the bosom of the Father and enjoying close fellowship with Him.

When Jesus came to Earth His main purpose was to redeem a lost humanity and bring them also into an intimate relationship with the Father. We see from verses of scripture like 1Peter 3:18 and John 14:6 that Jesus is the way but the Father is the destination. In Mark 14:36 Jesus said, "Abba Father,"... Abbais an Aramaic word which was the language spoken by the Jews during Jesus time. It is a small child's way of saying "Papa". Mark uses this intimate expression instead of using the Greek word, "Pater" for Father which is far less personal.  The Jews of Jesus day would never have dreamed of addressing God in such an familiar way and were astounded when Jesus made such a claim of intimacy. In Romans 8:15 we read the following fantastic words showing that the same intimacy Jesus enjoyed with His Father, we also can enjoy .

 "For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry "Abba, Father."

How marvelous to think that God is our Father and that we are His children, all because of what Jesus did for us when He suffered and died for us on cruel Calvary in order to reconcile us to God! When we pray let us not forget to affirm this by faith by thanking God for His wonderful love and grace that makes it possible for us to call Him our Father and praise Him for this wonderful privilege!


 

 

Revival Must Be Prayed Down!

Revival does not just fall from Heaven. It must be prayed down. R. A. Torrey said, "I have a theory, and I believe it to be true, that there is not a church, chapel or mission on earth where you cannot have a revival, provided there is a nucleus of faithful people who will hold on to God until it comes."

Charles G. Finney said, "A revival is no more a miracle than a crop of wheat is. In any community, a revival can be secured from Heaven when heroic souls enter into the conflict determined to win or die, or if needs be, to win and die."

Finney also said, "There are two kinds of means necessary to promote a revival: the one to influence men, the other to influence God. Prayer is an essential link in the chain of causes that lead to a revival as much so as truth is. Some have zealously used the first means – truth – to convert men and laid very little stress on prayer. They have preached and talked and distributed tracts with great zeal, and then wondered why there were no results. They forgot to use the other branch of the means – effectual prayer. They overlooked that the Spirit is given only in answer to prayer."

Revival has never come anywhere, be it in the Third World, Europe or North America, without fervent prayer. God is ready and longing to send revival anywhere in the world no matter how hard the place may be. His Word declares, "Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not" (Jer. 33:3).

A wonderful example of prayer resulting in  revival is from the Hebrides in Scotland.  Two elderly women began nightly prayer times.  They agreed together to pray for God to send revival to their community. They had become concerned because of the ungodliness and lack of commitment to spiritual things round about them.  Night after night they interceded before God. After some months, unknown to them, several godly young men began to meet three nights a week and waited upon God until four and five o’clock in the morning – until a powerful revival followed that transformed  that area of the world. Yes, prayer does make a difference! If God’s Word as found in 2Chron. 7:14 is practiced  we also will get such results as the Hebredes experienced:

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Before we can pray effectively there must be true acknowledgment and confession of sin. True repentance must follow. True repentance is like going down one road , for example the road of self-will and selfishness, then stopping, turning around and going the opposite direction. This therefore means forsaking any known sin, bad habit, practice or attitude that dishonors God. In Psalm 66:18 we read, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me"; in John 14:30, Jesus said,– "…for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me." Satan had no power over Christ because he had no foothold of sin in Him, for Christ was without sin.

We, because we have had our sins washed away with the precious blood of Jesus and therefore subsequently clothed with the righteousness of Christ, should with deep humility, have the same testimony – "The prince of this world hath nothing in me."

 If we speak to God about power, He will speak to us about holiness. Before we can have authority with God, we must walk in obedience to His will, in humility , in purity and acknowledging Jesus Christ as the Lord and Master of our lives

Ways in Which We Can Pray

    The following are some ways in which we can pray:

1. Let us unite together in prayer. Let the whole church be aware of its responsibility. There is great power in united prayer. In Acts 12:5 we read, "Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him."

We see in the above verse it was not just one individual involved in intercession, when the early church was going through a deep crisis, but the church. If two believers, who are in agreement about what they ask, are a powerful unit in advancing God’s kingdom (Matt. 18:19), then united groups of praying believers who are in agreement can change the whole spiritual condition of a nation.

2. Let us pray specifically and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in our praying. R. A. Torrey said, "We should be careful about what we ask from God, but once we begin to pray for a thing we should never give up praying for it until we receive it, or until God makes it very clear and definite that it is not His will to grant it."

3. Binding and loosing is another way in which we should pray. In Matthew 16:19 we read:

“And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosedin heaven.”

 This teaching is so important that our Lord repeats it in Matthew 18:18:

“Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

These verses indicate that God expects us to participate in binding and loosing. In Luke 11:20-22 we have the teaching on the strong man:

 But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.  21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace.   But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils.

In Ephesians 6:12 we read who the strong man is:

“For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.”(Ampl. Bible)

In 1John 4:4 we read that the one who is greater than the devil is dwelling in us:

“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

Satan has his emissaries ruling over nations, districts, towns and cities keeping these places in darkness and bondage these powers need to be bound through prevailing prayer and the people loosed from His chains.

4. Fasting and praying is a powerful spiritual weapon to be used by God’s people in advancing His kingdom. The Bible teaches us that there is room for both private fasting and praying (unseen by others) and that which is public (the leaders calling the whole congregation together for a special time of fasting and seeking God).

5. A good practice for congregations to develop is to pray before and after meetings. Prayer before a meeting creates an atmosphere of faith and expectation. Also, powers of darkness that would hinder the meeting could be bound. Prayer after meetings gives people time to wait upon God and to be prayed for by others.

6. All-night prayer meetings can be a great source of power in the church. These can be held, for example, once or twice a week or once every two weeks or once a month.

7. Early morning prayer meetings can be practiced daily or once or twice a week.

The church in Korea is one of the strongest most dynamic churches in the world. One of the reasons for their strength  is their emphasis on prayer. Thousands of congregations through out the nation meet together for daily early morning prayer.

8. A twenty-four hour prayer chain can be established in your church or in your town with different people taking turns in praying until continuous prayer is going up through the day and through the night seven days a week and twenty-four hours of the day. Some can meet together in the church and others may pray in their home at the appointed time they have chosen. The time one devotes in this prayer chain is up to each individual. Some may pray for fifteen minutes, some may pray for a half an hour, others may be able to pray for an hour  or longer.  This should be coordinated by a prayer leader and special prayer requests given to each one praying

9: Another way to pray is to have prayer walks- walking through your town or your neighborhood  and praying for your neighbors and fellow citizens in the areas you are walking in.

10. Being faithful to attend your weekly prayer meeting in your church keeping in mind that this is not Bible study night but prayer meeting night.

11. Every prayer meeting should abound with thanksgiving, praise and worship. We read in Psalm 100:4:

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.”

This is the order we should follow, first thanksgiving, thanking God for all He has done for us and provided for us! Then praise, praising Him for who He is, for His endowments and character! Then worship, on our faces before Him in love, awe and adoration of His holiness! Then intercession, standing in the gap for the land, for the people and for individuals.

In the beginning of this article in  Esekiel 22:30-31 we read of the great sadness of God’s heart- searching for an intercessor but finding  none as a result He had to send judgment:

In a needy, troubled world  full of immorality, materialism, false religions and carelessness and where sin is intensifying and tightening its grip on the hearts of ungodly men and women, God is calling us back to the days and nights of prayer, back to the example of Jesus, who spent all night praying. God’s great heart of love longs for the salvation of mankind and He is not willing that any should perish as we read in 2Peter 3:9:

  “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

But God’s Word also declares in Genesis 6:3:

“Then the Lord said, My Spirit shall not forever dwell and strive with man,..”

Either we will experience revival or the hand of God in judgment! The responsibility is resting on us-God’s church!  God again is seeking for intercessors. Are we willing to pay the price, respond to His call and travail and prevail in prayer until revival comes?

 

             The Lighthouse       

Holiness in Heaven is Righteousness on Earth