Reflections, Relationship

Longing for more…

“Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.” Psalm 105:4

What pursuit can be higher than that?

If you have sought the Highest “thing”, how will you not be able to get every other thing (no matter how high they seem before the world)?
My soul’s configuration is to seek the Highest. To not seek Him is to wound it and make it a slave to every other thing I may seek.

Seek His strength, not my strength.

My strength at its best, what can it do? It certainly can do some things.
But what is that compared to what His strength can accomplish? Seek His strength because the days are not only evil but jet-like, replaced each morning in rapid succession. Only divine strength can make me thrive in a world always in a rush. With my strength I may cope, but with His strength, I will thrive.

What a wonder to behold His face!

Trust me there is nothing in all the world that can compare to this rare privilege to behold the LORD. Nothing! This is what it means live, to be alive. The light of His face arms me for all that the day brings. This light can handle anything. It can strengthen in adversity and it can sustain in prosperity. Oh, how I need this light much more than the dawn of each morning.

“Why spend your money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in rich food.” Isaiah 55:2 ISV

 

Picture Credit: troybradfordphotos.com

Advertisements
faith, Relationship, Spirituality

A Whorish Heart

There is a type of heart that is almost permanently unfaithful to God. This heart makes a person to go a whoring from God. What does it mean to go a whoring from God? It is to become captivated by something else. It is to give my allegiance to another thing apart from God. This thing does not have to be an evil thing, but anything, however good and legitimate they may be, that has taken over my heart makes my heart to go a whoring from the living God.
The sense, therefore, it gives, is a sense of going astray. It could begin as a little curiosity about something, and gradually a quiet fascination grows in your heart about that thing, and before you know it, even God must now wait for you to fill your heart first with those things, before He can get the remaining “crumbs” of time left from you. So, can you imagine that a time spent with the LORD out of necessity or duty, after much time has been “wasted” on all other things, is already an evidence of a heart going a whoring from the LORD?
God’s agony over the whorish heart
Ezekiel 6:9
“And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall lothe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations.”
Now, what does God have to say about this kind of heart? In Ezekiel 6:9, we see the LORD describing His agony about such a heart. Please when you read the scriptures, don’t allow the preliminary details in it to preoccupy you from gaining your own personal insight for your life. The context is not necessarily for head knowledge; it is to help you gain insight for your life and journey before the LORD.
So, we note that God said, “…I am broken with their whorish heart…” First, that word “broken” means crushed. God is speaking figuratively about how much pain He is subjected to by a whorish heart. Can you imagine that we subject the Almighty God to this kind of pain and agony?
God’s measurement of closeness is a matter of the heart
“…which has departed from me…” The effect of a whorish heart is that it is no longer, moment by moment, with the LORD. It has departed from the living God. And even if God were trying to speak to it, it won’t hear it, for what is a distant echo compared to a close voice?
We can have this kind of heart that can focus on and seeks God regardless of time (of the day) and space just like the whorish heart can be the condition of a man that is perpetually in church but his heart has actually departed from God. Either whorish or faithful heart, it is an inner experience that does not depend on place and time. It depends on whom you choose: yourself or God?
So, let me ask you when did you last hear the voice of the LORD? I’m not saying when did you last read your bible for we can read it hurriedly as to preclude any opportunity for God to speak particularly to us from the scripture we are reading. How can it be normal for you to live without God’s Word? Has the Word of God changed that says, man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God does man live (Deut. 8:3, Matt. 4:4)?
How God deals with a whorish heart
James 1:8
“A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
The beginning stages of this whorish heart is what is described in the book of James as a double minded man. Who is a double minded person? This is a person who manages to share his heart between two “spouses”. This kind of arrangement allows for having different faces for different places. One face for the spiritual and another face for the physical. This is the kind of compromise many of us have come to embrace, thinking it is the reasonable thing to do. What is God’s verdict for such a man with a whorish heart, that is departed from God, but tries to play games with God?
You find it in verse 7, the previous verse, “For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” That is the matter! God is unable to commit Himself to such a life. God does not rush to do anything especially when you are undecided about who will have your heart. God cannot allow His commitment and investment to be tossed here and there by “…a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute) […unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything…” (James 1:8 AMPC).
“If you are that kind of person, you can’t make up your mind, and you surely can’t be trusted. So don’t expect the Lord to give you anything at all.” James 1:7 Contemporary English Version
This heart cannot sustain any direct, divine dealings of God. It is too slippery for God to deal with…and since God will not strive with man (Gen. 6:3), He reserves ALL of Himself for that person who willingly and unreservedly gives His undivided time and attention to Him. These are those who respond to His initiated call: “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.” (Psalm 27:8). Will that be you?
A prayer
Oh LORD, who is sufficient for these things? But by natural inclinations, I cannot solely focus on you. Apart from the external distractions of this world, there is the ever-widening internal corruptions of my heart, that has destined me for perpetual unfaithfulness to You. LORD, help me. Deliver me from my self. Oh that I may find You now, that You may gain me and make me Yours permanently. AMEN. 
“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD…” Jeremiah 29:13-14
Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version.

Disclaimer: Using a quote or picture that mostly or fully represents what we have in mind does not imply agreement with or approval of a person’s general philosophy of life.

Picture Credit: Google Images
Life Mastery, marriage, Relationship

Married to Nabal

This is one of the basis of contention in marriages today. Many people have lost faith in the Word of God because of the gross wickedness of those who claim to be born-again, sometimes holding spiritual offices and publicly known as members of the household of faith. We must not be quick to dismiss such people, by saying they were (are) not born-again. This argument, even if true, does not placate those who have been made miserable in life and marriage by such men. The story in 1 Samuel 25 helps us to see things clearly.

“Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb.” 1 Samuel 25:3

Abigail was described as “…a woman of understanding and of a beautiful countenance…” This simply meant that apart from Abigail’s beauty, she was not a careless girl, she had the capacity to discern what was right for her to do. For it to be stated, it meant that it has been proven over time that she had understanding. But unfortunately when it came to whom she was to marry, she seemed not to have exercised her discernment. May be the reputation of the man asking to marry her was too great for her to subject to such analysis.

This was a man from the house of Caleb. Caleb was one of the two men that God Himself attested to their lives before Israel entered into the Promised Land. Joshua was the second man (Numbers 14:24, 26:65). To be from that house was a huge reputation. And sometimes, one will just wonder, “what else does a sister want than a man of that calibre, a seed of Caleb?” It’s like saying a man from the family of any of our prominent Christian leaders. Unfortunately, something was missing in that man’s life.

Now, this is where many of our sisters run into error, especially those who are well brought up in the faith and do know better. Every man that comes to seek you in marriage, regardless of their reputation, must be subjected to the same degree of spiritual scrutiny you will subject the brother you term “unserious” or “unbeliever”. What you are looking for is not merely a testimony of their faith, but a testimony of their character. A testimony of faith can be given by the suitor himself, but a testimony of character can only be discovered over time. And it must be your own discovery, and eventually your reasonable persuasion.

How can a man be from the house of Caleb and be churlish (cruel, hardhearted) and evil in his doings? That was the kind of man Nabal was. Nabal is that “brother” that can give the testimony of his salvation but has no fruit to show for this alleged salvation. Nabal is quick to claim his connection to a godly heritage except that his wickedness betrays such a connection. Nabal is that rich businessman that has a good position in church but has no right standing with God. Nabal is a member of a reputable denomination but his name is not in the book of Life. This kind of man is becoming rampant today and it has made many people, even “christian” women, to cast aspersion at or at least dismiss some aspects of the Word of God.

The Word of God says “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). The Word of God has never failed. People run into all kind of heartaches that made shipwreck of their faith, because they ignored the due process of the Word of God. When you say “I sensed in my spirit that this is the right man for me”, what do you mean by that? I am not criticizing your spirituality, I am only strengthening it. Put whatever you say you sensed in your spirit to the test. When you conduct the test of truth, it will amaze you how many things you sensed that are actually not good for you. In fact, my personal belief is that the more you put your private, subjective feelings under the infallible, objective Word of God, you will get better at discerning rightly.

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version.

Picture Credit: femmetotale

Grace, Relationship, Spirituality

Take up your cross

Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

Everybody in the world is need of salvation. The substitutionary death of Christ is for as many as will come to Him. If the entire world comes, there is more than enough grace to save them; yet, some choose to come while others refuse. Now, for those who come, they find a preliminary rest, and they must now be tutored in the comprehensive benefits of redemption (Ephesians 1-3, Colossians 1-2) in order to fully enter into their rest. This will lead to a lot of celebration.

God has made all things ready; He has only asked me to come and feast (Luke 14:16-17). 

This is where the problem usually begins in the Christan life. Although many realize the need to be forgiven, and they do come to Christ and they are saved, yet they eventually turn down the offer of the actual feast they were invited to. Many rejoice at the discovery of what Christ has done and who we are now in Christ, but to settle down into their inheritance and feast on Christ, which is a different matter entirely, is dismissed. That is both an unfortunate and unpleasant irony! To be saved is only the beginning. You need to proceed to “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12)

The first stage of our Christian experience is a period of celebration, where we just rejoice and stand in amazement at what God has done for us in Christ. But there is a second stage! It is a time of consecration, where we now enter into the responsibilities of our elevated position in Christ. This does not end the celebration, it only makes it richer. You are not only a child of God’s royal family anymore, you are now becoming a son (because of your Christ likeness), in whom God is well pleased. Galatians 4:1-6, Isaiah 9:6a, Matthew 3:17

“…let him deny himself…”

The enemy of our souls, who is the prince of this world, knows how to interfere and even frustrate the experience of salvation. And he does this by injecting the false notion that, “as long as you are saved, you don’t really need to feast on Christ… you don’t need to obey the word of God, you can keep living according to your old life, and you will make it to heaven. That is an illusion you need to wake up from.  “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these…of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things SHALL NOT inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21 emphasis ours)

Therefore, the LORD says “…let him deny himself…” That is, you… you yourself must deny your own self. Or else you will listen to these suggestions of the enemy of your soul, who is like “…a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). He is ever on duty, looking for ways to deceive you and keep you in a state of deception. The only way to deal with him in this matter is not primarily by binding him. If there is anything to bind at all, it is your self. The scriptures didn’t say to ‘deny the devil’, it says to ‘deny yourself’. SUBMIT YOURSELVES therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7). When we submit to God, we are denying ourselves; and that is when we can resist any offer (of sin) from the devil.

Remember that the devil did not suddenly close up his entire evil enterprise because you became a Christian. He continues to refine his ways and methods to see how he can still gain you for himself, in spite of your claim of salvation.

Why deny self?

Self is the “image of God” compromised. Sin entered into the world through Adam, therefore all became sinners (Romans 5:17-19). Through sin, the image of God that we carried at creation has been exchanged for the image of the devil at the fall (Genesis 5:3). This image of the devil in every child of Adam works by exalting your own will over and above the will of God. Hence, the entire experience and exposure you have had in life, in living to please yourself is what we call “self”, which is the devil’s disguised agenda for your life. Please note this: the devil knows that by luring you to live for your self, to prefer your will over God’s, he is confirming before heaven and earth that you actually belong to him. 

Once you deny yourself, the devil has no means of luring you again into his cosmic propaganda. 

“…and take up his cross…”

In Matthew 11, after the invitation to come to receive salvation in verse 28, the LORD then presents the means by which the salvation received is perpetuated according to his plans. Let me note with you that our salvation is meant to be permanent, it was not made to be something that can be lost. Yet, the permanence that God intended depends on knowing His ways and living according to His plans. So we see the LORD introducing the yoke in verse 29. 

Matthew 11:29 “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

Remember that there was a promise of rest in verse 28 for those who come, but in the look of things, it is quite clear that if you refuse to “take the yoke of Jesus” so as to learn of Him, the rest that was promised cannot be found. You will actually find rest for your soul when you settle down to feast on Christ (John 6:33-35). The rest is in what you feed on. It’s just like wanting nourishment without actually eating the food you have before you. The rest that Jesus promised, which is an indication of transformation, of the takeover of grace from all self-effort to change, and of walking in the newness of life, is only for those who will “learn of Christ”. 

How do we learn of Him and feast on Him?

Exactly why He says to “take up your cross and follow him” (Luke 9:23)  and “take my yoke upon you” (Matthew 11:29). Let us note that wherever grace meets faith, the cross goes to work, unless we frustrate it by refusing to deny ourselves. Taking up your cross and taking His yoke upon you suggests that this is a matter of your choice. In this case, to take up your cross is to live by the victory of Christ on the cross (John 19:30). Practically speaking, it is to:

1. Disown your will and ways

                  AND

2. Choose God’s will and ways

John 6:38 “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.”

But, we need to know what the cross is, that is, what it represents:

1. Taking up the cross is like carrying your obituary with you wherever you go. Galatians 2:20, 5:24

2. Taking up the cross is serving the *world* the notice of your death to it, and it’s death to you. Galatians 6:14

3. Taking up the cross is showing the *world* that there is no hope in the flesh, and that it must die. Colossians 3:3, 5

4. It is showing forth the receipt of the “dying of the LORD” that gives you the right to live like Him. 2 Corinthians 4:10

5. It is simply, “not my will, but thine be done”

Luke 22:42 “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”

*The world as used here is not the earth, it is a system (gr: kosmos). It is the evil system of satanic government ruling over the mind of unsaved mankind (Ephesians 2:2, John 14:30).

Since the cross was not a place of pleasure but of pain, it means carrying the cross, in a sense, will mean bleeding, going through the pain of not having your own way. Yet there is a joy that comes with it. “…who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame…” (Hebrews 12:3). The cross is one side and it is a side of suffering and pain, but there is another side, which is the resurrection. This is the side of enjoying and pleasure. 

The Cross: The Suffering Side

Philippians 1:29 “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake

Philippians 3:10 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death”

The Resurrection Life: The Enjoying Side

Psalm 16:11 “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

So, taking up your cross to follow Jesus is choosing to share in Christ’s suffering in order that you may share in His glory (Romans 8:17). What is this suffering? When we surrender our will (Luke 9:23), lose our lives (Matthew 16:25) and love the LORD Jesus more than father, mother, children and even ourselves (Luke 14:26), it is suffering. This makes every attempt of our flesh to rise again from the dead, to make us live like those who are not yet saved, to prove abortive. 

What about the yoke?

In agriculture, a yoke is an instrument of gagging two animals (usually oxen) of the same nature together for a higher purpose. One is usually more experienced, while the other is less experienced. Binding their necks together makes the inexperienced one to go along with the experienced one to achieve the higher purpose. That yoke “makes” the inexperienced animal to become like the experienced one. Therefore, the yoke of Jesus is the means of binding and gagging ourselves to Him, so that the direction and character of our lives henceforth is determined by Him, and we only follow

That yoke makes us to walk side by side with the LORD every single day of our lives. That is why without it, we cannot learn of Him. By taking His yoke, we seize to be in the general multitude of people who are admiring Jesus from afar but never following. This yoke is the evidence that we are learning Him, following Him and are becoming like Him. Whether you will take His yoke upon you or not, whether you will take up your cross or not is entirely up to you. Jesus will never force it on you. But it is the only way to find that true rest you are seeking for your soul. 

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are from the King James Version.

Picture credits: Highlands Baptist Church, Pinterest, Pastor’s Postings

Leadership, Personal Growth, Relationship, Work

The Personality of the Believer

While predestination establishes the Sovereign end to which a Christian can aspire to and progressively experience in real-time, and priesthood represents our personal responsibility in daily, moment by moment, contact with God; there is something of the peculiarity of a believer that we must take into account, as we seek to live faithfully before the LORD and fruitfully with other members of the LORD’s body.

At the very moment of salvation, the new believer, being grafted into Christ, is specifically fixed into a definite point in the LORD’s body, which, unknown to the new believer, already defines the solution (ministry or service) he represents to the rest of the body, and the role he will be required to play in the days to come. The expression of grace, the combination of gifts, as well as, the scope of his relevance (which is how he is structured to serve) to the rest of us (the LORD’s body) is already established on the very day of salvation. 

1 Corinthians 12:18 (emphasis mine)

“But now hath God SET the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.”

Jesus is the Vine

And those of us who have been cut off from the wild olive (saved from sin) and grafted into the Good Olive (alive in Christ) are the branches. (John 15:1-2, 5; Romans 11:24, 1 Corinthians 12:13). The point at which you have been grafted is the SET place for you to blossom, and to serve the rest of us with that which has been kept into your care for us by the Vine. If we will be attentive to the workings of God in and around our lives, we will realize that the way we have been made (constructed) to serve is according to the measure of grace we have received, and where we have been located in the body. 

Differences of administration

This is why some may have a public ministry and others may have a more hidden work that cannot be taken for granted. Even when we seem to be in the spotlight, it largely depends on the hidden routines of our inner fellowship with God, as well as, the hidden work of those fellow members with us of the body of Christ, who may not have been appointed to such an assignment. The brother-preacher depends on the hidden machinery of his own fervent walk with God, as God shows him mercy, and the support he enjoys from his helpmeet, who graciously relives him of several important domestic activities that could have “punctuated” (hindered) his relevance. 

Each person’s part is important and you must choose never to look down on what you have been given. Just know that as little as it may seem to you, the rest of the body depends on it. And you know that, you also depend on others for what you don’t have. God has made it so, in order to ensure that (as important as we may think we are) we remain in fellowship with others, without which we could never have a ministry. This interdependence is the hallmark of Christ-likeness. It keeps us humble. Whenever we are giving, we are reminded that we have already received from others before, and we will yet be required to sit down to receive from others, as we finish our own turn of dispensing. 

As spiritual as you may be, there may be a quiet cloud of uncertainty over your spirit, that may be gradually degenerating into worry, which a very casual brother or sister can give a word of encouragement that easily dispels that cloud. You will notice that there was no struggle on the part of this person to give such an encouragement; it was a natural outflow of his life. That is the ministerial/service component of the life supply of Christ that is at work in him, as a branch on the Vine. 

We are usually in need for an excessively long period of time because we take God’s order for granted. What you need now has a supply in another but if you have despised the need to be in fellowship, you have, by the same token, cut off the appointed “branch” that could have given you the desired supply. And I dare say, you also have a supply that someone needs, and you have kept that person waiting indefinitely! 

Remember, it is that which you have been given, much more than others (that makes you special), that God expects you to dispense regularly to your members (other branches like you on the Vine). Hence, you always have something to give; don’t deprive your members their supply in your life (hands).

1 Corinthians 12:25 

“…there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.”

From 1 Corinthians 12:18 above, we see that it is God the Father that does the grafting. He is called the Husbandman in John 15:1. He has SET each one of us into a specific space in the Vine, in Christ, and it is that grafting that determines your setting (the way you have been configured to participate in the continuous distribution of Christ-life in the body). 

Ephesians 4:16

 “Christ has put each part of the church in its right place. Each part helps other parts. This is what is needed to keep the whole body together. In this way, the whole body grows strong in love.” (New Life Version)

“Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly, and each part in its own special way helps the other parts, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” (The Living Bible)

Whereas we have all received the same kind of life, Christ-life, and we have the same opportunity to “…grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ…” (2 Peter 3:18), however, the differences of our peculiar situations, the diversities of the Spirit’s workings in our lives and the emphasis that our individual callings impose on us, demands that we accept the personality we have been endowed with.

 Each branch is the same, yet different. The content is the same (Christ-life) but the context is different (grace, gifts and calling). There is no calling or assignment in Christ that can compromise the Christ-life itself. In fact each calling is an expression of grace designed to show the diverse ways the Spirit glorifies Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)

Know what you have been made to be

In as much as we will not go about coining technical titles for our services within the body, we must know what we have been made to be, by God, to the rest of the body of Christ. The other members of the body depends on the life supply of Christ that comes from the joyful discharge of your grace and gifts, of course, through the platform of your calling. In the same vein, you also have the privilege of receiving the life supply of Christ through their own peculiar grace and gifts.

When we have this continuous give and take relationship at work among God’s people, where we give what we have and receive what we don’t have, we are witnessing the sweet fellowship of the saints. This is one of the reasons why you don’t really want to be like another in the body. There can only be one of his or her type, and there can only be one of your type. However great the ministry of one may be to the rest of us, when we have received of Christ from him and are full, we also have something of Christ to give in return, however little it may seem. 

Recognizing your peculiarity in sobriety

The danger here is that we all are prone to think more highly than we ought to think of ourselves and our relevance to the body. In the light of our predestination to be holy and blameless before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4-5) and our privilege to minister directly to God as priests (Revelation 5:10), all of which are delivered unto us by God’s grace and not by our works, we have the more reasons to be sober about our peculiar placements in Christ. 

We have not received any gift or grace to feel bigger or better than anyone of our brothers and sisters. Even when our calling seems to place us at a position of influence over many, we must remember that we are only giving to all who receive from us that which actually belongs to them. We have not been endowed for ourselves but for others of the household of faith and those whom the LORD will eventually draw unto Himself. 

Finally, your uniqueness is more picturesque (vivid) in the context of others who have been made to be diverse from you. Our relevance is more profound when we are in fellowship with others. This is because they will learn to reserve the portion of service you do well than any other for you, and you should also learn to humbly release your hold on some aspects of service that can actually be done better by others. This is the joy of fellowship. As we each reserve that which we have no natural supply for, and focus on the consistent supply we have, we are giving room for the growth of the body of Christ. Honestly, this is your privilege!

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are from the King James Version.

Picture credit: daily verses, Pinterest, Pinterest, borrowed light, NLT.com

Grace, Personal Growth, Relationship, Spirituality

The Priesthood of the Believer

Salvation is by the grace of God. While it is beyond our will, it includes it or else we can have no way of arriving at the goal of our predestination. God has declared His love to us; whether we respond or not, it is now our choice. If predestination is about what God has chosen, then your salvation is about choosing what God has already chosen. We choose God and His purposes when we believe. Believing is what puts us into what God has planned. This is the beginning of our profession of faith (Hebrews 10:23, 4:14).

“Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called.. ” (Romans 8:30). A calling demands a response. Only those who respond positively to the call to salvation can therefore be called “the called“, who are then justified and those remaining in that state of justification are eventually glorified.

Therefore, day by day, we choose God’s work and ways, as we worship in the temple of our hearts. Before Christ came, we could not think of drawing near to God by ourselves. We would need a prophet like Moses or a priest like Aaron to represent us, albeit annually. But now, in Christ, we do not need such go-betweens anymore. We have been invited into an everlasting covenant with a special relationship with the Trinity. While this may not look like what is widespread among believers today, it remains the truth, if you are willing to settle with God’s word. 

The proof that you believe this is that you will live like that. The actual temple of worship is no longer a place of meeting; it is now your heart. And the Word of God says “Above everything else, guard your heart; for it is the source of life’s consequences.” (Proverbs 4:23 CJB). Your heart is the spiritual temple that determines the actual course and the material consequences of your life. And this is the place where the Word of God is planted, as you meditate and pray through Scriptures, to change the way you think in order to change (the direction of) your life (Romans 12:2, Luke 8:11, 15).

A place of meeting is simply a place to fellowship with others (Hebrews 10:25), of which Christ died for and made accepted in the beloved. It is also a place of instruction, where the Word of God is systematically dispensed to achieve “…the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13) Also check 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Now, let me ask you a simple question: which of these two places is busy – your heart (being the place in your body where you commune/interact with God) or a physical building that is your place of meeting? 

Where should we have more shouts of praise? Where should we have more supplications and petitions? Where should we have more melodies of joy? That’s right! Your heart! But we see that service times in churches are more busy with these than our hearts when we are not in church. Even though God has declared you a priest (Revelation 1:6, 5:10), you have to actually carry out your priestly service in the temple of your heart (1 Corinthians 3:16). 

Once this truth comes alive in your heart, you will see how difficult it is for the devil to make you a sinner again. You will understand why sin will no longer have dominion over you in Christ (Romans 6:14). It is a very simple matter. God, whose temple you are, will not allow you to be shared with the flesh, the natural man. Think about that! Once you believe, God is committed to make it your material experience.

The flesh refers to the kind of life Adam received through his disobedience, having lost the glory of God, and is now the type of life we are all born with before we come to Jesus. Genesis 1:27, 2:25, 3:7, Psalm 51:5

When you understand that you have been predestinated to be holy and without blame before God in love (Ephesians 1:3-4), it will drive you into your daily priestly service, where you officiate in the temple of your heart. That simply means you are active in the temple, in your inner man, worshipping God, and offering “…the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” (Hebrews 13:15).

Since righteousness is your right standing with God, it, thereby, requires you to stand before God daily in the Holy of holies of your heart, as an official of the Heavenly council. This kind of priestly service is what brings you into the obedience of life that is the literal out workings of your predestination by God (Romans 8:29, 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 1:11). 

“Wherefore the rather, brethren, GIVE DILIGENCE TO MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: [11] For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:10-11 (emphasis mine)


Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are from the King James Version.

Picture credits: Pinterest, ubdavid.org, agodman.com

faith, Grace, Personal Growth, Relationship, Spirituality

The Glory of the New Covenant

2 Corinthians 3:6, 9-10 KJV

[6] Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. [9] For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. [10] For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.

Nothing is yet to happen in the course of man’s history that has taken God by surprise. And nothing will. He who knows the end from the beginning will not be alarmed by anything in man’s struggle (reluctance and sluggishness) to accept His best for them. Everything we see today about the prevalent unbelief towards the true culture of the kingdom is not a new thing to God, because it is this same unbelief He has had to deal with right from the beginning of time.

The first man

Genesis 2:8, 16-17 KJV

[8] And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. [16] And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: [17] But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” 

When God finished the work of creating man, He settled him in Eden, a place that we could call a type of the kingdom of heaven. But as an embassy of heaven on planet earth, there has to be a way to make the quality of life and leadership that exists in heaven the same rule on earth (in Eden). The culture must be literally equal. And God told Adam, there is just one tree you shouldn’t eat from, to keep the flow between heaven and earth, to retain the quality of culture and reproduce the same level of effectiveness. To not eat from that tree is the test Adam must pass to have a genuine replication of God’s life and culture in his dominion (terrain). It cannot be genuine if it was not Adam’s personal choice; and the only way it could be his choice was for him to have an opportunity to switch to an alternative: which is, to do it his own way. 

When he chose to eat the forbidden fruit after his wife had eaten, he basically chose to reject the way of faith, to live by sight, which has, henceforth, become the prevailing rule or principle in the world system. Please note what this tells us about the natural man: he can ONLY thrive when he is outside God’s kingdom; once you put him inside the kingdom, he will seize to function because he dies. You must reckon yourself dead to sin and alive to God (Romans 6:11). The basic unbelief we see at work in Adam and Eve as they ate the forbidden fruit is the same inherited unbelief in every man ever since, that has no interest in God’s ways (but his own way), even if he is interested in God’s acts/works/miracles.

Psalm 103:7 KJV

He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.

I personally believe we need both; God’s acts and God’s ways. If you look closely at that Scripture, you will see that Moses knew both the ways of God and His acts. He was also among the children of Israel, seeing and experiencing the acts of God; and most of the time being used to perform these mighty acts. Salvation is an act of God, for instance. Not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:9). We become saved by faith (accepting what God has done in Christ); which means we are not the one working at the point of salvation, it is God. And you know, it is a miracle to be saved.

So, Moses and the children of Israel were saved from Egypt (salvation) but only Moses (and maybe a few others like Caleb and Joshua) pressed on to know God and His ways. Even though, it is incontrovertible that every act of God is permanent, even salvation, it is the choice to choose God’s ways over our own ways that is the true result of that salvation. The curse upon mankind is positionally reversed at salvation and practically reversed by choosing God’s ways. We use the word “practically” to show that God is not to blame if a person receives salvation and does not work out his own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). When we choose God’s ways that is when we have activated the full ramifications of salvation. That choice is what puts you in the kingdom of heaven where you are directly governed by God.

The nation of Israel

Hebrews 3:10-11 KJV

[10] Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. [11] So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)

Coming out of Egypt (a type of salvation), God’s plan was to settle them in Canaan. He wanted to showcase them to the world as a masterpiece among the nations and as an evangelistic tool to “colonize” or convert the gentiles into the kingdom of heaven. But the fruit or result of Adam’s feeding on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was still at work. Israel refused God’s offer of Himself to them and their calling into the priesthood and went their own ways. Egypt was still in them; and unbelief was their rule of life.

This shows me that faith is impossible without having a personal encounter with God.

Their rejection of God at Sinai when they told Moses that they could not enter the glory cloud to meet with God (Exodus 20:18-21) was an unfortunate seed they were sowing into their own hearts and it germinated in kind with unbelievable “strides” of unbelief later in their journey. 40 days became 40 years, the priesthood that was meant for the entire nation was divinely withdrawn to a tribe (the sons of Levi) and only Caleb and Joshua entered into God’s promise (God’s rest) out of about 600,000 men who left Egypt. (Number 26:65, 14:22-24, 29-31, Exodus 12:37)

Psalm 78:10-11, 22, 40-41, 56 KJV

They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law; [11] And forgat his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them. [22] Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation: [40] How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert! [41] Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. [56] Yet they tempted and provoked the most high God, and kept not his testimonies:

Note: just as God began the entire human race by creating one man – Adam, and just as He began the New Creation race through one man – Christ, so also God began His kingdom on earth with one nation, Israel.

Seeing that Israel did not keep the first covenant (and there was just no way they could have, since they rejected a personal relationship with the God of the covenant), that covenant became abhorrent to God, it became corrupted, …decaying and fading. (Jeremiah 31:31-34, 50:4-5, Hebrews 8:7-13, 10:16-17). Having found fault with it, because of the way it was dominated by the unbelief of Israel, to the extent that the only thing it could offer anyone today is unbelief, He made a new covenant that only those who believe in Him can enter into it (Hebrews 8:8-9).

This new covenant cannot be corrupted because it can’t admit any un-believer. The old covenant admitted people through physical circumcision, the shedding of your own private blood, but the New Covenant admits through the shed blood of Christ, which as many as believes on Him, are washed and redeemed by it. 

The Church 

Amplified Bible 2 Corinthians 3:7-8

“Now if the ministry of death, engraved in letters on stones [the covenant of the Law which led to death because of sin], came with such glory and splendor that the Israelites were not able to look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, [a brilliance] that was fading, how will the ministry of the Spirit [the new covenant which allows us to be Spirit-filled] fail to be even more glorious and splendid?”

Adam failed and God promised a new founder of a new race when He said the seed of the woman will bruise the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). By believing in Him, we become partakers of His life (of faith) and are permanently escused from the judgement of God on Adam and all who are still connected to him. Israel also failed to be the nation of priests He wanted and God allowed them to be broken off for a season so as to graft us gentiles in (Romans 11:15, 20), and now all those who come to Jesus, whether Jew or Gentile, have been made into a new nation of priests and kings (1 Peter 2:5, 9; Revelation 1:6, 5:10)

The New Covenant has been ushered in by the blood of Jesus (Luke 22:20) and it is to make us all that Adam and the nation of Israel walked away from. The law is written directly in our hearts and minds, so that we can experience the ways of God that Moses knew, which made him different from all the people of his time (Numbers 12:3). He was a New Covenant man in Old Covenant times. Mind you, you don’t hear of Moses coming to the Temple to atone for his own sins; because the kind of life he had access to, which the children of Israel rejected, excused him from the rigours of such endless sacrifices that does not remove the guilt or conscience of sin (Hebrews 10:1-3). 

Knowing what is right and wrong has only achieved one thing: it established the sin condition of all men (Galatians 3:22, Romans 3:9, 11:32). So it is not just knowing God’s law that sets us free from sin and takes us out of the world system into the kingdom of heaven, it is knowing God Himself. The New Covenant allows us to be Spirit-filled, having the very Spirit of God within us, which will make us love righteousness and hate wickedness like Jesus did (Hebrews 1:9), and it will also make us to live a quality of life that is above the standard of the law (Matthew 5:20-22, 27-28).

That is worth repeating again and again. The life we will live in the New Covenant is higher in quality and glory than the life that was possible in the Old Covenant. 

Therefore, it should be unheard of among those of us who are born again, by the grace of God, that we are living by the low standards of the Old Covenant, even though our new birth actually ushers us into the New Covenant. God has permitted all who will be saved by grace to CHOOSE whether they will live by the full terms of the New Covenant or live by the Old Covenant or a human adaptation of both. Yet, only one of these will glorify Jesus: the New Covenant. The Old Covenant or a mixture of Old and New will only glorify the flesh. And “…they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:8 KJV

Hence, every single effect of sin that plagues mankind today has no right to molest you who have been washed by the blood of the New Covenant, the blood of Jesus. Even if it is a generationally recurrent trend in your clan, “…if any man be in Christ, HE IS A NEW CREATURE: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17). You can choose to believe this, all that Christ has done for you, and enter into your rest or you can choose to doubt it and spend your time (which is your life) looking for those who will ask you to PAY A PRICE (as in fast and pray etc) for something that is already yours. The choice is yours!

Here is the question you must now answer: which one glorifies God…for His word to come to pass in your life by simply believing (on) Him or for you to add your own works because you don’t believe, which will steal the glory from God? Please note that prayer and fasting is not been ridiculed; what is been dealt with is the motivation for praying and fasting. Is it in fear and doubt, thinking you need to achieve a sort of spiritual stamina before God can give you what He has already done or is it in faith and determination, saying you will not allow any benefit of your redemption to elude you? As you can see, these are two different motivations.

“…for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Romans 14:23

Only what is of faith brings glory to God because it simply means the work was not done by you or me, the work was done by God. And even when you have to DO things; it is as the LORD works it in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). And as such, it is being done by faith. Those who refuse to hear Him who is speaking now from heaven (Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant) cannot walk by faith because faith comes by hearing Him (Romans 10:17). And when you hear Him, you will dare all the odds on your way, looking on to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith; and you will refuse to be reduced again to the level of life of the Old Covenant that God abhors. It is time to enter into your rest!

Amplified Bible Hebrews 12:25 See to it that you do not refuse [to listen to] Him who is speaking [to you now]. For if those [sons of Israel] did not escape when they refused [to listen to] him who warned them on earth [revealing God’s will], how much less will we escape if we turn our backs on Him who warns from heaven?

Picture credits: J. B. Nicholson Jr., Pastor Walker, Pinterest, faithdebates dot org dot UK, beautifulng dot com