Monday, January 13, 2014

Thinking About Yourself

“Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself.  Don’t just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing” (Philippians 2:3 NLT).

“For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 2:21 NIV).

This week, the Lord is reminding us that we should not think about our own interest, but about His interest. Being born again means …"You are not your own; you were bought at a price…" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV).  This teaching runs through the entire Bible, and many of us are reading this and many other similar passages daily, yet we ignore to live according to these commands of Scripture. The Lord told us that when we purposely ignore to obey His Word, He will also ignore us (Mark 8:38). Many Christians think that if they selectively do the will of God they are pleasing Him; this act is an abomination to Him. We please the Lord when we say like Paul “...I consider my life worth nothing to me...” (Acts 20:24 NIV). These were not just vain confessions; the apostle Paul walked the talk as is evident in his epistles and the book of Acts. He lived a yielded life to Christ.

The Example of The Lord and Other Servants of God

The life of our Lord Jesus Christ is vividly portrayed in the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). In a compelling account, the witnesses testified how the Lord lived out His zeal in service to our Heavenly Father (John 4:34; John 9:4).  Many of us would say, “Yes, but that was Jesus Christ”; true, He set the pace for His followers and others followed (1 Corinthians 11:1).  In sharing His life with us, the Lord held nothing back.  He lived every moment of time for the will of the Father. 

Similarly, Daniel and his three friends took their stand and refused to live according to the dictates of the King and the pressure from their peers (Daniel 3:18). Today, many Christians bow to pressure and compromise their walk with Christ to please their worldly and God denying friends. They don’t l live yielded to Christ all the time; they live selectively, picking and choosing what is acceptable to yield to at the moment. Are we not being hypocritical and sacrificing our salvation to please our peers?  Are we not hurting the Lord when we deny Him in front of others?  When we do so, He is turning around and looking at us with pain in His heart (Luke 22:61).

Also, just as Moses the servant of the Lord was called by God to serve His purpose and his life was not devoted to self-serving, we have likewise been called.   Moses gave up his life and followed the will of God (Exodus 33:13). So did Joshua who assisted Moses in the Presence of the Lord since he was a youth (Joshua 11:28). These men and many others did not live their lives for themselves; they had no personal achievements except what God has done through them for the benefit of others.  They can only say “this is what God has worked through me for His own glory”, not “this is what I achieved”.  If we work for the Lord, why do we credit ourselves for the work He brought about through us? Are we not owned by Christ? (1 Corinthians 6:20).

From the above examples, we can see the outworking of God through the lives of these devoted servants in service to Him for the benefit of others. The self-servicing will always put their interest first.  In our serving, is our motive to gratify some personal longing or craving or is it to serve God?  I have come across many self-serving people who do things in the name of the Lord, but God is nowhere seen in the decisions they made. If God was present in their work, we would see the fruit of God.  That fruit is evident in the obedience of people towards God, not the big churches and numbers.  We therefore ask, what was the outworking of God in people’s lives? (Philippians 4:14-18).  How has the outworking of God in believers impacted communities? If there is no evidence, then the work we did reflected nothing but ourselves. We did not lead from the front; we were instead coaches that sit and give orders from the bench. In Christianity, Christ left us an example by doing/action (in leading and servingothers), and so did those who followed His way of life (Hebrews 5:8; Acts 5:41).

Do We Serve God or Ourselves?

The Word of God (The Bible) is for all people and it is good for everyday living. We are commanded by the Lord to take our daily instructions for obedient living from the Word (1 Peter 2:20; Matthew 4:4). If we live by the carefully formulated formulas we received from our church leaders, then we are not following the Lord, but man. When we serve and follow man, our work will be evident through our fruit. Those fruits are reflected in our attitude and the "evidence" of God in our lives. God is seen in us through our humble and serving attitudes (Philippians 2:5-11; John 13:1-17).

Furthermore, it is not how much we know and talk about God; do we see the outworking of God in us into the lives of others? Or are we just idle talkers who only complain? Or are we just trying to impress others by the witty sayings about God? Remember our actions build and change lives more than just our clever sayings (James 2:14-26).

We recently experienced an incident where the Lord rebuked an individual for selfish living. When I shared the Lord’s message with him, he cited his feelings, considering what he feels more important than the truth of God. He considered taking someone’s part more important than the Word of God. If we do so we disqualify ourselves from the truth of God. Also, I have shared many rebukes from the Lord with brothers and sisters who were convinced they are serving the Lord by the work they were doing in His name, but in the end the Lord judged them by showing that they were serving themselves. What was wrong with their work? There was no God-fearing fruit in the lives of those they are ministering to. They try to impact people’s lives by pointing people to gifts and man, more than to Christ Jesus who alone is worthy of praise and thanksgiving.  Let me caution you here in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: when you point people to man in the name of the Lord, are you not promoting idolatry and expressing your will? We express the will of Christ if there is no evidence of our own self-interest.

Finally, the Word of God says that "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all" (Mark 9:35 NIV). Also, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever Amen” 1 Peter 4:10-11 (NIV). The Lord Jesus Christ loves people and He is their Judge and He always works through His servants for the good of people, not only for the material good of people, but that they prosper spiritually, which is obedience to the Lord (Deuteronomy 4:40; Ephesians 5:21).

In conclusion, the Lord recently encouraged a brother saying he must continue work of service for His sake. This is your calling, your life, and your hope; unite with Christ to establish His Kingdom (Luke 11:23). Remember the Lord measures us by the outworking of God in others through obedient service to Him.

Below is a short vision God gave Charis yesterday (January 12, 2014) afternoon. The Lord does bring an end to our selfish ways. This person is very, very dear to me, but I must share to warn others. If we stand in the way of God because we restrain others to serve our interest and not His, and when He wants to save a soul we  will face His wrath like Elymas the sorcerer (Acts 13:8-12). This vision is a warning and a Judgement of God against someone who opposed God.

Vision of a Self-Thinking Person

Given to Charis January 12, 2014

“I went to bed with a headache and while sleeping I had a vision from the Lord this afternoon.  I saw myself, Jaydeen and my cousin Elzette in a very, very large house with many rooms.  While we were walking down the passage of this big house, I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “…Brother B’s days are numbered and you must pray for him”.  After these words, I saw a very long straight thin rope with no beginning or end and big scissors appeared cutting the rope in the middle. In the vision, I knew this was referring to the words the Lord had spoken”.

We pray that the Lord delays His Judgement until this person makes his life right with God. God gives life and He has the power to terminate our lives (Daniel 5:23; Acts 12:23). The God we serve is a God of Mighty Judgement, no one trying to oppose Him can succeed (Proverbs 21:30). Help us pray!
Have you been living selfishly, thinking only about yourself? Have you been neglecting to live in service to God for the benefit of others?  Here is a Prayer of Sincere Repentance to get you started in victory through a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Brother Glenn
PS: We'd like to share another vision given to Charis on January 13, 2014.  You can read it here.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Christian Warfare

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

Greetings and Love

While it is the tradition around the world to extend New Year greetings, we would like to extend "Grace, love and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 1:2). While worldly people "wish" us a happy New Year which is not based on faith, the Christian gives love with a spirit of faith and a prayer of care.

Our prayer to you therefore is this: May the fear of The Lord and His inexhaustible caring love immerse you in His truth. May the strength of His salvation carry you, and may His peace be your security. May The Lord grant you a deeper discernment and conviction by His Holy Spirit, allowing you to walk wisely and truthfully with Him. Be renewed in your commitment to Him, holding on faithfully to your new life and not be shaken or moved in your faith. May the Lord humble you in the attitude of your heart so that you may bear testimony of His love in you as a light to the world in Jesus name. AMEN!

Warfare is Waged in Obedience to The Holy Spirit

This morning, the Lord said we should write an article about warfare as a reminder that this is an activity that we must engage in daily. This is not an ideology as the world perceives it, but an ultimate reality based on faith and the evidence provided by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14). When warfare is by faith it is unseen, for faith is the evidence of our confidence in the testimony of the Scriptures (Hebrews 11:1; 2 Corinthians 5:7).

Therefore, warfare is a spiritual activity waged by faith; as it is, we employ the evidence and promises of the Scriptures to strengthen us in obedience to God against spiritual forces. We wage warfare to subdue the appetites of the flesh in obedience to the conviction coming from the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16-17). Like we mentioned in the Deliverance Through Jesus Christ - Part 1 and Deliverance Through Jesus Christ - Part II articles, demon spirits work the appetites of sinful and rebellious behaviour against God. So then as Peter put it, Beloved, I implore you as aliens and strangers and exiles [in this world] to abstain from the sensual urges (the evil desires, the passions of the flesh, your lower nature) that wage war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11 AMP).

In the Bible, we are taught that our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces of darkness: For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12 NLT). If warfare is against evil forces in the unseen world, then one of our weapons must be faith, because faith operates on the principle of believing and trusting in God’s faithfulness, rather than trusting in what we see or have (2 Corinthians 5:7). Remember, the evidence of our faith is proven through God’s faithfulness to deliver on His promises. Also, the unseen work of the Holy Spirit in a believer is produced by faith, resulting in a conviction that brings about a God-pleasing behaviour, which is obedience.

King Saul, son of Kish, was given an evil spirit to torment him, due to his disobedience to God (1 Samuel 16:14).  Saul tried to overcome his evil spirit by listening to David's worship (1 Samuel 16:23). The evil spirit would leave but the Bible mentions twice that as David was playing the lyre, the evil spirit came on Saul and he disobeyed and displayed bad fruit by acting violently towards David (1 Samuel 18:10-11; 1 Samuel 19:9-10). King Saul submitted to the will of the enemy instead of the will of God.

Furthermore, in his warfare against Satan, the apostle Paul mentioned that he had a thorn in his flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7).  This was a spiritual war against the spirit of pride and self-worth; his thorn was not some physical ailment as we are taught.  Paul did not attempt to fight the demon or messenger of Satan himself; he used his faith and dependence in Christ through prayer to seek deliverance (2 Corinthians 12:8)Therefore, the messenger sent from Satan to attack Paul served to Paul's submission to God by inflicting a spiritual ailment so that he could walk humbly and in obedience to God; His dependence on God was evident through his human weakness  (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

As it is, this experience allowed the Apostle Paul to submit himself to the grace and forgiving power of Christ. Likewise, as a family and ministry, we have been given a unique experience with God, and His rebukes expose our weaknesses so that we do not look down on others boastfully, but that we make Him our dependence.

Weapons of Our Warfare

Many ‘formulas’ on warfare have been suggested, both Scriptural and unscriptural. Let me add this point, it does not matter how well you apply any teaching on warfare; the evidence is seen through the fruits of our faith which is obedience (Galatians 5:22-23). Therefore, the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives is evidence of our obedience to Christ. This would mean that we have subdued the flesh, submitted ourselves completely to His control and gained victory against the flesh through the fruit of the spirit (Ephesians 5:8-14). When reading Galatians 5 and Ephesians 6, we can clearly see that the weapons point to the type of lifestyle we should strive to live. The key is obedience against the works of the flesh. 

Warfare is waged through prayer for the deliverance of someone through intense intercessory prayers (Colossians 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:1-4)Rebuking evil spirits is exercising our authority, which we were given by the Lord over the enemy (Luke 10:19).  The faithful believers have authority, while unfaithful and disobedient Christians are recognized by demons and lack authority.  The seven sons of Sceva serve as an example to the disobedient Christians: they were overpowered by an evil spirit (demon) and thoroughly beaten because of their lack of faith and authority, which can only be obtained by submisison and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 19:11-20).
Brethren, no revelation no matter how powerful, is more potent than obedience and humility that comes through the cross (Philippians 2:5-11; Matthew 7:24-27). This portion of Scripture gives us the evidence of a life yielded to God’s control.

In many instances we are given well-defined and practiced formula on warfare to follow, like I said elsewhere, but did this formula produce the evidence of obedience seen through the fruit of holiness? (Galatians 5:22-23; John 15:5-6). The scars inflicted upon us as a result of our warfare is obedience to Christ (2 Corinthians 4:8-12). Therefore, it does not matter how well-defined our teaching is on warfare; give us the evidence of the cross which is obedience, submission and fruit of the Holy Spirit. In addition, the Spirit of God gives us victory against the cravings of the flesh, resulting in obedience to God (Matthew 4:1-11).

Finally, the weapons of our warfare are well presented in Ephesians 6:10-18. These weapons are fruits of obedience and a surrendered life to Christ Jesus. This results in the destruction of our own thoughts and opinions. Knowing that the devil entices us to act disobediently against God (Genesis 3:4-7), we are acting in obedience to God by employing these weapons . An outside bodily experience of warfare is unscriptural, demonic and not based on faith. If God so ordained it then we would all have to engage spiritual warfare outside the body, without the shield of faith for this must be employed ‘in every situation’ (Ephesians 6: 16).

In closing, we build ourselves up through prayer in the Holy Spirit, fuelled by His conviction, resulting in faith being released through works of obedience in Christ Jesus (James 2:14-26; Jude 1:20; John 16:8). If we have conviction from the Holy Spirit, we move towards obedience in God resulting in the conflict or warfare we have against the cravings of the flesh (Galatians 5:17).  Warfare is therefore a spiritual war against the cravings of the flesh and the temptations of the devil (Genesis 3:4-7); this is exercised by faith.

Do you desire victory in Christian warfare?  Have you been disodient, lacking faith and not bearing good fruit?  Here is a Prayer of Sincere Repentance to get you started in victory through a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Be blessed in Christ Jesus’ truth!
Brother Glenn.