Monday, October 19, 2015

The Joy of Knowing the Lord Jesus Christ

“I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete” (John 15:11 HCSB).

Vision of Joy Gone Sour

In our message this week, the Lord highlighted the importance of having joy as a Christian. While it is true Christians are faced with many challenges that are competing to destroy our faith and confidence in the Lord, we must remember that the Presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is equally real and He cannot be influenced by our moods (Romans 14:17; Galatians 5:22). It is true when a Christian displays a foul mood in the assembly of the brethren, they have allowed that mood of negative energy to possess them (1 Peter 1:6).

On Friday, October 16, 2015, the Lord gave Charis a short but powerful vision as a rebuke to someone in our ministry. He also used it as a message to emphasize the importance of joy in a believer’s life. In the vision, Charis saw me (Glenn) standing in our bedroom, and the Lord spoke to me (she could not see Him) saying, My daughter Grace (not real name) used to be jolly and full of energy when she came to the home church worship services but lately, she has lost her joy and her coming serves no purpose.

Brethren, this is a very serious message from the Lord. As you may recall, just last week, we were warned that the condition of our hearts must always be right before the Lord and at any given moment of time (Acts 8:21; Jeremiah 17:10). Indeed, the message the Lord gave above is true, because the negative energy of silence and withdrawal from the sister affects others in the assembly. When we give praise and worship to the Lord, it must flow from a spirit of great joy and jubilation, just like the Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:8-10; Psalm 149:1-2). As it is, such an attitude contradicts the purpose of our gathering, which is to rejoice in the Lord (Philippians 4:4).

As an experience and in addition to the above vision, we had a sister who would also come to our meetings in a very sad mood. Her facial gestures and mannerisms displayed her dislike of the brethren, and that coming to our worship session was a burden to her. This was evident in her moods. She was thus always uptight. This was a disturbing trend and the Lord rebuked her for having such a spirit. The Bible tells us that there is freedom, joy and peace in the Presence of the Lord, and that we must consider how we ought to encourage one another. We must not come to our gatherings to destroy the joy and faith of others (2 Corinthians 3:17; Psalm 16:11; Hebrews 10:24-25; Galatians 5:13-15).

Joy is a Manifestation of the Holy Spirit

In a rebuke to me some time ago, the Lord told me that whatever things we do in His name enjoys  equal importance, and our humility must be evident in reverence to Him. In my observation of Christians in general, the spirit of joy is evident mostly when we hear or receive something good, but generally, our moods are affected and controlled by worries for other things more than our whole-being in Christ. We cannot ignore the importance of joy in a Christian’s life, for this is showing our hope of salvation to others who don't have a relationship with the Lord (Romans 15:13). Since joy flows from the Holy Spirit, it would be safe to say that a joyless Christian either ignores or stifles the Holy Spirit from expressing Himself through them. The Lord has given all born-again believers the gift of the Holy Spirit, and we are urged to walk in the Spirit–not in the flesh (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Galatians 5:16). According to the Bible, we are identified as children of God through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives (Romans 8:9-11). He is a serious Partner that we shouldn't lose sight of (Ephesians 4:30). Therefore, His manifestation is seen in our lives through the fruits of holiness which we exude (John 15:8).

Often, people are naturally attracted by powerful revelations from the Holy Spirit and these are considered manifestations and rightfully so. However, when Christ came, He repeatedly emphasized the love He had for us, and the Father expressing this in great joy through His actions (John 15:9; Hebrews 12:2). Like today, many people are attracted to others by the ‘powers’ they have, either through some position or worldly wealth. Christ’ command to us, however, is to give love, thus allowing His joy to flow from that love (John 15:11-12). As it is, joy is closely linked to hope and good-will and biblically God is that JOY our souls must yearn for.

Hindrances to Our Joy

Prior to Job’s trials, the Bible tells us that he led a prosperous and peaceful life (Job 1:1-3) and his devotion to God was unquestionable (Job 1:4-5). However, seemingly out of nowhere, his troubles suddenly started and he cursed the day of his birth (Job 3:1-8). This preceding Scripture highlights the sadness in Job’s heart, and with that his joy was gone, making room for more complaining (Job 21:4). Now, we know Job was a man greatly loved and approved by our Heavenly Father, and his patience and faith in God was unshaken (Job 1:22). He certainly lost his joy because his soul was bitter within him (Job 7:11), and through his discourses he came to terms with his situation, acknowledging and charging that only God was his joy (Job 19:25-27).

Having said this, the Lord is teaching us that we will have His joy to help and carry us through our moments of hardship. We should therefore not allow life’s trying situations to harden our hearts, neither should we permit sadness and the worries of life to trouble us (Mark 4:19; Colossians 1:24; Matthew 6:25-34). I’m sure many of you have experienced that the competing worries of life (school, career, parenting, etc.) serve as the greatest thief of our joy. Sadly there are many wounded Christian who are falling prey to this device of Satan. In this ministry, we have witnessed the joy of many brethren who rejoiced in the Lord for the blessings He imparted upon them, and the power of God they experienced in their lives. Even though with all good things from God comes a test (Genesis 22:1-2; Acts 9:16), it is the joy fuelled by love that must remain, not a bitter heart. In other words, the Joy of the Lord must counteract sadness, for our sadness often concerns worldly things. We must not substitute our joy in Christ for the benefit of things that bring suffering (Matthew 19:21-23). When we worry and focus on the object of our suffering, instead of focusing on Christ, our peace will be disturbed (Psalm 42:5).

Presently, as a ministry and family, we are facing some trying situations. The Lord showed us that Satan is using these trials as weapons to steal, control and manipulate our feelings. By encouraging us, He told us just to pray and hope in Him and use His joy as our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). No doubt, the devil attempts to use the cares and concern of things to steal our joy and embitter us against the Lord, leading us to complaining. We are resolute in our commitment, and through it all, we have His joy as a real combatant against worrisome feelings, and with that we retain peace.

A few years ago, a good friend of mine who was unemployed had financial challenges, but his joy and worryless attitude in Christ gave me great courage. Despite his challenges, God provided for him and helped him; he lacked neither food nor money to pay for his rent. I can truthfully testify that even to this day, that brother is still enjoying the fruits of his faith in the Lord, having received everything he owns by faith, and sharing it freely because he refused to abandon the joy of the Lord. Brethren, we must remember that we have a choice to either exercise joy or be handicapped by feelings of worry. Choosing the latter shows that we are weak and walking in the flesh, as opposed to being strong and choosing life in the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16).

Restoring Our Joy

As children of God, we have not been called to complain, grumble, or argue (Philippians 2:14-15). Rather, since the Lord has been pleased to call us His children, we are called to be thankful (Ephesians 5:20; Hebrews 12:28).  If we at least have the basics of food, shelter, and clothing, let us give thanks and serve the Lord joyfully(1 Timothy 6:8; Philippians 4:11; Deuteronomy 28:47). Although it is not always easy, we are called to rejoice in our trials and consider it pure joy (James 1:2; 1 Peter 1:6). The Lord blesses and shows Himself to be full of love and faithfulness when we fast and pray by faith during our trials (Philippians 4:6-7). As the Jews in the time of Esther, we can only have joy when we see the Lord's deliverance after having obeyed, sought, and trusted Him (Esther 8:15-17). Also, when we wrong others in any way, it creates a lack of peace and division which hinders our joy. With humility and having a repentant heart towards those we have wronged and forgiving those who have wronged us, our joy is restored (James 4:6).

If you would like the joy of the Lord restored in your heart, pray for it as King David did when he said “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:12); and the Lord is faithful to give you this good gift (Matthew 7:11). To begin a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, please begin by praying this Prayer of Sincere Repentance. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Peaceful love and joy to in Christ Jesus,

Brother Glenn and Preparing for The Kingdom Ministry Team.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Regretting After Giving

“For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29 NKJV)

“But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 5:1-2 NKJV).

Brief Encouragement

As an encouragement to us and for the work on this website, the Lord revealed to us that He has blessed us with a great company of very simple-hearted, truly humble, truth-loving and faithful brothers and sisters. These are those who receive the Lord’s message we share here by faith. Truthfully, the Lord says that these brethren love Him, but they must be faithful in service to Him. We give glory to the Lord in sincerity of heart for being part of such a loving and truly God-fearing family of faith. The Lord is pleased with a child-like attitude and the fruit of His Spirit is evident in our humble state (Matthew 20:26).

Vision of Regretful Giving

On the September 29, 2015, the Lord gave Charis a short vision, and the message conveyed in this vision is our topic for this week. As you may have noticed, this is also one of the ways on how the Lord gives us subjects to write about.

Vision Given to Charis on September 29, 2015

“I had a vision this morning after our early morning prayers. I saw a minister of the gospel sitting on a chair, looking disappointed. I heard him say, “I honestly thought it was the Lord who blessed us with that gift, because Brother Sam is asking back the gift he gave us”. Then the Lord said, “My son [John] (not real name) is sad because I commanded My son [Sam] (not real name) to bless them with something they needed to do My work. My son Sam is now regretting doing good in My name and he has since taken back that gift in his heart. Whoever gives someone something in My name, and regrets his decision for helping My needy children, I tell you that person has forfeited his Heavenly reward for that act of kindness”. End of vision.

Rapture Vision of Consuming Fire in the Heavens

Briefly, brethren as you may have noticed we are sharing quite a few short visions on this website and we do so only as the Lord reveals. We are not exaggerating or inventing these warnings from the Lord. We have been equally warned by the Lord through the 'Lying in Jesus' Name' article never to lie in the Lord's name. This is what we share for your edification.

"I (Brother Glenn) had a beautiful rapture vision around 2:30 a.m. or earlier this morning (October 5, 2015). I saw the Heavens opened and a massive cloud of fire appearing in the sky. I knew the LORD was in that glorious glowing CLOUD but I did not see Him. I heard no voice, and as I looked on I saw myself enveloped in fire but I was not consumed, and I saw myself ascending up into the Heavens towards the fire cloud while someone who was with me and whom I cannot remember was left behind". END!

Remember the prophet Elijah was raptured into Heaven in a chariot of fire (2 Kings 2:11). I saw no chariot but a massive cloud in blazing full strength fire (2 Thessalonians 1:6-7; 2 Peter 3:12; Luke 21:26-27; Matthew 24:30; Exodus 24:17). 

Choosing God and Truth Above Unrighteous Living

Brethren, many of us overlook our giving habits. The Bible says we must give cheerfully and not grudgingly (2 Corinthians 9:7). In the above vision, the Lord showed us the condition of a brother’s heart who, after identifying the need of his fellow brethren, was moved with pity and prayed. After prayer, the Lord spoke to him. Since he was in a position to help, he obeyed and did so. We personally know this brother and the Lord acknowledged the good things he was doing in a message to him through this ministry (Acts 10:4; Proverbs 19:17). This message is not to shame or expose; the Lord allows us to share these experiences as examples, with the aim of helping those of us who struggle with such things.

Have you ever given something to someone and regretted your decision because along the way you had a disagreement with the person, or he just did not live up to your expectations? We are often tempted to initiate our own justice when others performed below our expectations and we end up regretting our giving. This is taking back not only the gift, but we also lose our blessing from the Lord. It is worth noting that when we give to others, the Lord does not expect us to demand accountability because this results in giving on condition.

From our experience, we have learnt that the Lord attaches very little significance to worldly things (John 6:27). He knows love and human relations are being compromised as a result of material things. He will demand an account from us as stewards of His assembly (1 Peter 4:10; Romans 14:12) and being a good shepherd, the purpose of His giving is to serve others (John 10:11; 15). Many of us are familiar with the fact that when we were children, we probably had the unpleasant experience of receiving something from a friend but later asked to give it back. Such giving is done grudgingly and is aimed at compensating for loyalty. Does this not remind you about certain people who give in return for future favours? A few years ago, we were blessed with some material things by some brethren. However, the Lord tested us and some of them as He issued some sharp rebukes to them. This resulted in some of these brethren questioning our motives. Little did these precious brethren know that the Lord was testing us to see if we would be faithful to His Word, or loyal to the brethren for giving to our ministry! Would we sacrifice telling the brethren things the Lord dislikes in their lives for their salvation for the sake of material things, or would we rather risk losing our own credibility when entrusted with truth? In our response, we chose truth and risked enduring ridicule and slander. We must never be afraid to risk losing friends when we are presented with the opportunity to minister truth to them in the name of the Lord for their good (Leviticus 19:17; Jude 1:23). Like the Lord, not everyone will welcome us, but only those He sends us to (John 10:27).

Keep Your Promises to God

In our Scripture reference at the beginning of this message, Ananias and Sapphira’s intentions were noble after seeing the genuine spirit by which the others were giving (Acts 4:33-37). They were encouraged and without being forced, decided to give too. However, after selling their property, they regretted their decision, and this resulted in their loss (Acts 5:1-10). Brethren, let us not be mistaken! Many of us think that entering into a covenant with the Lord is arbitrary and we can walk back any time. This is not so! We must honor our vows to Him, and that involves coming through with what we intended to do (Deuteronomy 23:21-22; Numbers 30:2; Psalm 76:11). The punishment the Lord meted out to the children of Israel was largely due to them dishonouring the Lord Almighty by not keeping their promises (Jeremiah 42:18-21; Deuteronomy 31:16-18; Ecclesiastes 5:4). We can remember how Joshua and the elders of Israel kept their promise to the Lord after giving their word to the Gibeonites after being deceived by them. They kept the covenant promise despite the false premise under which it was made (Joshua 9:9-19). It was a regrettable decision, but everything done in the name of the Almighty God must be irrevocable. Joshua feared God and upheld this covenant. Hundreds of years later, King Saul and his sons violated this covenant and killed some of the Gibeonites .Tragic consequences followed – there was a three-year famine in the land, and only after seven of Saul’s sons were hanged by the Gibeonites as retribution was peace restored to the land (2 Samuel 21:1-9).

In the Bible, marriage was also meant to be a covenant, a promise made unconditionally before God and not to be broken (Matthew 19:1-8; Mark 10:9). Many couples today, including Christians, enter into marriage without understanding the seriousness of their vows; they regard marriage as a revocable “contract”, as opposed to a covenant that is not meant to be broken. Even though many Christians and preachers justify their decisions to divorce, God’s Word on the subject has not changed (Malachi 2:16). For more on marriage and divorce, you may read The Sin of Adultery and Keeping Secrets articles. We are also aware that there are certain TV preachers who ask their listeners to be “covenant partners” or make “pledges” to support their ministry financially. Still there are other preachers who encourage followers or congregants to write and make “vows” to Jesus. Brothers and sisters, unless you are willing to follow through with your promise, at whatever cost, you are better off not making the promise in the first place (Deuteronomy 23:22)! The Bible sternly warns us against making vows to God and failing to honor them (James 5:12):

When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, “My vow was a mistake.” Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? (Ecclesiastes 5:4-6 NIV).

In conclusion, have you been giving or helping others and afterwards complaining and regretting? Please repent, brothers and sisters. Remember, Our Heavenly Father was pleased to reconcile us to Himself through Jesus’ suffering and blood on the cross (John 3:16; Colossians 1:19-23; Isaiah 53:10-11 NKJV). Therefore, let us also learn to be pleased in our giving (Romans 15:26-27) and may the Lord help us to be faithful and obedient in fulfilling our promises. If you would like to have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, please begin by praying this Prayer of Sincere Repentance. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Blessed in your giving,

Brother Glenn and Preparing for the Kingdom Ministry Team.