Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A time of recovery and a time God re-orders your steps

Psalm 37:23-24 (NKJV): The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.

The word 'ordered' here comes from the Hebrew word 'kuwn', meaning 'to erect, to set up, to appoint, to prepare, to establish'. With this word 'kuwn' here, I can also read Psalm 37:23 this way: The steps of a good man are erected by the Lord, set up by the Lord, appointed by the Lord, prepared by the Lord, and established by the Lord.

People of God, if you have been going through a tough time or a difficult situation recently (in any area of your life), these verses in Psalm 37:23-24 are for you.

The other day, I heard and released these words to the congregation I was ministering to:
“This month is a month of recovery! Recovery of your strength! Recovery of your health! Recovery of your vision! Recovery of your finance! Recovery of your business! Recovery of your vocation! Even recovery of your marriage!”

Then I heard further:
“The grace for recovery is very strong for My people this month! Tap into this grace! Access this grace! And watch Me supply from heaven!”

According to The Free Dictionary, 'to recover' is 'to find and regain possession of (something stolen or lost)', and 'recoverycan be defined as 'restoration of things (or situation) to a former or better condition'.

Make this declaration for your recovery:
- I declare the enemy who has plundered me is being plundered!
- I declare the enemy's strategies against me be turned back!
- I declare the ending of the power of loss in my life!
- I declare the beginning of the power of victory in my life!
- I declare an amazing turnaround of events in my life!
In Jesus' name. Amen!

Declare the above by faith over every area of your life that has suffered recently and that needs recovery. 

Declare the above as you let God re-order (i.e. ‘re-erect’ or ‘re-establish’) your life, and as you move forward from here.

One good example in the Bible on how God re-ordered one’s steps is found in the book of Ruth. Indeed, Ruth had a great recovery

Here’s a background of what Ruth went through. 

Ruth 1:3-5 says, '...Elimelech, Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons (Mahlon and Chillion). Now the two sons took wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth. And they dwelt there about ten years. Then both Mahlon and Chillion also died; so the woman (Naomi) survived her two sons and her husband'. 

Ruth 1:8-9 continues, 'And Naomi said to her daughters-in-law, "Go, return each to her mother's house." The Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. "The Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband." So she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept'.

Ruth 1:12-13 then reads, '"Turn back, my daughters, go - for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, if I should have a husband tonight and should also bear sons, would you wait for them till they were grown?..." Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law (goodbye), but Ruth clung to her’.

By the way, the name 'Orpah' in Hebrew means 'the back of the neck', from the word 'araph' meaning 'to turn back, to cut off', whereas the name ‘Ruth’ in Hebrew means ‘friend’. So, one ‘turned back’, and the other clung on to Naomi, whose name means ‘beauty, splendour, grace’ in Hebrew.

As you can see here, Ruth chose to follow Naomi no matter what (see also Ruth 1:16-17). This is a ‘picture’ of you, a friend of God (see John 15:15-16) who also keeps on looking to the ‘beauty, splendour, and grace’ of the Lord, even when others may ‘turn back’ during difficult times.

People of God, this will also be the key to your recovery this month. If you hang on like Ruth, and hang on to the ‘beauty, splendour, and grace’ of our Lord even when the odds are stacked against you, you will soon see ‘the curtains being opened’ for you.

At this point of writing, I would like to share a vision I saw (as I was praying) recently. In that vision, I was in a dark room, and initially I saw curtains covering the window of that room. There wasn’t any light at all inside the room. Then I saw a pair of shining hands opening the curtains of the window, and as the curtains were being opened more and more, I saw light (rays of light) from outside beginning to shine into the room, lighting up the room. The view in the horizon got broader and broader as the curtains were being opened, and the scenery outside was beautiful.

Let’s continue with Ruth now, and see how 'the curtains were being opened' for her. Ruth 1:22b says, '... Now they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest', and Ruth 2:1-2 says further, 'There was a relative of Naomi's husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech. His name was Boaz. ... Ruth said to Naomi, "Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain..." And she said to her, "Go, my daughter.”’

Ruth 2:3 continues, 'Then she left, and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers. And she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech’. Notice the word ‘happened’ here? This word is 'miqreh' in Hebrew, which literally means 'something met with chance', from the word 'qarah' in Hebrew, which means 'to light upon, to chance upon, to be divinely set up'.

Boaz then took notice of her, and asked his servant who was in charge of the reapers, saying "Whose young woman is this?" And upon finding out, he then said to Ruth, "You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women." (see Ruth 2:5-8) In fact, later on, Boaz even commanded his young men, saying, "Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. Also let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her." (see Ruth 2:15-16)

People of God, as you let God ‘re-order’ your life today, I believe He is going to do for you the way Boaz did for Ruth those days. Yes, He can even command His angels to ‘let grain from the bundles fall purposely for you’ too. Just don’t limit Him on how He’s going to do it! Indeed, ‘Boaz’ is a ‘picture’ of your redemption and recovery. Amen!

If you read on (in this book of Ruth), you know the rest is history! One ‘happening’ led to another ‘happening’, all at the right place and at the right time. Surely God’s at work! In time, Boaz then took Ruth as his wife, and a son, 'Obed' was eventually conceived and born (see Ruth 4:13-17). By the way, this name 'Obed' is a very special name, from the Hebrew word 'abad' which means 'to bring to pass'. Indeed, your ‘Obed’ shall come to pass too!

So, no matter how helpless or hopeless your situation may be at the moment, I want to believe together with you for a great recovery on your part. Indeed, Ruth had a great recovery, and I believe you will too. Because He is now here to help you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Resting in Christ in the midst of the storms

Genesis 7:1 (NKJV): Then the Lord said to Noah, "Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation."

The name 'Noah' here in Hebrew is 'Noach' or 'Nowach', meaning 'rest, or quiet', from the word 'nuwach' which means 'to rest, to be still, to settle down, to be quiet, to dwell/stay'.

Here, the Bible also says God saw that Noah was a righteous man before Him. Today, as a believer in the New Covenant, you are made righteous through Christ, because 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, 'For He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him'.

In Genesis 6:8, the Bible says that 'Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord'. The word 'grace' here is 'chen' (pronounced 'khane') in Hebrew, which means 'favor, beauty, kindness'. As a believer, you too have found grace, because you have found Jesus ChristJohn 1:17 says, 'For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ'.

"So, what does Noah's ark speaks of here in the context of New Covenant?"

The word 'ark' here is 'tebah' in Hebrew, which simply means 'box'. This 'ark' is a 'picture' of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the Lord of rest, or 'shabath' in Hebrew. This 'ark' is the 'shadow', and the Lord Jesus Christ is the 'substance'. Today, we don't look to the 'shadow', but we look to the 'substance'. Therefore, to be in the 'ark' is a 'picture' of to be in Christ. As a matter of fact, being in Christ is the safest place you can ever be while on earth, whether you are going through an economic storm, political storm, financial storm, or any other forms of storm on earth!

Genesis 6:13-16 says, 'And God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits (about 135 meters), its width fifty cubits (about 22.5 meters), and its height thirty cubits (about 13.5 meters). You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks."

Have you noticed there's only one door for this ark? In John 10:7, Jesus says, "Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep." Indeed, Jesus is that (singular) door, and He is also the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Acts 4:12 says, 'There is no other name given among men by which one must be saved (rescued), but by the name of Jesus ('Yeshuwah')'.

As you can see here, the 'ark' in Noah's days was God's rescue plan (God's redemption plan), which speaks of Jesus Christ Himself, or 'Yeshuwah' in Hebrew, which means 'Salvation' (i.e. to save, to deliver, to rescue, to aid, to help). He is your only hope in this end-time, similar to Noah's ark when God was about to judge the whole earth!

Points to note on 'Noah's ark':
This ark was merely a rescue device afloat in the flood, with no rudder (steering) and propeller.
The 'length to width ratio' for the ark was 6:1 (i.e. 300 cubits to 50 cubits), which has been proven in modern ship technology to be an ideal 'length to width ratio' for huge vessels/ships today.
Amazingly, God's measurement and design (blueprints) for Noah's ark (built about 5,000 years ago) strikes a perfect balance of comfort, strength, and stabilityenabling a safe, drifting voyage during very turbulent, stormy times.
You see, longer vessels may have comfort and stability, but no strength (i.e. it can fracture and break into half easily), and wider vessels may have stability and strength, but no comfort (i.e. passengers are more prone to sea sicknesses and injuries). 
The infamous Titanic that sank had a 'length to width ratio' of 10:1, whereas Knock Nevis (one of the largest modern tankers in the world today, and about three times the size of Noah's ark) has a 'length to width ratio' of 6:1, the same ratio as Noah's ark!
Indeed, Jesus is your perfect comfort, strength, and stability. Amen!
Source: Noah's Ark, Hong Kong.

Therefore, people of God, because you are in this perfect 'ark', no matter how stormy or turbulent your situation (or circumstance) around you may be at the moment, He is here saying to you, "Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10) Yes, let Him be exalted among the nations, and let Him also be exalted over every aspect of your life as well!

Indeed, Jesus is your perfect rest in the midst of the storms.

If you have not received Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, He is here inviting you to 'come into the ark' today. The Bible says He is the Lord of rest, or 'shabath' in Hebrew (Matthew 12:8), and in this perfect 'ark', you are safe and well, and staying in the eye of the storm!

Genesis 6:22 then says, 'Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did'.

In spite of the ridicules, mockery, and despise from others in his days, Noah trusted God, obeyed God, and continued to build the 'ark' as God had instructed and specified. He learned to depend on God's knowledge (or blueprint) even if no one else believed him. This speaks of you hanging on strong in what God has spoken to you, in spite of whatever people may say against you. And it is no wonder Hebrews 11:7 says, 'By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith'.

Therefore, people of God, hang on strong and continue to walk with the Lord, as Noah did, even if others may ridicule you, mock at you, despise you, or even threaten you because of your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Now, there's another 'ark' mentioned in the Old Testament which was (also) so important to God that He (also) gave the Israelites very specific instructions on how it was to be constructed (just as He gave very specific instructions to Noah). It is called the ark of the covenant (read Exodus 25:10-22 for the specific measurement and design of this ark).

Points to note on 'the ark of the covenant':
The box was made of acacia wood, known in Israel as an incorruptible wood. This speaks of the humanity of Jesus, yet there's no sin in Him.
The box was overlaid with gold. This speaks of the divinity of Jesus.
The lid that covered the box was made of a solid slab of gold, and called 'kapporeth' in Hebrew, meaning 'mercy seat'. Indeed, His mercy triumphs over judgement. Because of all that He has done for you on the cross, He has also covered all your sins and rebellion against God.

Just as Noah's ark, this 'ark' also points you to the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ! The word 'ark' here is 'arown' in Hebrew, also meaning 'box'. Interestingly, this word 'arown' comes from the word 'arah', meaning 'to gather'. Notice wherever this ark of the covenant (a 'picture' of Jesus Christ Himself) was carried in a procession, there was also a major in-gathering of God's people together with it! You can see that in David's days (see 1 Chronicles 15:1-3, 1 Chronicles 15:25-28, 1 Chronicles 16:1-2), and you see that again during Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem (see Matthew 21:1-11). Indeed, when He is lifted up, He will draw (gather) all peoples (John 12:32). Hallelujah!

Today, He is calling you to be part of this great procession of the ‘ark’ as well. 2 Corinthians 2:14 says, ‘Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ (i.e. in a triumphal procession in Christ) and through us diffuses (spreads) the fragrance of His knowledge in every place’. Amen.

Conclusion on both 'Noah's ark' and 'the ark of the covenant':
'Being in Noah's ark' speaks of 'you in Christ';
'The ark of the covenant entering Jerusalem in David's days (as he prepared a place for the 'ark' to enter in)' speaks of 'Christ in you, the hope of glory' (Colossians 1:27).
You in Christ, and Christ in you! This speaks of the fullness of Christ who dwells (fills) all in all (Ephesians 1:23), and there's really no other safer place to be than this! That's how blessed you are when you have Christ! The Word of God says so, and let not anyone shake you out of it!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A time to birth forth like Hannah!

1 Samuel 1:17-18 (NKJV): Then Eli answered and said, "Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him." And she (Hannah) said, "Let your maidservant find favor in your sight." So the woman (Hannah) went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.

The name 'Hannah' here is 'Channah' (pronounced 'khan-naw') in Hebrew, which means 'favored', from the word 'chanan', meaning 'to favor, to grant graciously'. Indeed, in Christ, you too are the 'favored' of God. Ephesians 1:6 says, '...to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved'. The word 'accepted' here is 'charitoo' in Greek, which literally means 'be highly favored'.

Now, here's the background leading to Hannah's breakthrough. 1 Samuel 1:1-2 says, 'Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim, of the mountains of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah... And he had two wives, the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children'. 

Elkanah was a good husband to Hannah, and he loved Hannah even though she was barren (1 Samuel 1:5). Interestingly, the name 'Elkanah' is 'El' (meaning 'God') and 'qanah' (meaning 'to obtain, to redeem, to possess, to recover, to procure') in Hebrew. Today, the Lord is also saying to you that He loves you, and He too has 'obtained, redeemed, possessed, recovered, and procured' you from all the provocation and works of the enemy. 'Peninnah' speaks of 'the worldly way of seeing things, the worldly mindset, the outward way, or the flaunting way of this world'.

People of God, if you have been persecuted, mocked or ridiculed by the 'Peninnahs' around you recently (1 Samuel 1:6-7), take heart, because God is about to cause you to birth forth, just as He did for Hannah in those days! Your breakthrough is at hand!

As Hannah cried out and poured out to God, God (through the priest, Eli) answered and said, "Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him." Today, whatever your situation may be, and no matter how 'dark' your situation may be, God is still the same to you as He was to Hannah. He has never changed His ways towards His beloved (Hebrews 13:8).

Hannah then said, "Let your maidservant find favor ('grace' in KJV) in your sight." She then went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad (1 Samuel 1:18). And herein lies a very important key to your breakthrough. Now watch Hannah at this point of time! Has Hannah seen her breakthrough (of asking for a male child) physically yet at this point of time? No! Yet the Bible says, 'she went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad', as if the breakthrough had already happened! 

Many believers make this mistake of remaining bitter and sad (i.e. negative), and some even took Hannah's weeping and crying as the reasons for them to remain in their own 'pity party'. But you see, that really wasn't the case with Hannah herself! The moment she received a prophetic word from the Lord (through Eli), she began to take God at His words, and walked free (from sorrows) as if she already had the breakthrough!

You see, as long as you remain bitter and sad (i.e. negative), God cannot bring you out of your 'barrenness', whatever your 'barrenness' in life may be!

Therefore, people of God, this is a time to rise up from your 'melancholy' (state of being sad or depressed) and eat! Eat of the Word! Drink of His Spirit! Rejoice and be glad! And never allow 'negative' people around you to pull you down any further! Remember you are the 'Hannahs' of today! Hannah rose above, ate, and rejoiced, even before the child Samuel was actually born! This speaks volume of her trust in God’s words (prophetic words), and as 1 Thessalonians 5:20 says, 'never to despise prophecies'. By the way, 'Samuel' here speaks of 'the breakthrough that you've been yearning for'.

See now what happened when Hannah began to rejoice and eat! 1 Samuel 1:19-20 then says, 'They (Elkanah and Hannah) rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord, and returned and came to their house in Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, "Because I have asked for him from the Lord."' 

And just as God remembered Hannah, He remembers you as well.

'Samuel' in Hebrew is 'Shemuw-El', from two words, 'El' (the name of 'God'), and 'Shama' meaning 'to hear attentively, to give attention carefully, to be obedient'. 'Samuel' speaks of the 'apostolic and prophetic move of God in our days'. God used him for the unprecedented in his days, breaking new grounds by anointing the first kings, and opening the way for God’s people to enter into the new things. 'Samuel' also speaks of ‘the fountain of revelation from heaven being opened’ at a time when the word of the Lord was rare and there was no widespread revelation (1 Samuel 3:1). 

People of God, as you cross into the next one year, you'll also see many people in this world not knowing what to do, or how to go about anymore, but take heart, ‘you will know’. God is going to show you many things that ‘eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him' (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).

Recently, I heard these words from the Lord during a time of worship and prayer:
"The fountain of revelation is being opened! I am raising up a people who hears! I am raising up a people who hears from heaven, revelation upon revelation from My throne! And I am going to thrust those who are ready into greater things! Greater things than they could ever have imagined!"

And I heard further:
"This is a time to return to Me in worship! There is a call for My people to worship! Yes, like they have never done before! Yes, even entering into new dimensions of worship! This is also a time to bring your 'rod' into My Holy of Holies! Like Aaron's rod! Surrender every 'deadwood' of yours in My presence! For I will use you if you are willing, and I will cause your 'deadwood' to sprout, to put forth buds, to produce blossoms, and to yield ripe almonds."

'Rod' speaks of 'your calling in life', and your calling brings with it 'authority'. 

Let the Lord visit (and transform you) as you cross into a new year

1 Samuel 2:21 says, 'And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile the child Samuel grew before the Lord'. You see, Hannah was meant to be fruitful. That was her destiny in her life, even though she did not start well. In Christ, you too are meant to be fruitful (in every area of your life), no matter how your past has been. Expect the Lord to visit you too right now, as He did to Hannah in those days. You are indeed highly favored in the Lord. In Jesus' name. Amen!