Saturday, April 30, 2016

Angels are at work for you!

Psalm 103:20-21 (NKJV): Bless the Lord, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word. Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, you ministers of His, who do His pleasure.

The word 'angels' here in Hebrew is 'malak', meaning 'messengers', from a root word which means 'to despatch as a deputy'. In other words, they are created to despatch (bring) good tidings and good things from heaven to you! From the verses above, we also know that they are ministers (i.e. servants) of the Lord, 'who do His pleasure'.

Hebrews 1:14 says, 'Are they (the angels) not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for (i.e. serve) those who will inherit salvation?' Jesus Himself spoke about angels (see Mark 8:38, John 1:51). And in Matthew 18:10, He says, "Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven." You know what this means? Never look down on any of these little ones, because they have their angels in the presence of the Lord, looking to the Lord for them!

And who are these 'little ones' here? In Matthew 18:3-4, Jesus has the answer, "Assuredly I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." He is talking about you and I! Those who will inherit salvation!

Now, I'm making sure everything I write about angels here does have Bible verses to back it up. You cannot write about angels merely by your own personal experience (or encounters) alone, as it can lead to error. But let's see what the Bible says about angels.

To begin with, there are about three hundred references to angels in the whole Bible, and this figure is more than enough to substantiate the existence of angels!

There are basically two categories of angels, namely 'the good angels' (who care about your welfare) and 'the fallen angels' (who are out to cause harm to you). These 'fallen angels' are led by none other than Lucifer, who was an archangel (i.e. angel of high rank) and leader of worship among the angelic hosts, but through pride and rebellion, he fell (see Isaiah 14:12-15).

You see, worship and pride cannot go together. To worship is to humble before the Lord, throwing oneself in total surrender to Him. Yes, even one's will and desire.

Let's continue with our studies on angels.

By the way, God forbid that we worship angels. Why? Because they are also created beingsPsalm 104:1-4 says, 'Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great; You are clothed with honor and majesty, who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, who stretch out the heavens like a curtain... Who makes (creates) His angels spirits, His ministers (servants) a flame of fire'.

The ministry (i.e. service) of angels are two-folds:
1. Worship (Revelation 4:8-11, Isaiah 6:1-3);
2. Work (Hebrews 1:14, Psalm 103:20-21).
To put it plainly, angels are worshipers, and angels work according to the Word of God!

Hebrews 12:22-24 says, 'But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all...' As you can see from these verses, when God's people gather together to worship the Lord, angels are there too!

Let's read Psalm 103:20 again. It says, 'Bless the Lord, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word'. See? Angels are created and meant to do God's word, and to heed the voice of His word! And the truth is you too can be the voice that speaks God's Word! In cross-reference, Proverbs 18:21 says, 'Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit'. See how important it is to watch what you speakSpeak God's Word over your life (and situation), and you will even attract angels to work for you!

Someone asked me recently, "How do you activate the work of angels around you?" 

The answer is easy. Keep worshiping the Lord, and keep speaking (declaring aloud) the Word of God! And they will know how to respond accordingly. The Bible says so! You don't have to worry on behalf of them!

Another point about angels that's worthy of note is they 'excel in strength'! (see Psalm 103:20) Hallelujah! It means they are strong enough to 'bodyguard' you! Psalm 91:10-12 says, 'No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone'.

Read also the account in Acts 5:17-21, when an angel of the Lord came at night to open the prison doors and brought the apostles out. The angel even spoke to them and gave them instructions! People of God, the Lord can even open your eyes to see angels! In 2 Kings 6:15-17, when Israel was surrounded by a great number of the enemy's army, Elisha prayed that his servant would be able to see 'those who are with them are more than those who are with the enemy'. The Lord then opened the eyes of the young man, and then and there, he saw the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha! Israel went on to defeat the enemy with a great victory!

As I conclude this article, the truth is angels exist, and they are very much at work for you at the moment! Keep worshiping and keep declaring the Word of God over your life (and in every situation of yours), and they will do their part to clear the way for you!

The psalmist David wrote it so very aptly in Psalm 34:7, 'The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear the Lord, and delivers them'. The word 'encamp' here is a military word. It means 'to set up camp', or 'to establish a camp'. So, I can put it this way: 'The angel of the Lord 'set up camp' or 'establish a camp' all around those who fear the Lord, and delivers them'. See the words 'all around' here?

No wonder Elisha told his young servant in 2 Kings 6:16, "Do not fear (the enemy), for those who are with us are more than those who are with the enemy." Let it be so! In Jesus' marvelous name. Amen!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Guard your heart with all diligence!

I heard these words from the Lord recently:
"Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it flow the issues of life! The enemy has been trying to sow seeds of discouragement, disorientation, and condemnation to many of My people recently. But fear not! Look to Me and I will help you! My Spirit is with you! Choose to keep your heart right before Me no matter what. Hear Me and follow Me, and I will bring you through!"

By the way, 'to disorientate' means 'to cause (somebody) to lose all sense of direction, or to cause confusion'.

In New King James Version (NKJV), Proverbs 4:23 says, 'Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life', and in New International Version (NIV), this verse reads, 'Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life'.

As a matter of fact, everything that happens in and around you depends on what's in your heart. If your heart is 'right', everything will start to fall into place, but when your heart is 'departed', everything will also fall apart! You can see the same happening in the lives of the different kings in Judah and Israel!

The word 'keep' or 'guard' here in Proverbs 4:23 is 'natsar' in Hebrew, which can mean 'to protect, to maintain'. How about the word 'heart' here? It is 'leb' in Hebrew, literally meaning 'the center of everything'. According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, it not only speaks of your spirit, but also your soul (i.e. mind, will, and emotions).

People of God, before you see breakthrough or new things coming your way, the enemy will (more likely than not) try to stop it by sowing seeds of discouragement, disorientation, or condemnation in you. He will want to keep you small. He will want to keep you miserable. He will want to keep you thinking you are good for nothing. He will want to keep you believing that the Lord will never forgive you for the past mistakes you've made in life. But these are all lies! And this is when you choose to guard your heart above all else, and in turn guard your mouth!

In Matthew 12:34-37, Jesus Himself said, "...For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

In cross-reference, Proverbs 18:21 says, 'Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit'. Notice also Proverbs 4:23 (about 'guarding your heart') leads to Proverbs 4:24 that says, 'Put away from you a deceitful (devious) mouth, and put perverse lips far from you'. You see? What's in your heart will eventually flow out in your words! And what you say (in your words) will in turn determine what you will be!

Today, I want to point you to the importance of guarding your heart by learning from Jehoshaphat's mother and of course, Jehoshaphat himself. Not the usual teaching about his great victory against the people of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir (2 Chronicles 20:1-30), but let's look at other aspects that are rarely taught.

Jehoshaphat's mother, Azubah:
2 Chronicles 20:31-32 says, 'So Jehoshaphat was king over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. And he walked in the way of his father Asa, and did not turn aside from it, doing what was right in the sight of the Lord'. 

There's no accident why a name is mentioned in the Bible. Everything in the Bible was written for a reason. And here, Jehoshaphat's mother, Azubah was mentioned right in between the lines of Jehoshaphat's reign as king and how he did right in the sight of the Lord! This goes to show her influence as a mother, and the important role she played in Jehoshaphat's life! Otherwise the Bible would not even mention her name if she's not worthy of note!

But rather interestingly, this name 'Azubah' in Hebrew actually means 'desolate, forsaken', and it can even mean 'deserted, ruined, miserable, lonely, sad, hopeless'. By the meaning of her name, she seemed like a neglected person, and probably even forsaken by others, even though her father's name 'Shilhi' (meaning 'weapon, armor') sounded great!

A lesson one can learn here is whatever your current situation (or 'desolation') may be at the moment, keep your heart right and guard your heart, and you too will begin to see 'fruit' in your life! You see, Azubah's fruit was Jehoshaphat, the great king who brought great victory to Judah! Praise the Lord! 

Jehoshaphat's mistake and shipwreck:
2 Chronicles 20:35-37 says, 'After this (Jehoshaphat's great victory), Jehoshaphat king of Judah allied himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who acted very wickedly. And he allied himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish, and they made ships in Ezion Geber. But Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, "Because you have allied yourself with Ahaziah, the Lord has destroyed your works." Then the ships were wrecked, so that they were not able to go to Tarshish'.

The word 'allied' here can mean 'join (together), couple (together), have fellowship (close friendship) with, associate with, align with'. Here, the Bible says because Jehoshaphat allied himself with Ahaziah who acted very wickedly, the Lord destroyed his work! 

In studying those who have gone before us, it is important to learn not just from their victories and acclaims, but also to learn from their mistakes. And here is a classic case of learning to guard your heart and be careful who you choose to align with (associate with). If the Lord gives the 'go ahead', you go ahead. But if the Lord gives a 'check' in your heart, or even warnings (through dreams, etc), better heed Him. You will be spared some heartaches!

A lesson one can learn here is to guard against aligning (associating) with the wrong people who may intentionally or unintentionally bring you down. Temptation (or the lure of this world) is also everywhere (whether it's lust, greed, or pride), and many have fallen into it. But fear not! The Lord has promised that His Spirit is with you!

The importance of praying in the spirit:
Some people say the key to guarding one's heart is by self-discipline (i.e. 'the ability to control one's feelings and overcome one's weaknesses'). Now, don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with exercising self-discipline, but self-discipline alone can only take you so far. One day, sooner or later, you'll find yourself so tired and exhausted of having to keep guard by your own self-effort! You need the Holy SpiritMany people do not know that to guard one's heart in God's way is to pray in the spirit often! And it's as easy as flowing in a river!

When you pray in the spirit:
- it is your spirit that prays (1 Corinthians 14:14)
- you are speaking to God (1 Corinthians 14:2)
- your spirit is activated (1 Corinthians 14:14)
- your spirit is encouraged and edified (1 Corinthians 14:4)
- your spirit is built up on your most holy faith (Jude 1:20)
- you are praying the perfect will of God (Romans 8:27)
- it is part of your weapon against the enemy (Ephesians 6:18)
- it helps you to go deeper in your spiritual life (Romans 8:26)
- it helps you in your weaknesses (Romans 8:26)
- you find spiritual rest and refresh (Isaiah 28:11-12)

Praying in the spirit leads you into a higher realm, a supernatural realm, high and above every human (worldly) reasoning and rationalizing. You will rise above the worldly atmosphere and begin seeing things from the Lord's point of view. After all, Christianity is supernatural! You can see this all over the Bible! And when you pray in the spirit, rivers of living water (i.e. the Holy Spirit) will begin flowing in and through you! (see John 7:37-39) 
It is the Holy Spirit that:
- gives you the divine encouragement
- leads you and guides you
- pushes open the 'doors' for you
- clears every hindrance that you face
- releases supernatural joy unto you
- releases shalom peace unto you
- brings perspective back into your life

A time to rise above like the eagles!
The whole world is in the midst of unprecedented levels of politicking and mind-battles at the moment. People are 'attacking others' and 'defending themselves' like never before! Everyone's trying to save their own neck! But people of God, this is when you choose to rise above all these worldly (fleshly) atmospheres created by men and pray in the spirit all the more! That's how you will be like the eagles soaring high and above every 'storm' in this world!

And when you seem to make lots of mistakes in life lately, or your mind begins to fear men (and seek to please men) more than God, start praying in the spirit and keep on praying in the spirit! Get 'connected' with the Holy Spirit again! You'll be sure to gain back perspective of what the Lord wants you to see, instead of what the world wants you to see! To put it simply, you'll begin to make the right decisions in life again! Why? Because the Holy Spirit is all-knowing, and He will always lead you into all truth!

Last but not least, remember, when you pray in the spirit, it is your spirit that prays. And when your spirit is activated and strong, it will dominate your whole being (in and around you). You will not succumb under the worldly influence, or cave in to worldly pressures so easily. The apostle Paul had this revelation of the power of praying in the spirit (i.e. praying in tongues), and he even wrote that he prayed in the spirit more than others (1 Corinthians 14:18). No wonder the Lord entrusted him to author half of the entire twenty-seven books in the New Testament!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The hand of the Lord that opens the doors

I heard these words from the Lord for this month:
"This is a month of open doors! In My terms and in My ways! Watch My hand do the impossible this month! Look to Me and never limit Me! Watch My hand deliver you this month! Watch My hand work in your situation this month! Watch My hand open the doors for you, when it seems impossible to men! I will open those doors in new ways that your mind cannot imagine!"

I then heard further:
"There's a release of My faith from heaven this month! A faith big enough to see your 'mountains' removed! Receive from Me boldly, and walk in it boldly!"

The word 'mountains here speaks of 'problems, or hindrances'.

Let's do a little study on the hand of the Lord now.

In Isaiah 41:18-20, the Lord says, "I will open rivers in desolate heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree, the myrtle and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine and the box tree together, that they may see and know, and consider and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it."

The word 'hand' here is 'yad' in Hebrew, which actually means 'the open hand, indicating power, means, or direction'. See the word 'open' here? It is this 'hand' that opens 'rivers' and 'fountains' in the midst of every form of 'desolation' and 'valley' in your life, and it is also this 'hand' that opens the 'doors' for you, even in the midst of impossibilities! And when He opens the door, no man can shut it! (Revelation 3:8)

In John 10:9, Jesus says, "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture." It is interesting to note that the word 'pasture' here is 'nome' (pronounced 'no-may') in Greek, which can mean 'food, or feeding'. This word 'pasture' therefore speaks of you feeding on every good thing that comes from the Lord!

Let's go back to Isaiah 41. In Isaiah 41:10-13, the Lord also says, "Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; they shall be as nothing, and those who strive with you shall perish... Those who contended with you, those who war against you shall be as nothing, as a nonexistent thing. For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, 'Fear not, I will help you.'"

People of God, if you have been faced with a 'mountain' in your life recently, take heart in this assurance from the Lord today, that He is here for you and His hand is here to hold you.

The word 'hand' here is 'yamin' in Hebrew, which means 'the right hand, indicating a strong hand'. In other words, His hand is strong enough to help you to overcome, no matter what or how big your 'mountain' may be. Look to Him and never limit what He can do for you!

Let's go to the New Testament now for our cross-reference. The early church was severely threatened by the rulers of the people and elders of Israel at that time, and the believers were forbidden from speaking or teaching in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:13-18). It was at such time that they prayed, "Now, Lord, look on their threats and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus." (Acts 4:29-30)

And watch now what happened when the hand of the Lord began moving! Acts 4:31-34 says, 'And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul... and with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked...'

You see, when the hand of the Lord began moving, no one (and not even any governmental authority) on this earth could stop Him! And in spite of all those threats and persecution against the people of the Lord, the Bible says 'through the hands of the apostles, many signs and wonders were done among the people' and 'believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women' (Acts 5:12-16). Hallelujah!

People of God, let the hand of the Lord be upon your hands too, and in all that He has called you to do on this earth! Know that His hand is heavenly and supernatural, high above and more powerful than all that the 'enemy' can 'throw' at you! There's therefore no need to fear or be dismayed, whatever your situation may be at the moment!

Your part is to continue to humble yourselves under His mighty hand, casting all those cares of yours upon Him (1 Peter 5:5-7).

By the way, to 'humble yourselves under His mighty hand' is to acknowledge that He is greater, stronger, and smarter than you in every way. After all, He is the One who created the sun, the moon, the stars, and all the galaxies! So, why not let Him lead you and guide you instead? And as you flow with His leading and guidance, that's when you also know there's no need to struggle or strive in all that you do, because His hand has taken over!

During morning prayer last Sunday, my wife (Pastor Sharon) saw a wonderful vision of 'rivers of living water flowing out from those who look to Him, so strong that it pushed open the doors on earth'!

People of God, this is also your time to declare that the hand of the Lord is with you, and He is mighty enough to push open every door that the 'enemy' has shut against you! Your time of breakthrough is at hand. Receive by faith, and walk in it boldly! In Jesus' name. Amen!