Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Lord is your refuge, your hiding place

Psalm 59:16 (NKJV): But I will sing of Your power; Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; For You have been my defense, and refuge in the day of my trouble.

This psalm was written by David when Saul sent men to watch his house in order to kill him (see 1 Samuel 19:11). The word 'refuge' here is 'manowce' in Hebrew, which can mean 'a retreat, an escape, a fleeing place', from the word 'nuwce' (pronounced 'noos') meaning 'to escape, to flee, to hide, to vanish away'. Indeed, the Lord is your hiding place, and in Him, you are 'invisible' to the enemy, where the enemy cannot find you and touch you!

In cross-reference, Psalm 91:1-2 says, 'He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust."'

The name 'David' simply means 'beloved', from the word 'dowd' which means 'to love'. Today, because you are a beloved of God, you too can find refuge from the enemy (whether spiritual or physical), or from anyone who has evil intention (or malice) against you, or from anyone who tries to hurt you (whether in words or deeds). If the Lord has called you to do (or put in your heart to do) something significant, there is a likelihood that someone isn't happy. This is especially so when you are doing something apostolic (breaking new grounds), unprecedented, or never been done before. Maybe what you are doing has become a subject of jealousy, or even a threat to another. Now, that was exactly what happened to David those days.

It all began when David's 'promotion' came (1 Samuel 17). He has been prepared and trained by the Lord through the years as a shepherd boy, and the moment came when he 'happened' to be there because he was asked by his father Jesse to bring breakfast for his brothers (1 Samuel 17:17-24). When all the men of Israel were dreadfully afraid of Goliath and fled from him, David said to King Saul, "Let no man's heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine." (1 Samuel 17:32), and he prevailed over Goliath (1 Samuel 17:49-51). Saul then took him into his ranks, and set him over the men of war (1 Samuel 18:2, 1 Samuel 18:5). Now, what could go wrong? It should have been a time of great rejoicing for David! In fact, he behaved wisely and prospered in all his ways, and was accepted in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul's servants.

But alas! 1 Samuel 18:6-9 says, 'Now it had happened as they (the men of war) were coming home, when David was returning from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women had come out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy, and with musical instruments. So the women sang as they danced, and said: "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands." Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; and he said, "They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed only thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?" So Saul eyed David from that day forward'.
Note: The word 'eyed' here means 'to watch (with jealousy)'.

It was then that Saul began seeking to kill David (1 Samuel 18:11-29), and this also marked the turning point to the worse for Saul. You see, it was his own insecurity and jealousy against David that eventually led to his own downfall! Instead of focusing on the Lord and His 'blueprint' for his own life, he became too engrossed in wanting to kill David whom he saw as his enemy. But as for David, the Lord was with him and he behaved more wisely than all the other servants of Saul, so that his name became highly esteemed (1 Samuel 18:30).

The lesson we can learn here: Stay focused on the Lord and His 'blueprint' for your life. Never compare with others, because there will always be people doing better than you in different ways/areas of life. Saul's mistake was he began to focus away from God, and instead began to focus on wanting to kill David whom he saw as a threat to his throne (or even his popularity). He became so obsessed in trying to kill David that he forgot to look to God and walk in God's calling for his own life.

1 Samuel 19:10-12 says, 'Then Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he slipped away from Saul's presence; and he drove the spear into the wall. So David fled and escaped that night. Saul also sent messengers to David's house to watch him and to kill him in the morning... So Michal (David's wife) let David down through a window. And he went and fled and escaped'.

You see, the Lord will always send the right people to open a way of escape for you, even when you think there's no way. Just look to Him and cry out to Him. In David's case, the Lord even used Saul's very own son (Jonathan) and daughter (Michal) to make a way of escape for him! (1 Samuel 19:1-2, 1 Samuel 19:12-17)

Also, an interesting point to note here is even though Saul saw David as enemy (1 Samuel 18:29), David did not see Saul likewise. In fact, his loyalty and commitment towards Saul was second to none. Later on, when Saul died in a battle (1 Samuel 31:1-6), David did not rejoice over his death, but he wept and mourned for him instead (2 Samuel 1:11-12).

Back to 1 Samuel 19 now. And guess where David fled and escaped to? 1 Samuel 19:18 says, 'So David fled and escaped, and went to Samuel at Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and stayed in Naioth'.

Every name and place in the Bible has its meaning and significance. The name 'Samuel' here is 'Shemuw-El' in Hebrew, which means 'heard of God', from the word 'shama' meaning 'to hear attentively, to hear carefully', and of course, 'El' meaning 'God, Almighty'. Beloved of God, whatever your situation may be at the moment, the Lord is here to hear you as you pour out to Him, just as Samuel heard all that David had to pour out to him.

How about the name of the place 'Ramah' here? Interestingly, 'Ramah' means 'height, high place' in Hebrew, from the word 'ruwm' which means 'to rise above, to raise'. Indeed, the Lord is your Most High God, and He will arise for you! Hallelujah!

And the place 'Naioth' in this context is 'residence of God (dwelling place of God)', from the word 'navah' meaning 'to rest (as at home)'. Today, the Lord is also inviting you to come and stay in His residence (His dwelling place), and rest in His very presence, because it is here that the enemy cannot find you and touch you. Amen.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Being changed from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord

2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV): But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

The word 'transformed' ('changed' in King James Version) here is 'metamorphoo' in Greek, which means 'being shaped, being fashioned'.

Notice also the words 'just as by the Spirit of the Lord' in this verse? As you can see here, it is the Spirit of the Lord that transforms you from glory to glory (i.e. to be more and more like Jesus), even as you behold (look to) Him!

I heard these words from the Lord the other day:
"My wind is blowing, and it is blowing stronger and stronger! Prepare yourself for the many things that I will do in you and speak to you. I will even show you things that eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things that I have prepared for those who love Me. This is the time to let go of your sorrows, and drink of My new wine! And you shall be changed! You shall be changed! You shall be changed! Don't resist Me, but receive a fresh new joy from Me. This joy from Me will be your strength!"

'Wine' here speaks of 'joy, celebration, liberty'. The Bible says 'where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty' (2 Corinthians 3:17). The Bible also says we are not to be drunk with wine made by man, in which is dissipation or a waste of time (Ephesians 5:18), but instead be filled with the Spirit of the Lord, i.e. to drink of this 'wine' that comes from heaven.

Nehemiah 8:10 says, 'Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength'. Therefore, people of God, no matter what has been troubling you recently, let this wind of the Spirit blow away every sorrow of your past, and let Him release to you a fresh new joy! By the way, the word 'strength' here is 'maowz' in Hebrew, which can also be defined as 'force, fortress'. In other words, this joy of the Lord will be the 'force' that the enemy (the devil) cannot stand, and will not be able to stand!

In Mark 2:22, Jesus says, "And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins." This is also a time to prepare yourself and allow the Holy Spirit to change you, i.e. to change your heart and change your mindset, so that He can begin to do new things in your life.

Romans 12:2 says, 'And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed (same word 'changed', or 'metamorphoo') by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God'. The word 'prove' here is 'dokimazo' in Greek, which can mean 'to allow, to walk in'. You see, it's only when you are willing to be changed ('metamorphoo') by the Lord that you will begin walking in what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God in your life!

Look at Moses. Look at Joseph. Look at the apostle Paul. All of them had to be changed by the Lord first before God could fulfill their respective callings.

Many people want to be used by the Lord, but they are not willing to be changed by the Lord, especially from the inside out. As a matter of fact, a change in the inside (spiritual) leads to a change in the outside (physical).

A willingness to be used by the Lord is one thing, but a willingness to be changed by the Lord is even more important! Because it is when you are changed by the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18, Romans 12:2) that you'll also be entrusted with the deeper things (and even secrets) of the Lord, such 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).

There's an Old Testament parallel here. In Numbers 4:1-4, the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying: "Take a census of the sons of Kohath from among the children of Levi... from thirty years old and above... all who enter the service to do the work in the tabernacle of meeting, This is the service of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of meeting, relating to the most holy things."

'The most holy things' here speaks of 'the innermost, deepestmost of God's things', and 'Kohath' in this context means 'to be allied, to be joined (to the Lord)'. Interestingly, the name 'Levi' in Hebrew means 'attached (to the Lord)', from the word 'lavah' meaning 'to remain, to unite, to join oneself'.

The Bible says the Levites belong to the Lord (Numbers 3:45). Today, because of what Jesus has done for you on the cross some 2,000 years ago, know that you too belong to the Lord, and should also therefore be joined to the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:17). There should never be a 'distance' between you and the Lord. Ask the Lord to change you in any area of your life that may have hindered your joining with the Lord, and that's when the Lord will also begin to entrust you with His things, His deeper things. Amen.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the woes

Habakkuk 2:14 (NKJV): For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

I heard these words during a time of prayer recently:
"Outpouring! Outpouring! Outpouring of the Holy Spirit be upon My people these seven years! In the midst of the woes, the knowledge of My glory will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea, just as I have spoken to Habakkuk."

The word 'knowledge' here in Hebrew is 'yada', which can mean 'to know by seeing, to know by recognizing, to know by comprehending, or to know by discovering'. In other words, you are entering a time when you'll know His glory, you'll see His glory, you'll recognize His glory, you'll comprehend His glory, and you'll discover His glory!

By the way, the name 'Habakkuk' in Hebrew comes from the root word 'chabaq' ('khaw-bak') meaning 'to embrace, to cling to'. Therefore, the key in these seven years is to continue embracing Him and clinging to Him no matter what, just as Habakkuk did. As you embrace Him, He will embrace you. As you cling to Him, He will cling to you. And as you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you (James 4:8). There will be safety and a hedge of protection round about you, even in the midst of the woes (i.e. griefs, troubles) that you see on earth.

The Lord works in a seven-year cycle, just as He works in a seven-day cycle that makes up a week. In fact, scientists have recently discovered cells in our human bodies also renew and replenish themselves every seven years! So, people of God, as you prepare yourselves for your next seven years (2016-2022), receive the fresh new wind from the Lord that blows away every sorrow of your past, and receive also the fresh new wine that brings renewal and joy in your life. This joy that comes from heaven will in turn be your strength (Nehemiah 8:10) for this coming new season of yours.

In Romans 12:1-2, the apostle Paul wrote, 'I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God'.

Here, the Word of God says to present your bodies (i.e. yourselves) to the Lord a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God. The word 'present' here in Greek is 'paristemi', and in this verse's context, means 'to bring before (the Lord), to yield to (the Lord), or to dedicate to (the Lord)'. And the apostle Paul wrote that you are not to be conformed to this world (or in other words, be patterned after this world), but instead be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

These two to three months, you may want to enter a time of reading the Word of God and praying in the spirit often, and reduce on the things of this world. So, instead of shopping often, read the Word of God often. And instead of watching movies often, pray in the spirit often. I call it Word-fast and Spirit-fast. As you read the Word of God and pray in the spirit much, the Holy Spirit will begin enlightening your spiritual eyes and opening your spiritual ears. You will begin to know what is from God and what is not from God. The grace and anointing will be present. As people of God, you don't just rely on your five physical senses (or even the sixth sense) like the people in the world do. As a matter of fact, what you see physically on this earth may not be what it really is, and what you hear physically on this earth may not be the whole truth. You need the Holy Spirit, who will guide you and lead you into all truth (John 16:13, 1 John 2:27).

As you dedicate yourselves to the Lord, ask God that your 'first step' will be the 'right step'. From thereon, step by step, one step at a timeIsaiah 28:9-10 says, 'For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept. Line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little'. Don't worry about what's at the end. Take one step at a time. Every step of the way, listen and obey. The Lord will speak further. Remember 'the steps of a good man are ordered (established) by the Lord, and He delights in his way' (Psalm 37:23).

Let the Lord speak, and write it downHabakkuk 2:2-3 says, 'Then the Lord answered me and said: "Write down the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come..."'

The word 'vision' here is 'chazown' ('khaw-zone') in Hebrew, which means 'a sight, a dream, a revelation, an oracle (i.e. a prophetic word or insight)', from the word 'chazah' ('khaw-zaw') meaning 'to gaze at, to see, to perceive, to have a vision of, to behold'. Indeed, 'where there is no vision (or revelation), God's people perish' (Proverbs 29:18).
Note: 'Insight' here is defined as 'understanding of a thing's true nature'.

People of God, this is also a time to ask the Lord to bring you to the next level of wisdom, grace and anointing in your life.

The Lord spoke these words as I was praying in the spirit the other day:
"These three months, I am preparing you for the next level of wisdom, grace and anointing. Ask of Me, so that you will not miss out on what I want to do in you, and you will not miss out on what I want you to be in this coming season of yours. You will find your rightful place in My kingdom."

Indeed, you and I are in for an exciting seven years ahead! These are years of God's great outpouring in ways that the world has never seen before (1 Corinthians 2:9-10), in spite of the woes on earth. You see, these are years of great contradiction, when the very best and the very worst are happening at the same time. But fear not. Those who have seen (experienced) the Lord will not be easily deceived by what they see with their naked eyes. Instead, they will see and discern with their spiritual eyes. The humble will begin to prosper (Proverbs 22:4), and the last will be the first (Mark 10:31). May you be counted as one of these.

In Habakkuk 3:17-19, the prophet Habakkuk wrote, 'Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls - yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation ('Yeshua'). The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer's feet, and He will make me walk on high hills'.

'Deer's feet' here speaks of 'strength and elasticity'. When the enemy tries to put sorrow in you, the joy of the Lord shall be your strength! And when the enemy tries to put you 'out of shape', the Lord will cause you to 'spring back to shape'! By the way, that's what 'elasticity' means - to 'spring back to shape'!

'High hills' here speaks of 'the heights, high above every form of woes (i.e. griefs, troubles) on earth'. And that's where you and I shall walk in this coming time and season - on 'high hills'!

Therefore, people of God, choose to look to Him, embrace Him, and cling to Him no matter what you see or hear on earth; and you'll be sure that He will make your feet like deer's feet, and He will make you walk on high hills, just as the prophet Habakkuk had written some 2,600 years ago regarding our time. Hallelujah!