Friday, February 5, 2016

Knowing your time and season

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV): To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.

Notice the words 'under heaven' in this verse? Indeed, there is a time and season for everything here on earth. The author of this book then wrote, 'He has made everything beautiful in its time...' (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

As a matter of fact, Jesus knew His time (and timing) while on earth. In John 2:4, He said, "My hour (timing) has not yet come" when a wedding banquet ran out of wine. Later on, in the right timing, He then performed His first miracle by turning water to wine. In Luke 4:29-30, when those in the synagogue wanted to kill Him by throwing Him down over the cliff, He somehow managed to free Himself, because His time (to die) was not yet.

In the natural (physical) realm, animals too are created with the ability to sense and cope with seasonal changes. Winter can be harsh. In the wild, there is less food available in winter time. These animals need to learn to prepare enough food and enough warmth as winter draws near. If they miss the time, chances are they will not survive. Some would collect (gather) food in the hole or underground. Some would grow thicker coat of fur so they can retain heat. Some others would avoid the difficulties of winter by reducing their metabolic rate, going into a time of hibernating (when the body temperature drops and the heartbeat reduces). They look dormant, almost like dead, but they are actually still alive.

So, how do you know you are in time, out of time, or behind time? How do you know if you are walking in the perfect timing of the Lord? How do you know the time and season in your life (and in every aspect of your life)? And how not to miss your time?

In 1 Chronicles 12:32, the Bible says, '...of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do...' 

The name 'Issachar' here is 'Yissakar' in Hebrew, from two words, i.e. 'nasa' ('naw-sar') meaning 'to lift, to rise (higher than others)', and 'sakar' meaning 'to benefit, to reward'. Interestingly, the Hebrew word for 'eagle' is 'nesher', which comes from this same root word 'nasa'. Isaiah 40:31 says, '...those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles ('nesher'), they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint'. The word 'wait' here is 'qavah' in Hebrew, which means 'to gather, to collect, to bind (together) like twisting the cord'. In other words, a time of waiting on the Lord is also a time of building (and strengthening) one's relationship with the Lord. It is only then that something new is conceived and birthed forth!

Putting the two words ('nasa' and 'sakar') together, the meaning of this name 'Issachar' becomes clear, i.e. when you know the time and season of the Lord in your life (and walk in it), you too will see your reward ('sakar')! 

The word 'times' here in 1 Chronicles 12:32 is 'paam' in Hebrew, which speaks of 'the movement in the spiritual realm'. Ask the Holy Spirit to sensitize your spirit man, so that you too will know the 'movement' in the spiritual realm around you. The key here is to be 'hooked' ('connected') to the Holy Spirit (who is all-knowing). It is when you are in tune with the Holy Spirit that you will 'catch' the 'frequency' and 'transmission' of the Holy Spirit in your life! And that's how you will move with such precision like that of an eagle ('nesher').

So, what time are you in now? 
Just as there is winter time and there is summer time in the natural (physical) realm, there is also preparation time and harvest time in the spiritual realm. 

Are you in a 'winter time' when nothing seems to be happening at the moment? Take heart, because your spring time and summer time will come, if you do not give up looking to Him and putting your hope in Him! Indeed, you will mount up with wings like eagles again (Isaiah 40:29-31).

Kronos (chronos) time:
A time to keep building, building, building... and a time to keep preparing, preparing, preparing...
Like a planter who keeps tending the plants, yet no fruits to be harvested yet. Or like a tree growing its fruits, but not ripe for the picking yet. As you can see here, a waiting time is not a wasted time.
This Greek word 'kronos' ('chronos') is where the English words 'chronicles' or 'chronology' come from. It means 'a time implying a fixed time (duration), a waiting (lingering, delayed) time, a time that can be measured (by the physical clock)'. In short, it means 'to take time'. You can find this word 'kronos' ('chronos') in 1 Thessalonians 5:1, when the Bible talks about preparing for the Lord's coming.

Kairos time:
A time when the 'fruit' is ripe for the picking (harvesting). In 1 Chronicles 12:32 (Greek Old Testament), the word 'times' ('paam' in Hebrew) here is translated as 'kairos'. It means 'a time (occasion) implying a set time, an opportune time (when a thing should be done), an appointed time (to accomplish a God-given task)'. In short, it means 'the right moment'. Interestingly, the next few chapters following 1 Chronicles 12:32 are about the right time (timing) to bring the ark of the covenant (which speaks of 'the presence of the Lord' or 'the glory of the Lord') back to the city of God! (see 1 Chronicles chapters 13, 14, 15) 

Other examples of the word 'kairos' in the Bible:
Mark 1:15 (NKJV): "The time ('kairos') is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel".
Acts 3:19 (NKJV): "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times ('kairos') of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord".
Luke 12:56 (NKJV): "You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth (rain, or hot weather), but how is it you do not discern this time ('kairos')?"

Atomos time (our final victory):
A time of our final victory as the believers of the Lord Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 15:52, the Bible says, ' a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed'. The word 'moment' here is 'atomos' in Greek, which actually means 'uncut, indivisible', where the English words 'atom' or 'atomic' come from. You see, even 'one second' can be further 'divided' into, say, 'half a second', 'a quarter of a second', 'a hundredth of a second', or even 'a thousandth of a second', but an 'atomos' is 'a unit that cannot be further divided'. And in such 'atomos' time (in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye) some day, Jesus will return! And that's when we shall all be in eternity (not time-bound, not limited by time, ageless). 1 Corinthians 15:53-54 says it aptly, 'For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."' Amen.

Friday, January 29, 2016

The keys to prospering in a time of famine

I heard these words from the Lord recently:
"Look to Me, and keep looking to Me! Dwell in Me and My land. For My land is My Word. My land is where you receive your feeding. My land is where you have your spiritual food. And I will begin to show you the keys to your blessings in a time of famine."

Genesis 26 is the key chapter here. There was a famine those days (in Isaac's time), and in Genesis 26:2-3, the Lord appeared to Isaac and said, "Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you..."

What does 'Egypt' mean in this context? It is 'mitsrayim' in Hebrew, from the word 'matsowr', which means '(to put a) limit, bondage, besieged, or distress'. 'Egypt' here therefore means 'the way of the world (that has a limit)'.

How about the meaning of 'dwell in this land'? The word 'dwell' here is 'shakan' in Hebrew, which means 'to continue, to abide, to remain, to stay on, to rest in', and the word 'land' here is symbolic of 'the Word of God'. As a matter of fact, you generally eat of the produce of the land you are in! For example, if your land (or country) grows lots of rice, you probably would be taking in more rice in your diet. And if your land (or country) grows lots of barley, you probably would be taking in more barley in your diet. In other words, the land you are in is where you receive your feeding. The same it is with spiritual food! Your land is the Word of God! Eat therefore of the 'produce' of your 'land'!

Therefore, to 'dwell in this land' is a 'picture' of you continuing, abiding, remaining, staying on, and resting in the Word of God!

In short, the way of the world may suffer, but the way of the Word will prosper! Therefore, never put a limit on God (and what He can do for you) this year! As much as you are willing (for Him to use you), He is willing!

Genesis 26:12-14 then says, '... Isaac then sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him. The man (Isaac) began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous; for he had possessions of flocks and possessions of herds and a great number of servants. So the Philistines envied him'.

The word 'sowed' here is 'zara' in Hebrew, which means 'to plant, to disseminate, to spread, to scatter'. Proverbs 11:24-25 confirms the above verses, saying, 'There is one who scatters, yet increases more, and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself'.

Indeed, this is a time to dedicate yourselves to the Lord for Him to use, in every way that He wants to use you. Keep 'planting', keep 'disseminating', keep 'spreading', and keep 'scattering'!

As you sow your 'seed', be it financially (to ministries that the Lord has put in your heart to sow), or your energy, talent, spiritual gifts, or time (into what the Lord has put in your heart to do), watch how He's going to multiply it, even in miraculous ways. Just look at Simon Peter in Luke 5:1-7. As he allowed Jesus to use his boat, that very same boat that caught nothing became something! Simon Peter was so blessed with the bumper harvest of fish that he had to call out for other boats to come and help out! Believe the same it is going to be with you! As you give your 'boat' to the Lord for Him to use, watch how He's going to bless that 'boat'!
Note: Your 'boat' here speaks of 'what you have in your hands'.

Let's continue with Genesis 26:16-18 now. Here, Isaac was so blessed of the Lord that the Philistines envied him and even felt threatened by him! Abimelech (king of the Philistines) then said to Isaac, "Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we." Isaac did, but because he was so blessed of the Lord, wherever he went, blessings also followed him! Genesis 26:19 says, 'Also Isaac's servants dug in the valley, and found a well of running water there'.
Note: In the context of an agricultural society those days, finding a well of running water was indeed a great blessing!

People of God, whatever 'famine' you may be going through at the moment (whether in your career, business, or in ministry), keep looking to Him and keep dwelling in His 'land'! Know that He wants to bless you and He wants to visit you this year! If God did it for Isaac that year, He can also do the same for you this year! Believe and receive by faith!

One important key to remember this year is 'to stay away from quarrels and contention', and 'don't get distracted by any enmity, opposition, or accusation'. Focus instead on where God wants you to be, and what God wants you to do. Keep on looking to Him and His well of running water (i.e. His blessings) for you. Know that He will surely have a place for you.

Here's what Genesis 26:20-22 say, 'But the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac's herdsmen, saying, "The water is ours." So he (Isaac) called the name of the well Esek (meaning 'quarrel, contention') because they quarreled with him. Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over that one also. So he (Isaac) called its name Sitnah (meaning 'enmity, opposition, accusation'). And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he (Isaac) called its name Rehoboth (meaning 'spacious, lots of room, broad place'), because he said, "For now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land."'

The Lord then appeared to Isaac and said, "I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham's sake." (Genesis 26:24)

Indeed, He is your I AM God, a very present help in time of your need. In Revelation 1:8, He says, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." Notice 'who is' comes first here, and then only 'who was' and 'who is to come'? The Lord wants to show you that He is first and foremost the 'who is' God, the very present God to you! Not past, not future, but present and now here for you!

Last but not least, the one thing about being blessed of the Lord is that people will start to notice it! Why? Because the blessing of the Lord is tangible and is so real!

Here's what Genesis 26:26-29 say, 'Then Abimelech (king of the Philistines) came to Isaac from Gerar with Ahuzzath, one of his friends, and Phichol the commander of his army. And Isaac said to them, "Why have you come to me, since you hate me and have sent me away from you?" But they said, "We have certainly seen that the Lord is with you. So we said, 'Let there now be an oath between us; and let us make a covenant with you, that you will do us no harm, since we have not touched you, and since we have done nothing to you but good and have sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of the Lord'."'

In summary, here are the keys to prospering in a time of famine:
1. Be where God wants you to be.
2. Dwell where God wants you to dwell.
3. Sow 'seeds', be it financially or in other ways.
4. Believe blessings will follow you wherever you go.
5. Stay away from quarrels and contention.
6. Focus not on the enemy, but on what God wants you to do.
7. Know that the Lord will surely have a place for you.
8. Fear not, because He is present and He is here with you.

My prayer for you this year is wherever you 'dig', there will be wells of water (i.e. blessings), and people will see that you too are the blessed of the Lord, to the glory of God, just as Isaac was those days. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

He will never leave you nor forsake you

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV): Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.

Moses was already one hundred and twenty years old when the Lord spoke these words through him to all of Israel. He was about to 'leave' the people and the earth by then, and he was not to cross over Jordan into the Promised Land. Joshua was the one chosen.

In Deuteronomy 31:7-8, Moses then called Joshua and said these words to him in the sight of all Israel, "Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed."

While praying in the spirit the other day, I heard these words from the Lord:
"I AM the Lord who never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid therefore, for I AM present and I AM here with you, whatever you are going through right now."

I then heard:
"Wherever I have called you to be, there I AM with you. And whatever I have called you to do, there I AM with you also."

Indeed, He is the Great I AM, the 'present tense' God, and not an absent God, whatever you may be going through at the moment. Your part is simply to call out to Him, for He is your very present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1).

In cross-reference, Hebrews 13:5-6 says, '...For He himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we may boldly say: "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"'

In Greek, this statement "I will never leave you nor forsake you" here is a 'double negative', which is designed to strengthen (put strong emphasis to) a particular statement, and in effect, it actually means, "I will never, ever leave you nor forsake you, no matter what, and in whatever circumstance you may be in." By the way, 'to forsake' is 'to give up (on something, or someone), or to abandon'.

The Amplified Bible puts it this way: "I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!" 

Just as the Lord had spoken to all of Israel and to Joshua those days, know that He is NOW right here, speaking the same to you. And because He is present, know also that His hand is present, strong enough to ward off every work of darkness that the enemy may have thrown against you. Romans 8:31 says it so aptly, 'What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?'

Not only that, His hand opens the way for you, where there seems to be no way. In Isaiah 43:10-13, the Lord says, "And understand that I AM He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, AM the Lord, and besides Me there is no Savior. I have declared and saved, I have proclaimed... Indeed before the day was, I AM He; and there is no one who can deliver out of My hand; I work, and who will reverse it?" In Isaiah 43:19, the Lord then says, "Behold, I will do a new thing. Now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."

As I was praying further, the Lord then spoke:
"This is a time to ask of Me, and call down heaven on earth! Be bold to ask, and you will receive! For I AM to you the Lord who is there, the YHWH Shammah, when you call upon Me!"

The name YHWH Shammah is found in Ezekiel 48:35, which is translated as 'The Lord is there, or the Lord is present', and it speaks of the city of God (see Revelation 21:9-12, Revelation 22:3-5). And where He is, there will be life, and life in great abundance. Whatever is dead will be turned into life, simply because there is no death in heaven. Revelation 21:4-5 says, 'And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new."'

"But that's what happens in heaven, and not here on earth!" You might say.

People of God, the good news is you don't have to wait till you leave this earth to taste heaven! The truth is you can have a portion of heaven even now, right here on earth! In other words, you can partake of heaven even now! Otherwise Jesus wouldn't have taught us to pray this way: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:9-10)

Now watch what Revelation 21:2-3 (NKJV) says to confirm the above, 'Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, God Himself will be with them and be their God."'

See the words "coming down out of heaven from God" here? On earth as it is in heaven!

Let's do a little cross-reference on the name YHWH Shammah now.

The word 'Shammah' comes from the Hebrew word 'sham', and this word 'sham' can be found in Isaiah 48:16 that says, "Come near to Me, hear this... From the time that it was, I was there ('sham'), and now the Lord God and His Spirit have sent Me (Jesus) to you..." This verse speaks of the Lord who is and who was and who is to come. In Revelation 1:8, the Lord Himself says, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."

Notice 'who is' comes first here? The Lord wants you to know that He is first and foremost 'who is', the very present God!

And this same word 'sham' (where 'Shammah' comes from) can also be found in Psalm 133:3 that says, "It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there ('sham') the Lord commanded blessing - life forevermore."

'Hermon' here is a 'picture' of 'being exclusive', i.e. 'not found elsewhere, or can't find it anywhere else (but only from the Lord)', and 'dew' here speaks of 'the refreshing that the Lord brings'. Indeed, there is no other name given among men by which one can be saved, except by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12), and only in Him flows times of refreshing (Acts 3:19).

Lamentations 3:22-24 says, 'Through the Lord's mercies, we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning (like the dew), and great is Your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion", says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!"'

The phrase "The Lord is my portion" here can mean "I can partake of Him (the Lord)" or "I have a part in Him (and His heavenly plans)".

Therefore, people of God, no matter what you see or what happens on earth at the moment, and no matter how perilous this world has become, there's still every reason to hope! And as the Lord had spoken to all of Israel and to Joshua, fear not; knowing that the Lord is now here with you, and He is to you the YHWH Shammah, the Lord who is present.

Allow heaven and all the goodness of heaven to descend upon you today!