Monday, April 14, 2014

A heart of excellence

Daniel 6:3 (NKJV): Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king (Darius) gave thought to setting him over the whole realm.

The word 'excellent' here is 'yattiyr' in Hebrew, from the word 'yathar', meaning 'cause to abound, abounding, make plenteous (plenty)'. Therefore, 'excellent spirit' in this verse can mean 'abounding spirit, abounding heart, full-hearted (not half-hearted)'.

Contrary to what many people think, spirit of excellence here isn't so much about performance or skills (though these are important too), but rather excellence in the heart! Otherwise, the Bible wouldn't have called it 'spirit' ('heart') of excellence, but instead 'performance' of excellence or 'act' of excellence. 'Spirit' here speaks of the 'heart'.

An excellent spirit is therefore an abounding heart, giving one's all (heart), or putting one's heart into something. You see, what matters most is the heart! If one has the heart, everything else will follow suit and can be worked on (including the skills, performance, etc). It is the same even in cooking, for example. You can taste the difference when someone really puts his/her heart into his/her cooking!

God Himself has an excellent spirit (abounding heart), and He excels and abounds in all He does! His heart is always abounding towards you, and He never withholds any good thing from you. In fact, He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the very best of heaven, to die for you and save you! (John 3:16-21)

Let's get back to Daniel chapter 6 now. 'Daniel' means 'judge of God' in Hebrew, a 'picture' of Jesus Christ Himself. One day, we too will judge the world together with Him. The Bible says we will even judge angels! (see 1 Corinthians 6:2-3) 1 John 4:17 says that 'we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world'. And one of the traits that Daniel had was boldness too, one who never bowed down to pressures of men, but instead was faithful till the end (Daniel 6:4-5). Even when the governors and satraps (the officials) conspired to establish a royal statute and made the king sign a decree that 'whoever bows down to any god or man within thirty days, except towards the king himself, shall be cast into the den of lions', Daniel stood firm and continued to worship his God (Daniel 6:10-13).

Daniel 6:14 then says, 'And the king, when he heard these words (that Daniel did not show due regard for the decree that the king had signed), was greatly displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver (free) him; and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver (free) him'. Notice the king was 'greatly displeased with himself', and not with Daniel! When one's heart is abounding towards God, there will be favor (even from men)!

Another trait of excellence that Daniel had is found in Daniel 6:16. This verse says, 'So the king gave the command and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions (for no decree or statute which the king had established may be changed). But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, "Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you."' The word 'serve' here is 'pelakh' in Hebrew, which actually means 'worship, minister unto'. In other words, Daniel did not waver, but always abounding in his worship and ministry unto the Lord!

That night, the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; and no musicians were brought before him. Also his sleep went from him (Daniel 6:18). Then he arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions to see what had become of Daniel (Daniel 6:19). And when he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel, and said, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?", Daniel answered "O king, live forever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also O king, I have done no wrong before you." (Daniel 6:20-22)

Daniel 6:23 continues, 'Now the king was exceedingly glad for Daniel, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God'. The word 'believed' here is 'aman' in Hebrew, which can mean 'firm, trust, faithful, sure, assured, in quietness (before God), permanent/immovable (before God)'. Yet another trait of excellence found in Daniel!

And Daniel chapter 6 ends with 'so Daniel prospered (advanced, were promoted) in the reign of (king) Darius' (see Daniel 6:28). It certainly pays to have a heart of excellence!

In the New Covenant, Paul too had a heart of excellence. In Romans 1:8-11, he wrote, 'First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit (heart) in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers... For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established'.

The expression 'without ceasing' here can be translated as 'always abounding'. In other words, Paul was always abounding in making mention of the believers in his prayers! As you can see, Paul's heart was only for God's kingdom, and not for his own personal gains, advancement, or 'empire'.

In 1 Corinthians 14:12, Paul wrote, 'Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church (i.e. building up of God's people) that you seek to excel'. And in 2 Corinthians 8:7, he wrote, 'But as you abound in everything - in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us - see that you abound (excel) in this grace (of giving) also'.

Like Paul, let us seek to excel (abound) in all that God has entrusted us to be (or do), as stewards. Paul himself wrote, 'Imitate (pattern after) me, just as I also imitate (pattern after) Christ' (1 Corinthians 11:1). In Romans 12:2, he also wrote, 'And do not be conformed (patterned after) to this world (or the ways of this world), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove (i.e. walk in, allow) what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God'.

1 John 4:19 says, 'We love Him because He first loved us'. And Romans 5:5 says, 'Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out (not sprinkled, but lavished) in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us'.

People of God, your heart abounds when you have the revelation of how much He loves you, and how much He wants to lavish you with His love. When you know that He never reserves (or withholds) any good thing from you, and it is Him who first excelled (abounding in His love, devotions, faithfulness) towards you, you can't help but to fall in love with Him. In response, you too will not want to reserve (or withhold) anything in your service towards Him. After all, He gave it all for you at the cross! By the same token, just as He never gave up on us, as ministers of God, let us also learn not to give up on anyone whom He has sent for us to minister to (as long as the person's heart is still open to our ministering), even if it takes lots of patience on our part. Amen.

In the Body of Christ today, all too many people were left disappointed when their motivation to serve is unto men (or men's organization), and many lost the joy of serving because they 'have to do it', instead of they 'want to do it' in their service toward God. Paul certainly knew what he was saying when he wrote, 'Whatever you do, do it heartily (i.e. abounding in your heart) as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance, for you serve the Lord (Jesus) Christ' (Colossians 3:23-24).

Recently, I saw a vision of a beautiful waterfall falling on some people whom I was ministering to. I asked the Lord what this meant, and He said this is a time of refreshing for many who have been serving faithfully through the years. There is a release of such divine refreshing from heaven for the Body of Christ this day. May you receive this refreshing as well, whatever ministry you are involved in (in the Body of Christ). And as you come forth from this 'waterfall', there will be a fresh new radiance and even joy inexplicable that comes from the Lord upon your life and ministry. In Jesus' name. Amen!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Your Healing is already in you!

Exodus 15:26b (NKJV): "... I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you."

The word 'heals' in this verse is 'rapha' in Hebrew, which means 'to cure, to mend (any brokenness), to repair, to make whole', and 'I am the Lord who heals you' here is 'YHWH Rapha', one of the names of the Lord our God. In other words, He is the 'I AM' who cures you, mends you (from any brokenness), repairs you, and makes you whole today.

Notice the present tense 'I AM' here? And the verb 'rapha'? Before I continue, let's look now at what a 'verb' means. According to the Oxford Dictionary, a verb is 'a word or phrase indicating an action'. So, a present tense verb is 'something that is presently being done or presently in action'! 'YHWH Rapha' is therefore a 'present tense' God in your life, and if you have Him, your healing is also already presently in action!

In cross reference, Luke 5:17 says, "Now it happened... And the power of the Lord was present to heal them." See the word 'Now'? And see the word 'present' here? People of God, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), and this same power of the Lord is also present (not absent) to heal you right now!

Now here comes the revelation! As a believer, because Christ lives and stays in you (see John 14:23), and one of His names is 'YHWH Rapha', therefore 'YHWH Rapha' or 'the Lord is your Healing' also lives and stays in you! In other words, because He lives and stays in you, Healing also lives and stays in you!

Now, speak this out aloud: "Healing lives and stays in me!" Say again! "Healing lives and stays in me!" Now say: "Healing is already inside me! Amen!" Praise the Lord! Declare this now to your body! Declare this to any part/organ of your body that needs healing right now! "Healing is ALREADY in action inside my ...................... (name the part/organ of your body that needs healing now)!"

"But, is that really so? Does God want to heal me? Does God want me to walk in divine health?"

Yes, the Word of God says so! Luke 6:19 (NKJV) says, "And the whole multitude sought to touch Him (Jesus), for power went out from Him and healed them all". See the words 'healed them all' here? The Bible never says 'healed some of them', or 'healed many of them', but 'healed them all'! And 'all' here includes you and me! In fact, throughout His ministry on earth, whoever came to Him and sought Him for healing got healed! And the one thing all of them had in common was 'they believed'. The key here is therefore in believing! The Bible says, 'Without faith (believing heart), it is impossible to please Him...' (see Hebrews 11:6). In Greek, 'to please Him' here actually means 'to be agreeable with Him'. In other words, without faith (i.e. believing heart), it is impossible to be agreeable with Him and His will for your life! Is healing God's will for you? Yes, it is! Healing is God's will for you (see 3 John 2), just as salvation is God's will for you! (see 2 Peter 3:9)

See yourself receiving from Him now. He loves you and He wants to heal you. Make no mistake about that! Let not the 'enemy' hoodwink us any further. Too many Christians have fallen into such 'trap' of the 'enemy'. Instead of listening to what God says, they listen to what other voices in this world say.

Start to see yourself recovering from any of your afflictions, and before long, His healing will fully manifest in your body and you will be filled with joy! His healing grace (supply/ability) has been released, and as you can see above, all who came to Jesus were healed!

I used to get sick often until I've got this powerful revelation right inside of me - that if Christ is in me, Healing is also in me, and if Christ lives and stays in me, Healing also lives and stays in me!

You may want to personalize the above by faith (with a believing heart) for yourself too, or for any part of your body that needs healing at the moment. Proverbs 18:21 says, 'Death and life are in the power of the tongue (i.e. 'what you say'), and those who love it will eat its fruit'. Therefore, choose life! Choose to say what God says for you and about you.

Just the other night, I heard these words 'Healing rain' during a time of worship and prayer with my wife Sharon in our home. Soon after, there came a sudden gush of wind outside, and a very heavy rain fell and embraced the land that night. I know this wasn't a coincidence. I felt the presence of God so real, and as we continued to worship and pray, there was a release and a breath of fresh air in the spiritual realm. I believe God is doing the same for you right now. His healing rain is falling and He is embracing you (and even your land) with His love, grace and healing. There is a release of such from heaven right now. Receive in Jesus' name. Amen.

Salvation prayer
If you have not received the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord, and you want to receive Him into your life right now, you may pray this prayer:
"Lord Jesus, thank You for loving me and dying on the cross for me. It's Your blood that cleanses me of every sin, and I am now forgiven. I receive You as my personal Savior and Lord. I confess with my mouth that You are my Lord, and believe in my heart that You have been raised from the dead. Thank You for giving me a new life and healing rain today. Amen."

Ways to receive healing and divine health
1. Know who you are in Christ, i.e. YHWH Rapha is in you, therefore Healing is also in you (Exodus 15:26).
2. Meditate (confess aloud) and claim healing verses (Psalm 107:20, Proverbs 16:24, 1 Peter 2:24).
3. Pray in the spirit often. This creates a spiritual force in and around you against sickness or infirmities (Romans 8:26, Matthew 8:17).
4. Laying of hands by the elders (James 5:14-16).
5. Anoint yourself with anointing oil that breaks every yoke. 'Oil' speaks of the anointing of the Holy Spirit (James 5:14, Luke 4:18-19, Isaiah 61:3).
6. Receive the faith of God to overcome (Hebrews 11:6, 1 John 4:4).
7. Receive and partake Holy Communion (representing the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ) often (Isaiah 53:4-5).

Friday, April 4, 2014

Walking in God's divine appointment

Ecclesiastes 9:11 (NKJV): ... The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.

The word 'time' here in Hebrew is 'eth', which can mean one's 'now time', one's due season, one's appointed time, or one's due time. The word 'chance' here in Hebrew is 'pega', from the word 'paga', and in the context of this verse, means (His) opportune time for you, (His) intercession/intervening for you, (His) light upon you, (His) causing to happen for you, or (His) divine appointment/meeting for you.

How about the 'swift', the 'strong', the 'wise', the 'understanding', and the 'skill' here in this verse? These speak of the swift, the strong, the wise, the understanding, and the skill in the worldly way, using human strength, self-effort, or own intelligence. Notice the author of this book (Ecclesiastes) had probably seen life enough to make a conclusion that all the above human 'qualities' do not necessarily translate into success, satisfaction, riches or favor in life.

People of God, do you believe God's 'eth' and 'pega' can happen to you too? Will you believe and allow Him to cause His light to come upon you? Will you believe and allow Him to cause good things to happen to you and set up divine appointments for you even this year? Well, as for me, I really do! In fact, I thank God for the many 'eth' and 'pega' that had already happened in my life thus far (how I was saved, how I was healed, how I met my wife, how I answered God's call into full-time ministry, how ministry began, how God intervened in crucial junctures of my life, how God led me from one season to another, and the list goes on). As I look back, I can only stand in amazement and with much thanksgiving for all He has done. I know there'll be more to come, because I believe He is a good God and I trust in His goodness. I believe this for you too, in whichever area of your life. Amen!

There are many great examples of God's divine appointment in the Bible, but one of the most fascinating is found in Genesis chapter 24. Indeed, God plans the best for His beloved!

Genesis 24:1-4 (NKJV) says, 'Now Abraham was old, well advanced in age; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. So Abraham said to the oldest servant of his house, who ruled over all that he had, "Please, put your hand under my thigh, and I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of Canaanites, among whom I dwell; but you shall go to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac."'

'Abraham' here is a 'picture' of God the Father, whereas 'Isaac' speaks of you and I today. Just as Abraham wanted the best for his son Isaac, know that your Father in heaven also wants the best for you in your life! Not only that, He can even send His angels (or the right people at the right time) to cause things to happen to you too!

Genesis 24:9-13 (NKJV) then says, 'So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter... Then the servant arose and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor. And he made his camels kneel down outside the city by a well of water at evening time, the time ('eth') when the women go out to draw water. Then the servant said, "O Lord God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day."'

The expression 'give me success' is translated as 'send me good speed' in King James Version (KJV), and 'good speed' here is 'qarah' in Hebrew, which means 'light upon, happen (unto)'. As a matter of fact, the servant was actually asking the Lord for a divine appointment! In other words, he came to that place (i.e. by a well of water) at that time (i.e. evening time) as led by the Lord by faith, and then be positioned for God to do the rest!

Genesis 24:14-15 (NKJV) continues, '"Now, let it be that the young woman to whom I say, 'Please let down your pitcher that I may drink,' and she says, 'Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink' - let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac." And it happened, before he had finished speaking, that behold, Rebekah came out with her pitcher on her shoulder'.

See the words 'appointed' and 'happened' here? Interestingly, the word 'appointed' here is 'yakach' in Hebrew, which actually means 'the right one, or the correct one'!

Genesis 24:22-27 (NKJV) then says, 'So it was, when the camels had finished drinking, that the man (servant) took a golden nose ring... and two bracelets for her wrists... and said, "Whose daughter are you? Tell me, please, is there room in your father's house for us to lodge?" So she said to him, "I am the daughter of Bethuel, Milcah's son, whom she bore to Nahor." Then the man bowed down his head and worshiped the Lord. And he said, "Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His mercy and truth... As for me, the Lord led me to the house of my master's brethren."'

And it turned out that Rebekah was from the family of Nahor, Abraham's brother! (see also Genesis 11:26) Was it a mere coincidence or 'good luck' that this servant found Rebekah (out of so many ladies)? I don't think so. The Bible says it was the Lord who led him to this divine appointment!

Also, when there's a divine appointment set up by the Lord for you, there'll also be confirmation. You see, Rebekah's family could have rejected this servant and said 'no' to him. But look at what Genesis 24:50-51 says: Then Laban (Rebekah's brother) and Bethuel (Rebekah's dad) answered and said, "The thing comes from the Lord; we cannot speak to you either bad or good. Here is Rebekah before you; take her and go, and let her be your master's son's wife, as the Lord has spoken."

And how about Rebekah herself? Did she relish this divine appointment? Was she all for it when the servant wanted to bring her back to his master's son the next day? Genesis 24:58-60 says, 'Then they called Rebekah and said to her, "Will you go with this man?" And she said, "I will go." ... And they (Rebekah's family) blessed Rebekah...'

Wow! Speak about double confirmation!

Let me now end with Genesis 24:67. It says, 'Then Isaac brought her (Rebekah) into his mother Sarah's tent, and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her'.

Wow again! A wonderful match made in heaven! This has to be God's doing!

Beloved and friends, this is also your God today. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), and He can cause wonderful things to happen to you too! It doesn't matter how 'dark' your past may be, because the truth is He loves you so very much (like Abraham loved his son Isaac), and therefore His plan for your life is also going to be good till the very end. Believe, and you'll receive. Amen!