Saturday, January 14, 2017

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord

Psalm 37:23 (NKJV): The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.

The word 'ordered' here is 'kuwn' in Hebrew, meaning 'appointed, established, set up, prepared, fashioned, ordained, guided, directed'. Indeed, the steps of a good man are 'appointed, established, set up, prepared, fashioned, ordained, guided, and directed' by the Lord, and He delights in his way! 

If there's any psalm that is a 'must-read' as you begin this new year 2017, it's Psalm 37. Take some time to read this whole psalm and let the Lord minister to you. This psalm was written by David in his old age, having gone through much and 'seen it all' in life. In Psalm 37:25, he wrote, 'I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread'. 

This psalm addresses the problem of evil (and evildoers) we all face on this earth, and how we (the righteousness of God through Christ) respond to it. This psalm also addresses some questions people often ask: 
"Why do wicked people seem to prosper and good people seem to suffer?" , or 
"Why do the bad guys escape scot-free and having a gala time, but the good guys seem to be deprived of what they deserve?"
Some might even ask, "Where then is justice? Is there no justice on this earth?"

I was praying in the Spirit the other day when the Lord suddenly spoke these words: 
"Tell My people if they have been a victim of 'injustice', this is the year I am going to bring justice to them. Look to Me, for I am the Lord of justice. Like slaves being treated with injustice, this is the year I am going to set many free." 

In Psalm 37:28, David wrote, 'For the Lord loves justice, and does not forsake His saints...' So, people of God, if you have been a victim of 'injustice', be it in the workplace, in your family circle, or anywhere else, let the Lord comfort and assure you with His words today. David himself had been a victim of 'injustice', and he certainly knew what he was writing here. 

In Psalm 37:1-4, David wrote, 'Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity, for they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good. Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart'. 

The direct opposite of 'delighting' is 'blaming'. This is a time to stop blaming yourself or blaming God (for whatever 'injustice' that had happened to you), but instead look to Him and feed on His faithfulnessPsalm 37 was written to assure you that your current situation is only temporary, and that the Lord will know how to reverse it for you. He is our sovereign God and He is a God of justice. So, take heart. 

The word 'evildoers' here is from the word 'raw-ah' in Hebrew, which means 'to spoil, to do wickedly, to do mischief, to break into pieces'. It speaks of 'people who try to break you into pieces by their deeds', or 'people who are out to harm you (physically, mentally, or emotionally) out of their own insecurity, jealousy, or hatred against you'. 

Let's look now at what David had gone through. After a great victory over Goliath the Philistine, and having won some great battles, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, and they said: "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands." These made Saul (who was the king then) very angry, and the saying displeased him. So Saul eyed David from that day onwards, and he began finding ways to kill David (1 Samuel 18:6-30). David had to run for his life, and into the wilderness. 

In the wilderness, David had the opportunity to kill Saul who sought to 'finish him off', but he spared Saul's life, not once, but twice (1 Samuel 24:1-22, 1 Samuel 26:1-25). 
Now who's the 'bad guy' here? Saul! 
And who's the 'good guy' here? David! 
Yet, 'status quo' remained for a time, and while Saul went back to his comfortable palace, David went back to the rugged wilderness! Speaking of personal 'injustice' on the part of David!

So, how did David respond in such a time of 'injustice'? In Psalm 37:5-6, David wrote, 'Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday'.

Saul eventually ended up tragically (1 Samuel 31:1-10), but David ended up as a king who reigned forty glorious years! (2 Samuel 2:1-7, 2 Samuel 5:1-5)

In Psalm 37:7-9, David wrote further, 'Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath. Do not fret - it only causes harm. For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth'. 

The word 'wait' here is 'qavah' in Hebrew, and it means 'to bind together (by twisting, like a cord), to join together, to gather (together), to collect, to look patiently, to look with expectation'. This same word 'qavah' is also found in Isaiah 40:31 that says, 'Those who wait ('qavah') on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint'. As you can see here, this 'waiting' is not a passive 'waiting'.

People of God, as you 'join together' with the Lord and as you look patiently to Him in these 'evil days', know that the Lord is with you (just as He was with David), and know that you too will begin to inherit what the Lord has meant for you to inherit here on this earth! 

And of course, just as David's steps were being ordered by the Lord as he faced the many adversaries and evildoers in his days, let the Lord also lead, guide, and direct you every step of the way, as you walk into greater (and greater) victories and open doors this year. 

Note: From Psalm 37, we can therefore learn to:
1. Submit to the Lord and His perfect timing (Psalm 37:1-11);
2. Trust in the Lord that He is sovereign and in full control (Psalm 37:12-26);
3. Depart from evil and stay righteous in the Lord no matter what (Psalm 37:27-40)
Psalm 37:39-40 wraps up this psalm with these words: 'But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them and deliver them (set them free); He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save (rescue, aid) them, because they trust in Him'. Amen.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Prophetic words for the year 2017: A year of great outpouring and a year to be set free!

I heard these words from the Lord for the year 2017:
"This is a year of great outpouring from heaven! A year of many signs and wonders! This is a year of the Church on fire! The glorious fire! This fire is the fire of the Holy Spirit! This fire shall light up the Church and overcome the darkness that surrounds it. Humble yourselves therefore, and you shall see a brand new authority being given to you and a fresh anointing being poured out on you."

I then heard further:
"This is also a year of great deliverance for those who look to Me! For I will deliver you out of the hand of the 'Pharaoh' in your life, and I will set you free, just as I have done for Israel through My servant Moses."

Some of you might ask, "What are the 'Pharaohs' in my life?"
'Pharaoh' is 'paroh' in Hebrew, and it comes from the root word 'para', meaning 'to refuse'. It speaks of 'anyone/anything that refuses you (or tries to stop you) from walking in the will of God'. But the good news is the Lord is setting free many of His people this year, to be who (and what) God has meant for them to be!

Let's look at the name 'Moses' now, and see what this name means in our context. It is 'Mosheh' in Hebrew, literally meaning 'drawing out (of the water)', and it comes from the word 'mashah' meaning 'to pull out (from danger), to rescue'. Indeed, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are all like Moses, being rescued from 'drowning' in this world filled with sin and curse!

And for those of you who have been in 'wilderness' (like Moses had), this is a year for you to receive a brand new authority to do great exploits for the Lord! You will be set free from the 'lid' or 'limitation' that has been put against you all these while. For some of you, a God-given calling that has been 'suppressed' and 'stifled' (by people or circumstances in the past) will surface again. For some others, a talent that has been 'hidden' or 'refused' will emerge again. But this time, there's going to be a fresh anointing upon you, even in ways you have never imagined possible!

Let's go to the Scripture now.

Exodus 3:1-8 (NKJV) says, 'Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, "I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn." So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am." Then He said, "Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground." Moreover He said, "I am the God of your father - the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God. And the Lord said, "I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land. to a land flowing with milk and honey..."'

By the way, the word 'Egypt' here is 'Mitsrayim' in Hebrew, and it can mean 'besieged, in bondage, being limited'.

As you can see here, a time of great deliverance was at hand, and God saw Moses ready this time around. A God-given calling had indeed surfaced again, but now with a brand new authority and a fresh anointing!

Notice in Exodus 4:1-5, Moses answered the Lord and said, "But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, 'The Lord has not appeared to you'". And that's when the Lord asked, "What is that in your hand?" And Moses said, "A rod." The Lord then asked him to cast the rod on the ground, and then reach out his hand to take it again. 

The word 'rod' here in Hebrew is 'matteh', which speaks of 'a rod for walking and ruling purposes'. It speaks of 'guidance (as you walk with the Lord), and authority (as you do great exploits for the Lord)'. A rod can also be used to chase away the 'enemies'.

Notice in Exodus 4:20, the Lord actually called 'the rod of Moses' as 'the rod of God'! See? 'The rod of Moses' became 'the rod of God'!

You know what this means? The Lord can use what is yours (e.g. talents, giftings, etc) and turn it into a great instrument for His glory! And as Moses stretched out this 'rod', signs and wonders happened, and even the Red Sea opened up!

People of God, as you look ahead to this new year 2017, fear not, because the Lord will be with you and go with you. Believe and receive this assurance by faith. Let the Lord also use what is in your hand, and bring tremendous blessing to you, through you, and to the lives around you this year. In Jesus' name. Amen!

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Lord will never abandon you!

I was praying the other day when the Lord spoke these words:
"I will not abandon you. I will not abandon My plans and purposes in your life."

Indeed, these are His words of assurance for you too. The word 'abandon' is defined in Oxford Dictionary as 'to go away from a person/thing/place not intending to return', or 'to leave somebody/something to be taken away'.

Good parents will never abandon their children. And even in extremely difficult situations (e.g. war time), when parents have no choice but to 'abandon' their children, it breaks the hearts of the parents to leave their children with someone else.

But your Abba Father in heaven will never abandon you, and will never abandon His plans and purposes He has started in your life! Philippians 1:6 says, 'Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ'.

Let's see what the Lord had spoken to Jacob as he embarked on his journey to the east, the land of his mother's father (Genesis 28:1-2). When he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it (Genesis 28:11-12). The Lord stood above it and said: "I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants." (Genesis 28:13) The Lord then spoke further: "Behold, I am with you and will keep (protect) you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you." (Genesis 28:15)

See the words "I will not leave you" here? The word 'leave' here is 'aw-zab' in Hebrew, meaning 'fail, leave, forsake'. In other words, the Lord was saying to Jacob that 'He will not fail him'.

Let's now see what Moses said to all Israel and Joshua, just before they began their conquest of the land the Lord had given them. Deuteronomy 31:1-8 (NKJV) says, 'Then Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel, "I am one hundred and twenty years old today. I can no longer go out and come in. Also the Lord has said to me, 'You shall not cross over this Jordan,' The Lord your God Himself crosses over before you; He will destroy these nations from before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua himself crosses over before you, just as the Lord has said... 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." Then Moses called Joshua and said 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."'

The word 'leave' here is 'raw-faw' in Hebrew, meaning 'to slacken, to cease, to faint'. Indeed He is the Lord who never slackens, ceases, and faints in your life!

Interestingly, the word 'forsake' here is 'aw-zab' in Hebrew (exactly the same Hebrew word for 'leave' in Genesis 28:15 when the Lord spoke that He would not leave Jacob). As you can see here, these words 'leave' and 'forsake' have been used interchangeably, and both can be translated as 'aw-zab', meaning 'fail, leave, forsake'. In fact, in King James Version (KJV), it is written this way: 'He will not fail thee nor forsake thee'.
Note: The sentence above is a 'double negative' statement, and it puts a strong emphasis that the Lord 'will never ever, not by any means' fail you nor forsake you!

So, take heart, people of God, because the Lord is saying the same to you that He 'will never ever, not by any means' fail you nor forsake you. Keep looking to Him, and keep trusting in Him. Be strong and of good courage, whatever you may be facing at the moment. I pray the Lord shall grant you the strength that you need, and I pray for your breakthrough as well.

For some of you who have been abandoned before, be it by your own parents, your spouse (for another man or woman), your family, or even those friends whom you used to trust so much, this article is especially dedicated for you. The Lord is opening His arms to embrace you today. Receive His love and embrace that only He can give. Take heart also that He knows how to turn things around for good to you.

Job experienced the same. He was abandoned by his spouse (Job 2:9) and his pitiless friends (Job 16:20) at one time or another. But do you know that the Lord had never abandoned Job? It was the people around him who abandoned him! In fact, the Lord had already in view of Job being restored and blessed! When Job began to turn away from his own self-righteousness and began acknowledging who the Lord God is, the Lord restored Job's losses and gave him twice as much as he had before, and the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning (Job 42:10, Job 42:12). And you know what? Job then went on to live another one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations! (Job 42:16) Speaking of happy ending!

The parable of the prodigal son: "Who abandoned who?" (Luke 15:11-32)
Jesus told of a parable where the younger son took the portions of goods given by his father, journeyed to a country far away, and there wasted all his possessions with prodigal (wasteful, wild) living. But when he had lost everything, and came back to senses, he returned to his father, ready even to be made like one of his father's hired servants. But when the father saw him from afar off, he had compassion, ran and fell on his neck, and kissed him. The father then said to his servants, "Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry, for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found."
The 'father' here speaks of 'our Abba Father in heaven', and the 'son' here speaks of 'someone who abandoned Him'. But the moment the son returned to the father, the father was so glad that he celebrated his return with a banquet, and with music and dancing!

People of God, this is the heart of your Abba Father in heaven, who will never abandon you, nor will He abandon His plans and purposes in your life. Will you receive His love and embrace afresh and anew today? He promised Jacob (who later became Israel) and Joshua that He would never leave them, and that He would bless them. Both went on to do great exploits for the Lord in amazing ways. And He is saying the same for you today. As you look forward to a brand new year, I pray that you too will experience the goodness, the power, and the lovingkindness of your Abba Father in many more amazing ways. In Jesus' name. Amen.