Thursday, May 26, 2016

The gift of discerning of spirits

1 Corinthians 12:7-11 (NKJV): But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all; for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

We shall look at this gift of discerning of spirits today. The word 'discern' here is 'diakrisis' in Greek, from the word 'diakrino' meaning 'to separate thoroughly', or in other words, 'to differentiate (between 'what is' and 'what is not')'. Just as some have, for example, the gift of faith, but all can exercise faith in their lives, or some have a specific gift of healing, but all can pray for healing when the need arises, it is the same with this gift of discerning of spirits. Some have this gift of discerning of spirits, but all can discern (i.e. to differentiate between 'what is' and 'what is not') with the help of the Holy Spirit.

I am writing on this topic because the Lord recently spoke that 'many are going to make key decisions and crucial decisions in life, ministry, career, or business in the weeks to come'. We all need the Holy Spirit to know and discern 'what is of God and what is not', or 'what is God's will and what is not', and even discerning if it is 'a lie or not' (as in Acts 5:1-5 when Peter discerned a lie). As a matter of fact, there is a very thin line between what is a 'truth' (from God) and what is a 'lie' (being conjured up by the enemy) in the world we are living in today. That's why all the more we cannot rely merely on our own wisdom and intelligence, but on the Holy Spirit who is all-wise and all-knowing.

Indeed, this is a time to involve the Holy Spirit to lead you, prompt you, teach you, guide you, and correct you in all your decision-makings in life. Proverbs 9:7-9 says, 'He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, and he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser. Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning'. May we be like the wise man Proverbs 9:7-9 talks about.

In Matthew 10:16, Jesus says, 'Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless (gentle) as doves'. It means no matter how 'cunning' the 'serpents' (i.e. the enemy) are, you can be even wiser (Proverbs 9:7-9) and not be deceived by them!
By the way, 'being wise' = 'knowing what to do and how to go about doing it'.

People of God, it is also important to choose friends, associates, or partner (in life, ministry, business) who fear the Lord (i.e. having reverential fear of the Lord). You know why? Because Proverbs 9:10-11 says, 'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For by me (i.e. wisdom) your days will be multiplied, and years of life will be added to you'. In other words, those who fear the Lord in all that they are (and do) will have wisdom of God following them, and they will not easily be deceived into walking out of the will of God! They are humble enough to be 'bended' and 'corrected' by the Lord when they start to go 'off-track', hence prevented from stepping into 'pitfalls' or 'landmines' in life!

And why is wisdom of God so important in life? The answer is found in Ecclesiastes 8:1 that says, 'Who is like a wise man? And who knows the interpretation of a thing? A man's wisdom makes his face shine...' See? Wisdom makes your face shine! Not only that, wisdom clears the path for you, and causes your path to shine brighter and brighter till the day Jesus comes! (see Proverbs 4:18)

Ecclesiastes 8:5 then says, 'He who keeps his command will experience nothing harmful; and a wise man's heart discerns both time (timing) and judgment (i.e. the ability to make the right judgment in life)'. The word 'discern' here is 'yada' in Hebrew, meaning 'to have understanding (of what is and what is not), and to recognize the difference'.

As the saying goes, 'Practice makes perfect'. This is true even in training (and exercising) your spirit man and spiritual senses to discern. Pray in the spirit much! That is the key. Every time you pray in the spirit, you are activating (and strengthening) your spirit man (1 Corinthians 14:4, 1 Corinthians 14:14, Jude 1:20) and exercising your spiritual senses to discern! Hebrews 5:13-14 says, 'For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age (spiritually mature), that is, those who by reason of use (practice) have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (i.e. 'what is of God and what is not')'.

Another important key in making the right decisions in life is that whatever decision you make must 'pass through' the Word of God. Why? Because Hebrews 4:12-13 says, 'For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account'. See the word 'discerner' here? This word is 'kritikos' in Greek, from the word 'krino' meaning 'to differentiate, to distinguish, to decide (mentally or judicially) like a judge'. In other words, the Word of God discovers the condition and the intents of the heart, and it is a foolproof way (i.e. simple, plain and clear, leaving no opportunity for error) to help you make the right decisions in life.

People of God, as you enter a season of the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit, this is also a time to desire the Holy Spirit to teach you to discern in everything you do and in every area of your life (1 Corinthians 14:1). The Word of God says the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (Ephesians 1:17). Ask of Him, and you will receive! Amen!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Set free from generation curse!

I heard the Lord say the other day:
"Tell My people don't settle for the second best, or the third best. Tell them to get ready for the very best that I have prepared for them!"

People of God, this is a time to break free from any generation curse, so that you will be ready for the very best that the Lord God has for you!

Does generation curse exist?
Exodus 34:6-7 (NKJV) says, 'And the Lord passed before him (Moses) and proclaimed, "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation."'

From the above verses, if you ask if there's such thing called 'generation curse' running in a family, the answer is obviously yes. In fact, Exodus 34:7 says such curse is due to the iniquity (e.g. sins, idolatry, wickedness, etc) of the previous generation (or generations). For some families, this curse may be reflected in tragedy after tragedy that keeps happening along the family line; or it may be frequent occurrence of accidents, premature deaths, murders, and even certain diseases.

But fear not! There's a piece of good news for you today! Because this curse has to stop from you onwards! As a believer in the New Covenant, know that you are already set free from such curse! In John 8:32, Jesus says, 'And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free'. You see, the truth is already there. John 1:17 says, '...grace and truth came through Jesus'. Jesus has already come, and He has already died for all your sins and curse on the cross! But many believers are still 'limping around' and walking in fear of generation curse, because they do not know the truth!

By the way, the word 'know' here is 'ginosko' in Greek, and it can be defined as 'to know for sure, to be sure, to understand'.

Notice Jesus never just say, '... the truth shall set you free', but He says, '... you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free'. In other words, knowing the truth sets you free! Hosea 4:6 says, 'My people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge'!

You might ask, "But Exodus 34:7 says 'the Lord will by no means clear the guilty'! How do you explain that?"

It is true that Exodus 34:7 says 'the Lord will by no means clear the guilty'. He is a God of holiness and righteousness, and He cannot condone sin. A sin is a sin, and a sin has to be judged. He is still Judge, and He hasn't changed. The only thing that changed is the covenant - from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. So, you need to know which covenant you are in now. Someone will have to pay the price for the sin committed. As a believer in the New Covenant, know that Jesus has fully paid the price when He died for you on the cross, and know also that the sins of the generation (or generations) before you cannot 'rub off on you'!

"Where's the evidence in the Bible that Jesus has redeemed us from generation curse?"

Jeremiah 31:29-30 (NKJV) says, 'In those days, they shall say no more: 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge'. But every one shall die for his own iniquity; every man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge'.

In cross-reference, Ezekiel 18:2 (NKJV) says, 'The word of the Lord came to me again, saying, "What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying: 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge'?" "As I live", says the Lord, "you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel."'

How many of you here have tasted 'sour grapes' before? How about 'sour wine' or 'vinegar'? Not diluted, but concentrated ones. Those who have tried it would know it causes your teeth to be set on edge, i.e. it causes irritation to your teeth! There's an English idiom that goes like this, 'set someone's teeth on edge', and it means 'to annoy (that someone), or to cause irritation or disturbance (to that someone)'.

So, what does it mean by 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge'? It means to say 'the present generation is punished for the sins (and idolatry) committed by their forefathers'. To put it simply, the father (earlier generation) did it (i.e. ate the 'sour grapes'), but the children (later generation) suffer!

But God! 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, 'Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new'. Let Scripture interpret Scripture. Watch now what comes right after Jeremiah 31:29-30! Jeremiah 31:31-34 says, 'Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah - not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more'.

You see, Jesus has already redeemed you from every generation curse! Notice these words 'they shall say no more' and 'you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel' in Jeremiah 31:29-30 and Ezekiel 18:2 respectively! In fact, Jesus has taken the sour grapes (or sour wine) on the cross, so that you don't have to! Here's what John 19:28-30 says, 'After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst!" Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit'.

Was Jesus thirsty physically at that time? No, that's not the real reason Jesus said, "I thirst!". He actually thirsted for the righteousness of God! Why? Because He gave up His righteousness when He became sin for us on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21). Of course the Roman soldiers thought He thirsted for water! And instead of giving Him drinking water, they mockingly gave Him sour wine! When you are thirsty, you drink water! You don't drink sour wine!

By the way, sour wine here is in actual fact vinegar (a kind of acid)! Imagine the extreme burning and pain on the already open wounds in Jesus' lips and mouth, and then right through His dry throat and into His lung! Isaiah 53:4-5 says, 'Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed'.

After He had said, "It is finished!", He then bowed His head, and gave up His spirit. The word 'bow' here is 'klino' in Greek, which means 'to recline (i.e. to put/lay one's head/arm in a position of rest), to rest'. It means He has finally found rest in redeeming you and saving you (from every form of curse)! This word 'klino' is also found in Luke 9:58 when Jesus said, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay ('klino') His head." At that time, He hasn't found rest in redeeming you and saving you yet! But at the cross, He did!

Today, people of God, once and for all, and beyond a shadow of doubt, know that you have ALREADY been set free from every curse, and from every form of generation curse! This is your time to walk in the freedom that Christ has set you free! And this is your time to walk right into the very best that the Lord has prepared for you! You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free! (John 8:32)

Let's also remind ourselves of the promises of God in Galatians 3:13-14 that says, 'Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith'.

Believe and receive. In Jesus' name. Amen!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them!

Isaiah 3:10 (NKJV): "Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them..."

The word 'righteous' here is from the Hebrew word 'tsadaq', which means 'to be right, to be just, to be in the truth (or to be truthful), to be cleansed (or to cleanse), to be clear (or to clear self)', whereas the word 'well' here is 'towb' in Hebrew, meaning 'beautiful, bountiful, cheerful, favorable, pleasant, prosperous, sweetness'. It describes a person who was ill, but now have regained health, or a person who was suffering lack, but now have received providence.

As I was praying in the spirit the other day, the Lord spoke these words:
"In the midst of judgment, tribulation and perilous days in the world today, do not allow yourselves to be disheartened or discouraged, and do not allow yourselves to be upset. I am the Lord your God and I will still be. And I say to the righteous that it shall be well with them. Look to Me, and look to My Word! Hang on to Me, and hang on to My Word! You will rise above every obstacle, and you shall see Me in all My glory!"

The Lord is assuring us that the ending of world history will be well for God's people. In other words, you and I (the believers) will have happy endingin spite of all that happens in the world today! Have you ever watched a drama series where the hero and heroine went through every obstacle and finally found themselves living 'happily ever after'? Well, this kind of ending isn't always a 'fairy tale'. It will happen to you and I (the believers). Isaiah 3:10 says so! Jesus in all His glory will come and receive His bride, the church!

If you read Isaiah chapter 3, you'd have noticed this whole chapter is about judgment, tribulation and perilous times for Jerusalem and Judah. Isaiah 3:8 mentions about the stumbling and falling because 'their words and their deeds are against the Lord'.
'To be against the Lord' is 'to be against what He has spoken (i.e. the Word of God)'. 

Isaiah 3:16-17 then mentions about the consequences for those who are 'haughty (i.e. proud), walking with outstretched necks (i.e. heads held high, instead of arms held high in worship and surrender to the Lord), and wanton (i.e. seductive) eyes'. In short, this chapter shows how God's people were 'plundered' by the enemy when they departed from God (and His Word)!

But yet, in the midst of all these, there's a bright light, and there's hope! As can be seen in Isaiah 3:10! Let's read this verse again: "Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them..."

Are you righteous? Yes! 
You are made righteous through what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for you on the cross! 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, 'For He made Him (Jesus Christ) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him'. Romans 5:19 says, 'For as by one man's (Adam's) disobedience many were made sinners, so also by One Man's (Jesus Christ's) obedience many will be made righteous'.

Is the Lord righteous! Yes! Of course!
In 2 Timothy 4:8, the apostle Paul wrote, 'Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing'. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, 'But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God - and righteousness and sanctification and redemption'.

As He is, so are you in this world! (1 John 4:17) Therefore, walk as He walks! It can't be that you are called the righteousness of God and clothed in His righteousness, but you don't walk in righteousness! It's like saying a person who is called an army personnel and clothed in his army uniform, but he doesn't walk as an army! Be ye not just hearers, but doers of the Word (James 1:22). His Spirit in you will lead you, teach you, and guide you to walk in righteousness (Philippians 2:13). Let us not be like the Pharisees whom Jesus called as hypocrites, who 'cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence' (Matthew 23:25-28).

There is a clarion call for God's people these days! A time to awake to righteousness, and sin not! (1 Corinthians 15:34) You can make that choice! Let His Spirit (the Spirit of grace, i.e. His ability and His supply from heaven) help you and set you free! Hebrews 12:1-2 says, 'Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight (burden, hindrance), and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God'.

This is also a time to return to the Word! A lesson we can learn from Isaiah chapter 3 is God's people were plundered when they came against the Lord! (Isaiah 3:8) To come against the Lord is to come against the Word! Why? Because He is the Word! (John 1:1-4, John 1:14) It means to say God's people were plundered when they departed from the Word, and began walking in the ways of the world!

The key to your wellness is in the Word! Proverbs 4:20-22 says, 'My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh'. Proverbs 6:20-23 then says, 'My son, keep your father's commands and do not forsake your mother's teachings. Bind them upon your heart forever; and fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light...'

Romans 8:1 says, 'There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit'. Know that the Lord is not condemning you. He loves you so very much, and He yearns for you to walk in His righteousness (Galatians 5:16-18) and be mindful of His Word (2 Peter 3:1-2). Why? Because He is getting you ready for the best that's yet to come for you!

As I was praying in the spirit and preparing for this message the other day, I also heard the Lord say: "Tell My people don't settle for the second best, or the third best. Tell them to get ready for the very best that I have prepared for them!

Indeed, God's promise for you is not slack! People of God, it's never too late to know you are clothed in His righteousness, and begin walking in it! And it's never too late for you to return to His Word, and begin walking according to all that is written in it! (Joshua 1:8, 2 Peter 3:7-9, 2 Peter 3:13-14, 2 Peter 3:17-18)

He can 'undo' and 'redo' your situation (however bad it may be at the moment), and turn things around for you. In Jesus' name. Amen!