Saturday, July 4, 2015

5 keys to your protection from deception in this end-time

2 Timothy 3:13-15 (NKJV): But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise...

The epistle (letter) of 2 Timothy is widely believed to be the last epistle written by the apostle Paul before he was martyred in the year AD67. The above was some of his last words to his spiritual son, Timothy.

The word 'deceiving' or 'being deceived' here is 'planao' in Greek, which means 'causing (a person) to go astray from the truth (or from safety)'. Indeed, this is a picture of the end-time we are living in now. And the apostle Paul wrote that evil men and impostors (i.e. persons pretending to be somebody else, usually in order to deceive others) will grow worse and worse.

In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, the apostle Paul described the last days in detail. He wrote, 'But know this, that in the last days (i.e. in the end-time) perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power...'
Note: The words 'perilous times' here can also mean 'difficult times, dangerous times, furious times, or fierce times'.

But praise God! Know that no matter what happens on this earth in these last days, we need not fear, because an antidote has already been given to us the believers! Back to 2 Timothy 3:13-15, the apostle Paul urged his spiritual son, Timothy to 'continue in the things which he had learned and been assured of'. So, what are 'the things' that the apostle Paul talked about here? The Holy Scriptures! The Word of God! And he wrote 'these' are 'able to make you wise'! By the way, the word 'wise' here is 'sophizo' in Greek, from the word 'sophos' which means 'to be clear', i.e. knowing 'what is right, and what is wrong', or 'what to do, and what not to do'.
Note: 'Antidote' is defined as 'substance that acts against the effects of a poison (or a disease)'.

Interestingly, right after these verses in 2 Timothy 3:13-15, the apostle Paul wrote, 'All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work' (2 Timothy 3:16-17). See what the Holy Scriptures can do for you here? The Bible says 'that you may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work'! As a matter of fact, there's really nothing else on earth that makes you 'complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work', except by the Word of God!

As I was seeking the Lord (as we cross over the half-way mark of this year 2015), I heard these words:
"My people shall not be deceived! This is a key time to watch and pray, to hear and see in the spirit!"

People of God, may the light of God shine in your heart in a very special way as you enter the second half of this year 2015. This light shall in turn enlighten your spiritual ears and spiritual eyes, so that you will be able to hear and see in the spirit clearly. This is also a season for many dreams and visions for many of you in the Body of Christ. He who loves you will also direct you and guide you. I declare that you will never run out of revelation from the Lord in this second half of the year 2015. In Jesus' name. Amen.

By faith, believe also that the Lord can protect you from any form of deception, whether from the evil one, or from men who may have impure motives (even false teachers, false prophets, or false businessmen with offers that seem too good to be true).

To shepherds who are overseers of the sheep entrusted to you, this is an important time to meditate on 1 Timothy 3:1-7 again. As shepherds for the Lord, we should never take advantage of (or make use of) the sheep for our own selfish gains.

Here are the 5 keys to your protection from deception in this end-time:

1. The Word of God
Every word of man, every teaching of man, and every prophecy released through man is to be 'screened' with the Word of God, simply because His Word is truth, and this truth shall set you free (John 8:31-32).

2. Humility
The Word of God says, '...be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God...' (1 Peter 5:5-6). The word 'grace' here can also mean 'supply', even supply of His wisdom (in living in this end-time).

3. The fear of the Lord
The Word of God says, 'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom...' (Proverbs 9:10). The word 'fear' here is 'yirah' in Hebrew, which means 'reverence', and the word 'wisdom' here is 'chokmah' (pronounced 'khok-maw') in Hebrew, which means 'being wise (in mind, word, and act)'.

4. Keep looking to Jesus
The Word of God says, 'Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle' (Psalm 24:7-8). 'Gates' here speaks of 'your mind', whereas 'doors' here speaks of 'your heart'. Notice Psalm 24 comes right after Psalm 23 (that He is your Shepherd)? Indeed, the sheep hears the Shepherd's voice, and the Shepherd knows the sheep (John 10:14, John 10:27). Therefore, set your mind and your heart on Him (your Good Shepherd), and as a result, no one will be able to snatch you out of His protective hand (John 10:28-29).

5. Trust in His mercy
The Word of God says, 'For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need' (Hebrews 4:15-16). Trust that even at times when you may be 'a little careless' or 'off-guard' (we all have such times, don't we?), He is still sovereign in His mercy towards you. Be rest assured that your Abba Father in heaven who loves you (His beloved children) is also faithful, and He will deliver you from every evil work and preserve you for His heavenly kingdom (2 Timothy 4:17-18). Amen.

Monday, June 29, 2015

'Being confident of this very thing'

Philippians 1:6 (NKJV): 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.

The word 'confident' here is ‘peitho’ (pronounced ‘pi-tho’) in Greek, which can be defined as ‘assured, convinced, or having the conviction of’, and the word 'complete' here is ‘epiteleo’ in Greek, meaning 'fulfil, finish, accomplish'. 

In other words, the apostle Paul had this conviction that 'God who has begun a good work (in the saints in Philippi) will also 'fulfil, finish, accomplish' it until the day of Jesus Christ (i.e. until Jesus Christ comes)'. 

As a matter of fact, the apostle Paul was someone who 'walk the talk', a man who meant what he said, and you can see this even in his own life and ministry. In his final epistle addressed to his spiritual son (Timothy), he wrote, "For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day (of Jesus Christ), and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing." (2 Timothy 4:6-8) Indeed, the good work God had begun in his life, God had also brought it to full completion!

Someone asked me recently if there is a difference between the words 'conviction' and 'faith' from the biblical point of view. There is a fine line between these two words, but here's the difference:
Conviction’ = ‘what the Lord has put in your heart’.
Faith’ = believing what the Lord has put in your heart will be accomplished.

Notice it is the Holy Spirit who puts a conviction in you. It is not a mere presumption or a human idea.

With this conviction, comes also the faith to do what He has put in one's heart to do (or to accomplish), even when one is faced with the odds, opposition, hindrances, or mockeries.

The other day, I heard and released these prophetic words to the congregation:
Receive the supply of My faith! Yes, even the faith to overcome all odds! Look not to the world and its troubles, but look to Me. In the midst of the storm and confusion, I will give you a lifeline, and I will sustain you. I will see to it that the good work I have begun in your life, I will also bring it to full completion.”

The word ‘odds’ here is defined as 'conditions that make it difficult for something to happen', and ‘a lifeline’ is 'a line (or rope) attached to a lifebelt thrown into the sea for saving life'.

Let's look now at Hebrews 11:1. It says 'faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen'. See? Faith is a substance! It is real! It is supernatural! And it is a proof of things not seen!

And how does faith come? The Bible says 'faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God' (Romans 10:17). In other words, faith is upon God's words, i.e. upon 'what God has spoken to you (or put in you)'!

The early apostles (e.g. Peter, John, Paul) had such deep conviction to preach the good news of Jesus Christ that literally nothing could stop them from advancing God's kingdom! See? It all began with the conviction in them, i.e. what the Lord had put in their hearts to do (or to be)

Notice when there’s a conviction from the Lord to do something, there will also be faith to sustain you till the whole ‘project' is accomplished. He will supply you if you look to Him!

On the other hand, if you don’t have the conviction from the Lord to do something, it isn't easy to have the faith to do it. And without faith, nothing supernatural can happen!

Therefore, people of God, take time to listen to what He has put inside of you. Take time to hear Him and commune with Him. He can communicate with you through your inner witness, dreams, visions, thoughts, words, or prophecies. What it takes is a heart that is open before Him. Be honest and true to yourself on what He has put in your heart to do (or to be).

The below are two examples of people who walked in the conviction that the Lord had put in them.

Example 1: Abram (Genesis 12:1-5)
Now the Lord had said to Abram:
“Get out of your country, from your family and your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” 
So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him… And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran (to go to the land of Canaan).

The word ‘spoken’ here is ‘dabar’ in Hebrew, which can mean ‘arranged, commanded, appointed, declared, pronounced, promised, purposed (i.e. put in his heart to do)’.

Note:
Conviction in one’s heart usually leads to a new direction in one’s life. It wasn’t easy for anyone to ‘move into the new’ at such (old) age, but because of the conviction that the Lord had put in him, Abram did. For the record, all that the Lord had spoken to him eventually came to pass.

Example 2: Nehemiah (Nehemiah 2:11-18)
Nehemiah wrote:
So I came to Jerusalem and was there three days. Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me; I told no one what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem; nor was there any animal with me, except the one on which I rode.

Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.”
And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me… So they said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to this good work.
But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us, and said, “What is this thing that you are doing?”…
So I answered them, and said to them, “The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem.”

Note:
Conviction in one’s heart is ‘contagious'. It will spread to others around you. Nehemiah eventually went on to successfully complete all that the Lord had put in his heart to do, even when he was faced with opposition, hindrances and mockeries from the enemies.

People of God, like the apostle Paul and the men (and women) of faith who have gone before us, and 'since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with the 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 (now) sat down at the right hand of the throne of God' (Hebrews 12:1-2). Amen.

As I was preaching and ministering this message to the congregation recently, someone saw a vision of tongues of fire falling upon the hands of the people in the house of God, enabling those hands

Let the Lord enable your hands as well, whatever He has purposed for you to do. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

'Like the manna that came down from heaven'

Exodus 16:15 (NKJV): So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat.”

Exodus 16:31 then says, ‘And the house of Israel called its name Manna. And it was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey’. By the way, the word ‘manna’ here is ‘mawn’ in Hebrew, which simply means ‘What is it?’, and it comes from the word ‘mah’ in Hebrew, meaning ‘what’.

Indeed, Jesus was a 'sign' and a 'wonder' to the people when He came on earth some 2,000 years ago! Several times in the Scriptures can you find people saying (and asking) such about Jesus, for instance, “Who can this be?” (Luke 8:25), “Who is this who even forgives sins?” (Luke 7:49), or “We have seen strange and amazing things today!” (Luke 5:26).

In cross-reference, John 6:30-35 says, ‘Therefore they said to Jesus, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? Our fathers ate manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”’

Jesus is the bread of life, 'the manna that came down from heaven'!

Notice also that ‘manna’ wasn’t eaten just like that upon being gathered, but was ground, beaten and cookedHere’s what Numbers 11:8 says, ‘The people went about and gathered it, ground it on millstones or beat it in the mortar, cooked it in pans, and made cakes of it; and its taste was like the taste of pastry prepared with oil’. See the similarities between ‘manna’ and ‘Jesus’ (the 'bread') here? (read the characteristics below for details) One is in the Old Covenant, and one is in the New Covenant. ‘Manna’ is the ‘shadow’, and ‘Jesus’ is the 'substance'.

Here are some of the characteristics of ‘manna’ that points us to Jesus (the true bread from heaven):

1. White in color (Exodus 16:31) – The color ‘white’ here speaks of ‘spotless purity of Jesus’. The Bible says ‘He knew no sin’ (2 Corinthians 5:21), and ‘He is without sin’ (Hebrews 4:15).

2. Sweet to the taste, like honey (Exodus 16:31) – Jesus is described as ‘sweet to the taste’ in Song of Songs 2:3 that says, ‘Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down in his shade with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste’. The ‘beloved’ here speaks of ‘Jesus’, who is the Lover of your soul.

3. It was ground, beaten, crushed, and baked (Numbers 11:8) – Notice Leviticus 2:1 says, ‘When anyone offers a grain offering to the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour’. In order to get fine flour for the purpose of baking, the grain has to be first ‘ground, beaten, and crushed’. This speaks of ‘the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross’, where He became your ‘burnt offering’ (Leviticus 1) and ‘grain offering’ (Leviticus 2).

4. It was given in the night (Numbers 11:9) – It was during the hours of darkness that manna was sent from heaven to the Israelites. This speaks of ‘Jesus coming to your life in times of need’, when you are in the darkest of hours, helpless, and without strength. John 1:14 says, ‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth’.

And interestingly, this ‘manna’ did not fall on the ground or dust (which speaks of ‘curse’, as written in Genesis 3:17), but on the dewNumbers 11:9 says, ‘And when the dew fell on the camp in the night, the manna fell on it (the dew)’. 
Note: 'Dew' is defined as ‘tiny drops of moisture (water vapour in the air) condensed on cool surfaces in the night’.

You see, 'dew' cannot be created by man. It is created, given, and supplied by God, and God alone! 'Dew' here therefore speaks of God's grace (i.e. God's ability or God's supply)So, what does it mean here? Jesus (the true manna) came not with curse, but with His supply! In fact, He has carried all your curse when He died for you on the cross! (Galatians 3:13)

Know that He is indeed your unlimited SupplyIn Philippians 4:19, the apostle Paul wrote, ‘And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus’. The word 'supply' here is 'pleroo' in Greek, which means ‘to furnish, to satisfy, to execute, to finish (a work), to fulfil, to complete, to perfect, to accomplish’.

And this 'supply' includes all the wisdom and discernment you need in making every decision in your life!

On the first Sunday of this month, I released these prophetic words to the congregation:
"Many of you are going to make major or key decisions in business, career, ministry, or even in your life this month. Look to Me, and I will supply you, like the manna that came down from heaven. I will even supply you with the wisdom and discernment that you need."

"In the midst of the storm and confusion, know that I am in the process of making your vision clearer than ever before. Allow Me to cleanse you and cause your conscience to be so clear, that you will move ahead without fear. Watch Me open new doors for you this month, even in ways that human cannot. Watch Me clear the path for you, and watch Me supply."

People of God, I pray that whatever decision (or decisions) you make in this crucial and important time and season of the Lord will eventually ‘catapult’ you into greater heights in your life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.