2013: Making God First

Matthew 6:33
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Courtesy of puttinggodfirstplace.com

First let’s join the Hillsong kids in declaring, confessing and proclaiming our course of action for every moment of every day as we praise Him together:

Everyday You’ll Be My Number One
Let those words sink in for a moment. When we think about it He is:

Elohim the one triune God, Creator Gen 1:1; Jer 32:27; Isa 54:5; Psalm 68:7

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ABBA (Aramaic) Our Father- Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6

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El Shaddai God Almighty. All Sufficient-Gen 17:1, 25:11; Ex 6:30; Psalm 91:2; Rev 1:8

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El Elyon The Most High- Gen 14:19, 20: Dan 7:18; Psalm 9:2

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EL Olam The Everlasting God, God of Eternity, Omnipresence Gen 3:22, 9:16. 21:33; Ps 10:16; Isa 45:17

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EL Roi The God who sees Gen16:13; Psalm 139:7-12

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Jawhew & Jehovah To exist, to be Gen 4:3; Ex 6:3

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Jehovah Rapha The Lord who heals Ex 15:26

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Jehovah Jireh The Lord will provide Gen 22:14

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Jehovah Ro’i The Lord my shepherd Gen 48:15; 49:24; Ps 23:1; 80:1

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Jehovah Nissi The Lord my banner Ex 17:15-16

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Jehovah Shalom The Lord is peace Jude 6:24

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Jehovah Shammah The Lord is here Jude 6:24

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Jehovah Sabbaoth The Lord of hosts (commander of heavens armies) Isa 1:24; Mal 3:1; 1 Sam 1:3; 17:45

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Jehovah M’Kaddesh The Lord our sanctifier Ex 31:13

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Jehovah Tsidkenu The Lord our righteousness Jer 23:5-6

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Adonai:
Plural Majesty
Singular Master or Owner Jude 5:3; Isa 17:6; 40:1; ! Sam 1:15; Ex 21:1-6

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Qanna jealous, zealous or envy. He is jealous in that He wants all our praise to Himself and no one else. He is depicted as Israel’s husband, hence Him being felt cheated on by Israel in the book of Hosea (Ch 1:1-6) Ex 34:14

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Theos Greek translation of God in NT
God is the only true God Rom 3:30
He is unique John 17:3
Transcendent (Supernatural) Heb 3:4
Saviour John 3:16
The name is used of Christ as God John 1:1

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Kurious:
Greek: Lord (authority and supremacy)
OT: Yahweh
Used as Jesus Christ meaning Rabbi Matt 8:6, God or Deity John 20:28

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Despotes:
Greek Master, Lord, denoting the omnipotence of God
Despot: Absolute Ruler Luke 2:29; Acts 4:24; 1 Peter 2:1
iStock photos

Father Through the NT faith in Christ God becomes our personal Father
In OT only 15 times while in NT 245 times for God Matt 7:11; James 1:17; Heb 12:5-11; Eph 2:18; 1 Thess 3:11.

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What does it mean to put God first?
This is a very serious question. Think about it. The main thing that will evidently show how serious you (generically speaking) are about your devotion to Him is planning and execution. Therefore some things will need to be considered and I am also considering these:

1) Deciding which time of day will be set aside for either prayer, worship or Bible reading
2) Deciding how much more time will be spent on prayer, worship or Bible reading
3) Looking into possible obstacles that occur if two or more people do it such as, holiday travels, school exams or schools opening, long work hours, event planning and so on. Either planning a way to get around these or fit devotions into these will help tremendously.
4) Choosing to do something different which requires a written down and signing a document of what that will be. The same thing will need to be done if it is a list of things, after which, a copy kept with you always and a copy for someone you are close or trust to hold you accountable, will keep you on track.
5) Choosing when to fast. If you are currently doing so or are about to, it’s a good idea to get more info on the kind of fast you are doing or fasting in general in this amazing post by Nyasha (Sherline) called Fasting with a Purpose- Hit the Target pt 1. You should also move on to part 2 when you are done..
6) Deciding to pray the names of God and the Word of God

At the end of the day however you decide to put God first, as long as you mean it and don’t take it lightly. I feel so bad about only worshipping a few times during my three-month term in film school. I have decided and resolved to change that and make sure that my day truly starts with God. Obviously that would mean stopping whatever I’ll be doing if I’m working late in the night and begin devotions at least from midnight then continue afterward.

It’s easier done than said
I believe our words not only are our strongest wind to our sail but also our biggest downfall. We talk ourselves into and out of things. We convince ourselves that something cannot be done before we even begin! We see the challenge as insurmountable without taking it on. Giving up without starting. Even the slowest racer has the determination, strength, courage and boldness to commence the race despite knowing they might lose. In this year I am willing to look at things the other way round. Time with God is easier done than said.

I am encouraged by a lot of bloggers here on WP that actually pray before they write and publish their post. I admit I never used to do that but I have recently been into the habit of doing it. A great way to put God first! I believe praying before cooking, shopping, driving (especially in traffic), working (in any field), having meetings, studying, sleeping, traveling by road, air and both through and overseas, writing, reading even watching certain programs, news channels T.V shows and movies and playing video, T.V, portable, computer and arcade games, will be a great way to discern the appropriateness and mental, emotional and spiritual safety of the activity. Just a short prayer before you start gets God involved in your whole day.

The meaning of the number 13
Contrary to popular belief the number 13 is not such a bad number as the devil has led us to believe. Just because there are programs like 13 Ghosts and a strange observance of Friday 13th, does not make it a bad number. True, it definitely has significance in the kingdom of darkness but it has a greater significance in the kingdom of God. Here are some amazing things I learned about the number 13 from an article by Stephen Gola:

Recapping the story of Abraham, we all know how God came to Abraham and said that he would make him the “father of many nations” as well as becoming the “father of our faith.” God promised Abraham that he was to have a child, and from that child’s linage would come kings and rulers of “many nations” as well as the Messiah—“the Seed to come.” (See Geneses 16-17.)

Abraham and his wife Sarah were childless and in old age at the time God gave them the Promise. Through their many years of frustration of being childless, they tried to help things along by having a child through Sarah’s slave girl, Hagar. Through this act, their son Ishmael was born.

Years later God came again to Abraham and made the same Promise of Blessing. God iterated that the promised son to be born would be from his own wife. Nine months later, Isaac was born.

Here is the key: Understanding what went on in the relationship between Abraham and God gives us the insight into the number “13.” How and when God gave Abraham the Promise, Abraham’s and Sarah’s struggle, the time involved in receiving the manifestation of the Promise. These are all wrapped-up in the number “13”. Therefore keep the entire Scripture story in mind as we proceed.

In Genesis 16:15-17 it reveals that when “Hagar bore Ishmael, Abraham was 86 years old.” Then “when Abraham was 99 years old the Lord appeared to him” and iterated the Promise again—that He will give Abraham a son by his wife. I will bless her, and she will produce nations; kings of peoples will come from her. (See Genesis 17:1-22.)

* At 99 years old, God’s Promise came.
* At -86 years old, Abraham tried to bring about Gods Promise.
13 years between the Promise given and the Promise manifested.

Therefore, 99 minus 86 equals 13.
This is “The Number 13 Promise”.

The Number 13 Promise is a “two-fold” promise. It always involves man and it always involves God. It always has seasons, times and circumstances in which God and man participate.

The number “13” does not mean “evil,” but rather it is a most powerful God-given promise that will change the world for ever. Some of the aspects of the promise are:

1. The promise is always initiated by God and destined to change the world forever.

2. Concerning man, to obtain the promise is beyond hope—impossible!
3. Concerning God, the chosen opportunity to manifest His plan of blessing and change.

4. The number 13 promise always has an underlying knowing that man can’t make it happen himself.
5. The number 13 always has the underlying fact that God determined it, said it, and it would happen regardless of the circumstances.

6. The number 13 is the difference of what man can do and what God can do.
7. The number 13 is the number of (new) life.
8. The number 13 promise always has time and space between when it was first given and when its given to manifest.
9. The number 13 promise always has a season in which man tries to bring to past himself what God has promised him.
10. The number 13 promise also has the season in which God brings to pass His promise regardless of what man has tried to produce on his own.
11. The number 13 promise has such a blessing on it that it will even bring to pass what man produces from him trying to bring to pass what God has promised in his own strength. This can also have dire consequences like the situation with Ishmael and the Middle East problem today.
12. The number 13 promise always brings excitement, hope and desperation for the promise to be fulfilled.
13. The number 13 promise is always presented in the presence of unfavorable circumstances, though in time, the circumstances will give way to the birth of the promise.

Conclusion
Whatever way you plan on making God first in your life and your family, friend’s and spouse or partner’s life too, discipline through dedication and devotion are going to be of utmost and enormous importance. What greater feeling and experience is there than having the privilege and honour of spending time with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who can not only give us favor, blessing and promise but, to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams].” Eph 3:20.

 

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What Does The Resurrection Mean To You?

To me it is the final fulfillment of the Old Testament. Jesus came to fulfill the Old Testament by turning into a way of life instead of a set of rules to follow. For example the commandments were combined into two great commandments:

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ (Deut 6:5)  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second islike it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Lev 19:18)  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40

Here is the another incident:

 Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.  Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off.  And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

 So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God,  and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.

 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:11-19

That was the custom in the Old Testament especially in the book of Leviticus. In the same way, the resurrection was a fulfillment of the Old Testament, not necessarily prophetically though that is true, but rather through the role that it played in the Old Testament.

The Passover
I’m very certain so many people call Jesus the “Lamb of God” but don’t really know why He is called that! To completely understand the resurrection you need to look at what portion of the Old Testament Jesus fulfilled, the Passover. It is also known as the feast of Unleavened Bread. It is generally called the Passover because it commemorates the freedom of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb and, upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord knew to pass over the first-borns in these homes, hence the name of the holiday. When the Pharaoh freed the Israelites, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread dough to rise (leaven). In commemoration, for the duration of Passover no leavened bread is eaten, for which reason it is called “The Festival of the Unleavened Bread.”

Here is basically how the process went:

Exodus 12:3-13
Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire–head, legs and inner parts. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover. 12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn–both men and animals–and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

So that means that:

· The Passover Lamb was to be a male without defect.

· All of the people must slaughter the Passover Lamb.

· There is deliverance for those people who are covered by the Blood of the Passover Lamb.

· Nothing of the Passover Lamb was to be left till morning.

Then in Numbers 9:1-14 we read:

 The LORD spoke to Moses in the Desert of Sinai in the first month of the second year after they came out of Egypt. He said, 2 “Have the Israelites celebrate the Passover at the appointed time. 3 Celebrate it at the appointed time, at twilight on the fourteenth day of this month, in accordance with all its rules and regulations.” 4 So Moses told the Israelites to celebrate the Passover, 5 and they did so in the Desert of Sinai at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. The Israelites did everything just as the LORD commanded Moses. 6 But some of them could not celebrate the Passover on that day because they were ceremonially unclean on account of a dead body. So they came to Moses and Aaron that same day 7 and said to Moses, “We have become unclean because of a dead body, but why should we be kept from presenting the Lord’s offering with the other Israelites at the appointed time?” 8 Moses answered them, “Wait until I find out what the LORD commands concerning you.” 9 Then the LORD said to Moses, 10 “Tell the Israelites: ‘When any of you or your descendants are unclean because of a dead body or are away on a journey, they may still celebrate the Lord’s Passover. 11 They are to celebrate it on the fourteenth day of the second month at twilight. They are to eat the lamb, together with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 12 They must not leave any of it till morning or break any of its bones. When they celebrate the Passover, they must follow all the regulations. 13 But if a man who is ceremonially clean and not on a journey fails to celebrate the Passover, that person must be cut off from his people because he did not present the Lord’s offering at the appointed time. That man will bear the consequences of his sin. 14 “‘An alien living among you who wants to celebrate the Lord’s Passover must do so in accordance with its rules and regulationsYou must have the same regulations for the alien and the native-born.'”

· The Passover Lamb was to have no broken bones.

· The same regulations apply to alien and native born (Gentiles and Jewish people).

· The Passover Lamb was to be observed from the 10th day until the 14th day of Abib (which is somewhere around March in the Jewish calendar).

This next point is key. Let’s look at Exodus 12:3-6:

 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight

Now Jesus rode on a donkey into Jerusalem on the 8th day of the Passover because he has 3 days before His passion and then 3 days before His crucifixion (Mark 11:1-11). So on the 11th day of the Passover Jesus is on trial and on the 14th day He becomes the sacrificial Passover Lamb.

What then does this have to do with the resurrection?
It plays a huge role in the resurrection! Like I said for me the resurrection represents the victory over death on the Cross. Now that death means freedom for all of us because the lamb, being purest of all animals, had to be sacrificed so that every single person can be cleansed of all their sins. So Christ’s role as the Lamb, not only frees us but also indicates Jesus’ victory over death. After all, you can’t resurrect without conquering death can you?

Colossians 2:15 and Revelations 1:18 to me sum up every aspect of what the resurrection is all about:

Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

So I leave you with this question: What does the resurrection mean to you?


From Good Friday To War On Saturday

It’s interesting to see how Easter either lands on a pagan holiday or actually is one! All I know is that the reason why it ends up getting taken so lightly is because many Christians probably do not really value the events that took place at this time in history. They understand it, but the question is, do they treasure it?

Jesus descended to Hell and broke the chains that bound us and publicly humiliated the enemy so that his defeat would be permanently established!

In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross Colossians 2:15

He went to battle and having slain all that was in His way, He emerged victorious! To me this is what Easter is all about. We cannot forget this vitally important segment of the death if we are to understand the profound impact of the resurrection!

The significant thing about Calvary with reference to the kingdom of darkness was that Jesus lived and died under Satan’s dominion and conquered him, something that Adam was supposed to do in the first place. Having conquered Satan, Jesus took back from him the keys of death and Hell and re-established God’s authority on planet earth. Matthew 28:18Revelation 1:17-18.

As long as we remember that one key aspect about Jesus’ death, then it becomes easier to truly cherish the beauty, magnificence and glory in His resurrection! Let us give praise to our heavenly Father who was loving enough to send His Son to die ( to transfer the sinner’s sin and its inevitable results that humankind could never attain to their perfect holiness and purity through the law given on Mount Sinai), so that we may have life (the transferring of the righteousness of Jesus onto the sinner)!

Something worth thinking about!

Luke 10 Transformation

It’s so amazing how I have read this portion of Scripture so many times and yet the simplicity but complete profound impact it has is what I missed! Now in order to understand how the transformation works, you first need to look at what happened with the disciples in Luke 9.

Luke 9 Failure
Let’s take a look at the assignment the disciples were given and find out how it was carried out:

Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. And He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither staffs nor bag nor bread nor money; and do not have two tunics apiece.

“Whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And whoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet as a testimony against them.”

So they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.

Everything good right? Great. Pay very close attention to verse 6. Let’s move on to verse 10:

 And the apostles, when they had returned, told Him all that they had done. Then He took them and went aside privately into a deserted place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.11 But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing

Now wait a minute! Why would Jesus have pulled the disciples aside if things went well? Was He not supposed to rejoice with them? The other thing is that Jesus received the people which means, in contrast, the disciples did not want them around. Furthermore, Jesus did the very things He assigned His disciples to do, which was to heal the people! You have to ask yourself why is He doing it? I believe the answer is in this next verse:

12 When the day began to wear away, the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.”

If you’re going to reach out to people, you will need them to come to you! If the disciples did not want them around, it means something wrong happened somewhere. They might have either forgotten their assignment or simply did not carry out properly. Now bear in mind in verse 1 they were given power and authority over demons and to heal the sick. Verse 37 happens after the transfiguration:

37 Now it happened on the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, that a great multitude met Him. 38 Suddenly a man from the multitude cried out, saying, “Teacher, I implore You, look on my son, for he is my only child. 39 And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out; it convulses him so that he foams at the mouth; and it departs from him with great difficulty, bruising him. 40 So I implored Your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.”

How do you get given the power to heal someone and cast out demons, and not be able to do it!? A lot of people argue that they did not have faith. That could true. They had to have doubted their ability to do everything Jesus told them to do. It is also possible for them to have carried out the assignment one by one, not necessarily to prove each other (though it might have grown to that) but rather because that may have been their strategy. In the end, not matter how they chose to fulfill the task, their doubt led them to complete failure so that Jesus had to do everything Himself!

In the next chapter we’ll look at what the seventy did in order to bring the results they had. It is almost as if Jesus was saying to the disciples, “Let me show you how it’s supposed to be done.”

As He instructs them (the seventy) I’ll point out the practical steps they implemented that we can not only learn but also practice. In essence it’s also what Jesus wants us to do!

Luke 10 Transformation (L 10 T)

After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also,  and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves. Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road.

But whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you.

1) Bless people by declaring peace over them. Declare peace over:

a) B-ody- health
b) L-abour- security. So that will be work and home life
c) E-motion- peace and love from the inside
d) S-ocial- relationships with family, friends, workmates, superiors and subordinates.
e) S-piritual- relationships with cell groups etc

Matthew 5:43-48– Forgive the people and then pray God’s blessing over them

And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house.Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you.

2) Build relationships through fellowship and establishing personal relationships. Good listening is key. Be exemplary and honest:

Romans 14:1 Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things
v13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.
v19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.  

 And heal the sick there, 

3) Meet needs Matthew 25:31-40. Ask if you can pray for people and be gentle in probing for the real needs in their life. This goes a long way and it can also be applied to organizations and businesses.

and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 

4) Tell people about Jesus. Romans 1:16. This is about direct evangelism and sharing our faith. 1 Peter 3:15-16. Share your story. Share your heart. Romans 10:9

10 But whatever city you enter, and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘The very dust of your city which clings to us we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near you.’ 12 But I say to you that it will be more tolerable in that Day for Sodom than for that city.

Take 5- An application of the L 10 T
 
a) Make a list of people (you want to reach out to) and pray for them
b) Meet their needs, whatever they may be.
c) Pray for them while you’re there.
d) Share your story, in essence your testimony
e) Persevere

Luke 10 Effect
17 Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”

18 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

One has to ask, “When did Jesus say that they will have power to cast out demons?” Yet that’s exactly what they did!

After you apply 5 steps be sure to chronicle your success and testify in for example small groups, family, friends etc. Matthew 13:3-23  talks about the parable of the sower which illustrates the importance of doing the word.

Planning it out
Accountability- have someone accountable to you so that you can stay on track and remember more often.

Sharing and follow up- double check with the person you shared with and see how they’ve grown and changed.

Journaling- Write down your progress and success or failures and why they occurred.

Plan for your next approach- when will you decide to do the L 10 T?

Faith to Walk on Water

So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus Matt 14:29.

Getting a clearer image
My post is actually about the section where Peter walks on water found in Matt 14:22-31. It is a wonderful section. So often we find ourselves hearing these passages and also reading them so many times that our familiarity with them makes us so complacent! Only because we think we know everything or, at least, most things about the passage, we basically have it all covered. For me, no matter how well I know a passage or book in the Bible, I don’t think I will ever know everything there is to know. The King always reveals something new that I never would have known had I not let Him do that.

In this text, there are some important things to note about. First of all the Sea of Galilee, which Israelis know as lake Gennesaret, rises anywhere from 3m to 9m! It was also the fourth watch of the night which is 3:00-6:00 in the morning (v25). That means the disciples could barely see Jesus when he suddenly appeared to them (v26). It is safe to say that it may have been winter during that time and at that period in the morning it was still pretty dark. Combining that with very forceful winds and waters rising and dipping every second, that experience clearly must have been very scary! That gives us a good idea of what the disciples were going through.

After Jesus calms them down, something significant happens:

And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 
 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.  But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” v28-30.

The Lord gives a command to come. Peter managed to stay on course as long as he obeyed the word. Given that it was the rhema word and not the logos (written) word, he still obeyed and moved by faith. Obeying the word can be an act of faith some times because it is not always easy to do everything it says. Pay attention to what happened after Peter obeyed. He stepped out. That is the key point here. If you notice, no one else stepped out. Only Peter took that step of faith out of the boat. Given the situation, that in itself was very commendable because he could have easily chosen a method or action for Jesus to perform as proof of His true appearance, that however, would have been an act of doubt since Jesus proved earlier on in the chapter His credibility.

With the waves going up and down and the wind blowing hard, Peter had stepped out. In the end, this is the principle of faith: Peter couldn’t walk until he stepped out of the boat. As I always love to quote Joyce Meyer: if you’re afraid, do it afraid. They say that courage is not the absence of fear but acting in spite of it. If there is a plan B, it means you have something to fall back on and that’s not faith. You cannot walk by faith if you don’t first step out in faith. Challenge yourself this year, in what ways are you going to step out in faith as you believe God for whatever you need?

Wisdom That Brings Order

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, 
      And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding Proverbs 9:10

O Lord, listen to my cry;
  give me the discerning mind you promised.
Listen to my prayer;
rescue me as you promised Psalm 119:169-170

Where the mind goes, the man follows Joyce Meyer

There are three aspects to this year. It is the year of complete governance and peace; the year of answered prayer; the year of double wisdom.

Last year was the year of walking in wisdom. Meaning that in the midst of all the chaos and disorder you grew and gained wisdom to continue walking in the plans of the Lord. This year it is about using the wisdom you’ve gained or are about to gain to bring order in every part of your life. How are we to go about doing this?

Wisdom and Peace go together
If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, we need to understand what the fear of the Lord is:

Come, my children, and listen to me,
      and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
  Does anyone want to live a life
      that is long and prosperous?
  Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
      and your lips from telling lies!
  Turn away from evil and do good.
      Search for peace, and work to maintain it Psalm 34:11-14

Basically the beginning of wisdom is searching for peace and working to maintain it. The question obviously then is: how do we search for peace? James tells us that any time we need wisdom we simply ask:

 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.  But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.  Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. James 1:5-8

Before moving on we need to understand the importance of this verse. It actually talks about discipline. We must have a mindset that cannot be moved. When we ask for wisdom we have to be sure that what we ask for is what we want.

This means that we also need to understand the kind of wisdom we’re asking for:

For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic.  For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind (something to think about).

  But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere James 3:15-17

That was the theme for last year and how we were to walk in wisdom. This is the year of double wisdom which means we need to continue to walk in wisdom and also grow in wisdom. We have managed to establish that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and that kind of wisdom searches for peace and works to maintain it. We need to be very certain, beyond the shadow of doubt, that when we ask for wisdom, we are not going to let doubt overshadow our faith. Finally godly wisdom has to do with peace.

Peace starts in the mind
Listen carefully to what Peter says:

Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.  Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do (the will of God), and he will bless you for it.  For the Scriptures say,

   “If you want to enjoy life
      and see many happy days,
   keep your tongue from speaking evil
      and your lips from telling lies.
  Turn away from evil and do good.
      Search for peace, and work to maintain it 1 Peter 3:8-11

First he tells us to be of the same mind or think the same things. Then he proceeds to tell us how. If we are going to enjoy life it comes from asking for the wisdom that comes from the fear of the Lord. Pay more attention to the fact that he says to be of the same mind. Watch this:

1 ) And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth Colossians 3:2 (AMP).

There is the discipline of the mind again. Since we know the wisdom that comes from above, we are to keep our minds set on that wisdom where peace dwells. This is the first thing.

2) And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you Philippians 4:8-10

Take note of the key word here: Then. That implies that the previous statement is a conditional statement. That means for peace to come we have to think about what is honorable, excellent and worthy of praise. Just ask yourself, “Is what I’m thinking going to bring peace? Is what I’m about to say going to bring peace? Is what I’m about to do going to bring peace?”

3) Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect Romans 12:2 (NLT)

Changing the way we think is a constant, on-going process. Now because being negative is a natural part of human nature, changing the way we think, renewing our minds, is a never-ending process!

Putting it all together
We understand that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the fear of the Lord is searching for peace and working to maintain it. We also know that the wisdom that brings peace and order is a godly wisdom, the wisdom from above. That is the wisdom we should ask for and continually ask for it as an act of renewing our mind. To make sure our thinking doesn’t waver we must always ask ourselves whether or not what we are thinking and what we are about to say and do is going to bring peace.

We must practice double wisdom by making sure our prayer which is sure to be answered, is to grow in self-governance and peace in, through and with every part of our lives. This is the wisdom that brings order!

 

 

 

2012-The Year Of Complete Governance And Peace

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace 
      There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. Isaiah 9:6-7

Quick run over the number 11
The number 11 represents division, dethronement, destruction and chaos. 11, 13 and 666 are the only numbers I know that have no positive connotation and implication at all whatsoever. Check some of these Scriptures out concerning the number 11:

First you have Genesis 11 where the Tower of Babel was built in order for worship to return to the giants that were created before the flood. Read Chapter 6 paying attention to verses 2 (sons of God) and 6 (KJV and NKJV calls them “Nephilims ” that was the term given in reference to giants). They are of a race known as Amalekites. Every time you read that term, picture giants! After the flood the giants were not significant anymore because everyone was basically a giant so they were not worshipped. That’s why they wanted to build that tower, a project led by the ruler of the most evil city to date-Babylon. This alone is easily a whole post! You can do some research on your own if you like.

There was a journey that took 11 days and that caused the increase in time for the journey to the Promise Land:

It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb by way of Mount Seir to Kadesh Barnea. Deut 1:2. Check this out:

So we departed from Horeb, and went through all that great and terrible wilderness which you saw on the way to the mountains of the Amorites, as the LORD our God had commanded us. Then we came to Kadesh Barnea. Deut 1:19.

What happened to the disciples after Judas betrayed Jesus? In Luke 22:47-48 Jesus is betrayed (In Matt 27:5 Judas hung himself) and immediately afterward Peter denies Him in verses 54-62! Where are all the others? You don’t hear of them until Chapter 24:37. Everything up to that point was intense. Jesus is mocked and spat at.

Fortunately in Acts when the 11 Apostles are together, they decide to recruit one more person because a government needed to be established. The church in Jerusalem had the Twelve as the main leaders. Let’s a take a look at Acts 1:23-26 as we begin to see the importance of government especially as it applies to this year:

And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen  to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.”  And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles

The meaning of the number 12 in the Bible
12 is the number of Divine Governance. In order to understand the significance of that we should look at two definitions of the word government:

a) the form or system or rule by which a state, community, church, organization etc is governed.
b) direction; control; management; rule.

It is so crucial to understand this because that speaks of order and principle. That demonstrates the transition from a year of chaos and disorder to a year of order and management. There is a reason why 11 appears between 10 and 12. You have 10 that represents celebration, testimony and tithes according to Malachi 3:10. All the breakthroughs are met by disorganization, collapse of the economy, chaos, and disapproval as represented by 11. All that clears the path for the establishment of government where there is order and rules in place for the plans of God to manifest. Numbers are not to be taken lightly.

As for Ishmael, I have heard of you. I will indeed bless him, make him fruitful, and give him a multitude of descendants. He will become the father of twelve princes; I will make him into a great nation. Genesis 17:20

God had Abraham’s promise for his son Isaac secured already but He knew Abraham was worried about Ishmael. Since Abraham was going to be the father of many nations, Ishmael also had to have a blessing as part of being Abraham’s family. He was going to be the father of twelve princes and right there a government was put in place. This prophecy was fulfilled in Chapter 25:16:

These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names by their settlements and their camps- twelve princes according to their clans.

The first president of the United States said, “It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible.” The two go together. You can’t actually have a government without God involved because He is the One that puts it there in the first place! Everything that governs is governed by God and that includes wicked regimes. Nebuchadnezzar, the murdering, hateful ruler of Babylon was called “the servant of the Lord”. (Jeremiah 25:9; 27:6; 43:10). We all know of His obvious involvement with Pharaoh in Exodus.

As you watch what is going on in the political sector, particularly the elections, pay close attention to Romans 13:1-2:

Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authorities come from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted , and they will be punished.

Understanding the purpose of government
One of the key things this year that will make it so evident that it is the year of complete governance is peace. This is the peace that comes with order, submission, and your place both under and in authority. This will be a year of tremendous order and blessing. How is this so? Let’s see 1 Peter 2:13-17

For the Lord’s sake, respect all human authority—whether the king as head of state,  or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right.

It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you.  For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil.  Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God, and respect the king

This picture of freedom indicates respect towards governance. It is not about abusing to further selfish gain and take advantage of others amongst other evil things. Rather it is about honoring all aspect of government and those around you.

There is an example of this in the book of Daniel. In Chapter 2:24, Nebuchadnezzar has a dream but asks his soothsayers, magicians, enchanters and fortune-tellers to tell him his dream and interpret it. If they can’t do that then they will be killed. These people represent the evil officials in a government and surely enough they did deserve to die. Watch Daniel’s response to one of the king’s men:

Therefore Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and said thus to him: “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; take me before the king, and I will tell the king the interpretation.” 

The types of governance

1) Self-governance. The Bible makes reference to this as self-control. That is the most important type of governance. If you don’t have self-control how are you going to make wise choices and good decisions? The vital thing to increase is self-esteem. That covers every aspect of who you are. Self-esteem is what you see yourself as. Your level of self-respect. That is determined by your self-image which is the way you see yourself in your day-to-day interactions with others. It determines who you are when you are by yourself and who you are when you are with others. If there are two different people in those situations you only cheat yourself. If there is lack of self-respect then there is lack of respect for others. Do yourself and everyone a favor and love yourself. Do what you say you will do. Be honest because that always counts for something.

Aren’t they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear?

 Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law. James 2:7-9


2) Family governance. Obviously the headship in a family institution is the married couple. They are a team. If the marriage is not sustained neither will the family. They have to do honorable things in order for the children to actually honor them as parents (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16). Once they have obtained the honor it makes it easier for the children to obey them (Ephesians 6:1-3; Colossians 3:20). That makes the job easier for the parents to train them in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). Since respect is actually a two-fold thing, the parents should also respect the children by not provoking them to anger (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21). They should also play the providing role properly by giving the children what they ask for, as long as it is harmless and beneficial (Matt 7:9-12). Finally marriage, above all, must be sustained through the submission (encouragement, support) of the wife to the husband (Ephesians 5:22-24; Colossians 3:18) and the love of the husband to the wife just as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25-26; Colossians 3:19). These principles also apply to extended families and family institutions with single parents. The government authority is maintained with control from the immediate family. No outside help is to take part unless permitted (Gen 2:24).

3) Church governance. This was exemplified in Acts 1 with the election of the final Apostle which then made the Twelve. Together they made the decisions. There was order with the leadership. That then brings order with the rest of the church. If there is so much as one pastor that is spoken ill of that will bring division and judgement in the church. That is why there is emphasis on having a strong family governance first before taking leadership in the church (1 Tim 3:1-12).

4) Marketplace governance. It is so important for everyone to be cooperative in the work place. There must be respect for superiors (Ephesians 6:5-8;Colossians 3:22-25; Titus 2:9-10). Superiors should treat subordinates with love and care. They should be very supportive and encouraging (Ephesians 6:9).

5) Civil governance. This is simple. All that has to be done is to respect each other’s properties. No one should covet another’s possessions (Exodus 20:17; Deuteronomy 5:21). Do not overstay your welcome (Proverbs 25:17). Do not be violent towards anyone or hang around violent people (Proverbs 3:29-32). Do not withhold anything from your neighbour if you can give it to them now (Proverbs 3:27). Do not rush quickly to court just to prove your cause but rather settle the matter first amongst yourselves (Proverbs 25:8-10; Matt 18:15-17). Do not gossip because that often comes back to you (Proverbs 11:12-23; 12:16, 23; 13:3).

Rather be encouraging as iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17). Be forgiving ( Matt 18:22). Confess your sins to one another and pray for each other (James 5:16). Always speak well of others (Proverbs 15:23). Show hospitality not only to those you know but strangers as well (Hebrews 13:1-2). Civil governance is not about exercising your rights and ownership but about doing good to and for others so that the whole community is blessed.

NB: You cannot have these things in order if they are outside of God’s order.

In this year creating good networks and growing relationships is going to help bring order. You cannot have a government without people. You cannot have a family without people. You cannot have a nation without people. Progressing far this year and getting closer to your destiny requires having good relationships and knowing the right people. It’s about establishing a good civil government.

Great stuff about the number 12 taken from Troy A Brewer’s book: Numbers that preach
Twelve marks when God is control of something. That’s why Jesus declared that he could call on the power of 12 legions (72000) of angels.(Matt 26:53). Jesus didn’t have 55 or 10,000 legions of angles waiting for His command, the number He gave was TWELVE. He really was in control of the situation then and He is still is today.

Jacob had twelve sons and Israel had twelve tribes. It is interesting to note that Jacob and Israel are the same person. One is born of man and the other born of God and God governs over both of them perfectly.
Jesus had twelve disciples. (The dirty dozen, I call them.) He set up the church with the foundation of twelve teachable, yieldable men that would drop their plans and follow him anywhere.
That’s why the new Jerusalem has twelve gates and twelve foundations.

Revelations 21:13-14 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

There are also 12 pearls; and 12 angels associated with the new Jerusalem. The measurements of that “city” is seen as 12,000 furlongs or stadia, while the wall will be 144 (12 x 12) cubits (Rev. 21:16-17).
Speaking of the book of revelation there are the famous 144,000 (12 x 12) in chapter 14. It is interesting to note that the mark of those that are part of Gods Kingdom and serve him as King (besides bearing fruit of the Spirit) is that they will follow him.
…These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. (Rev 14:2-4)
The first recorded words of Jesus were at the age of Twelve.
There were 12 Baskets of fragments left over when Jesus miraculously fed the crowds of people.
There were 12 spies sent out by Moses in Numbers 13.
Elijah built an altar of 12 stones when he called fire down from heaven. ( 1 Kings 17 )
The are 12 months in a year because God rules over every year.
The are twelve major constellations because God rules over all the heavens.
There are 60 minutes in and hour (12 x 5 ) and 60 seconds in a minute because God perfectly governs every nano moment that has ever been measured.

The number Twenty Four (12 x 2)
Worship and Priesthood: A witness that testifies God governs
There are 24 elders that circle the throne and 24,000 plus miles that circle the planet. John the revelator declared he saw 24 elders around the throne 1693 years before John Harrison solved the longitude problem and confirmed that there are 24 time zones around the world. It was in the bible over 1500 years before it was in the science books.
Twenty four is 12 x 2 so it is a witness of Gods perfect government. What happens when you witness or become a witness to The King of Kings is you worship. That’s why the 24 elders always fall down and worship because they see him as King.
Worship is associated with the number 24.
24 is also associated with priesthood as David distributed the priest among 24 descendents of Aaron. (1 chronicles 24)
I like that because the King of Kings and great High priest Jesus Christ calls us Kings and priests:

Revelations 1:6  And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 

The number 12 and the number 24 are both associated with those people that follow the Lamb and worship the Savior. Maybe that’s why the word “Savior” is found in the bible exactly 24 times.
You can’t beat that government!

Twelve is always associated with God’s authority and His final say. I remember hearing the “prophet” John Cougar Melencamp sing at the Farm Aid concert “I fight authority, authority always wins”
I also remember that as King Jesus stood bleeding in front of Pontius Pilate he explained to the governor who was really governing the situation.

John 19:11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above

That kind of revelation could make the devil himself run off yelling, “I find no fault.”
It ain’t over when the fat lady sings. Its over when every authority that’s refuses to be subject to God’s governing authority is thrown down and put in its right place.

1 Corinthians 15:24
Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 

God preaches through the number twelve and when he does His message has something to do with perfect government.

Bring order and peace by prayer
Dr Mike Murdock said: This is the year of Answered Prayer. Let’s bring order this year by praying for those in authority:

 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.  Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.  This is good and pleases God our Savior,  who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth 1 Tim 2:1-4.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!