Sunday, 29 June 2014

Dominion through Worship

" But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  
 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23 - 24

Noah obeyed God and he and his family ,and the other living creatures who went with him into the ark  were the only survivors of the rains and flood  which  destroyed all living beings on earth. Genesis  8 :13 -19. 
When Noah stepped out of the ark  after the flood , he saw the devastation all around him. Destroyed by the flood were his homestead , his livestock and farmland , all his neighbours and friends and the life he had known for decades were all swept away by the great deluge.
The scene before Noah was that of a total wipe out by flood waters with no immediate remedy in sight for Noah and his household .
God saw Noah and his household surveying the devastation all around them .
Then God waited , expecting to see and hear reactions from them .
There were two options before Noah ; either he offered sacrifices of thanksgiving unto God  for sparing his life and for sparing the lives of his family ; or Noah could have chosen the other option which was that Noah and his family could have raised up a huge lament  to God ; bewailing the loss and destruction of their houses , lands ,fields , farms, livestock and other worldly possessions .Noah could have cried out  like this :
" Oh my God ! All we see  every where is muddy , smelly water !
God why did you allow millions of souls to perished here? !
Are you not supposed to be a merciful God ?!
 Everything is gone ; our  homes and land,  our crops  and livestock !
How can we farm and what shall we eat ?!  God?! Can you see us now ?"

 Sacrifice has been aptly described as" the giving up of the indispensable third leg of the stool".
 The heart of men is linked to their worldly treasures which is everything which they hold dear.
 Sacrifice is  that offering which is as special and precious as it is costly to the giver .
The word  "sacrifice", would readily ,come to mind as the giving of spiritual offerings of songs, dancing , of cash or goods to God and the giving of donations  to needy  human beings.
 There are diverse forms of sacrifices in the forms of either spiritual offerings to God or giving something valuable as donations and gifts to help the disadvantaged.
God appreciates all sacrifices which are offerings from genuine hearts
 Usually the poor and the needy would appreciate immediate reliefs and so they would prefer cash donations  to cashless ones. 
Gifts in cash and kind minister to immediate human needs quicker and more effectively than greeting and hugging the poor and the needy  or preaching and singing  to them.
Therefore cashless sacrifices are not accorded the same value and appreciation as those made in monetary forms . 

Sacrifice is not only that offering or donation which is tangible and which is in form of offerings of cash and goods only .  
Offering praise and  prayers  are worthy sacrifices acceptable  to  God so also are

Monday, 9 June 2014

Abide in the Vine

“  I am the vine, you  are the branches: He  who  abides  in me, and I in him, the same brings  forth much fruit: for without me you  can do nothing.
 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you  shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you.
Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be my disciples “.
John 15 : 5 , 7, 8 .

Thousands of  people  become  “ born-again “, daily , world-wide.
It is the will of God  that every  living soul  would  be  born again ; not only so , but that everyone  who is born again would remain in the Faith , grow to maturity and bear fruits meet for the New Life in Jesus Christ.
When we accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour ,we become a part of the Body of Christ , we become  Christians with the innate ability to be Christ-like .
However , while some Christians remain steadfast in the Faith for decades and even for the rest of their natural lives  , some others  give  up and quit the Faith .
What makes the difference between the Faithful and the Unfaithful Christian ?
Why are there quitters and losers and Finishers and Winners in the race of the Kingdom Life?
                                         The Vine  and Fruitful Branches

In John 15: 1-17, Jesus likened Himself to the Vine and the Believers as the branches which bear the fruit of the vine .
 Jesus gave us an image of  branches  that would wither  and die when they become detached  from the Vine
In  this passage , the Lord Jesus emphasized  that the branches would bear fruits , as long as they remain attached to Him, the Vine . If  they , the branches were cut off  from the Vine their life-source  ,  they  would  thereafter wither , become dry  and become of no use but as twigs  fit for the fire. 
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned “.  John 15: 6.

The significance of  a branch ‘s attachment  to the shrub or tree is brought home  to me any time I trim  my flowers  beds  , hedges , shrubs  and lawn grass  at home .
Usually , I would neatly pack the trimmed  branches , grass leaves and flowers into the recycling  “Green bag” , awaiting collection by  my council’s  waste collection department.
Within a few hours  of being cut, the contents of the Green bag would start showing signs of  withering ; a marked difference from the living plants who escaped my trimming .
In 48 hours , the cut branches  and flowers would all look brownish and floppy ; death and decay would have set in upon them.
I do feel sorry to see flowers and branches which  I once cherished and cared for and which once looked so fresh and beautiful  on my lawn , ending up looking all messed up , crushed  and dead in the council green bag.
But that is life . What has  to be trimmed off and dumped , just has  be discarded as “ Trash!”

The Vine  and His branches can be likened  , also , to a river and its rivulets or tributaries.
When you dam the flow of water from the main river into its tributaries, you have cut off the Source of Refreshing  and therefore the rivulets would dry up leaving barren streaks known as “dead river beds”. 
A dried-up river ceases to bear life and is unable to give sustenance to anyone.
Such  dead river beds abound everywhere and they  have become foot paths  to  be trodden under the feet of men  and animals.

The worldly value system says: “Nothing goes for anything”, “ Nothing is free!”.
If you are a “nobody” and you bring nothing into a deal with another person , then you could  receive very little or nothing at all from that deal .
No one would , knowingly, invest in a transaction with someone who has NOTHING of equal or even greater value to offer in return,  to complete their own side of the deal.
But not so with our merciful God, who in His love and compassion  gave us His all ; generously and unconditionally, to all mankind .
"He that spared not his own son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things ?" Romans 8 :32.
In God’ s Salvation plan , God gave mankind His all , gave  His most precious  gift  which is His only Son Jesus Christ .
God’s Love and mercy  made Him reach out  to save mankind.
What was Mankind’s expected reciprocity to this Salvation deal offered by God ?
The only currency recognized by God and recognized in Heaven is the blood of Jesus Christ  which was shed  for the remission of  the sins of the world.
All that Man was and is required  to do as Man’s own response to God’s offer of eternal life is for Man  to accept God’s Salvation deal .
Acceptance means to believe God , to have FAITH in God; to have faith  in what the blood of Jesus did for the whole world. John 3 :16 – 18.
Faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ through His death and His resurrection is the only qualification which makes  any man fit  to be a partaker of God’s Salvation as expressed in His son Jesus Christ.
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me “.John 15: 4.
The branches have nothing in themselves and they are nothing without the Vine.
 They remain robust, sturdy and full of life when they abide in the Vine because they receive tender care from the Father, the Husbandman.
Everything the branches would ever  need  for survival abounds in the sap, which is the blood , the Life Source in the Vine.
Faith in Jesus Christ connects the branches to the life-giving  sap in the Vine  .
The Life Source in the Vine is the blood of Jesus Christ  . This is the Sustaining Power which  enables the branches  to be fit  to remain living parts of the Vine.
The message here is :
1.      the born again Christian has been made righteous  and alive unto all good works by the blood of Jesus.
2.      In order to remain righteous  and  to  abound in grace which enables fruit-bearing the righteous , must abide under the cover of the blood of Jesus Christ and must  be attached  to the Vine which is the Life Source of the Christian.
Quitters are losers. They never win.
The Bible says that God does not delight in those who become born again and then they “look back”; meaning that  those  who were living the life in Christ but later detached themselves from the Vine by going  back to their previous life style of  sinful  living.
“ Behold , you have been  made whole ; sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon  you” .
John 5 : 14.( also in  Hebrews 6 : 1-6.)
These scriptures  confirm  that you could  be born again today , but if you were careless with your confession of  being  a Christian , you  would  slide back from the protection of God’s righteousness  in you , sliding back into Satan’s camp of oppressions  and afflictions.
There are numerous weapons of the enemy which he uses to attack the branches , to weaken them and to separate them from the Vine , unto their destruction.
The Bible calls these Satanic weapons "the little foxes that spoil the vine"
(Songs of Solomon 2:15)
These Satanic agents are very destructive. They are  not supposed to be present among the branches  of the Vine , but they are present amongst the branches , all the same .
These “ little foxes " nibble at the branches , gradually , weakening  their attachment  to the Vine until they destroy them and effect total detachment of some of the  weak branches from the Vine.
Glory be to God  because  when the going gets tough , the strong gets going!
Satan  and his demons cannot do much damage in the life of Believers; unless  Believers  give room to the enemy to  enter in , to abide in and to operate freely in their lives, without casting the demons out!
1t is irresponsible to preach  the unscriptural , very false  and dangerous doctrine  to young converts that  once  they are saved , they are “saved for life “ ; that everything in their lives  becomes "honky dory"  that is, everything become sweet , easy and smooth-sailing just because they are confessing that  “ I am born again!” , “ It is well with me !” “The Lord is good , all the time !” and so on and so forth.
These confessions of faith are faithful sayings and they are good confessions  indeed
But  let it be known that faith without works is dead ; words are empty and futile without  actions.
The Christian  who has been delivered and  made righteous must  be taught  to be aware , be alert  and equipped  to withstand the fiery darts of the adversary  and his wicked demonic kingdom .  
Ephesians 6 : 10-18.
Please preach it loud  and clear that  Satan doesn't give up the fight to weaken and derail Christians, even after they become born again.
Sometimes, the Faith Run does become tough and  challenging.
But we are more than over comers through Christ who strengthens us.
Many Christians who are in the Faith today after many years ,would attest  to the fact that but for the grace of God , they  almost gave up  at certain times in their Christian lives.
"And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work , and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom : to whom be glory forever and ever ". 2 Timothy 4 :18.

May we be blessed and strengthened always as we abide in the Vine . Amen.

***In my next blog , "Having Done All, Stand !", I shall write on these weapons of the enemy , the  “Little foxes “ that spoil the Vine and how to overcome them.
* I have written "Complete In Him " and "Abide In The Vine " as Bible tracts , also .
They are available , FREE , in major translations.