115 entries categorized "Biblical teaching"

The appointed time is in our hands

The unveiling of Jesus Christ received by the apostle John at island Patmos is very encouraging, even though some of the visions are not easy to understand. But a joyous blessing rest upon the one who reads the message of the Book of Revelation and upon those who hear and embrace the words of this prophecy, for the appointed time is in our hands (see Rev 1:1-3).

Most of my Bibles are saying that the appointed time is at hand, but from the Passion Translation I have come to know that this phrase may be translated differently. The Greek word "eggus"  is taken from a primary verb "agcho", which means "to squeeze" (in your hand) or "to hold the reigns" or "throttle" in your hands. Therefore this translation says that the appointed time is in your hands.

This open up a very interesting way of understanding the book of Revelation. There is a sense in which the full understanding of the unveiling of Christ in this book is ready to be revealed when the reader is ready to receive it. The time for this unveiling of Christ is now, not the past nor the distant future.

This is in accordance to the revelation the apostle Peter brings (1 Peter 1:5). He is saying that the mighty power of God will constantly guard us to bring us into our full salvation or deliverance. Through the new birth we have become partakers of this salvation which constantly comes through the unveiling of Christ. It is ready to be revealed and waits for our discovery. From the coming of the Spirit on the day of pentecost we have been living in the last days which are days of continual revelation and unveiling of Jesus Christ our Saviour. By faith we "grab" the promises of God, we eat the prophetic word of God, and come to understand that in Christ everything spoken of by the prophets are available for us now. The appointed time is in our hands. The kingdom of God is bursting forth, and passionate people are laying hold of its power.

 


Imitate

Imitate that which is good

Imitate the beautiful acts of love

Imitate generous people

Imitate those who are consistently living their lives in the way of truth

Imitate those who are living in obedience to whatever God commands

Imitate those who have come into an intimate experience of God's love

Imitate those who demonstrate love in action

Imitate those who live pure lives

Imitate those who are consumed by godliness

Imitate the humble servant

Imitate those who are compassionate to foreigners

Imitate those who are consumed with what brings pleasure to God

Imitate those who are gentle and respectful

Imitate those who demonstrate affectionate love, sympathy, and kindness

Imitate those with a peaceful spirit

 


Unfolding faith

Faith is a gift of God. It is like a seed planted in our heart. The smallest seed of faith can move mountains. The Bible says that we live by faith. We are saved by faith. We overcome obstacles in life by faith. 

When we water the seed of faith, our faith will grow stronger and increase. The apostle Peter is saying that we should devote ourselves to develop our faith or to supplement it. As a seed faith is full of potensial for dynamic growth and development. Peter speaks of an unfolding of faith (2 Pet 1:7-11)

Out of the seed of faith planted in our heart by God will emerge goodness, and out of goodness will emerge understanding of God, and out understanding and knowing God will emerge inner strength and self-control, and out of this inner strength will emerge patient endurance, and out of patient endurance will emerge godliness, and out of godliness will emerge mercy towards our brothers and sisters, and out of mercy will emerge unending love.

All these virtues are inherent in the seed of faith that God is planting in our heart. They have been planted deep within us by the Spirit of God. Actually we possess them in abundant supply by the grace of God. This unfolding of faith will keep us from being inactive or fruitless in our pursuit of knowing Jesus Christ more intimately. If these virtues are absent in our lives we will be blind, constantly closing our eyes to the mystery of faith, forgetting our innocence - for our sins have been washed away.

Therefore it is very important that we are eager to confirm and validate that God has invited us to salvation and claimed us his very own. When we do these things, we will never stumble. As a result God will give us a triumphant entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is also possible to see this as a spiritual mathematical equation. Faith pluss goodness equals understanding and knowledge of God. Goodness pluss understanding equals inner strength and self-control. Understanding pluss self-control equals patience. Inner strength pluss patience equals godliness. Patience pluss godliness equals mercy. Godliness pluss mercy equals unending love. These qualities are meant to be limitless as our faith keeps unfolding.


Enjoying life

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I am so thankful to God for the ability to enjoy life. The doctors predicted that I would never grow up. They had no cure nor any future for me. But God had a purpose for my life and a wonderful destiny. I am so thankful to be alive. But I am not only alive, I have been given the ability to enjoy life. My heart is full for joy and my lips are filled with words of thanksgiving.

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Ready to covenant?

We covenant to live every part of our lives in obedience to God.

We covenant to serve God and his purpose in whatever way he calls us.

We covenant to encourage, help, challenge, correct and serve each other so that we each can live for and serve God better.

We covenant to follow the vision and teaching of the apostolic leadership of the work.

We covenant to honesty, integrity, loyalty and love in our relationships with each other.

We covenant to deal with disagreements and conflicts that arise between us in a godly and honest way.

We covenant to support the work of God in the giving of our time, our effort, our gifts and our finance.

We covenant to being open to be discipled by others and willing to disciple others.

We covenant to see the common vision fulfilled whatever the cost and however long it takes.


Do you see?

 

We see a covenant church

that is a strong and healthy Kingdom community

of those who are being changed

as they follow Jesus in every area of their lives,

and who covenant together

and work with a common sense of vision and purpose.

 

We see a covenant church

where God is worshipped passionately and freely,

and where the presence and power of God are experienced

in big as well as in small gatherings.

 

We see a covenant church that is a community

governed in its beliefs and practices

by the Word and the Spirit of God,

and not by human customs, traditions or personalities.

 

We see a covenant community

where its members are fully committed to one another

and to God's purpose for his world.

 

We see a covenant community

that is full of life and faith,

where the people are free, happy, vibrant

and enjoying the goodness of God in their everyday life

 

We see a covenant community

in which there are real and close friendships, 

warm relationships, and openness

to all people from whatever background.

 

We see a covenant church

that is not built around meetings or a building,

but is centred on Christ

and on relationships of the Spirit,

and a shared community life

as we meet from home to home and in big gatherings.

 

We see a covenant church that is influencing

and impacting its surrounding community and

that doesn't retreat into a safe Christian ghetto.

 

We see a covenant community that is committed

to what God is doing right across the nations of the world

and is in real relationship with apostolic and other ministries to advance

God's kingdom throughout the world.

 

We see a covenant community

that has a credible voice to speak

into all the issues which face our society,

and that is actively demonstrating

a positive and godly example to that society.

We see a covenant community

that is growing and reproducing itself

across the whole region, nation and the world.

 

We see a covenant community

where everyone is learning

to play their part and to do so

gladly with faith,

commitment and integrity.


Christ is our message

There is a divine mystery, a secret surprise that has been hidden from the world for generations. In these last days the mystery of Christ is being being revealed, unfolded and manifested for every believer to experience. 

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the divine portrait, the true likeness of the invisible God. He is the visible image of the invisible God. He has unfolded to us the full explanation of who God truly is. The Son is the dazzling radiance of God's splendour. He is the exact expression of God's true nature - his mirror image! He holds the universe together and expands it by the mighty power of his spoken word. He accomplished for us the complete cleansing of sins, and then took his seat on the highest throne at the right hand of the majestic one.

This Christ is our message! He lives within us and floods us with the expectation of glory. This mystery of Christ, embedded within us, becomes a heavenly treasure chest of hope filled with the riches of glory for his people, and God wants everyone to know it!

We preach to awaken hearts and bring every person into the full understanding of truth. It has become our inspiration and burning passion in ministry to labour with a tireless intensity, with his power flowing through us, to present to every believer the revelation of being his perfect one in Christ. 


The fruit of the Spirit

By faith in Jesus we have been born again by the Holy Spirit. Ever since that day the power of the Holy Spirit has been at work in our lives. As we yield freely and fully to the dynamic life and power of the Holy Spirit, we will abandon the cravings of our self-life, and the Spirit will produce fruit in our lives.

The Holy Spirit hinders our old self-life from dominating us. The self-life of our flesh and the new life of the Spirit are two incompatible and conflicting forces with in us. When we are brought into the full freedom of the Spirit of grace, we will no longer be living under the legalistic domination of the law. The cravings of the self-life are obvious and those who use their freedom for these impurities will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within us is divine love in all its varied expressions:

joy that overflows

peace that subdues

patience that endures

kindness in action

faith that prevails

gentleness of heart

strength of spirit

Everything connected with our self-life was put to death on the cross and crucified with Christ. Now we can live in the Holy Spirit and follow after him.


Excel

When the apostle Paul is writing to the church in Corinth (2 Cor 8:7), he is commending them: "You do well and excel in every respect." He is naming five areas in which they excel before he tells them to make suer that they excel in a sixth area. Even when he says that they excel in every respect, he is kind of saying that they can excel in more areas. There is always room for improvement. There is always the possibility of growing and maturing. If you excel, you have laid the foundation on which you may excel even more!

Excel in unstoppable faith, nourished by the Word of God.

Excel in powerful preaching, anointed by the Spirit of grace.

Excel in revelation knowledge, filled with the Spirit of wisdom and truth.

Excel in your passionate devotion, being zealous and single-hearted for the Lord.

Excel in sharing love, overflowing with the pure love of Christ.

Excel in being generous, by loving commitment to God and his people.

 


My bodyguard

Bad things happen  to good and godly people. That is part of life in this fallen world. All of us have a inbuilt desire to feel good, be free from pain and have a comfortable life. Sooner og later we realise that life can be very difficult, and often not comfortable at all. We face pain and hardships. Sometimes we have to go through sufferings and tough struggles. Often life is not easy, but very challenging.

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I trust in the all-sufficient cross of Christ alone

I have started to read Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians again. This is a letter filled with divine revelation and insight. Paul is starting by telling that he has been divinely appointed according to the plan of God. The letter is addressed to the community of God throughout the city of Corinth, and to the people of God everywhere. He is writing that we have been made pure and set apart in the Anointed One. We have been invited to be God’s devoted and holy people.

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Covenant duties

The issue of covenant was forced on me a short time ago. There are so many misunderstandings about being a covenant person. Even many Christians have very little understanding of what covenant is all about. They question the idea of covenant duties or covenant obligations. Therefore I have chosen to share something I wrote some years back on being a covenant keeper, on being a person who understands the implication of covenant living. Covenant is love put into practice!

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What is faith?

I was reading Romans 10 this morning in the Passion Translation. Vers 17 contains a very interesting definition of faith. When we try to explain what faith is, we normally quote from the eleventh chapter of the Letter to the Hebrews. But the definition of faith found in Romans 10, caught my heart this morning. Therefore I like to share it with you. Faith is actually a gift given to us by God, for it was only because of his wonderful grace that we believed in Jesus Christ in the first place (Eph 2:8). 

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A loving and loyal servant

In his letter to the Romans the apostle Paul is introducing himself as a loving and loyal servant of the Anointed One, Jesus (Rom 1,1 TPL). When I read what Paul was writing about himself, his words struck me. What a sound self-image. What a wonderful self-esteem. What a bold statement about himself: I am a loving and loyal servant!

First of all he wants to tell that he is a servant of the Anointed One, Jesus the Messiah. He had been called and chosen by Jesus Christ to be a servant. He was set apart with a mission. As a servant he was a sent one, an apostle. His mission was to reveal the wonderful news of the Kingdom of God. He was to bring people out of darkness and ignorance into the light and understanding of the Good News of what God had done through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That was his mission to bring insight to people, to help them grasp the eternal plan and purpose of Christ. He was never disobedient to this heavenly vision. He was a servant of Jesus Christ his entire life. The heavenly vision made him a servant. 

Continue reading "A loving and loyal servant" »


Living in the shining place

I am fascinated with the Psalms. Especially the Psalm of David. They cover all of life. We find all kinds of emotions in all kinds of situations. I can relate the content of the Psalms to my own life and emotions. The Psalms teach me that I can bring everything before God because he cares about every detail of my life.

Lord, who dares to dwell with you? Who presumes the privilege of being close to you, living next to you in the shining place of glory?

They are passionate and wholehearted, always sincere and always speaking the truth - for their hearts are trustworthy.

They refuse to slander or insult others; they'll never listen to gossip or rumours, nor would they ever harm another with words.

They will speak out passionately against evil and evil workers while commending the faithful ones who follow after truth. They make firm commitments and follow through, even at great cost.

They never crush others with exploitation or abuse and they would never be brought with a bribe against the innocent. They will never be shaken; they will stand firm forever. 

This text is taken from Psalm 15 in The Passion Translation. This translation is one of my favourite translations at the moment. Perhaps this psalm was sung by the choir David appointed to sing prophetically and minister to the Lord day and night in his tabernacle. This song describe who will live in God's holy presence and who dwell with him in his shining place of glory. Actually it is a prophetic description of the perfect man, Jesus Christ, and all those who are transformed into his image by the Holy Spirit.

In this psalm we find parallells to the Lord's sermon on the Mount. If we will live in the holy place of God, there must first be a holy place in our hearts where the Spirit of holiness dwells. We must submit to the holiness of God. Only those with a pure heart can see God and dwell in the shining place of his glory.

But who is capable of this? Who is able to meet these holy requirements? Who is competent of this life?

In our own strength we are not capable at all. Our true competence flows from God's empowering grace. When we are overcome by our many sins, his sacrifice covers over them all! Farther than we can describe with words he removes our guilt from us. Only because of his tender mercy we may live in the shining place of his glory.  


Sure and pure words

In Psalm 12 David is crying to God for help. He lives in a terrible situation. King Saul ordered the death of 85 godly men who wore the priestly robe. The killing rampage continued until an entire community of priests had been slaughtered with their women and children. This great evil marked David from that day forward for they were killed because of the help they had given him. David is complaining to God. He is desperate as he sing this song for a new day: Help, Lord! Save us!

The godly ones are swiftly disappearing!

Where are the dependable, principled ones?

Where are the truthful?

The godly seemed to be a vanishing breed in his life time. The people were proudly speaking with twisted tongues and lying lips. Then the Lord spoke a comforting word. He promised to rise to defend the poor. He said he would rescue and protect those who were plundered, the oppressed, and the needy who groan for help.

In the day of persecution and great evil, David take hold on the word of God. He believes the promises of God.

Every word God speaks is sure and every promise pure. His truth is tested, found to be flawless, and ever faithful. It's as pure as silver refined seven times in a crucible of clay. Ps 12: 6 (The Passion Translation)

Even if the godly ones are disappearing, the principled ones are difficult to find, and the truthful is not visible in the media, we will put our trust in our righteous and faithful God. He will keep us safe forever. Even in the day of evil he will keep us out of the reach of the wicked. Even if the ungodly strut and prowl, tolerating and celebrating what is worthless and vile, God will still lift up those who are humble and merciful.


The timings of God

The Bible says that there is a season for everything and a time for every matter. There is an appointed time for everything and a right time to every purpose. The great challenge in life is to understand the timings and seasons of God. To me this is often a big mystery. I believe I am doing or saying the right thing, only to discover that it was the wrong time and wrong place. Therefore my actions did not produce good fruit.

I have had many prophetic words and promises from God spoken to me. Many of them have been fulfilled. Some have partly come true and others are still to be fulfilled. Understanding the timings of God has been a big challenge. In my younger years I despised those who talked on waiting on God, for I believed that God waited for us, that he waited for our response and actions. I still belive in obeying the word of God. I do believe in acting on prophetic words. I believe we need to be quick to act when God speaks. Finding the balance between waiting for God's timing and acting out the word immediately is not easy.

When Moses was forty years old, he acted and expected his own kin to understand that God was using him to rescue them, but they didn't! He acted according to his divine calling, but not at the right time and probably not the right way.  Only forty years later he became the leader and deliverer sent them by God. At that time both Moses and the people were prepared by God for the fulfilment of the promise. Now the timing was right.

"The time drew near for God to fulfil the prophetic promise he had made to Abraham" (Acts 7:17). When it was time for God to keep the promise, things were set in motion for the people be be set free from slavery. In the prophetic word to Abraham God had told him about the time: after 430 years. The promise was clearly concerning the future. When the time drew near God acted to fulfil his word. 

When Daniel was studying the prophetic word of Jeremiah, he specially pondered on the numbers of years it would take to complete Jerusalem's desolation according word of the Lord. It was seventy years. He realised that the time was near. Then he turned his face to God, asking for an answer with prayer and pleading. While he was still praying the angel Gabriel appeared to him to give him insight and understanding. The quick answer came because his prayer was given at the right time.

There is a time for waiting and there is a time for acting. There is a time for planting and a time for uprooting what was planted. There is a time for tearing down and a time for building up. There is a time for searching and a time for losing. There is a time for speaking and a time for keeping silent.

 Lord, help us to wait on you and walk with you and always do your will!


Song of the clouded dawn

Not every dawn is colourful or beautiful. Some dawns are clouded and dull. Sometimes the mornings are heavy and dark. But the dawn always bring light. Even a clouded dawn bring light. The new day may be rainy and stormy. Dark clouds are covering your abode. It is not always easy to rejoice, but we don't need to be filled with joy to come before God. We can come as we are.

It is a good thing to make it a habit to conduct a morning watch before the face of God. We can call on God to listen to our passionate prayer. "Lord, can't you hear my groaning? Don't you hear how I am crying out to you?" At each and every sunrise I  will let God hear my voice. Even on the clouded dawn I will sing to God. Every morning I will make it an habit to bring my sacrifice of prayer to my God. Whether the dawn is sunny or clouded I will lay out the pieces of my life on the alter. And I will wait for your fire to fall on my heart. I need your fire each and every day of my life.

 


They began to understand the effect Jesus had

Acts 4:13 says: The council members were astonished as they witnessed the bold courage of Peter and John when they discovered that they were just ordinary men who had never had religious training. They began to understand the effect Jesus had on them simply by spending time with him (Passion Translation).

This last sentence struck me when I read it this morning. The council members were struck with astonishment when they saw and heard Peter and John. The apostles had been arrested and was brought before the Jewish council to explain a miracle that had taken place through their hands. God had used them to heal a man that had been crippled from birth. The Jewish leaders, the religious scholars, and the elders of the people had arrested Peter and John and made them stand in front of the council as they questioned them: "Tell us, by what power and authority have you done these things?"

Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered them. Boldly he proclaimed the truth to them, charging them of crucifying the Lord Jesus Christ, whom God had raised from the dead. With great conviction he declared that there is no one else than Jesus who has the power to save: "There is only one name to whom God has given the power by which we must experience salvation: the name of Jesus!" 

It was then the members of the council began to understand the effect Jesus had on the disciples. Even though they were just ordinary men, simply spending time with Jesus had an effect on them. They had no religious training. They never attended any seminary. They never had any university degree. But simply spending time with Jesus had a deep and profound effect on them. The members of the council could not deny the effect Jesus had on those ordinary people who simply spent time with him.

May people around us began to understand the effect Jesus has on our life when we simply spend time with him. The secrete is to spend time with Jesus. It has an effect that people will begin to understand more and more.


Let the dawning day bring me revelation

Solveig and myself have been practicing praying the Psalms together every day since the summer. Often we do it several times a day. It has been av very good exercise in prayer. The Psalms have come alive to us in a new way. God has been speaking to us and our hearts have been deeply touched by praying the ancients prayer of the Psalms. Our spirits have been taken to new heights as we have praised the Lord and worshipped the God of Israel together.

Today we were praying Psalm 143: Let the dawning day bring me revelation of your tender, unfailing love. Give me light for my path and teach me, for I trust in you. Save me from all my enemies, for I hide myself in you. I just want to obey all you ask of me. So teach me, Lord, for you are my God. Your gracious Spirit is all I need, so lead me on good paths that are pleasing to you, my one and only God. (7-10)

What a wonderful prayer! Let the dawning day bring me revelation of your tender, unfailing love! Yes, Lord, let this happen to me every morning. Let there be fresh revelation of your tender, unfailing love. Let your love be my light that teach me to walk in your path of life. As I hide myself in you, my God, my enemies can't touch me. Your Spirit is all I need to live a life of obedience, a life pleasing to you, my one and only God!