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Friday, May 19, 2017

WHY WE GET DISCOURAGED

Pastor preached a very powerful sermon in end Mar about why people get discouraged. He said that whenever we take our eyes off Jesus, we will be overwhelmed by our circumstances. Whenever we focus more on the visible, we will forget about the invisible, what God has done for us in the past. Everyone is susceptible to falling. Even the ones with great faith. You can be walking in faith yesterday only to find yourself feeling discouraged today. We are all prone to depression at some point. Whenever we put our eyes on the visible, the devil has us where he wanted.

I thought about those times when I got so discouraged was because my eyes were on the circumstances. I was already weary because I had come a long way and yet there were still attacks. But as long as I kept looking at my circumstances, why there hasn't been a turnaround, why things hadn't change after so long I would become more discouraged. Everyday I would wake up straining to see the slightest sign of change. Just like how Elijah told his servant to go seven times and see if rain was coming.

He prayed hard, so to speak for rain to come and couldn't quite believe it when God told him so. Hence he kept asking his servant to check for any sign of rain. But when he prayed for a drought, he didn't even doubt. He just declared that 'as surely as the Lord lives, at the sound of my voice there shall be no rain for 3.5 years.' He was that confident God would do what He said. Pastor commented that God worked in cycles of seven so even this judgement was meted out in mercy. God cut it down by half the time.

I thought about what I had been chasing all these years, what I had been earnestly looking out for. Being expectant of what God told me was quite different from focusing too much on the circumstances. Whenever my eyes are on the visible, I get snared by the enemy's traps. Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see. Faith is not only when you see what God said coming to pass. You don't need faith if the word came to pass.

When my joy and peace is dependent on whether the thing I believe God for come to pass or not, then it's on unshakable grounds. The enemy can hold me hostage and take me for a field day any time. He can push my buttons by causing all kinds of frustrating situations to come my way. Remember that the natural realm is subject to his control. But if we cross over to the spirit realm, that's when he is defeated every time. I realised the more anxious I get over my natural circumstances, the more I was ensnared by the enemy.

That was a time in Feb/Mar I was so easily affected by what I saw that I was prone to depression. I would get up one morning feeling joyful but the next day I would be moody. My emotions were that unstable. That was why I had no choice but to go back to hearing the sermons. It was my only lifeline. The only way out of my troubles. It was only when I hear the word of God that my mind didn't go haywire thinking all sorts of negative thoughts. Or else I could not make it through that dark period.

And when I felt my moods getting down, I would reach for the MP3. Only after hearing the word would I gain some relief and comfort. Only after that would my mood be lifted up. But as I kept on meditating on God's word, something happened to me. It no longer became a lifeline but a great enjoyment. I began to hunger more of the word. I found refuge and solace in the word. I could finally focus on Jesus while meditating on the word. As I put my eyes back on Jesus, gradually I became less affected by my circumstances.

I came to a point where I didn't bother whether my circumstances had changed or not.  My joy and peace wasn't dependent on such things anymore. I was contented to feed on His word just like this for as long as I could. His word become more real in my life than the natural circumstances. After a while I didn't really care if things moved on or not, as I found my peace in hearing the word. If things moved I would of course be very happy and grateful to God. But it was more like peaceful than joyful.

It was like days of heaven on earth when I had the consciousness of what Jesus had done for me at the cross. Peace is truly forgiveness enjoyed. When I was conscious of my righteousness in Christ, I found myself flowing effortlessly in the spirit as well. It was painful to be so conscious of self, so fixated on the outward circumstances. But when the light was shone on these dark areas, I felt like the chains were broken. Jesus set me free from the prison of my mind.

It was really a freeing way to live life. It didn't matter to me whether my promise manifested yet or when it would manifest. My happiness wasn't dependent on this promise coming to fulfilment. So long as the stronghold had been destroyed I was sure it would manifest very soon. I remembered that God said this manifestation wasn't as spectacular as the age old strongholds being destroyed. Now I understand what God meant. To be set free from that prison is really an awesome victory Christ has wrought for me.


So now my mind is renewed, I can stand tall and walk with my head lifted up whenever this question of when the promise is going to come to pass pops up. It isn't my problem anymore, it is His problem. In any case so long as I am happy and enjoy my life, then who is to say that I am suffering because of this long wait? Besides God already said my waiting is coming to an end.Who would pity me if I don't feel sorry for myself? In fact I felt blessed because of the delay and attacks, I had become a gainer. My character was built up and my youth was renewed. Restoration is coming my way. Payback time is here. I will find myself being blessed much more than I lost.

NO MORE FEAR!

I heard Pastor Prince share in his previous sermons about warfare and the enemy's work. Pastor used the example of Job to explain that an open door to fear would enable the enemy to bring on bad things in our lives. That doesn't give us the security that we should have in Christ. First of all, he said that Job not only feared, he greatly feared. He kept thinking his children sinned against God and offered sacrifices daily over a period of time. So if we are afraid once in a while it doesn't tantamount to an open door to fear. Job greatly feared over a period of time.

Secondly Pastor said sin consciousness in a person's life was the root cause of the open door to fear. Condemnation kills. There is no sin that Jesus has not cleansed so we should not be conscious of our sin but our righteousness in Christ. Even though we may be attacked in some season, we need not be in fear. We can be safe in a place where we can be hidden in God. The enemy may unleash his greatest schemes against us to stop God's plan, the end outcome is God always wins.

Thirdly Pastor said that the spot which Satan used to have in heaven had already been cleansed by Jesus' blood. So the devil in the NT was not as powerful as the devil in the OT, after Jesus was crucified and rose again. The devil ain't who he used to be. But he can still come to you and prosecute you, though he cannot come to God and accuse you. He needs to deceive you to use your power against you. He has to accuse you to yourself and that's where most people are caught. Apparent power is like real power. He always tries to deceive you into thinking you don't have the thing you need when you have it all the time.

This truth really sets me free. Previously my heart was troubled and I was in fear of bad news, especially after my uncle's passing in mid Feb. The enemy kept me in bondage as he taunted me saying he can bring bad things in my life anytime he wants to. He tried to elevate his power above that of God. He kept putting the blame on God saying why didn't God stop such things from happening when he could. I was deceived for a while and I blamed God for it. Later my eyes were opened to see that the real culprit was the devil not God. I should be upset with the devil rather than God.

The enemy also had me wondering whether God is powerless, if not, why He has not acted on my behalf since. He had me think that he had more power to inflict damage on my life than God's power to deliver me. Not only that he tried to make me believe things were not just stuck, they were worse than last year. The warfare early this year became more fierce than last year. But he was really just calling the bluff. There was no foundation, no basis for his attacks. Because he cannot accuse me to myself. Not anymore. Unlike last year when I was still blaming myself because I missed my promised land in 2012. And also fear of my grandma's passing plaguing me.

Now there was another important thing God revealed to me. There was another erroneous belief that God would bring back all the bad experiences in the past to restore them. Because it seemed like what was happening recently. My uncle's passing was like Mrs Mohan's case. Joshua's injury was like what happened in 2008 when he too hurt his right wrist. Plus all these incidents happened around the same time in the year. Now if this work was from God, then it shouldn't bring fear to my heart. It should bring peace.

This erroneous thinking caused me to be in fear because I was trying to think of all the bad incidents that happened in the past which I thought God hasn't restored yet. It made me more fearful that God was going to allow more bad things to happen in my life even though I knew the outcome would be good. The process still made me feel scared because I was just stung by such bad experiences. I was more conscious of the negative impact of the recent incidents than the work of God.

How can such thinking make my heart at peace? How to be established in Christ's righteousness? I was looking out for more bad news when I should be expectant of good things coming in my life. God doesn't work like that. He knows how much more I can take. His purpose of restoration wasn't to crush me but to strengthen me. The right way of doing it was like His restoration in my previous company. It definitely wasn't scary. It was tough but not scary.

Then the Lord also showed me that there is no more righteous foundation to Satan's accusations. The blood of Jesus has silenced him. Even the condemnation of having missed my promised land in 2012 was already dealt with by God last year. This issue could no longer haunt me. I have clearly entered my promised land last year and started taking grounds. I have already moved on from circling that mountain. So the enemy cannot accuse me to myself. He cannot lie to me saying that God is displeased with me hence He is not acting on my behalf. The truth is God is fighting my battles.

Really thank God for arresting this wrong belief. If not, I would really be opening the door for more bad things in my life. I would live in fear of bondage to the enemy's whims and fancies. The enemy would have gotten me where he wanted me. Immobilised in fear. He wanted me to think I was defenceless against his schemes. And God wasn't helping me either. So I was doomed. He tried to accuse me and make me feel guilty over my Uncle and Joshua's case. But these weren't my fault in the first place. God has justified me. He isn't displeased with me.

God has completely turned the tables against the enemy. Not only is he caught and found out, he has to repay all the troubles he brought unto us. He is doomed. He is now stripped of all his power. He cannot accuse me to myself, cannot bring me under condemnation, cannot make me conscious of my sin. God has made me conscious of Jesus' perfect sacrifice. I am now standing on favour ground.


Not only that, because of the injury the devil inflicted on our lives, now we have a legit right to demand  compensation from him. Not only was he stripped of all power to destroy, he had to pay us back 120-fold. Bible says if the thief has been caught, he has to pay back. This is the law of restitution. Now we have become a gainer because of his attacks. We can expect not bad things but good things to come into our lives. We have a righteous foundation for such expectations of good. Jesus paid the price.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

REV MARCUS LAMB'S SERMON

It's affirmative that we have crossed over to a new season. Truly this is great reason to celebrate because it meant that our wilderness season had come to an end. The tough times are over and we are coming into a broad place. A new beginning has already started and I am already seeing signs of it everywhere. 

I am very moved by what Rev Marcus Lamb shared in last Sunday's service. In fact because of this sermon I went back to listen to what he said on 19 Nov 2014, when he last came to our church. He said it was the first time he came to Singapore. We didn't attend his service back then. It was a midweek service. Well I felt that there must be some significance to his second visit here. God is pointing to us about some prophetic timelines. I cannot forget the date because those few days, in fact, that year itself was a tough year for us and our church. About how more members passed on that year than before. 

Like one sister mentioned, some of our pastors might already started facing their giants in 2013. I think so too. Well, as I looked at my own journals I saw that the Lord has been talking about crossing Jordan and facing the giants in Jul 2014. It also hadn't been an easy time for me during Oct/Nov 2013. But I knew I hadn't started facing my giants yet, not until Jul 2014, after I went on my ministry sabbatical. 

So when I heard that Rev Marcus Lamb was coming to preach this year, I was reminded of the last time he came. I asked God what wad the significance of his appearance now and I knew the key would be in the message he preached on Sunday. So I was all ears. At that time I haven't heard Rev Lamb's sermon on 19 Nov 2014 so I didn't catch his prophetic word to Pastor and our church. Just now I did, when I watched the sermon.
  
'If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which flows with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defense is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not.' Numbers 14:8-9 KJV

After this verse, Rev Lamb spoke about these verses for our church.

'Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.' 2 Chronicles 32:7-8 KJV

Here is a transcription of what Rev Lamb said on 19 Nov 2014 -
“I say to you New Creation Church, how much more in this day and hour, should we rest in word of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. It’s time for some of you to quit trying to fighting some of your own battles, quit trying to solve your own problems, quit trying to answer your own questions. But let Jesus rise up big in you and be the captain of your salvation and your mighty conquering king.”

Now what I saw when I read this again, in the light of his recent sermon was this. At that time in Nov 2014, Pastor Prince and our church was probably at the verge of crossing Jordan and we were about to face giants in the land. That prophetic word was meant to encourage Pastor and our church to rest in the Lord. We didn't know what it truly meant back then because Pastor seldom preaches about inheritance, possessing our possessions and facing our giants in previous years. It was on 10 Aug 2014 that I first heard Pastor preach about our inheritance. 

But with the hindsight of time passing, I could see the picture clearer. 2015 was a year of restoration. There was a temporary window of reprieve before the real battle began in 2016. The Lord was already teaching us to rest in the Lord for restoration and even more so when we crossed over to the promised land. Now I take heart that today Rev Lamb's message has progressed to the timeline after Jericho was conquered. To the point where Rahab told the spies to save her family and the red scarlet rope will be the sign. And true enough only her family was spared because of the blood of Jesus.

At the start of 2017, Pastor said we are already in the seventh day of circling Jericho. But I couldn't be sure which round are we at. But after Resurrection Sunday and the Passover Feast, it became clear to me that we have completed the seven rounds. The ram's horn was sounded on Resurrection Sunday and the walls of Jericho came crumbling down in the background. Victory has been wrought! Praise God for we had crossed over to a new season of abundance! 

The other interesting thing was Rev Lamb also preached about Deuteronomy 6:6-8. 'And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as front lets between your eyes.' Now these are the verses which the Lord commanded to teach the Israelites that they may observe them in the land they are crossing over to possess. So that they may fear the Lord and keep His commands that it may be well with them and their children.

So I asked myself at which point would such verses be timely or appropriate…is it during the conquest or after that? In the midst of the conquest of the promised land, the Israelites would be too busy fighting the giants to have the time and energy to teach their children right? But it was after they conquered majority of the land and God gave them rest from their enemies that such verses became more relevant. Now the war was over and they had peace. They entered their inheritance so what was next? The next important thing to do was to tell their children about the Lord and the marvellous works He had done.