Fireside

NEARER TO THE WORD

Late Professor H. Enoch, the Head of the Department of Zoology, Madras Christian College, and at one time President of the Union of Evangelical Students of India (UESI), had a pet saying, “Nearer to the word of God we are, the safer we are.” Personally I believe this is loaded with sound wisdom. Our spiritual safety and security lies in our being nearer to the word of God, always and in everything.

Sadly, some have drifted, and are drifting away, from this sound advice. There are some-

1. Who are blindly running after signs, wonders and miracles.

They are doing so without realizing that there are false signs and wonders (2Thessalonians 2:9). Even the magicians in the court of Pharaoh performed wonders by their secret arts (Exodus 7:22; 8:7). But their power was limited. They could not produce gnats and confessed that this was the finger of God (Exodus 8:18,19). Even Simon the magician claimed to be somebody great and impressed people by his magical powers (Acts 8:9-11). Our Lord will refuse to acknowledge those who prophesy in his name, cast out demons in his name and do many mighty works in his name, because they are workers of lawlessness (Matthew 7:22,23).

2. Who are running after so-called Apostles and Prophets.

They are doing so without realizing that there are false Apostles and false Prophets as there are false teachers and false christs (2Corinthians 11:13; 2Peter 2:1; 1John 4:1; Matthew 7:15; 24:11,124). Their writings cannot be included in the Scriptures as the Scripture is complete. Christians are built on the foundations of the New Testament apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20). Now there are no more apostles and prophets. We have the gift of prophecy but no more prophets. We have the missionaries (the sent ones) but no more apostles.

3. They are seeking fresh revelation, dreams and visions.

They are doing so without realizing that our fresh revelation, dreams and visions can be the products of our mind, and a delusion and an illusion of our deceitful heart (Jeremiah 14:14; 23:26; 17:9). And, these are subject to Scripture scrutiny. There are those who claim to have visited heaven and hell, seen Abraham, spoken to the three divine Persons of the Triune God and met patriarchs and apostles, etc. Well, they alone can authenticate/vouchsafe their claims. There are no objective facts to check the reality of their claims. And, do we need their testimony to believe that there are truly heaven and hell, Triune God, Patriarchs and Apostles?

Apostle Paul saw vision fourteen years ago. He never disclosed what he saw and heard for obvious reasons (2Corinthians 12:2-4). On the other hand, if we see a ‘vision’ last night, we proclaim it to the world the next morning. In 1Peter 1:8 the believers had not seen Lord Jesus, yet they loved him, believed in him and rejoiced greatly.

4. Who are seeking after the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

They are doing so without realizing that the believers are already anointed (1John 2:20,27). What they need for the anointing to be effective is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. That comes – a. As we saturate ourselves with the word of God; b. As we saturate ourselves with prayer; and, c. As we saturate ourselves with obedience. The more we are filled with the word, the more we are filled with prayer, the more we are filled with obedience, the more we are filled with the Holy Spirit. And, more the anointing will be powerful in us.

5. Who are ‘tarrying’ before the Lord (Luke 24:49) for the Baptism with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues.

They are doing so without realising that all believers are already baptised at the time of their conversion (1Corinthians 12:13). There are seven references to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The first five are prophetical (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5). They look forward. The sixth one is historical (Acts 11:16). It looks backward. The seventh is theological (1Corinthians 12:13). It gives meaning to the phrase. The baptism with the Holy Spirit is immersing a person in the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit.

And, as for the speaking in tongues, we must understand that speaking in tongues is only one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit which he distributes as per his will (1Corinthians 12:11). All do not speak in tongues (1Corinthians 12:30). We must beware of bringing ourselves in physical, emotional, mental and spiritual frenzy in order to speak in tongues.

Let’s always remember, nearer to the word of God we are, the safer we are. Let’s not go by other people’s experiences, prophecies, dreams and visions. Let’s always ask, “What does Scripture say” (Romans 4:3; Galatians 4:30)?

By Richard Masih

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WEEKEND THOUGHTS

Our Christian life must be governed by divine counsel. We read in God’s word …”Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel and afterward receive me to glory. I will bless the Lord , who hath given me counsel. The counsel of the Lord standeth forever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations. It is settled in heaven, but given us in His word. It is eternal. So is immutable, ever existing and it will stand forever. The entrance of it gives light in a world of darkness and is able to keep us safe from the constant attack of the adversary. Therefore, hear ye the counsel of the Lord. He that hears the counsel is wise. Hear counsel and receive instruction, that thou may be wise in thy later end. Where there is no counsel, people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety. Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out and apply practically. Thou in Thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: Thou hast guided them in Thy strength unto Thy holy habitation… Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of Thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for Thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which Thy hands have established.

Have a blessed Lord’s day.

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God is in Control

God is in Control. You may not see it today or tomorrow, but you will look back in a few years and be absolutely perplexed and awed by how every little thing added up and brought you somewhere wonderful – or where you’ve always wanted to be. You will be grateful to God that things didn’t work out the way you once wanted.

It’s like seeing a beautiful garment from a distance of 1 inch. We will see (if at all) a myriad of senseless interconnection of threads of various colors and then question the intelligence and aesthetics of the designer and mutter “This is a total waste, doesn’t make sense”, but in the eyes of the Grand Weaver, the threads of our lives are in perfect sync, harmony and beauty. In the eternal pastures, as we sit with our Father, we will look and be awed that even when we were in our most hopeless situations, it was a part of a Grand Design.

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The Witness

An interesting insight into what may have been…

By Danny Hotea

As was my custom, I rose early that day to pay homage to the gods by prayers and burnt offerings. To which I vowed my obedience on that fateful morning, I cannot now remember. There were so many. Leaving the place of worship, I endeavored to sit quietly and read the creeds of Rome as written by the emperor himself. It was my duty not only as a centurion, but as a Roman citizen, to understand the purpose of almighty Caesar and Rome. However, just as I began pouring over the open scroll, a nameless messenger came panting with word from Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea, ordering my garrison to his palace immediately. I arrived with three hundred men as if by flight. The sun had hardly risen, and the air held an unseen weight, as if to distinguish this day from all others. The men, all clad in leather and metal with swords swaying from their belts and spears stabbing at the sky in protest of their unusually early arousal, wobbled restlessly in rigid formation, awaiting my command. The sound of spiked sandals scraping he stone palace floor echoed down the long, stone hallway adding tension to mystery. They undoubtedly supposed that I knew the reason for it all. But I didn’t—until another messenger came with another scroll describing our purpose exactly. Jerusalem was a place known for its concentrated reserve of mindless zealots. And I had experience in stamping out the feeble efforts of disorderly vagrants and disorganized militias meant to unshackle the Jews from Rome’s iron grip. One in particular came to mind as I read the final sentence of that day’s orders. It was the most recent and pathetic uprising. A small army of poorly armed religious rebels managed to assassinate an insignificant gatekeeper in the governor’s palace. The idea that a handful of superstitious peasants could overthrow Rome was ridiculous and, if it weren’t so sad, it would be laughable. Their leader had been a thin, sweaty man with hardly any beard, balding head and shifting eyes.  A Jew.  A brainless dreamer suffering from resentment. His name was Barabbas. He was hardly a match for Rome. I caught him in the streets attempting to hide beneath a vendor’s blankets after his pitiful militia had been butchered and left for the dogs. I was his judge and jury. And since only Romans have the right to a trial, I stuffed him in a smaller-than- sual cell after the garrison had their day’s exercise of beating him with rods and slapping him with gloved fists. That day had another experience for me altogether. As we pushed our way into the Praetorium hauling the scourged offender to the platform, where another Man stood, the mob sang out in a chorus of hatred, “Crucify Him!” The governor addressed the riotous masses with careful words, offering them a choice between the bloodied and uncondemned Man now occupying the platform with him, or the pathetic zealot, Barabbas, who had failed an attempt to destroy Rome. Immediately they sent out blood-curdling screams consenting to he murder of the One and the release of the other. It was apparent, by their screams, that this Man had not offended Rome. He had offended the Jews. A messenger interrupted the procedure, which was doubtlessly an urgent matter, after which I was signalled to bring Him into the governor’s inner court. The conversation that took place proved this Man’s character. He spoke only when questioned and claimed that the governor’s authority was given to him by the Offender’s Father, which made little sense to me at the time. When He said He was a King, I wondered whether Barabbas, the sweaty zealot, had similar thoughts. But, all in all, this Man had authority incomparable to any I had seen before. This fact was startling considering I had seen the Caesar and all his delegates more often than Pontius himself. What seemed like moments later, my garrison had elbowed their way through the riotous crowds to the place of execution, hauling two offenders of Rome and One offender of the Jews.

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Weekend Thoughts

The Presence of the Living God. Fear ye not me?  saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence? Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.Cain went out from the presence of the LORD. Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you. Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord.

Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Thou wilt shew me the path of life. I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. — Our Saviour Jesus Christ … hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

The way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing. — He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us. The veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. The way into the holiest of Holy is opened for us to have access into the awesome presence of the true living God.  new and living way…Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.

And he was afraid, and said, how dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

And Jacob rose up early in the morning…. by faith Jacob worshiped the Lord. The times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us come together as an assembly to offer unto Him spiritual sacrifice on the ground of His sacrifice which He offered once for all on Calvary ‘s  Mercy Seat. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. In thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Amen.

Every blessing for the weekend.

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What is bitterness?

Bitterness is a spirit that disturbs many believers besides being a sin. Bitterness is a mixture of disappointment, anger, and fear. Remember, anger graduates to bitterness if you don’t deal with it accordingly. By forgiving and letting go

In fact, Ephesians 4:26 states that, “In your anger do not sin.” “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” As believers, we must bear in mind that anger has a timeline; your anger shouldn’t exceed 12 hours.

Furthermore, bitterness makes you bitter instead of better and eventually leads to unforgiveness. What most of us are unaware of is that bitterness blocks the breakthrough to our destiny. Before you allow bitterness to control you, here’s what you need to keep in mind.

  • Bitterness is sin
  • When you deliberately fail to talk to someone you have no part in God’s kingdom
  • Bitterness is unforgiveness fermented
  • The more you hold on to past hurts, the more you become “drunk” on your pain
  • The devil uses anger to attack many
  • God can’t draw near a bitter person
  • To overcome bitterness, you must: forgive, stop dwelling there, and stop retelling
  • Bitterness blocks your physical and spiritual life; you’ll stagnate physically and spiritually. It’s no wonder many are worsening spiritually and physically
  • When you’re bitter, you can’t have breakthrough even in prayer
  • Bitterness creates space for the enemy
  • Bitterness is satan’s altar in your life-an altar is a point of contact. Therefore, when you’re about to rise financially, the enemy stands against you
  • This sin entangles easily similar to sins like lies and gossip
  • When you allow bitterness to take root in your life, you won’t succeed at any time because you’re limited
  • Bitterness is what’s “eating” many up
  • Bitterness holds you back
  • It’s like an acid that destroys its container; whatever you try fails
  • A bitter person holds grudges

The Results of Bitterness

No peace

  1. Discouragement
  2. It causes anger
  3. Its causes hatred
  4. It makes you spiritually cold
  5. You want to see others suffer
  6. You engage in ungodly things
  7. Bitterness damages friendships; families
  8. It hinders your relationship with God
  9. It opens the door to the enemy so he can afflict you
  10. It can cause physical and mental illness
  11. It makes you go against God’s Word
  12. You fall short of God’s glory
  13. Before God you’re unholy when you’re bitter; before men, you lack peace

Have you allowed bitterness to dominate your life? Learn to forgive. Live holy!

Heb 12:14-15 bitter person is unholy and defile others….

God bless you

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