Wednesday, July 20, 2011

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Righteousness - A basic foundation for effective prayers and fasting Part 4



In our previous series of teaching on “triplet armor of righteousness, prayer and fasting”, we were able to discuss how righteousness comes, what it offers and what makes one righteous, how we could walk in righteousness, the armor of righteousness, and when righteousness is missing. The central message of this series is the heart issue. Having a right heart for God to come in and commune with us through prayers and studying of the Word.


In the above listed series previously discussed we could see how it is very important for every born again Christian who has not started putting into use his or her righteousness to consider stepping out in faith to start exercising that free gift of God. We could do it by abiding in Christ to live a lifestyle that is in harmony with our Christian values. When we commit ourselves to live a life that expresses the image of Jesus Christ, the life of God will gradually permeate our lives to infuse the strength we need to live a victorious Christian life. But for this God’s kind of life giving strength to come in and remain in us we need a daily healthy relationship with God and others. The book of Hebrews 4:15 reminds us that we are being taken care of “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin”. But we cannot have a high priest unless we identify ourselves with that high priest. It is only through this identification that the high priest could be touched with the feeling of our infirmities so as to help us always out. Note the term infirmities here could mean limitations and weakness.


As I did mention previously that righteousness is a basic foundation for effective prayer and fasting; it becomes clear then that fasting and praying without right living or right standing with God makes our prayers ineffective. No amount of prayer and length of fasting we could observe will move God if we still practice sin. Sins are clogs that stop the life of God flowing through us.


Note, God is not looking for those who are perfect or those who were born with a certain degree of self-discipline but He is looking for those who are willing to commit to the offer they made on the day they accepted Him into their lives. Those offers are, their lives, wills, emotions and their all. They are the spiritual legal permits God needs in order to take the occupancy of our lives. Once we keep these offers submitted to Him then He will take the full control of our life. Note the term taking control of our lives does not denote that He controls our lives like a robot. That is not God; He does not control us in that way. The control in this term is that He takes the full responsibility of our entire needs- spiritual, physical, emotional, social etc. It is through this way that we can effectively fast and pray with greater results.




Remain blessed

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Righteousness - A basic foundation for effective prayers and fasting. Part 3



In part 3 of our study on Righteousness - A basic foundation for effective prayer and fasting, we will discuss the following topics:

 The armor of righteousness

 When righteousness is missing

In our previous discussions, we have discussed that righteousness is a free gift of God which is earned by faith in Jesus Christ. We studied that righteousness is an aspect of salvation or part of what salvation did for us. It is a means by which we are redeemed, justified and set free from our debt to death because of our sin and sinful nature. It is a divine exchange in which our imperfections, sinful nature, sin, poverty, infirmity, and rejection were exchanged with Christ’s perfection, sinless nature, rich, health, and acceptance. It can be likened to a condemned criminal who was condemned and was at the point of execution by death and suddenly, one-second before the execution, a voice was heard: “Let that man go, let me die his death and let him live my life. Have my freedom”. The man was untied from execution and the other man went in his place and was executed. That is exactly what happened at the cross.

Now we are going to see how powerful righteousness is when we are equipped with the knowledge of it and commit ourselves to its instructions to live a life that harmonizes with its principle. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 6:7: “By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left”. Paul likens righteousness as armor, just like in Ephesians 6:14: Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness. Here righteousness refers to as one of the armors of warfare which is used in covering our heart. We are going to see more on this as we discuss “the armor of righteousness”.


The armor of righteousness

I use the term “armor of righteousness” from Ephesians 6:14 in which righteousness is described as one of the weapons of warfare, which verse 11 describes as an armor of God which we could put on. Verses 11-13 explains why we should put on the armor.

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. If you read further, you will find the armors to put on and how they should be put on. But we shall limit our discussion to righteousness as one of the armors. If you read the last statement of verse 14 it says “having on the breastplate of righteousness”, in other words it means to put it on. Another interesting thing about this verse is that there is a specific place it should be put on. Not on the head, hand or leg but on the breast or chest. It describes righteousness as a plate for the breast, known as a breastplate. Breastplate is common attire put on by Roman soldiers. The breastplate covers the body of the Roman soldier from the neck to the thighs. It is normally made of strong material to protect the heart.

Why is Paul requesting that we should put on the breastplate of righteousness although we have received it at spiritual birth? We received it as free gift on the day we gave our lives to Christ. Just as I described on one of our previous topics that it is not enough to receive the righteousness by faith but we have to put it in use by living a lifestyle that is in harmony with it. Paul is conveying the same message - the need for our righteousness to be put into use. Just as we may have a beautiful cloth, as long as we do not put it on, it remains un-used and will never serve the purpose for which we bought it - likewise is our righteousness. Unless we put it into use, we may not enjoy all the resources of blessings God offers through it.


Likewise, as the breastplate protects Roman soldiers, so does righteousness protect us and when attacks come, they should be thrown off by our righteousness. It is interesting to know that God designed the breastplate of righteousness for the heart, against the deadly arrows of the enemy. The Bible tells us to guard our heart with all diligence because our life source flows from it (Proverbs 4:23: Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life). The state of our life, both physically and spiritually, depends on the condition of our heart. As a result, it needs to be guarded.

Our heart is one of the most important parts of our body, both spiritually and physically. Physically, it is the powerhouse of a man. It is a place where blood is pumped to our entire body in order to keep us physically alive. Without it, we are dead. Spiritually, it is the living room where God lives. It is a place where our inward man, who is born again, resides. It is an altar of God, which determines the state of the temple. If God is allowed to be in the altar, the temple will then be holy but if not, it will be un-holy. When we first accepted Christ into our lives, it was our heart that we gave Him to come into and live, not our brain. Jesus Christ is not in our brain because the inward man, our spirit, is in our heart. It is a place of communion with God through prayers and through the time we spend in studying the Word.

Our righteousness is made as armor by putting it on, by activating it and/or by revelation knowledge of the worth of righteousness to us personally and all that it offers! Just as you will not be able to have access to a new bank account without activating it first and then continually put it to use. Similarly, when we fail to put on the breastplate of righteousness and put it into use, our heart will remain unprotected. We will discuss this in the next section “when righteousness is missing”. Please refer to our previous discussion under the section “how we should walk in righteousness” for better understanding on how to put on righteousness. This will clarify the meaning regarding how we should put on our righteousness. Please take note that the righteousness is already ours by reason of accepting Christ into our lives. It needs to be put into use for us to enjoy the abundant blessings it has.


When righteousness is missing

The term “when righteousness is missing” is simply meant when we do not put on the breastplate of righteousness. It may be ours, but it is the same as if it is not there because it remains un-activated and un-used.

When we do not put on the breastplate of righteousness, our heart is exposed to the enemy Satan and brings us into many painful experiences. In addition we will not be able to access so many blessings which are associated with righteousness.


Summary

The armor of righteousness is one of the weapons of our warfare armors which we need to put on for protection of our heart against the wiles of Satan. Again, when we do not put on our righteousness or live life that harmonizes with its principle, we will not be able to access the blessings associated with it.



Remain blessed

Monday, July 4, 2011

Righteousness - A basic foundation for effective prayers and fasting. Part 2



During part 2 of our study on Righteousness - A basic foundation for effective prayer and fasting, we will discuss the following topics.

 Does righteousness mean we must be perfect?

 How do we walk in righteousness?

Does righteousness mean we must be perfect?

Each time the word perfect is mentioned, what readily comes to mind is the keeping of laws, such as: dos and don’ts, sinless living, correctness in every area of life, error free living and so on. It is a fact that God requires that we should be perfect (Matthew 5:48) but it is also a fact that the Bible concretely confirms that no one is perfect. One may not agree, but when the context of many scriptures is applied on that note, it confirms that no one is perfect. For example, Mark 10:18 confirms “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God”. If no one is good, how can anyone then be perfect since perfection is ranked higher than being good in correctness? It is quite clear that if no one is good, then no one is perfect as well, except God. Perfection is an attribute of God.

Can God then contradict Himself by demanding that we shall be perfect, and at the same time says we are not good? Let see what God said in Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it”? Genesis 6:5-6: ―And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth; and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The above scriptures are directed to the nature of the heart of man which disqualifies him for self-perfection.

If we study the account of the atonement work on the cross, we will agree that God does not contradict himself. The perfection He means is that of Christ which is now made ours by reason of justification - purchase of righteousness by His blood. The divine exchange that took place on the cross in which Jesus Christ exchanged our imperfection for his perfection so that we could have a right standing with father God is what makes us perfect. 2 Corinthians 5:21: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”.

Each time father God sees us, He sees Jesus. This is the reason that the only way to attain perfection is by putting on Jesus. He sees us through Jesus Christ. When Jesus says that no one is good except God, we can understand the value of the free gift of righteousness of Christ that qualifies us for perfection. When we understand that, by our own strength, we are not qualified to be rated ―good, which is substandard to perfection, and in spites, we are promoted to perfection which we did not merit, then we can better understand how great His free gift is. No wonder the Bible described the preaching of this message as ―good news. It is indeed good news. This Godly perfection is not earned by work, title, talents, and/or gender, but by faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus makes us perfect when we accept His atonement for our sinful nature (divine exchange). Thus, we are made perfect through Him. God sees us now through Jesus.

Based on the finished work on the cross, we are correct to say that we are perfect and at the same time we are right to say that we are not perfect. How wrong or right we are on this topic depends on the context or basis of the perfection we meant. Is it based on self-effort or the divine exchange on the cross? If the argument is based on the free gift of righteousness, which is accessible by faith, it is right for us to say a born again Christian is perfect because that is the potential which is infused in each born again Christian at the very moment one steps out and receives Christ. In this context, it would also be right to call a 5 month old baby girl a woman. Though all the potentials of a perfect woman is not yet seen in her, however the potential was born with the baby. It is in the DNA of her blood. It is only a matter of time and condition in which the baby is subjected for growth and development. The same thing works for a born again Christian, it is just a matter of time and condition in which a born again Christian is subjected for growth and development of a Christ like character.

On the other hand, if the argument of perfection is based on our effort, then it is correct to say that we are not perfect. Any claim of perfection on personal merit is scripturally incorrect. Otherwise, there would be no reason for Christ to have come and saved man from the debt of death - penalty of sin. The Bible tells us that the righteousness of man is as filthy rags before God. Isaiah 64:6 “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away”. We can be perfect by keeping all the rules of the Old Testament. This would mean that we would keep them all of the time, but this is impossible for sinful humans. The other way is completely different—not by keeping a set of rules, but by faith in Jesus.

The knowledge of the free gift of God’s kind of righteousness will help us in our praying and fasting, as well as assist us to come into the presence of God without guilt of past confessed sins. This knowledge will give us a sense of boldness and confidence in our approach to God regarding our prayer requests.

As I mentioned earlier, after we have exercised our faith in Christ Jesus by repenting and accepting the gift (righteousness), we also need to commit our life to live the lifestyle typical of that gift (righteousness). Living out this lifestyle is what I refer to as walking in righteousness.

How do we walk in righteousness?

Walking in righteousness means living out a life that is in harmony with the image of the lifestyle of God (Jesus Christ), through whom we are born again. Our lives should be expression of Christ in this life, just as Christ is an expression of God the father. 1 John 4:17: “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world”. Just as living things are born and grow into resembling their source of origin, born again Christians should also grow to resemble Christ. The lifestyle of Christ should be our model of life. We can achieve this by abiding in Christ (John 15:1-12) through doing the Word, building an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit as well as spending time in the word of God and prayers.

Paul says the following in Philippians 2:12-16, which relates to walking in righteousness: “

12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”.

13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:

15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain”.

If we read this scripture carefully, we find that Paul was speaking to believers. They had already given their lives to Christ and were followers of Christ, but he still told them to work out their salvation. What salvation is he talking about if they were already saved by accepting Christ in their life? What Paul was really saying is that they should live out the lifestyle that is in harmony with their salvation so that they will experience the things that salvation has made available for them. Note that righteousness (right standing with God) is a part of many things that salvation offers to believers. Though these were believers like us, they already had the salvation released into their lives at the very moment they gave their lives to Christ, but the potentials and promises deposited in their lives, in the realm of the spirit, need to be expressed in the physical world.

Paul did not fail to tell them how to work out their salvation. He mentioned the following:

 Obedience

 Fear and trembling (reverence and regard for God)

 Not to murmur

 Not to live in strife

In verse 15, Paul further mentions the results of obeying the instructions listed above:

 Blameless life

 Harmless

 Becoming sons of God

 Free from rebuking

 Becoming light in the world

In verse 14, Paul reminds them that God is working in them to will and do His pleasures. When we look at the entire context, we find that Paul was explaining to the Christians at Philippians how to live out the life in harmony with their salvation.

Working in righteousness does not mean we are immune from making mistakes or from falling into sin. We often make mistakes or fall in sin, but we must be quick to confess and repent immediately upon noticing any sin. 1 John 2:1: My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: Our goals as born again Christians should be to align our style of living in a way that takes us to perfections in the physical, which is already ours in the realms of the Spirit. The way to pursue it should not be by keeping of the rules but by faith that expresses itself in our work. This means even when we suddenly fall in sin we have to qucikly repent quick and keep going.

Walking in righteousness should be seen as committing one’s life to living out a lifestyle that is in harmony with our righteousness in Christ. Committing our lives to living out the lifestyle of Christ entails an urgency to repentance, a willingness to die to sin not minding the cost, and willing to develop an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Summary

We have seen above that although righteous living means we must be perfect before God but perfection does not mean the type that could be achieved by human effort of keeping of the rules rather by simple faith in God. It is talking about the perfection of Jesus Christ which we inherited by divine exchange on the cross on the day we accepted Him into our lives – our imperfection was exchanged for His perfection. Now God sees us through Jesus Christ. And each time He sees us, He sees the perfection of Jesus Christ in us, as long as we keep connected to Christ by abiding in Him and His Word in us.

Secondly, we can walk in righteousness by abiding in Christ (John 15:1-12) through doing the Word, building an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit as well as spending time in the Word of God and prayers.

Understanding our value to God by reason of the free gift of righteousness will give depth and quality to our prayers and fasting, and that will take us to positions we could experience miracles in things that we are trusting God for. In the upcoming post, I will discuss, among other things, how our faith in God could impact our lives in becoming more and more Christlike thus bringing us physically to a place where our lifestyle expresses Christ.




Remain blessed

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Righteousness - A basic foundation for effective prayer and fasting

In context of our discussions, we will discuss what righteousness is, how righteousness comes, what makes one righteous, and what righteousness offers. We will also look at how and why righteousness could serve as a basic foundation for effective prayer and fasting.

Righteousness defined

I define righteousness as a right standing with God which is secured by the atonement work of Jesus Christ on the cross, sealed by His blood and is obtainable by simple faith in Jesus Christ.

Description of righteousness

Having a right standing with God means that we are no longer blocked by the middle wall of unpaid debt of our sin, which was death. Jesus has paid the debt by His personal life and has taken away the barrier so that we could come into the presence of God at any time. The void that was created as a result of the enemy of sin was replaced by Jesus Christ in the person of the Holy Spirit. Right standing with God can be translated as having peace with God or being reconciled to God. That reconciliation was made possible by the costly price of the sinless blood of Christ.

Price for the purchase of righteousness

Glory to God that Jesus was willing to pay the price when there was no one who qualified to do so. He was the only one who had the power to give His life and pick it up again. No angels or elders in heaven would have. In addition, the price required sinless blood atonement. Even the blood of blameless animals used in the Old Testament for sacrifices against sin could notdeal effectively with the conscience of man by giving him a new life; it therefore required a better blood sacrifice, which that of Christ qualified.

In the course of the painful journey of purchasing righteousness or redemption, He (Jesus) paid the price for many things for mankind, which includes healing by His stripes, acceptance by His rejections, peace and joy by His crushed life and acquaintance with sorrow (Isaiah 53:2-5). The culmination of the whole debt was paid by His death. Immediately upon givingup His ghost, the curtain of the temple in Jerusalem physically tore open, which symbolized an access to God in the form of right standing with God. No longer could only ordained priests go into the holy of holies in the temple of God, but everyone had access, who by faith received that free gift of righteousness in Jesus Christ.

Righteousness should be lived out

When this was completed, man was redeemed and justified and was set free to go and sin no more. The book of Romans 5:12-18 puts it this way:

12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.

17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life”.

If we read the above verses closely, we will find that the righteousness is a free gift of God, by which we are justified from the debt of the inherited sin from the first man, Adam. Potentially we are redeemed and justified, but it does not end there. There is lifestyle typical for the right standing with God. That lifestyle can only be achieved by abiding in Christ (John 15:1- 8). When God speaks of arming ourselves with His armors in Ephesians 6:14, He makes reference that our heart should be protected by a covering plate of righteousness. When we think in that context as well as in the context of John 15:7; we shall know that it refers to the fact that our heart must be made available for Christ to live in. This will enable us be in union with our intercessory partner, the Holy Spirit. When we suppressed our flesh more by fasting, we can experience a deeper union in prayer and the result will be an effectual prayer.

How does righteousness come?

Based on the above scripture, we can see that righteousness, which is a free gift of God, comes from Christ and is earned by man through faith:

17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life”.

What makes one righteous?

We are made righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ, which is the payment for the purchase of our righteousness. We gain access to that free gift by faith in Christ Jesus. We exercise that faith in Christ Jesus by repenting, accepting the gift and committing our life to live the lifestyle typical of that gift (righteousness).

What does righteousness offer?

Righteousness offers us many things when we are committed to abide in Christ Jesus, which is the only means of living the lifestyle required of those who received that precious gift by faith. One of the major things it offers us is a right standing with God. This right standing with God gives us access to God’s resources like boldness, peace, quietness, assurance of salvation, joy etc. It is possible to repent, accept the righteousness of God and refuse to commit our life in living out the lifestyle that is required of us. In this case, we cannot experience the full blessings that this free gift offers us. This is why we see many born again Christians that are flung here and there, harassed by Satan.

Why should righteousness serve as a basic foundation for effective prayers and fasting?

As discussed, righteousness stands for a right standing with God; and this means unhindered access to God. If our access to God is blocked by sin, which is the only barrier that could block our access, then we cannot commune with Him. This convinces us that if we want to commune in prayer effectively, we have to renounce any known sin. If we are convicted by the Holy Spirit in any sin, we should not pretend they are not there, give excuses, and/or play a smart game with Him. It is very important that we are quick to repent. This will enable Him to flow through the channel of our lives, which will bring us into a victorious life. His involvement in our lives will give our prayers depth, dimension and value in functioning effectively to bring results that will put smiles on our faces. In addition, His union with us will help guide us in our fasting.

Strength in fasting and directions on how long we fast are part of the benefits to enjoy when we ensure that there is no un-confessed sin remained in our lives. Let us do all within the strength God has given us to ensure there is nothing blocking our relationship with Him, especially in this season of fasting and prayers.

If you use to talk too much, put your hand in your mouth during this season. If we often tell others how such and such a person has treated us bad, I advise to put that aside and replace the time with reading our Bibles and in prayer. Maybe the enemy has robbed us of much time by flooding our thoughts with self-pity? This is the time to begin studying and reading the word of God as we never have in the past and listen to His inspiring messages. Let them go through the eyes, ears and mind, into our hearts. Then get these inspiriting messages from deep within the belly and confess them more often. It will not take long for our mind and thoughts to be flooded with the word of life, which will give value and victory to our lives.

Summary

Understanding the value of God’s free gift (righteousness), accepting it, and committing our lives to its lifestyle will position us to experience an effective prayer and fasting life. Thus, we will enjoy a victorious Christian life.

In our next post, we will discuss the following topics:

 Does righteousness mean we must be perfect?

 How do we walk in righteousness?

 The armor of righteousness.

 When righteousness is missing.


*****TO BE CONTINUED*****

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Back Pocket Band – New Software Tool For Musicians




Ladies and gentlemen, Jermaine Griggs (founder of HearandPlay) has done it again!! He has just released a new software that is guaranteed to take your practicing to a whole new level!

What if you could turn your computer into a complete practicing machine?

What if you could pull a real-sounding band out your “back pocket?” (…so to speak).

Sounds crazy but with the power of technology, I’m going to show you how to finally make practicing fun, productive, and effective.


Here’s what it does:

* It gives you access to over 350 real-sounding backing tracks.

* Practice and live performance files are played in all 12 keys.

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Friday, July 1, 2011

Triplet Armor of Righteousness, Prayer and Fasting


There is unimaginable dynamite which is released by the combined triplet armor of righteousness, prayer and fasting. When one is in right standing (righteous) with God and prayer is combined with fasting, it is capable of doing more than we can imagine. When we have the right standing with God, combined with prayer and fasting, lives are saved, Satan is put to flight and the authority of Jesus Christ is released to enforce the will of God on earth. In addition, Christians are better positioned to reign in life and manifest the glory of God on earth. That is one of the reasons brother James says in James 5:16b: “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much”.

Righteousness, which is right standing with God, prepares one’s heart and mind to be in unity for partnership with God in prayer. Fasting subdues the flesh, thus bringing down the barriers established by wars between spirit and flesh. As a result, an atmosphere of peace, love and unity are built between each other. Under this atmosphere of unity and peace, the spirit of man, which is born again, can now effectively commune with God in the person of the Holy Spirit.

Under this partnership, established under the foundation of righteousness and deepened by fasting and the covenant that was already established at spiritual birth, the inner man is renewed. It is made more effective to bring one into intimate fellowship with God. Under the umbrella of this intimate fellowship, effective prayer in partnership with God is carried out.

We will discuss in the upcoming series of teachings how right standing with God, combined with fasting, can make our prayer more effective. We will see, in detail, each piece of the triplet armor and how they depend on one another for the very purpose of enforcing the will of God on earth and on our behalf.

Within the first topic of righteousness, which is right standing with God, we will discuss how righteousness comes, what it offers and what makes one righteous. Other important topics we will discuss are: walking in righteousness (how we can walk and how we can be effective in our walk in righteousness), the armor of righteousness, and when righteousness is missing.

Next, during the discussions of prayer, we are going to discuss what prayer is, how to pray, when we should pray, why we should pray, and the enemies of an effective prayer. We will also discuss how we can deepen and bring more effectiveness to our prayers, as well as what happens when we do not pray.

Lastly we are going to discuss fasting. In this discussion, we will talk about my personal experience with fasting, benefits of fasting, types of fasting, when to fast, how fasting can be abused, what is biblical recommended fasting, and tips for effective fasting.

As mentioned, we will start with “righteousness” as the basic foundation that will enable God to partner with us as we pray and fast for effective results.


*****TO BE CONTINUED*****

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Seeking God's hand vs Seeking God's face!


Have you ever been around a person who is always asking you for something? If this get's on your nerves, can you image how God must feel when we are constantly asking him for miracles and blessings? It's time to get to a place in God where we are no longer seeking his hand but seeking his face. I must warn you though, seeking God's face isn't as easy as it sounds. In this post we are going to look at the difference between seeking God's hand and seeking his face.

Seeking God's hand
Seeking God's hand means to constantly ask God for houses, cars, land, and other physical things without caring about spiritual things. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with wanting those things but those THINGS can not become more important to you than spiritual things. Matthew 6:32-33 (KJV) says: (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Your spiritual maturity isn't shown by how many times you shout and speak in tongues, but by what you seek God for. Christians who are mature will ask God, what can I do for you and not God what are you going to do for me.

We have to realize that God wants to bless us! There's nothing a good father wouldn't give his child. He wants to give his children the best! 3 John 1:2 says: Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. The problem is when a person cares or wants more of the blessing and not the blessor (the one who blesses). As we grow and mature in God, our blessings will automatically grow and overtake us. Joshua 1:8 says: This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Seeking God's face!
Seeking God's face means to seek God for who he is. 1 Chronicles 16:11 says: Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually. A person who seeks God's face has grown enough in God to understand that God will provide the physical things if we seek him for spiritual things. One of my favorite songs is called "Because of who you are" by Martha Munizzi. That song truly demonstrates what it means to seek God's face. Some of my favorite lyrics to this songs says...Because of who you are, I give you glory. Because of who you are, I give you praise. Because of who you are, I will lift my hands and say, Lord I worship you..because of who you are. Spiritually mature Christians don't care whether God blesses them, they just want to bless God for who He is.

Psalm 27:8 says When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. The Bible teaches us that no one can look upon the face of God and live. The fullness of God’s glory is so great that nothing created can contain it; the measure of God’s majesty is so incredible that no human words can describe it; the perfection of God’s holiness is so hallowed that none dare approach it. Why then does God encourage David to seek His face? In Numbers 6, the LORD gave to Aaron and his sons a blessing to pronounce upon the people. Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV) says: “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

Whereas no man may look upon the glory God’s face and live, the graciousness of God’s face looks upon us. It is the graciousness of God’s face that we must seek. Seeking the graciousness of God’s face involves seeking at least three things.

1. It involves seeking God’s presence.
“One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.” (vs. 4)
The temple David sought was much more than the tabernacle at Jerusalem. To dwell in the house of the LORD meant that he would seek to live with constant recognition of the presence of God in his life. David’s mind would ever be on the LORD; therefore the LORD’S face would ever be before David.

2. Seeking the graciousness of God’s face also means seeking God’s praise.
“And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.” (vs. 6)

3. Lastly we see that seeking the graciousness of God’s face means seeking His pathway.
“Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.” (vs. 11)
One day when we are in heaven, we will be able to look upon the face of God and worship Him in all the fullness of His glory. But until that day arrives, we are blessed to have the graciousness of God’s face look upon us.
“When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee,
Thy face, LORD, will I seek.”
“Oh Lord, bless us and keep us;
LORD make thy face shine upon us and be gracious to us;
LORD turn thy face toward us and give us peace.”





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