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“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4

So what is your perspective of God? How do you see Him? The way you see Him can be a key factor for your relationship with God! Let’s read on and see what Paul, one of the foremost apostles and one who understood the heart of God has to say. It is difficult to analyze this verse fully by itself (without the context) but the essence of the truth that Paul is trying to convey is very well captured in that one phrase: ‘…the goodness of God leads you to repentance’.

Paul outlines three characteristics of God in this scripture: His Goodness, His Forbearance and His Longsuffering. These three characteristics sets the foundation and basis for repentance and acceptance with God!  Let’s look at each of these characteristics a little closely:

  • Goodness “chrestotes” means gentleness, kindness, integrity, moral excellence.
  • The forbearance “anoche” means tolerant and self-restraint. It is a quality of someone to be patient and to be able to deal with a difficult person or situation without becoming angry.
  • Longsuffering “makrothumia” means patience, endurance, slowness in avenging wrongs, a disposition to bear injuries patiently. Ability to refrain from the enforcement of something (debt or obligation) that is due.

The attitude and frame of mind in which God deals with people is in the richness of his goodness, forbearance and longsuffering. His goodness, forbearance and longsuffering towards us is in abundance, in fullness and in plentitude. It is not something that is there today and gone tomorrow but his goodness towards us is forever more.

The only place we can see this kind of richness in goodness, forbearance and longsuffering to some extent is in parenting. A father or a mother deal with their young children with tender love and in the abundance of goodness, forbearance and longsuffering. Parenting was God’s way of showing mankind how much he loves us and cares for us!

Do you feel good, when you are good and forbearing with someone? Yes, you do. God has put that nature in you. He has put the want to be good, forbearing and longsuffering in you! When you judge someone, you don’t see God as their father.

The goodness of God leads you to repentance. The whole purpose and plan around His goodness is to lead you back to Him! An underlying principle is that when you are good to a person – that will turn that person around – it may take some time but in due time it will happen!

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Luke 22:3 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.

Luke 22:4 And he went his way,…

What happens when Satan enters a person or a person accepts Satan’s ideas?

The first thing that happened to Judas when he allowed Satan into him was, to choose his way. Like records that he went his way. 

Meaning, he departed from the way that the Lord had laid for him and he went his own way. There is a lot of truth here. A person, who allows or entertains Satan’s ideas, will not enter into sin directly. They will start off with their own ways.

They will depart from “the way”.

What is “the way”?

Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life”.

The way is Jesus. The path we need to follow as disciples is the way he shows us.

Departing from ‘the way’ blinds you.

Luke 22:6 And he (Judas) promised, and sought opportunity to betray him (Jesus) unto them in the absence of the multitude.

 

This was obviously treason. Anybody would have recognized that this was absolutely the wrong thing to do. Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, was planning to betray Jesus into the hands of the priests and scribes, and Judas knew they sought to kill Jesus. Yet we see that Judas is undeterred and determined and he sought a way to betray the Lord.

What happened here? Judas was blinded. Deception blinds you. When Satan enters a person, the first thing he does is to deceive the person, so that he or she does not see the truth. Their perception is skewed and they are no longer able to see things in the right way. It may be obvious to everyone else, but they will not ‘see’ it.

Condemned!

Judas realized his mistake (his betrayal) only after the Lord was crucified.

Mat 27:3  Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,

Mat 27:4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood

Judas did not realize the implications of his actions till he saw what the result of his actions was: The chief priests took counsel against Jesus to put Him to death. That is when Judas realized what he had done. A deceived person will not realize his mistakes till he sees the impact of his decisions on others or himself. But unfortunately by that time it is too late. He realized that he was condemned for what he had done. He could have repented and the Lord would have forgiven him, but that is a different story.

What I want to highlight is the path of deception: You do not realize what you are doing till the adverse effects or fruits of it start appearing, and by then it is too late…

What is the solution?

1.    Take heed unto yourself… be accountable to yourself and to God

Luk_21:34, Luk_17:3,

1Ti 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine

You constantly need to take heed to yourself. Call it a self assessment. I recommend at least two times a year, ever six months, go before the Lord and account yourself unto HIM for your progress and growth. This is an exercise every Christian should follow.

A minister needs to be accountable not only for himself, but for his doctrine also. He needs to examine his teaching constantly to make sure that he is continuing in the doctrine that was once delivered to the apostles and that he is rooted and founded in Christ.

Another thing is that every Christian should live with the knowledge that he or she has to give an account to God for everything he or she does. This is a sobering thought, but true. We are accountable to God for EVERYTHING we do and say. Let’s look at what the scriptures have to say about this:

Mat 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

Mat 12:37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

 

2.    Be accountable to one another

Pro 19:20 Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.

          The second level of accountability is to be accountable to your brethren and your leaders or mentors, those who oversee your soul. Why?

A person who is deceived will not be able to see it. But if he or she has counselors (mentors) over his life, to whom he/she is accountable to, they will be able to see what is happening to that person. Why?

Heb 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

          They that oversee your should have to give account of you to the Lord!

So they will be directed by the Lord concerning you, if you are willing to listen!!!

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Act 9:4  And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

One word from God can change your life!

One of the things that amazes me of this account of the visitation of Jesus with Saul is the revelation of the Grace of the Lord Jesus. In this account we see a persecutor of the church, who was responsible for the death of many saints, especially Stephen, one of the greatest early saints.  Yet, when the Lord visits Saul on the road to Damascus, all that He says is :

            “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?”

That one word, from the Lord, completely breaks this man.  Saul the Persecutor becomes Paul the apostle!

If you notice, there is no condemnation, no judgment, no anger, and no sting of revenge in his voice. Just a soft question that pierces a heart of stone!

This is a true revelation of the heart of God and  His son Jesus, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). Religion has depicted God as an angry God ready to bring condemnation and judgment on the unrighteous, but the scripture shows a God who is passionate about people getting saved and walking right with HIM.

That is God’s heart for you, that you should come to the knowledge of saving grace of Jesus Christ. He is the answer to all your questions! He is the one that can change your life – even today. Your past does not matter. He can and He will change everything in your life, if you will just let Him into your heart today as Saul did on that road to Damascus two thousand years ago!

Like this post? Feel free to leave your comments! 🙂

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Psalms 27:11 “Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of my enemies.”

One of the foundational truths about godliness and Christianity as seen in the early church and the patriarchs is their yieldedness to divine leadership. In my opinion it is the single factor that determines success (for a godly man) in the sight of God. Divine leadership unfortunately is placed lowest in priority sometimes way below ones emotional and social needs, etc.

Do you choose HIS leadership only in some areas or difficult decisions OR do you want to make it your lifestyle?

What does the bible teach us about divine leadership? Let’s learn!

The Leadership of the Spirit

1.       Jesus depended totally upon the Holy Spirit’s leading:

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.” Luke 4:1-2

Right after receiving the fullness of the Spirit, Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit. And for forty days he was tempted by the devil. During this time he had to depend on the leadership of the Spirit to overcome every temptation.

2.      Baptism of the Holy Spirit:

So why is the baptism of the Holy Spirit given? So that we can yield to the leadership of the Spirit and with that yeildedness comes power. When you say, “I want to be filled with the Holy Spirit, you are essentially saying, “I want to establish the Spirit’s leading in my life”.

3.      Being led requires knowing His ways:

 

Teach me Your way, O LORD, And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.” Ps. 27:11

David was constantly asking the Lord for His leadership. Twelve years of running away from Saul and living in the wilderness, David learned the importance of God’s leading. He also learned to know and understand the Lord’s ways. Not only to be led but know His ways. To know HIS way is to know what the Spirit will require you to do in a particular situation. God wants us to be not only led but KNOW HIS WAYS so that we do it proactively.

4.      Sonship is given to only those who are led:

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Rom 8:14

“But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” Gal. 5:18

Only those yield themselves to the leading of the Holy Spirit can be called as the sons of God. Those who obey the guidance of the Spirit are no more under the law or bondage.

5.      Learn the ways of the Spirit:

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

Jesus was teaching that you can learn the ways of the Spirit and as a born-again person – you are supposed to!

6.      The Spirit should remain upon your life:

“I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” John 1:33

This is another key to walking with God. There are many today who become anointed at some point in their life, but for whatever reason, that anointing does not remain upon them. They do not know how to ‘KEEP’ the anointing. The key to walking with God is , as the scripture points here is to have the Spirit descend and ‘remain’ on you. This calls for a daily, accountable intimate walk, in fact a lifestyle of walking in communion with God.

 

Keynotes on Divine Leadership:

  •  One of the first things He does – He sets up His leadership
  • Everything depends upon your yielding to that leadership
  • Where does the leadership take you? To be like Him in character and power.
  •  Two key aspects to His leadership are learning His ways (Ps. 27:11) and yielding to His guidance and direction (Lu. 4:1-2).
  • Know that you are not called a son till you are walking in His leadership
  • God’s plans for you can only be known if you walk in His leading.
  • Not only should you be baptized by the Spirit but also the Spirit should remain upon your life.

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TUESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2011

The Feats of Wisdom….

Wisdom, the most precious of all treasures, desired and sought after by all men in all ages, has its remarkable exploits. In the bible, the book of proverbs, chapter 9 talks about the feats wisdom have accomplished. Wisdom cries out constantly, “Forsake the foolish ways and live and go in the ways of understanding” Pr. 9:6.

The word “foolish” means silly, simple, helpless, weak, exhibiting lack of common sense or sound judgment, being stunned or dazed. The word simple can further be explained as humble, innocent, ignorant, not culturally sophisticated. On the other hand “understanding” means knowledge, meaning, and wisdom.

The bible tells us to forsake the simple way (humble way, weak way, innocent way, unsophisticated way) and go into the way of the knowledge, meaning and wisdom. Take any matter, do not remain simple & ignorant about it but be sophisticated (gain understanding, gain knowledge about it). Wisdom’s way is to gain understanding. Once you gain understanding wisdom will come in that matter.  “A foolish woman (any foolish person) is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.” Pr. 9:13.  If you want to operate in wisdom (operate in knowledge) forsake foolishness or ignorance.

The first few scriptures of Proverbs 9 show us that wisdom is established and wisdom offers a call to gain it. The only way you begin to gain wisdom and walk in understanding is to get to know the Lord and fear (revere) the Lord.

Key Notes on Wisdom:

  1. Forsake folly (simplicity, weakness, being unsophisticated). Become detail oriented, sophisticated, gain understanding, proceed in the way of understanding)
  2. Do not correct a scoffer (Do not reprove a wicked man)
  3. Give instruction and offer correction to a wise man
  4. Fear (Revere) the Lord
  5. Get to know Him (Knowledge of the Holy one)

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“…and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I show the salvation of God” Ps. 50:23.

God is asking His people to “order” their conversation and to order it “ARIGHT”. The word order in the original Greek is “soom or seem” which means appoint, ordain, rehearse, work.

  1. These are the works of evil (what an evil man does with his mouth):
    1. They hate instruction(The Lord’s instruction)
    2. They cast the instruction of the Lord behind
    3. They speak against their own brother
    4. They slander about their brother
    5. They consents with an evil person
    6. They partake with adulterers
    7. They give their mouth to evil
    8. Their tongue frame deceit
  2. We are to order our conversation. Order means to dispose (arrange, set in readiness, arrange in an orderly way). Our conversation should e ordered, disposed, rehearsed. Why should it be ordered or rehearsed? So that it is right, whatever comes out of our mouth is the right conversation.
  3. God is telling the wicked: Let there be a change in your attitude. Do not hate the Lord’s instruction but love it!! Go into God’s presence seeking instruction. The purpose of your quiet time and time with God should be to receive instruction(chastisement if necessary, discipline, correction, …doctrine)
  4. When an instruction comes to you from the Lord assimilate it, actuate it and let it become part of your life!

Few things to stir away from:

v  Do not consent (be pleased with, accept, approve) with an evil person.

v   Do not partake with adulterers.

The dictionary meaning of partake:

  • Do not have any portion with
  • Have anything to do with
  • To take part in/with
  • To have portion of/fellowship with

The writer of proverbs is clearly telling us (under the direction of the Holy Spirit) not to have fellowship/communion with adulterers.

v  Do not allow your mouth to speak evil (give your mouth to evil)

v  Do not frame any fraud or deceit or guile with your mouth

v  Do not speak against your brother

v  Do not slander your brother

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Psalm 39

Psalm 39 gives a deep insight into the struggle David has a king, controlling his tongue. Let’s take a look at some of the key verses on this psalm :

Psalm 39:1  To the chief Musician, even to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David. I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.

David is making a decision here unto himself, that he will not sin with his tongue. His approach to not sin with the tongue is to bridle it. He says that he will take heed to his ways , which means that he will pay close attention to the path he will walk in.

Key words

  • His ways – The word ‘way’ is translated in the greek as ‘derek’ . It means ‘a course of life or mode of action’. It could also mean journey.
  • Take heed – The work ‘take heed’ is translated as ‘shamar’. Shamar means to hedge, protect ,attend to.

So David is saying that while the wicked are before him  he will [‘guard’, hedge] his mouth while the wicked are before him. David probably understood what Jesus said centuries later in  Mat 15:18  But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

David understood that every time he said something that was not according to god’s will or God’s revealed will, he was sinning. I am sure he would have felt that ‘sense of defilement’ every time he said something of that nature.

The emotion connection

It is a good decision to guard your mouth, but is it enough? Lets read on to see what followed:

Psa 39:2  I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; And my sorrow was stirred.

True to his word, he keeps silence. He is in his own words dumb [tongue tied]. I am sure that after he made this decision , several opportunities showed up at his door requiring that he participate and participate actively. But David says that he was silent in all these situations. He even withheld himself when speaking when it was good.

When the wicked was there, he, David held his peace (withheld himself from speaking) even when it was good. Why? This is a great key. We may think that speaking what is good is a good thing. Not always. Sometimes we just need to keep silent. A perfect example is the Lord Jesus Christ himself. When he was accused and genuinely asked, he remained silent ( Mark 15:1-5). He only spoke to answer one question of Pilate : Art thou the King of the Jews?

But, we also notice something happening within David which he explicitly calls out:

Ps 39:2 … and my sorrow was stirred.

It is true that David kept silent, but deep within his heart,  his emotions were boiling. His sorrow [grief, pain, sorrow] was stirred.

Let’s read on….

Psa 39:3  My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue.

David didn’t keep silent. He spoke. But he spoke to the Lord. He turned his emotional despair to a prayer. This is the key! We can make many decisions. But to keep them, we need to channel our decisions in the Lord. David found this ‘channel’ through prayer. He would pour out his heart to God , who would comfort and strengthen him.

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