The Daniel Fast – Day 2

‘Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.” ‘ – Daniel 10:12

The scripture here encorages us to set our minds to gain understanding and to humble ourselves before God. This determination to seek wisdom and the Lord’s face evokes a certain response from God to our prayers. Let us seek throughout these next 20 days to press on in our pursuit of a response to our prayers.

Prayer points: Pray that you will have the perseverance of Daniel, who continued in prayer for 21 days until he heard from the Lord. Pray for humility and a thirst for wisdom and understanding.

Praise report: On the eve of beginning this fast a friend of mine sent an urgent message on Facebook regarding a young lady who texted her intent to end her life. The message showed her despair and despondency and when he tried to call her she was unreachable. A few of us began interceding that night on her behalf and I am glad to say my friend gave a report that she was finally reachable the next day and testified that she had heard a loud stern voice telling her not to kill herself! She has now given her life to the Lord and is filled with new hope. We give praise to a God who answers prayers! Feel free to share and encourage others if you are blessed with answers to your prayers during this fast. Be blessed!

Understanding the Scriptures – The beginnings of Daniel’s fast

Daniel: 9:1-3
1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;
2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: (UKJV)

In the book of Daniel, we are given an account of what caused him to begin a journey to seek the Lord’s face. He had previously been getting disturbing visions of things to come and diligently began to seek God’s counsel as to the meaning of the visions he was having. At this point he was pointed, no doubt by the Holy Spirit, to the scriptures pertaining to the destiny of the people of Israel, who were in captivity in Bablyon. So he begins to intercede on behalf of his people so that God would bring to pass the end of these 70 years and prepare his people for the return to their homeland.

In a similar manner, we are called to seek God’s face at times when we are perplexed by what is going on around us and in due course God will provide clarity and answers. This year will be an eventful one, no doubt, with no shortage of drama in the world arena. Many of us are looking for answers and signs but what we really should be looking for is the one who holds the answers. Beginning today I have resolved to seek the Lord for the next 21 days in a journey that will end on Thursday the 31st of January 2013. I believe God will speak to me and to all those who determine to seek Him as well.

The Daniel fast is not one that is to punish our bodies so that God can listen to us, but is rather a decision to abstain from pleasing the outer man so as to increase our ability to hear what God is saying in our lives. God will honour the commitment you make as you eat simpler foods, smaller portions and you will also be taking care of your body. Remember to take time, like Daniel, to read the word and pray so that the fast is also spiritually useful, as fasting without prayer is dieting or in some extreme cases, akin to a hunger strike! In verse 23 of Daniel 9, the angel Gabriel appears to Daniel and says “As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed.”

God the Father is looking for those who are willing to set aside some extra time and effort to pray and seek His face. Determine that you will begin this year with some special time that will refresh you and give you audience with the king! Be blessed and have a happy new year!

Prayer points for the day: Pray for understanding of the word so that it becomes a living guide to you every day. Pray for your country of residence and for God to reveal to you things that He would like to see improve there.

Jubilee – A time to get back what belongs to you.

The Jubilee (Hebrew yovel יובל) year is the year at the end of seven cycles of shmita (Sabbatical years), and according to Biblical regulations had a special impact on the ownership and management of land in the Land of Israel; there is some debate whether it was the 49th year (the last year of seven sabbatical cycles, referred to as the Sabbath’s Sabbath), or whether it was the following (50th) year.

“This fiftieth year is sacred—it is a time of freedom and of celebration when everyone will receive back their original property, and slaves will return home to their families. “
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Bible tells us of this special year that was designated as a time for restoration of property and for the tilled land to rest. Slaves would also be set free and debts would be cancelled. In Luke 4:16-21 we are given the account of Jesus’ visit to the synagogue on a sabbath, as was his custom. He stood up to read and the words of the prophet Isaiah were handed to him, whereupon he proceeded to read from the place where it was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the opressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” -(NIV)

He was reading from Isaiah 61:1 and declares that “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” In this passage from Luke lies an amazing revelation about our Father in Heaven. The Messiah was sent to provide freedom and deliverance! While jubilee, which also meants the sound of a trumpet blast in Hebrew, came only once every 49 (or 50) years and was celebrated at that time with much rejoicing and joy, God makes a major paradigm shift in the seasonal order of things by declaring that it is now by faith we recive our jubilee!

I am sure you are wondering how faith comes in. Take a closer look at what Jesus says and then relate it to this scripture by Paul in his letter to the Romans: ‘Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.’ (Romans 10:17, NIV). Now connect this with what Jesus says in the paragraph above (“…in your hearing.”). It therefore stands to reason that when we hear the word and His Spirit quickens faith within us, we have instant access to our ‘Jubilee’.

Jubilee for me is especially poignant because I just turned 50 a few weeks ago and I have seen God take me through what seemed to be unsurmountable issues and prove to me that I can access my Jubilee if I trust Him.

As you face various issues, whether physical or spiritual, remember that Jubilee is available for you 24/7. It could be a financial issue. It could be your health. It could be depression or anxiety. Whatever chain is holding you back from your freedom, jubilee has arrived at your doorstep 49 years ahead of its time!

Have a blessed New Year 2013 and believe that your time of liberty, freedom and joy has come!

Thanksgiving pleases God more than sacrifices!

As we enter into this season of Thanksgiving and reflect on what we are thankful for, we may easily be confined to thinking that this is a ritual that we must perform out of some pious duty. Tradition is hard to shake off and many are grateful for what they have and will express it in various ways. In some places, this weekend becomes an opportunity to spend time with family, rekindling and strengthening family ties and to have a wonderful meal in the presence of friends and relatives.

The Psalmist, David recognizes something deeper in the act of giving thanks. In Psalm 69 verses 30 and 31, he declares: “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hooves.” (NIV). It seems that he has come to the revelation that God is glorified when we give thanks and the combination of praise and thanksgiving pleases God more than any other kind of sacrifice.

At this time many may be going through difficulties, lack or other forms of discomfort or discouragement. David realizes in this Psalm that no matter what the situation, he will give thanks to the creator, our Father in heaven. As he lifts up praise and glorifies God with thanksgiving, it turns into a pleasant fragrance to God, even more pleasant than any physical sacrifice. Those of us who have been fortunate to have good fathers will know how they would react or act when they were pleased with us! We therefore even give thanks in anticipation for the good that our Father will do in our lives.

Make thanksgiving a daily part of your life, and do not limit it to thanks for meals or other periodic gifts that our Father in heaven has given us. As you make this a habit, God will also be in the habit of bestowing you with His abundant love and provision, for a grateful heart is one that attracts him.

Happy Thanksgiving! Be blessed! Be thankful! Believe!

There’s more to The Power of Love than we realise!

In 1993 the popular Canadian singer Celine Dion released a cover version of a song originally performed by by Jennifer Rush called “The Power of Love”. Featured as a single from her album, The Colour of My Love, it followed the release of another single of a cover of “When I Fall in Love” from the same album. It was subsequently nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop and Vocal performance and an American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock Single in 1995.

As a single it became an international smash hit, rising to the top of the charts in the United states, australia and Canada, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for 4 weeks and becoming the first Celine Dion single to do so. It fast became a certified platinum hit in the US and achieved gold sales in other markets worldwide. Much as the lyrics allude to the relationship between two lovers it strikes me that the reference to the power in love is actually quite relevant to our relationship with our Father in heaven.

Many of us would like to see God’s power at work in our lives and we often go to great lengths to seek this power. Long periods of fasting and prayer can often be found in our quest for this Holy grail of the anointing and often that does yield results in some form or another. I do not consider myself to be much of a book writer but this theme has of late been kindled inside me as I seek His face, that I am considering delving into the potential benefits of love in our lives, apart form the apparent feel good side of it. The lyrics from the song have a chorus that includes these words:

‘Even though there may be times
It seems I’m far away
Never wonder where I am
‘Cause I am always by your side’

(The Power Of Love lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, EMI Music Publishing)

In a similar fashion, Hebrews 13:5 tells us that we should be content with what we have ‘because God has said, “never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”’ This is indeed a comforting promise from our Father but it still does not address the issue of why so many of us today bear only the promise of God’s power in our lives but do not see its manifestation. Reading the Acts of the Apostles we clearly see the manifestation of both God’s love and His power in the daily lives of the believers, especially after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. I am sorely tempted to write everything in one blog post but the more I meditate upon the power of love, the more I realise that it is an untapped resource that we have yet to fully understand and probably requires a deeper look into than meets the eye. For this first blog post lets dwell on some foundational things. Find some time and look up the word love in the  Bible and you will see it mentioned over six hundred times. A quick look up on the word hate and you will find it mentioned only around 120 times. It is even mentioned more times than the word worship (around 240). It seems therefore that love has a great deal of importance in Gods Word.

John writes in 1 John 4:11-12 (NIV) ‘Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.’ These verses clearly indicate that God desires to inhabit our beings with His presence and in doing so manifest himself. The obvious requirement is that we should love one another since He has himself loved us first. In John 13: 34,35 Jesus tells his disciples the following: “A new command I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” We are often so keen to have people ‘know’ that we are believers not realising that the best demonstration of our faith in God is the way we treat one another and others. I shall continue with this thread on the power of love and see where it leads. Let us end with the foundation for love which is God the father’s love for us in John 3:16: ‘ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (NIV). There is no greater love than that which God has for us!

Be blessed! Be loved! Believe!

When others helpers fail and comforts flee…Abide With Me.

At the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics the Scottish singer, Emeli Sandé , sang a song in memory of the London 7/7 bombings that has been popular at various different events throughout history having its origins in the church. The hymn, ‘Abide With Me’, is a prayer asking God to remain with the speaker throughout life, through trial and through death. The lyrics are as follows:

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word,
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.

Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings;
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea.
Come, Friend of sinners, thus abide with me.

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile,
And though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee.
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Still sung in the old English style that it was originally written in 1847, the song was originally a poem  written by the Scottish Anglican, Henry Francis Lyte. He finished the poem and set it to music as he lay dying from tuberculosis and managed to live on three weeks longer after its completion. As Emeli sang the song at the London Olympics I am certain that many of the listeners and those moved by its stirring lyrics and melody probably had no idea of the origin of the song. As the writer lies dying in his deathbed, he reaches out to God, obviously not in an expression of desperation, but with a conviction that he needs to be close to his maker and creator, no matter what the circumstance. He recognizes that God has given him joys on earth that are now growing dim and that change and decay are creeping in on him, but still recognizes that God ‘changes not’.

He understands that God is awesome and terrifying but is also kind and good and a friend of sinners. The amazing depth of the revelation of God’s supreme nature yet gentle loving personality is in itself a marvel. Many of us tend to only focus on our Father’s strict nature, emphasizing His holiness and pointing out each others sins as though that will make us closer to God if we somehow go on a fear-fest. The incredible balance seen in the writers poem can only be understood as a person who knew our Fathers nature in its totality. What father would not discipline his children if they went out of line? Yet a loving father will also welcome back the prodigal child! That same loving father also has healing in His wings and through the cross has a promise of eternal life.

As people sing this song at the FA cup final, at the Rugby League Challenge Cup finals and at other sporting events, the song may have different meanings to those singing it, some just grateful to be at those events and fueling their sense of nostalgia. There may be the hope that their team will win and they sing this prayer song. I hope that this song will sow the seed of the desire for Gods presence in our lives on a daily basis so that we do not wait to be on our deathbeds to seek His love and grace. He longs to abide with us through every situation, good or bad.

Be blessed! Be encouraged! Be-lieve!

Show and Tell

In the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John we are given the account of the Samaritan woman at the well. We often quote verses twenty three and twenty four where Jesus talks of the time when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth.  Jesus reveals himself as the Messiah to this woman who clearly understands that the Messiah (or the Christ) is coming.
As soon as this revelation hits her, something amazing happens to her. She leaves her water jar and the task at hand and immediately goes back to the town and tells the people in it to come and see this man who knew so much about her. In her excitement she leaves the task at hand as being less important than telling everyone to come and see this man whom she has discovered to be the Messiah. Many in that town came and believed because of her.
I’d like to call this the principle of ‘Show and tell’. It is something commonly found in our early school years in some schooling systems, where children are encouraged to bring something that they have from home and show it to everyone. For those of us who did this we can recall how we overcame our inhibitions as we proudly told everyone else about the item we brought. For some it would have been a favourite toy. Others would bring a pet. Some may have even brought a parent who had some exciting job.
The key thing is you did not just show; you also told. You did not just tell; you had to show. The two went hand in hand. In the book of James Chapter 2 verse 14 -20, James comes down hard on believers who claim to have faith but they show no evidence of it in their deeds. I had one of those moments today as I was coming back home here in Dar es Salaam from a quick trip to the bank. As I passed our National Service Headquarters at Mlalakuwa, on the road to Kawe, I noticed a woman with a crutch standing by the road waiting for the bus. As I drove by I looked at her face and noticed her discomfort and could not help wondering what was going on in her mind. I felt like stopping to give her a lift, if she was heading in my direction, but drove on. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit kicked in and every scripture that you and I would not want to have confront our inaction popped into my head, not least of all the story of the good Samaritan. Up ahead was the Kawe roundabout and I turned and headed back to where she still stood. I asked her where she was going and found out that she was actually waiting for public transportation heading pretty much in the opposite direction. Due to the difficulty of actually getting a seat in the mini-buses we call ‘Dala dala’s’ she was hoping to find one fairly empty that would stop and pick her up to the last three stops before they turned back to a suburb of Dar es Salaam called Tandika. I also found out that she had recently broken her leg in an accident where she slipped in her home. I offered to take her to the bus stop at the end of the route, since she was not having any luck at her stop. Once she was in I then offered to get her a three wheeler scooter taxi that would take her home and paid for it, watching her gratefully get into the ‘bajaj’.
To cut a long story short, I had to show my faith by my deeds. It is not only very gratifying to see the impact of what might be seen to be a random act of kindness, but it is also a way to show how much we are like our Father in heaven. James says in Chapter two verse 17 that ‘In the same way, faith by itself, if is not accompanied by action, is dead’. (NIV). I am no more special than any other believer, but I would hate to think that God considers that my faith is dead because of my not responding to His word.
We live in a world where we are quick to call ourselves something or the other but our actions, or lack thereof, speak louder than our words. The time has come to show and tell of our Father’s love. Let us not be quick to tell and slow to show.
Be blessed. Be-lieve! Be a blessing to someone!

You can’t worship God without Pesach! (Passover, Pasaka..)

In Exodus chapter twelve, we read the account of the actual event this book is named after. The interesting thing is that instructions that clearly indicate they are to be observed for generations to come, of an act that has supernatural consequences for eternity, are given to Moses and Aaron. As I meditate on the work of the cross and what Jesus did on it I am led to see that somehow, without the cross, we cannot worship God at all!

Prior to this event God commissioned Moses to ‘go to Pharaoh (Exodus 8:1) and say to him, This is what the LORD says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me.’ After many signs and wonders and plagues, Pharaoh and his folk kept being stiff-necked and stubborn and still wouldn’t capitulate. I get the feeling God was not just setting up the Egyptians for a major confrontation, but the rest of humanity for a supernatural revelation of their state and need for His deliverance. You have to remember that the Israelites had been slaves for 400 years as foretold to their forefather Abraham, and the time for deliverance had come.

In Exodus 7:1, the LORD tells Moses “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.” If you know your Egyptian history well, Pharaoh was god as far as the Egyptians were concerned so God had to empower Moses so as to make him a suitable ambassador of the Kingdom! All these years they had served Pharaoh and his ‘gods’ and now the Lord was about to deliver them. He would deliver them from this cruel and enslaving kingdom so that they would be able to serve Him, the God who created them, loved them and had promised their forefather Abraham that they would live and prosper in a promised land.

We often come into this season, some calling it Easter, others Resurrection Sunday, others Pesach (at least in Swahili we call it Pasaka, which sounds closer to the Hebrew!). Since our childhood, many of us, especially in East Africa, looked at it as a time for eating special meals like chicken, roast meat and rice pilau (pilaf). It also was synonymous with getting new outfits which we would show off at Sunday easter service and so on. We regarded it as some celebration day that delivered us from those tight worn out shoes and clothes we had outgrown! What we never realized is the eternal significance of this powerful weekend as far as our deliverance from sin and its enslaving consequences. Sadly, even till today, many of us confess Christ, live lives fearful of God and mostly obedient to His word but still serve in ‘Egypt’! We still are slaves to sin, sicknesses, poverty, unforgiveness and fear, to name a few bondages that enslave us.

If you have time read and take note of certain things that happen in the Exodus. I will name a few:

1. The Israelites were freed from slavery, where they labored and others gained from their labour.
2. The Israelites stopped serving the Egyptian gods.
3. The Israelites left without lifting a finger in uprising and in fact their captors begged them to leave.
4. The Israelites even got silver, gold and other precious things given to them to get them on their way
5. When the Lord struck down the Egyptians, those who had the blood applied on their homes were spared.

These are but a few of the unmerited benefits they got from the Passover! What a mighty God we serve! Going back to Exodus 12:2, we find God declaring that that month was to be the first month for the Israelites. Here we see the Passover also being made an event to overturn seasons and in fact usher in a new calendar, a new beginning. So it seems that Pesach becomes symbolic with ushering in a new beginning: people being delivered to serve (worship) the Lord. By the way the Hebrew word used for worship is the same one used for serving (abad pronounced aw-bad). In fact the King James Bible uses ‘serve’ while the NIV uses ‘worship’. In fact the word means to ‘work’ and can also mean to enslave, keep in bondage, use, compel to do (Strongs 05647).

This shows me that worship is not just a song or a Sunday service, but acts of obedience that show God’s power and love enabled by His Holy Spirit. Adam was created to serve (worship) God by taking charge and care of God’s creation. By sinning, he put man in a position that required deliverance from slavery to sin. In verse 12 of Exodus 12, the Bible says: ‘On that night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn-both men and animals-and I will bring judgement on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD…” He adds in verse 14:”This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD-a lasting ordinance. Three times in that chapter the words ‘lasting ordinance’ are repeated. Now fast forward to resurrection week, when Jesus is handed over to be crucified. Notice any similarities?

You and I today are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb (1 Cor 5:7,8: Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast-as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.) Revelations 5:9 tells of how the Lamb was worthy because He was slain and with His blood purchased men for God ‘from every tribe and language and people and nation’ and has ‘made them to be a kingdom (rulers with dominion and authority!) and priests (mediators between God and mankind) to SERVE..’ God and they “will reign on the earth”. Notice it doesn’t say they will reign in heaven!

Now we can clearly see the passover work of the cross in a new light. Here we have God using the Exodus as a way of foretelling the future act of a Messiah who comes to restore us, not just from slavery in ‘Egypt’ but also to reign and serve our God in this manner. Let’s fast forward to our state of being today. Are we living as rulers or the ruled? Are we really worshipping God in spirit and in truth? Have we understood that worshipping God and serving Him go hand in hand? Perhaps we need to rethink our understanding of the work of the crucifixion and the power of the blood of the Lamb. Remember that He also said that if He did not leave He could not send us the Helper (The Holy Spirit). Use this time and season when there are open heavens to call upon Him so that He can set us completely free from the Egyptians that are within and without us. Him whom the Son sets free is free indeed. As you meditate on the power of the Passover, the Lord will give you a fresh new thirst and hunger for His righteousness so that you will be filled with power from on High to serve Him in spirit and in truth.

Be blessed! Be free! Be-lieve! (repost of archived article)

The Purpose and Power of Resurrection Sunday aka Easter, Peasch, Passover

As we all celebrate this wonderful day and enjoy ourselves with friends and family we are reminded that mankind’s redemption was sealed forever around 2,000 years ago on this day. The Word of God gives an account of how Jesus’ grave was found on the dawn of the first day of the week when Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at it. The account in Matthew 28 tells of how they encounter an angel and then Jesus himself. In Luke 24:46,47 Jesus explains to the disciples  that it was written that “The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and repentance and forgiveness sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem”.

Jesus here points back to the scriptures, and in this case he had mentioned the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms as pointing towards what He had to accomplish and how it was to be accomplished. In order for there to be redemption for mankind by the forgiveness of sins and repentance, which is the act of turning away from doing what is wrong in God’s sight, the Messiah needed to suffer and die so as to rise from the dead on the third day. Isiaiah 53 tells of the work of the Messiah, being ‘despised and rejected by men, but taking up our infirmities and carrying our sorrows!’ Isiaiah 53:3 tells of how he was ‘pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities’ and that His punishment is the one that brought us peace!

Surely now we can sing with confidence that ‘there is power, power, wonder working power in the blood!’. In verse twelve of Isaiah 53 we are told that ‘he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors’. So though we were all cursed by one mans disobedience (Adam), we are all blessed by one mans obedience. Verse 10 of the same chapter in Isaiah tells of how it was ‘the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer’. Jesus, while praying in the garden and struggling with the pending tribulation He was about to go through, eventually declares: ‘Not my will, but yours, be done’ (Luke 22:42). What an act of obedience!

The resurrection power of God was only able to function when Jesus obeyed the Father’s will to lay His life down and suffer for us. By going through with this act of obedience, He reveals God’s plan for mankind’s redemption by first proving that God has the ultimate power over life and death and that all who believe in Him can experience the same benefits of the purpose and power of the resurrection. The promise of redemption from sin and it’s ultimate power, death, is what makes this day special.  By redeeming us, we have now become sons through faith in Him (Galatians 3:26, 4:5,6, 2 Cor 6:18, Eph 1:5) and have the full right to display His power and glory and have dominion restored to us.

Have a power filled day as you remember the work of the cross!

Be blessed! Be filled with power! Be a good witness of the resurrection!
(repost of archived article missing after switch to WordPress)

God’s Conditions for Healing the Land

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall
humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn
from their wicked ways, then will l hear from heaven
and will forgive their sin and will heal their land”.
– 2 Chronicles 7:14.

This morning I have looked at this scripture in a new light. It was always my assumption that forgiveness of sins was connected to repentance or confession, and that still remains the case. The scripture above seems to go a little further than that and I shall attempt to connect the revelation that actions lead to results, not just prayer.

The problem with revival today is that most people believe it is born out of fervent prayer and so they continue praying and fasting endlessly without achieving results (Isaiah 1: 58).  In a past article on why transformation is hindered, I talked about how God shows us in Isaiah 26 that our prayers can ‘birth wind’ and not salvation. One of the key purposes of prevailing prayer is to ‘give birth’. In the event of results not being achieved, one has to either persevere until the breakthrough occurs or pause for reflection to understand the hindrances and deal with them, because we cannot call our Lord a liar if His promises are not fulfilled in our eyes. This somewhat radical assertion is birthed in the premise that God WILL HEAL THE LAND. Anything less is not acceptable, and neither should it be.

As a background to the revelation, let’s look at Acts 2:37 – 38. Here we see three things that are required for salvation mentioned by Peter, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The Scripture says..” When the people heard this, they were CUT TO THE HEART and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers what shall we do?” Peter replied, ” REPENT and be BAPTISED, EVERY ONE OF YOU, in the name of Jesus Christ for the FORGIVENESS of your sins. And you will receive the GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT...”.

Compare this with 2 Chronicles 7:14. The verses prior to 2 Chronicles show that whenever God was abandoned or ignored by His people he warned them that He would send natural disasters to the land that was supposed to sustain them so as to get their attention. He however says that if they repent and turn from their ways and restore their relationship with Him, He would then restore the land, made sick by the sins of the people. Notice the following requirements in that portion of scripture:

1.Humility
2.Prayer.
3.Seeking His Face
4.Turning from wicked ways.

Item 1 is self evident. This is the biggest hindrance to the journey, and often calamities bring us to this point, which does not always have to be so. Our pride keeps us stuck to our old ways and the self satisfaction that comes from not seeing our true state.
Item 2 involves re-establishing broken lines of communication and expressing our desire to reconnect the lines. Most people usually get to this stage frequently.
Item 3 is where the problem lies. How do you seek God’s face? What does it look like. Can we actually see it? We often skip this portion of the journey when He does not appear to us.
Item 4 is the final stumbling block. Turning from our wicked ways is usually a problem if one has not gone through all the previous steps. If you do not pray enough, you cannot begin to seek God and He then cannot ‘convict you of sin’ to the point of desiring to let go completely. It took a coal of fire to make Isaiah’s lips clean. Only the Holy Spirit can convict the world of sin, and hence the need to seek God’s face. Only the Holy Spirit can empower us to repent, walk in holiness, seek forgiveness and give forgiveness and make restitution, and thus transform us.

The people listening to Peter or John the Baptist when asked to repent did not hesitate as they were cut to the heart and filled with the remorse that only the Holy Spirit’s presence can bring. Often we confess sins but do not act on the issues involved. This produces a constant cycle of repentance that does not bear fruit as the accuser reminds us of the past that we have not resolved. Turning from wicked ways is not just stopping sinful actions alone, but making amends, seeking people we have wronged even years ago, when asked to by the Holy Spirit. This is often hard to do by one’s strength. It also means doing things God asked us to do that we have delayed, some of them seeming very trivial. Thus our prayers are then heard and God’s principles spring into action for our benefit and for the benefit of the land. This is why baptism in Jesus name is important. We must be immersed in His name for the Holy Spirit to come and dwell in us and empower us to shake away sin and be like Him. Whatever symbolism we attach to the baptism of water and fire, we see that these are impossible to remove from the Christian experience and we also cannot afford to miss out on either, as the water impresses on us the need to ‘die’ to sin and be cleansed, and the fire is a constant companion and counsellor on our walk towards restoration, deliverance, healing and thus prosperity.

It is our Heavenly father’s desire to heal, but we often tie His hands by our insistence on doing things our way, and so miss out on Kingdom benefits, including favour, authority and dominion. We are called to take territory, dominate and rule. This is not for our own gain, but to further His reign in a world ruled by principalities and powers. We cannot take back the land without being restored to righteousness. The Scripture says ‘..Then you light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness (or the righteous one) will go before you and the glory of the Lord will be your rearguard..’ (Isaiah 58:8 NIV).
The Lord puts it well in this portion of scripture, by showing that revival is not about fasting and praying, but of visible action as well, to restore righteousness. In this chapter a lot of praying and seeking are noted by God, even repentance, but no turning from the wicked ways.

The promise is clear: ‘..and if you honour it by not GOING YOUR OWN WAY (Our own programs and plans not led by the Spirit but by tradition and experience) and NOT DOING AS YOU PLEASE (Often we do what pleases the crowd in worship and ministry and are afraid to do the unpleasant or uncomfortable) or SPEAKING IDLE WORDS (Prayers, promises and plans that we do not fulfil and later make excuses about), then you will find JOY IN THE LORD (His joy is our strength), and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to FEAST on the inheritance of your father Jacob” (Isaiah 58:13-14 NIV).
Let us continue to pray for a humble heart to be doers of the Word and usher in this great move of God.

John Kagaruki
Wed 4 JAN 2006, 6:00am (repost of an article I wrote 6 years ago)