LIFE

AADISCIPLINE BRINGS LIFE

Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven – Matthew 18:15-19

Verses 18 and 19 have many applications, but taken in context, they are specifically referring to church discipline. Some might think that church discipline is only symbolic and carries no real weight; however, Jesus is making it clear that in the spiritual realm, discipline that is directed by the Holy Spirit has much power.

The scriptural commands concerning church discipline are designed to help restore the brother or sister who is in sin just as much as they are designed to protect other members of the body from that sin. If the person being disciplined repents, the objective has been achieved and no further action should be taken. Church discipline is two-fold. It consists of withdrawing both our fellowship and our intercession.

Proper intercession can actually keep Satan “at bay” though an individual is living in great sin. This is good if the person uses this freedom to repent and come back to God. But, if the person takes this freedom from the wages of sin to commit more sin, there comes a time when this form of intercession ceases to be beneficial. In that case, intercession against Satan’s attacks should be withdrawn, and we should actually retain that person’s sins unto him so that he can no longer get by without experiencing the death that sin brings (Rom. 6:23). As he starts reaping what he has sown, it, hopefully, will cause him to turn back to the goodness of God that he once enjoyed. This is the binding and loosing being referred to in this verse. Heaven and earth are affected by our binding and loosing.

ON A HILL FAR AWAY

Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love. —Genesis 22:2

I often find myself thinking back to the years when my children were young. One particular fond memory is our morning wake-up routine. Every morning I’d go into their bedrooms, tenderly call them by name, and tell them that it was time to get up and get ready for the day.

When I read that Abraham got up early in the morning to obey God’s command, I think of those times when I woke up my children and wonder if part of Abraham’s daily routine was going to Isaac’s bed to waken him—and how different it would have been on that particular morning. How heart-rending for Abraham to waken his son that morning!

Abraham bound his son and laid him on an altar, but then God provided an alternate sacrifice. Hundreds of years later, God would supply another sacrifice—the final sacrifice—His own Son. Think of how agonizing it must have been for God to sacrifice His Son, His only Son whom He loved! And He went through all of that because He loves you.

If you wonder whether you are loved by God, wonder no more.

Lord, I am amazed that You would love me so much that You would sacrifice Your Son for me. Teach me to live gratefully in the embrace of Your unfailing love.

God has already proven His love for you.

God will always rescue and help us when we come to Him. But if we want to stay in a place of constant peace and victory, we must diligently seek Him.

God doesn’t bless you because you have been good. He blesses you because of the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on the cross for you! Jesus’ precious blood has washed you whiter than snow. That is why God is for you today even when you fail!

And if God Himself is for you, who can come successfully against you (see Rom 8:31)? What adversity or adversary can stand against you? There are none! Hallelujah

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12, NIV).

Everyone will be tested at some time in their lives—this is God’s way of refining and purifying our character while teaching us to trust in Him. However, not everyone will be able to withstand the testing process. When we stand on His promises to us, we are guaranteed victory.

A VITAL NECESSITY

Now set your mind and heart to seek (inquire of and require as your vital necessity) the Lord your God… – 1 Chronicles 22:19, AMP

What things do you consider to be a vital necessity in your life? What can’t you live without? Most people might immediately think of food, water and shelter. Yes, you need those things to exist, but we can’t really live unless our minds and hearts are set on seeking the Lord. Sure, you can exist without Him, but what would be the point? Besides, you are called to more than just mere existence; you are called to
live — to thrive — to enjoy your life abundantly!

Today and everyday, set your mind and heart on seeking the Lord! Write down your favorite Scriptures and commit them to memory. Whenever you can, think about those verses. Meditate on God and His infinite love. When you require the Lord as a vital necessity, you will truly live and enjoy the abundant life He has in store for you!

THE HEAD AND NOT THE TAIL

Deuteronomy 28:13 – And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath…

One of our church members saw his sales performance hit rock bottom by the middle of the year. As a result, he was ranked 320 out of the 420 financial advisers in his company.

Devastated and on the verge of giving up, he started listening to my messages and claiming God’s promises such as “the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath” and “many who are first will be last, and the last first”. (Matthew 19:30)

He committed everything to God because he believed that only God could turn things around for him. And God did just that.

By the end of that year, he was ranked second in his branch and 10th in the whole company! He qualified for a trip for two to Barcelonia, Spain, worth about S$20,000. That was not all. For the first time in his 12 years as a financial adviser, he qualified for the Million Dollar Round Table Award. Only the top six per cent of advisers in the entire industry qualify for this international award.

Beloved, when God makes you the head, you will end up on top of your circumstances. Consider the story of Joseph. (Genesis 39) Even when he was a slave, he was the head and not the tail because God prospered everything that he did.

“But Pastor, when I look at my life, there are times when I am up and there are times when I am down. Yet, the Bible says that I will be above only. I don’t understand this.”

What you are going through is only temporal. Keep believing that you are above only and not beneath, even when you have hit rock bottom. It is God who always causes you to triumph in Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:14) You cannot cause yourself to triumph. Only God can and He has promised in His Word that you will be the head and not the tail, above only and not beneath. So believe His Word in spite of your circumstances and expect to see victory!

UNDERSTANDING YOUR TEMPTATIONS (2)

Blessed is the man who endures temptation… – James 1:12NKJV

The second misconception is: temptation is sin. The devil wants you to blame yourself for the temptations you experience. Why? Because when you believe that you are the source of it, you feel condemned and discouraged. As you indulge in feelings of discouragement, you become an easy prey and Satan convinces you to go ahead and yield to the temptation. Ironically, you yield to sin through the fear of having already fallen. No, the temptation itself isn’t sin; the sin only occurs when you yield to it! Many of us feel like we’re spiritually deficient, distant from God, even phonies because we think we initiated the temptation ourselves. Imagine a burglar in your house, and when you detect him he accuses you of being the burglar! Would you believe him? Of course not! Yet that’s Satan’s approach with us. After he tempts us, he accuses with thoughts like, ‘A real Christian would never have such thoughts!’ Knowing our own weakness, his accusations sound plausible and we believe him. Then we feel condemned, spiral into discouragement, and yield to the temptation. Understand this: condemnation comes from Satan (1 Timothy 3:6). The Bible says, ‘Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.’ (Romans 8:1 NIV) When Satan sends temptation, the Holy Spirit goes to work in us, helping us to reject his suggestions and reminding us of Jesus’ availability to help us triumph. ‘Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.’ (Hebrews2:18 NIV) So when you’re tempted, reject Satan’s condemnation and reach for Christ’s overcoming assistance.

GOD LIKES US

Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish. – Matthew 18:12-14

One of the greatest truths of the Bible and also one of the hardest to comprehend, is that we are the objects of God’s love. God didn’t just pity us or feel some sense of moral obligation to save us. He saved us because of His infinite love for us (Jn. 3:16).

God loves people. He even loves those who have gone astray. As Jesus said in a similar parable (Lk. 15:7), “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”

Once we experience the life-changing power of Christ, there is a tendency to become harsh and impatient with others who continue to live their lives without Him. We sometimes forget that it was the love and goodness of God that brought us to repentance (Rom. 2:4), and we become condemning and judgmental toward the lost. This is not the attitude that Jesus had, nor the attitude He wants us to have.

“Even when we were spiritually dead because of our sins, God’s forbearance was working on our behalf. He was tolerant, patient and kind towards us. God abounded in excessive proportion with good will, compassion, and desire to help us. His disposition was kind, compassionate, and forgiving in His treatment of us. He wanted in abundant supply to alleviate our distress and bring relief from our sins. He did this by giving us life in place of death

It was with Christ that this salvation was secured. By grace, kindness, and favor we are saved. All of this was the result of God’s extremely large degree of love wherewith He loved us, always seeking the welfare and betterment of us. God likes us” (Eph. 2:4-5 paraphrased by Don Krow). God loves YOU

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