Sunday, February 26, 2012

God as Your Stronghold

"My Life's Stronghold is God." -Ps.27

We read about it several times in the bible that God is a stronghold. Do we know what "stronghold" means? Often, we associate "stronghold" with the devil, like "the devil's stronghold." So, what do we mean by God is my stronghold? How does God become a stronghold? If you don't know what it means to have God as stronghold, that's a stronghold.

Devil as Stronghold

When a person has strong propensities to sin and evil, we say that it's due to a stronghold. And we mean that the devil's hold on that person is really strong. No matter how much that person wants to change and start going to church, he just can't. When presented with a situation that makes him choose between good and evil, he is likely to choose evil even if in his mind he wants good. If he chooses good, it'll just be for a moment---probably 5 seconds---and then back to evil again. That's a stronghold.

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And we know how big a problem a stronghold is. It's almost unbreakable. I've seen countless Christians attend summer camps and revival services and weep at the altar again and again---even share wonderful testimonies of how God had supposedly touched or changed them, to no avail. They always go back to square one of a sinful life. They are prisoners of the flesh.

The devil is 100 percent on you (riding on you and making a horse of you) so that your natural activity in life is to do what he wants. You're virtually his puppet. No matter if you bring the person to a summer camp or spiritual conference or prophetic and apostolic meeting or a spiritual warfare seminar, the guy wouldn't change unless the stronghold is broken. It doesn't matter if you bring that person to the most anointed man of God on earth or in the universe. 

We understand this concept very well---how the devil is a stronghold. But what about God as your stronghold?

God as Your Stronghold

It should have the same effect---only to the contrary. Here's what I mean. Stronghold keeps a man a slave in every situation, anywhere, and all his life. And I mean a slave. And there's nothing anyone can do about it---except if the guy concerned decides to quit from the stronghold for good. Except that happens, he has no choice but to do accordingly. The mechanism is embedded deep into his systems. He has no free will. He has no personality. He's a robot---although he strongly feels he is free to do anything he wants. Everyone enslaved by a type of stronghold almost looks the same. 

Now, God as your stronghold is like that. You always have the natural and strong propensity to do as God does. He is in you doing things in your life so that everything becomes natural. Wherever you go you cannot help but do what God does. No matter if your friends bring you to bars or night clubs or motels or sex dens, you remain holy without any effort. It's hard to break it---no amount of temptation is going to change you. And there's no escaping it. Why? Because you have God as your stronghold. You're helplessly "possessed" by him, like a robot, and yet you feel so free as the wind going wherever it wills or a bird that doesn't need to sow or reap and store in barns. 

No matter if they bring you to a very seductive, sexy young girl all naked ("anointed" for evil tempting), you won't change or give in. Why? God not only is in full control of you---he is in you doing whatever he wills. You do what he's doing, and it's all so natural. In fact, you no longer live but Christ lives in you.

Being in HIS Stronghold is Being Fearless

Psalm 27 says the fruit of having God as your stronghold is radical fearlessness. Specifically, it's the radical fearlessness of my Jesus. If you're not radical as my Jesus, you're still in the devil's stronghold. If you're still doing things in church and in your life according to human traditions and programs and the religious flesh because you fear getting out of them, you're still in the devils' stronghold. 

Stronghold Begins with a Foothold

Paul told the Ephesians not to give the devil a foothold. Once the devil manages to put just even a foot inside your life, he's in. If you don't throw him out pronto he captures territories in your life until he gets a stronghold. Now, it's the same with God. You've got to let God take a step inside your life and let him capture every area in it until God's stronghold is established in you, making it your very natural system. David gives us a clue here.

Dwell in the the Lord All my Life

In David's time, he desired to dwell in the temple building of the Lord. That was Old Testament. Today, our bodies are the temple of God. We must be able to "gaze at God's beauty" inside our bodies, our lives, when we look at ourselves. No, don't go to your church building and try looking for God's beauty there. God lives in bodies now, not anymore in buildings.

In short, we must dwell in God's presence (and ask God to dwell in our bodies) all the days of our lives. This should be the one ardent desire in our lives and which we should desperately seek for daily through His WORD. Then we make God our stronghold and we become radically fearless like my Jesus. Then we can't help but live God's LIFE in us through Christ.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Foolish Programs

Recently the Lord gave me something. It was like a question--how come people make formal programs when they meet for prayer, but pray differently when face to face with real danger?

For instance, in a district prayer meeting. Churches gather together and follow a formal program. There is an opening remark, an opening prayer, a welcome remark, a message, and then they pray. The same thing happens in local church prayer meetings. When the danger is just imagined or merely possible, they can afford to be formal like that. But when the danger strikes, I wonder if they can be as formal and orderly?

When the Tsunami in Japan was happening last year, I'm sure they didn't have formal programs when they prayed. I can imagine they were praying where they were and just crying out to God. Even after that, I bet they didn't bother with programs. They just assembled together and prayed. They didn't look for any program or ceremony. But I'm pretty sure, too, that after that, Christian churches all over the world had a programmed prayer meeting to prayer for Japan.

Why a programless, ultra simple (but very serious and effective) prayer during a catastrophe, and a programmed one when the danger is not in sight? Doesn't God want a serious and urgent prayer all the time, without the embellishment of a well planned human program? 

I mean, can you imagine this happening? A strong earthquake happens and people go to their churches and the pastor and the worship team sit down to make a program. Then, the pianist starts the prelude and then the presider welcomes everyone and calls the prayer leader for opening prayer. And so forth. The usual foolish things we do to make a prayer meeting look spiritual and acceptable to God.

Of course, it wouldn't be like that. Why? Because the urgency requires and compels us to just pray and do it with all our hearts--as sincere and as serious as we can--because the earthquake is ongoing. Programs, in this sense, are useless--we all agree to that. And we deem that when we need God to really help us in such times, we don't bother with programs. We just pray, and pray the best we can. 

So, how come we have two methods of prayer for different occasions? Did God prescribe that in the bible? Did he say that, when there's no present danger, you may have programmed and orderly prayer meetings? but then, if the danger is there, you just pray anyway you can?

I've seen how some churches really make a fuss about the program. They couldn't start anything without it. And everything ought to be done in some acceptable manner. Everything should be by some actions that evince "holiness." I even saw some with ready-to-read prayers written in the noblest way possible with high sounding terms and read with a deep, majestic voice. I'm sure all that would be shattered when a magnitude 9 earthquake suddenly strikes. They'd just do what's natural and use simple words that get the idea straight to God. So, why can't we do it like that every time?

Like this school ministry one Christian church around my area has. They want to thank God for their 40th foundation day. They want a circus parade around the community, a sports fest, dancing contest, literary contest (with bible quiz), and many other activities. They would invite the best speaker with the most number of titles and degrees. They would prepare food and drinks. All that for a week celebration! And all that would cost them big money---and God is worthy of it all!


But I asked, why not just thank God in a simple prayer--doing it wholeheartedly? I mean, your thanksgiving will be well accepted by God and very glorifying if done with a genuinely holy life backing. And "wholeheartedly" means--do you meditate God's Word day and night? Do you teach your students that? Do your teachers actually do that? Do you really live holy lives daily? Then, if so, a simple "Thank you, Father!" together in Jesus' Name would suffice. 

Of course they didn't like that. They wanted it big-time, because God "is well worth it!" I asked, then why not just give the money you'd be spending to the poor?" They hated the idea--and me. They looked at me as if I were some demon. 

Christians have this mentality that to please God, they have to do things big-time or in complicated ways. Simple was a big no-no to God. Yet, I believe the reason why my Jesus came to earth just as a carpenter and a simple man from a low-income family was to impress on us all that simple is powerful to God. Churches have this elitist mindset that says God is not pleased if you cannot do things with lots of expenses and with a formal program.

And yet, when God sends deadly catastrophes, everything is trimmed down to its basic, simplest form while the catastrophes are going on. Everything becomes pure--heart, ways, words, and intentions. Everything becomes beautifully simple. The foolish programs are exposed for what they really are--garbage we don't need to please God. God does not want orderly programs--he wants orderly lives. And that was what Paul wrote to the Corinthians. Their lives were a mess so their church assemblies were also a mess. Messy lives cannot be remedied even with the best worship programs and the most orderly church meeting.

When a big storm was on-going and Jesus and the disciples were in a boat in a lake, it was a deadly present danger. My Jesus didn't need any program, as he didn't need any when he thanked God for the bread and fish multiplication. He simply prayed, wholeheartedly and with radical faith. That's what churches ought to learn again in these last days.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

An Idol is Crafted

"An idol is crafted...with gold and silver" [Isaiah 40.19]

An idol is crafted. That's a big revelation. Idols are never just made carelessly--the best human effort and talent are applied to casting it. "Crafting" means the best and sophisticated artistry. When we get careless and blinded by worldly exposure and succumb to it, we start giving things we deem important our best. Like, in our jobs, businesses, homes, families, ideals, studies, careers, friendships, and even churches. Church leaders do not just want to read the bible--they enroll  in seminaries for titles and degrees. And yet the Word is not seen in them powerfully.

Remember this one thing: beware when you give your best to something and devote so much time to perfecting it. It may have become an idol in your heart. Giving your best to anything you do so that God is glorified is good. But we should beware not to overdo it. There's always the danger of making idols out of them. Do your best and then that's it. Never mind what happens next. 

What I mean is this. I see lots of people who, after giving their best to a task, still can't leave it at that. They want to perfect their best. They spend more time and effort making it the best of the best, especially when there's something at stake--like a recognition, a reward, a promotion, a money bonus, or to get someone's attention or approval. 

What I do is, I give it my best shot--for God's glory--and then forget about it. If people still don't appreciate what I did, I don't care. Even if they were my boss. Well, of course, if it were my boss and he tells me I need to improve on what I've done. I'd obey my earthly master, for that's what the Scriptures say. But I will be very careful never to craft an idol out of what I'm doing. I won't do it to gain his favor or make our company outshine others. I'd just do it for God and forget about it after. An idol is crafted with the best human effort and capability. 

I've seen pastors and church leaders who do their best to make their local church or denomination shine, to be the best. Unaware, they're crafting an idol. With ministry, I always let God do the work through my body--because HE is in my body 100 percent. I don't do anything to outshine anyone or be recognized by people or so people will keep coming back to the church God gave me. I don't do anything to make people go to my church and be members. What I do, I just do them, because God wants me to. Whatever results from that is none of my business. It's the Holy Spirit's business. Because I'm aware that an idol is crafted. You give your best to another cause--even if it's a Godly cause--you start making an idol.

Don't mistake church ministry with God. They're not the same. I give my best---all-out---only to God. No, I'm not active in church. What I mean by "all out best" is that I learn to wait on him. Very few know the art and power in waiting in and for God. They that wait on him will have renewed tremendous strength. I also keep still and know that HE is GOD. I spend time knowing my Jesus more, being sensitive to HIS voice and leading, roaming around the Kingdom with HIM, and having HIS LIFE manifested in me. I meditate HIS Word, because through the Word comes powerful transfiguration--I share in God's being God. I get HIS DNA. I get his LIFE so that he lives in me and no longer I. That's God's flesh.

As long as I do this to God alone and not to anything or anybody else, I don't make idols. I always remember that an idol is crafted with the best--the best craftsmanship, with gold and silver.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

People are Grass

"I'm sure, the people are grass" [Isa. 40]

God wanted Isaiah to shout the truth that men are like grass. Because they kept forgetting. And they treated God like grass instead. They relied totally on their ways and trashed God's--just like what most churches today do. They rely on worldly ways and systems and junk God's supernatural and spiritual ways. For instance, they do not choose leaders through the Spirit's leading anymore. They rely on titles and degrees and votations, which God never used. 

Anyway, the nations were in fact but a drop in a bucket in God's eyes, mere dust when weighed out by God. All of them were less than nothing, worthless. God was fed up. The nations were often insulting God's chosen people because of their seeming weakness. The pagan nations worshiped their strength. But to God, all their "strengths" were zero. He could easily dethrone their princes, bring them to naught. Exactly like grass--people are grass.

In fact, God told Isaiah, people are like grasshoppers [22]. Grass and grasshoppers, they're all the same--powerless. 

The Glory of the Lord

The glory of man is like flowers; they easily fall and wither. But God's Word stays young and new and fresh forever, full of power. God's Word reigns. The Word is God's glory. That's why God's Word is supreme. We should do everything according to His supernatural Word and ways. But men often prefer the world's ways, which are temporary and frail. Worldly ways look impressive, but in truth they are garbage.

God told Isaiah that the glory of God will be revealed to men. For it to be revealed, radical things had to happen--valleys raised up, mountains flattened, rugged grounds leveled, a straight highway in the wilderness. Men who claim to be believers would have to turn upside down, and even churches will have to turn turtle. What they call "Revival Services" are nothing. Those are just showmanship. They never amount to something Kingdomly.

What God will do is reveal His glory to all mankind, and this will be something radical and revolutionary, reversing things, turning things upside down. I can see church people giving up their church denominations and joining the one united, supernatural, and spiritual church of the Lord Jesus Christ worldwide, according to his principles in John 17. This will be the last one big revival in the Last Days.

These people will undergo extreme transformation so they would fit Kingdom standards and be real Kingdom people. Their transformation would take mountains being flattened, valleys raised up, rugged grounds straightened, to smoothen life and character so that Jesus Christ is seen in them. The Jesus LIFE becomes their life and they no longer live but Christ lives in them. That's genuine God's flesh. 

The Lord Blows on Them

In Genesis, God's breath blown on the nostrils of Adam produced life. But God also uses His breath to blow on man's glory to make it fall like a withered flower [7]. God's breath can wither and fell man's glory and also give them life, the LIFE. The Lord also blows on arrogant leaders to make their leadership wither, and God's breath becomes a whirlwind that takes them away as chaff [24]. You see, people are grass. They can easily get pulled out, wither, and blown away. yet, they will never use God's ways in the Word. So a mighty shaking is underway. A powerful destroying and rebuilding.

Rebuilding is not more and more church activities as many suppose. It's waiting on the Lord. If we just learn again the power in waiting for God, our strengths will be renewed  to soar tremendous heights like God's eagles so that with our walks with God we will not faint, and we'd level up to running with God and keep pace with him and not grow weary (40:31). We'd be more than youthful (even youths grow tired and weary and stumble and fall). Youthful strength is nothing compared to having God's own strength in us through Christ.

Don't be just mere people--people are grass. Be sons  and daughters of God--have God's DNA. Be God's flesh on earth.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thorn on The Side

"Solomon transferred Pharaoh's daughter (his wife) from David's City to her palace...because the city was holy.." [2 Chron.8]

The magnificent temple in Jerusalem had just been dedicated with lavish garb. In fact, it was built to the letter of God's Word handed down from David to Solomon. And the Lord even appeared to Solomon, telling him, "I've heard all your prayers." Everything seemed perfect. But the problem was, right at the outset, Solomon had married Pharaoh's daughter, and now he was hiding her from God. He had a thorn on the side, a skeleton in his spiritual closet.

So many church people and ministers want to do great things for God, build him great temples or offer him lavish worship programs or concerts. They do everything according to the Word of God. They even have signs and wonders, the Lord himself making an appearance during the meetings. And indeed, everything's genuine. The Lord is really there.

But the problem is if these worshipers still have skeletons in their closets. And many justify this by saying, being born again does not make us perfect. God understands and he knows we're mere humans. Frail. 

But nothing's farther from the truth. God warned Solomon that night of His appearance: "If you mess up with my Word, I'll reject you and your temple!" [7.19-22]. It turned out the Lord's appearance was not just to congratulate Solomon but primarily to warn him. "Yeah you built me a nice temple, but that's beside the point," God seemed to be saying. "The point is, if your obedience doesn't get past showmanship or publicity, everything's vanity. A mere going after the wind."

And in the end, they got rejected. Jerusalem was rejected. Solomon didn't repent from his pagan marriages. He knew from the start that it was wrong to get Pharaoh's daughter as wife. He took her out of David's city because pagans or non believers were not supposed to be staying in places where the Ark of God had gone. What the Ark had trodden on became holy ground. And he thought merely taking his wife out of David's city remedied the problem. 

And many today are like that. They think hiding skeletons in closets solves the problem. Check yourself out. Do you have a none believing sweetheart or are you engaged to be married to one? You know that that's a problem, but what do you do? You bring him or her to church hoping that he or she would be born again. You know what that is? That's just like how Solomon "built a palace" for his Egyptian wife to keep her safe from God's curses there.

When you invite your non-believing sweetheart to church, you just want yourself and that person to be safe from curses. And you just want God's blessing. But you don't love God and are about to be rejected sooner or later by Him if you don't repent. If you loved God you would obey him right at the start--NO unbeliever as spouse or even sweetheart.

And not just that. Do you have hidden sins in your heart and yet you're so active in ministry? Yeah, you may have marvelous accomplishments and track record in ministry and people honor and respect you. Even church people today are so addicted to recognition and citations and awards. But that's all beside the point. The wages of one sin is still death. The truth has not changed, and neither do your accomplishments and good records change that. If you don't get rid of that it's a thorn on the side. 

Can you imagine how it is to work and live with a thorn on the side? And the ridiculous thing is, why don't people take that stupid thing off and be able to move and breathe and live freely? Why keep it and suffer? Because a thorn on the side satiates the flesh, and anyway, it's only the spirit that suffers. When you have a thorn on the side your spirit feels nothing. It's dead.

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