Abundance in the Father’s House (Pt 1)

Daily Devotion | Day 322

“How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights” (Psalm 36:7-8).

The lifetime project of every Christian is to know the Father more and more. The Scriptures show us a picture of the Father’s heart, His mind and His ways. Paul understood that knowing the Father is crucial for a meaningful Christian spirituality. As a result, he prayed that “the Father of glory may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Ephesians 1:17, NKJV). When you understand the Father and His ways, Christianity will be a liberating experience for you.

In this teaching series, we will discuss one of the truths about our Father, that He is a God of riches and abundance. He thinks in terms of abundance, not lack. And He wants us to operate with the same mindset. Our Father’s house is a house of abundance, and His riches are ours to enjoy in Christ Jesus. We will start today’s message by returning to the beginning, in the Garden of Eden. As we do so, keep in mind what the Psalmist says in today’s opening passage.

When Adam and Eve were created, they were greeted with abundance. The Garden of Eden was already prepared for them (Genesis 2:8-15). Everything was ready and plentiful for them to enjoy. Their first impression of life was one of abundance. This was no coincidence. God wanted to impress upon them the reality of abundance.

At the same time, He did not want them to entertain the thought of lack. Abundance creates security, but lack leads to insecurity. God did not want Adam and Eve to feel insecure. He wanted them to live with full assurance of provision. Therefore, everywhere Adam and Eve looked, they were met with images of wonder, beauty, riches and abundance. They had no sense of lack.

But someone was not happy about this state of affairs. The devil is his name. He devised a plan to introduce Adam and Eve to the experience of lack. He convinced them that they were not like God, i.e. they were not deity (Genesis 3:1-6). Up to this point, Adam and Eve had no feeling of lack. But the enemy sold them the idea of lack and they bought it. What they did not realize is that the enemy was envious of their secure position and their sense of abundance and completeness.

The interesting thing is, Adam and Eve were like God already. Recall that they were created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27). If you are the likeness of God, it means you are like God. But Adam and Eve did not realize this. And the enemy succeeded in making them feel insecure.

Notice what happened after they took the devil’s bait. The Bible says, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked . . .” (Genesis 3:7; see also v. 8-11). For the first time in Adam and Eve’s life, they experienced a sense of lack. They experienced a sense of nakedness. This sense of nakedness represents insecurity. It represents a sense of non-provision.

But more importantly, it is a reflection on the Father because it makes Him look like a father who does not provide for his children. This state of affairs broke the Father’s heart. You can sense this in His reply to Adam’s statement that he was naked: “Who told you that you were naked?” (3:11). To restore their sense of divine provision and abundance, “for Adam and His wife the LORD God made tunics of [animal] skin, and clothed them” (3:21).

Your Father’s house is a house of abundance. Keep your mind away from lack. Focus rather on the Father’s riches and provision. He cares about you more than you care about yourself.

To be continued tomorrow, God willing.

For further studyPsalm 65:1-13

Three Signs You Are Reigning in Christ (Pt 2)

Daily Devotion | Day 302

“For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17, NKJV).

Yesterday, we talked about how a life of righteousness is a sign that we’re reigning in Christ. Today, we will continue with our series on “Three Signs You Are Reigning in Christ” by looking at another sign: peace.  Let’s note that the three things mentioned by Paul are not the only signs of life in the kingdom. However, they are core elements without which it is impossible to claim the presence of the kingdom in one’s life. Before we talk about peace, let’s make a brief comment on the nature of God’s kingdom.

The point of us being in God’s kingdom is to reign in Christ, i.e. to reign over everything associated with the powers of darkness, notably sin, satan, demonic oppression and a life of fear. At this point, let’s recall what Paul said about our place of dominion in Christ: “He [God] has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:13).

Some think that we will start to reign only when Jesus appears a second time. Yes, there’s a future component of reigning with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). However, the reality is, there’s a present tense component as well. The power to reign is already at work in us now. Jesus Himself pointed to this present tense experience of the kingdom when He said, “the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). The kingdom within us is what makes it possible for us to experience and manifest the essential signs of the kingdom, thereby attesting that indeed we are sons and daughters of the King of Kings. Therefore, the normal experience of every child of God is to exude peace.

Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be called, “Prince of Peace” (9:6). The peace of Jesus is the very peace of God. By his death, Jesus reconciled us to the Father and obtained peace for us. Consequently, Jesus “Himself is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14; see also Romans 5:1-2). As children of God, this peace is imparted to us freely. Jesus said, “My peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you” (John 14:27). This peace is of divine origin and it inhabits the Christian soul. When you receive this peace it keeps you still, tranquil, unafraid and unagitated. Your spirit is at rest in the bosom of the Father. You can go through adversity and still be at rest. This is how you reign in Christ.

 The peace of God is the power to rest in God. And, when you’re resting in God it means you’re reigning in Christ. You are sharing in the peace of the Prince of Peace. As a natural result, you then can produce peace as a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).

This is the Father’s plan for you. Embrace it and enjoy a life of divine peace. Amen.

For further studyPhilippians 4:1-9 and Colossians 3:12-17

Four Things You Will Not Fear

Daily Devotion | Day 285

“You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday” (Psalm 91:5-6, ESV).

Fear interferes with faith. Where there’s faith, there’s no fear. And where there’s fear, there’s no faith. It is faith that fills the heart with courage, confidence and trust. The root of fear is insecurity. What God is saying in today’s Scripture passage is, the safest place for you to be is under His shelter. Dwelling under the shelter of the Almighty is a choice you make. Blessed are you when the Lord spreads His feathers over you. Awareness of His divine protection precludes fear.

Let’s talk about some important details in Psalm 91:5-6. The Lord has many blessings for those who dwell in His presence. One such blessing is fearlessness in the face of danger and adversity. The Lord identifies four key things you will not fear. Let’s look at each of them:

1. You will not fear the terror of the night. This may be news for some of you, but night time is a favorite time for the enemy to strike terror. There are few reasons for this. One is that during night hours people tend to have their guard down. As Paul stated, “For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night” (1 Thessalonians 5:7). Of course, there are exceptions to this, but the norm is correctly stated by Paul. “Night,” as used in this context, is both metaphorical and literal. Because people generally are less aware of themselves at night, when terror strikes, they’re mostly unprepared. Therefore, they’re more prone to be taken unawares, resulting in panic and terror.

 But God says, no matter the terror that strikes by night, you will not fear. He didn’t say there will be no terror. He says you will not fear. This is an important clarification. Our real problem is not that we have a problem. The real problem we have is our fear of the problem. If you’re afraid of something, you’re unconsciously acknowledging that the thing you fear has power over you. The reverse is equally true. When you refuse to be frightened, you’re stating that you have superior advantage over the thing in question. And, this is what God says will happen because you dwell under His shelter.

If you have a pattern of being afraid, you need to examine the nature of your relationship with God.

2. You will not fear the arrow that flies by day. Spiritual warfare is a 24/7 operation. The adversary is defeated, but he wants to take down with him as many as he can. The “arrow” the Bible is talking about is a spiritual weapon of the enemy. An arrow needs a target. The enemy doesn’t discriminate. Whoever is vulnerable and is in range, he will fire. God is revealing to us that there is an arrow of the enemy which flies by day. This means you need to be aware of yourself even during the day, because powers of darkness don’t limit their activity to the night.

Arrows are flying all the time in the spiritual realm. Only God knows the evil those arrows can inflict. You need to stay safe. God’s promise is, because you abide in His presence, you will not fear the arrow that flies. The arrow cannot breach the wall of protection God has set around you. Take a deep breath. You’re safe in the Father’s presence.

3. You will not fear the pestilence that stalks in darkness. Satan is a stalker. To strike, he first must follow the target and gather as much information as possible. Here again, God is revealing to us that there is a pestilence that walks in darkness. It doesn’t walk aimlessly. It is a malevolent force walking with a purpose, seeking to inflict maximum harm on as many victims as possible. But, you will not fear the pestilence, for you dwell in the secret place of the Almighty. When pestilence strikes, many people become frightened. You will not be one of them. What frightens others will not frighten you.                                                                                                                  

4. You will not fear the destruction that wastes at noonday. By now you have noticed that there seems to be a set time of the day when nefarious attacks are launched. God is revealing to us that powers of darkness pick certain times of the day for their activity. We will do well to keep this in mind. At noon, there is a plan to lay waste human life and cause widespread destruction. When you hear things happening don’t be quick to assume they’re ‘normal.’ Everything that happens, someone or something is behind it. Things don’t just happen. The Lord says, you will not fear the noonday destruction.

Seek shelter under the shadow of the Most High. And remain there. You are secure when you are where God wants you to be and doing what God wants you to do. Be not afraid.

BlessingMay the Lord open your eyes to see that He is an encircling wall of fire around you, for your protection. Amen.

For further studyPsalm 121 

How Your Knowledge Affects Your Worship

Daily Devotion|Day 267

“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands” (Psalm 63:3-4, ESV).

Discovering the nature of God’s love is a life-changing experience. Not only that, it a worship transforming experience. How you worship the Father is based on who you know Him to be. In other words, your knowledge of God informs your worship of God. You will worship the Father based on the degree of your knowledge of Him.

The deeper your knowledge of God, the deeper your worship

How and how often you praise God is all based on your knowledge. We are not talking about information about God or ‘book knowledge.’ We are talking about the kind of knowledge which illuminates the very core of your being and gives you a more accurate picture of who the Father is. The Bible calls this experience revelation.

 Knowing the importance of this kind of revelation, Paul prayed for the Christians at Ephesus that,

 “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of himhaving the eyes of your hearts enlightened . . .” (Ephesians 1:17-18).

In today’s opening passage, David says something profound. Addressing God, he declares, “your steadfast love is better than life.” In what way is God’s love better than life? What could be better than life? It takes revelation to understand. When David worshiped God, it was based on revelation. This explains why he could say things like “your steadfast love is better than love.”

When you see God’s love for what it is, you will realize that there is no better place to be than to abide in the Father’s love. You will live for nothing but God’s love. Your knowledge of this love will inspire you to worship  God differently.

Because David knew God’s love was better than life, he felt motivated to say “my lips will praise you . . . I will bless you as long as I livein your name I will lift up my hands.” David mentions three things which are all related to worship. He put the praise of God on His lips. He blessed God, not sometimes, but as long as he lived (Worship is not what you do on Sundays. It’s what you do every day of your life ). Finally, David lifted up his hands in the Lord’s name.

God wants you to worship Him in knowledge. Today, ask Him to open the eyes of your understanding. He will hear you and it will change your experience of worship.

BlessingMay the Lord let His face shine upon you today. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further studyJohn 4:19-25

Turning Your Bed Time into Worship Time

Daily Devotion|Day 266

“My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches” (Psalm 63:5-6, KJV).

Bed time should not always mean sleep time. Bed time should not mean television time or game time. You can turn bed time into worship time. Your bed is a special place. It is the place of rest and quietness. In a sense, bed time is sacred time. Quality bed time can enhance the overall quality of your life. Today, let’s talk about how you can use your bed time to greater advantage; specifically, how you can turn bed time into worship time. The Psalmist tells us how.

The Psalms are a great place to draw inspiration for simple, deep and authentic worship. In today’s passage, the Psalmist is speaking to God. He says, “I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.” Meditation is worship. You are at your best when you are quietYou are at your best when you are contemplating God. When you remember someone, it means the person is important to you. When the Psalmist says he remembers God upon his bed, he isn’t talking about fleeting thoughts. He is referring to a loving remembrance.

 Love triggers remembrance. You remember those you love. If you love God, it is natural to remember Him often, especially in your quiet moments. Moreover, remembrance triggers meditation. When you remember someone, you have the choice of ignoring the thought or holding it in your mind for as long as you can. This is especially true of those you love dearly. You will know how much you love God by how often you remember Him – how often He is present in your thoughts. The Psalmist used his bed time as occasions for worship. He did this by remembering God on his bed and meditating on Him in the night hours – when all was quiet.

Bed time worship of God produced results for the Psalmist. He says, “my soul shall be satisfied with marrow and fatness.” This means when he remembered God and meditated on Him, it nourished his soul as one is nourished by rich food. Next, the Psalmist says, “my mouth shall praise you with joyful lips.” When you worship God in remembrance and meditation, it excites your soul. The result is, joy and praise flow from your lips. This is devotion. This is worship.

Your soul is satisfied when you turn your mind to your Maker. Don’t starve your soul. Nourish it. Turn some of your bed time into worship time.

BlessingMay the peace of God guard your heart and mind. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: Psalm 63:1-11