No Claims Protection

“I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me” (John 14:30).

Jesus spoke to his disciples about his impending crucifixion and told them that he would soon leave to be with the father. He spoke of the ruler of the ‘world system’ who would work through Judas, the Pharisees and Romans to crucify him. He wanted them to know that although he was about to die, that he was surrendering himself. This was to do the will of the father who sent him. His death was not as a result of his loss of power or inability to fight back. “Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels” (Matthew 26:53)?

Jesus made the statement above to Peter after he drew his sword and cut off the ear of one of the soldiers. He told Peter and the disciples that the events at the time needed to happen in order that the scriptures might be fulfilled. Later on in the scriptures Jesus faced Pilate who asked him many questions. When Jesus refused to respond, Pilate asked if he knew that he had the power to release him. “Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin”” (John 19:11).

Jesus spoke at other times in the New Testament about laying down his life to do the will of the father. “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father””(John 10:18). And after his crucifixion, Jesus told his disciples that all authority was given unto him in heaven and in earth.

As believers, we share in that authority as we are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, far above all principalities and powers. As such, the Prince of this world has no claim over us. The people in the highest positions of leadership, have authority over us only because it is given by God. We respect earthly authority and we honour the law of the land. That being said, our citizenship is not of this world and we come under a supreme authority which is divinely ordained by God.

A.P.-Y.

Jurisdictional Authority

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Paul spoke in Ephesians 6, about being fully armoured to stand against all the strategies of the devil. He warned us that our battle is not against other people, but against the spiritual hosts of darkness. Paul outlined four realms of darkness which we are up against as children of God. These include rulers, authorities, cosmic powers over this present darkness and the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places. Daniel 10:13 gives us a glimpse into the warfare that takes place in the heavens. The angel advised Daniel that from the first day that he began to pray, his prayer was heard in heaven.

The angel was sent with an answer to Daniel’s prayer. “But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia” (Daniel 10:13). Michael has been described as the chief arcangel in heaven. In Revelations 12, we read about a battle in heaven which was fought by Michael and his angels against satan and his angels. Satan lost the battle and he and his angels were forced to leave heaven. “This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels” (Revelation 12:9).

Jurisdictional authority refers to the power, right and authority to interpret law. This relates to the limits or territory within which authority may be exercised. Who among us, has the right to relegate spiritual authority within the earth? Jesus spoke to Peter about being the rock or foundation, upon which the church would be built. Jesus promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church. “And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven” (Matthew 16:19).

This scripture outlined to Peter, the disciples and the church, the authority that has been delegated to us in the earth. Whatever we forbid is registered and agreed or endorsed in heaven and also what we allow is also allowed. This permitting and allowing relates to the spiritual forces of darkness and the forces of evil. Paul was clear in his letter to the Ephesians that we are at war against these forces. Like any earthly war, there are rules of engagement and strategies that are used to defeat the enemy. There are weapons used to wage war and there are conditions that make people vulnerable and susceptible to attack.

We cannot simply fold our hands and say that whatever is God’s plan will happen. We have been given the strategies to fight and we are promised victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, who always causes us to triumph. “Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm” (Ephesians 6:13).

A.P.-Y.

Sowing Righteousness

“Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you” (Hosea 10:12).

Hosea spoke concerning the Lord’s judgement against Isreal. He started off by saying, that the more that Isreal prospered, the more they built sacred pillars. The sacred pillars were dedicated to the worship of pagan gods. The people strayed away from the true worship of God. “The hearts of the people are fickle; they are guilty and must be punished. The Lord will break down their altars and smash their sacred pillars” (Hosea 10:2). The people used vain repetitions before God and made vows and covenants which they had no intention or desire to keep. God was angry at the unrighteousness of his people.

Nevertheless, God sent his prophetic word ahead of their impending destruction. The books of the prophets from Isaiah and Jeremiah to the minor prophets, spoke warnings to God’s people. Their words and declarations echoed of the coming destruction. This was due to the rebellion of the people who were called to repent before destruction. “For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: “Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns” (Jeremiah 4:3). Jeremiah also warned the people to plough the hard soil of their hearts. This was so that they would not sow among thorns.

Our hearts are referred to in scripture as soil, which can either be fertile or shallow and arid. Jesus shared the parable of the sower in Matthew 13, in reference to how we receive the word of God. Many people hear the word of God preached, but the condition of their hearts determine whether or not the word bears fruit. Sometimes the word preached is received into hearts that are hardened by the cares of life. As such, people struggle to receive the implanted word of God and to demonstrate transformation. “Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted” (Matthew 13:8)!

The exhortation from Hosea is to sow righteousness in order to reap steadfast love. Remember that we reap what we sow, so when we demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ, we will reap righteousness. We also need to ensure that the condition of our heart is right to receive the word of God. Anger, bitterness, resentment, pride and jealousy can choke the word of God. There are conditions that we need to repent of and humble ourselves to remain teachable. We have to examine our motives and constantly test our own spirits, to ensure that we remain in alignment with God’s will and purpose. “Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

A.P.-Y.

The Blood Covers

“The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:13).

There are many places in scripture where God has promised, that his children will not be afflicted by disease and infirmity. What is permitted to affect and inflict other, is not permitted to affect us. It is according to the measure of our faith that we will remain safe. We can give into the fear and panic that surrounds us or we can claim the promises in the word of God. We declare that sickness and disease is not our portion and what is permitted to affect others is not permitted to affect us.

In Exodus 12, the Israelites in Egypt were instructed to place the blood of a lamb over their doors. This would protect them from the plague that would pass over Egypt, to take the lives of all of their firstborn children. We don’t kill physically lambs anymore, because Jesus Christ shed his blood as the ultimate sacrifice for all mankind. But we are saved through the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross.

As we apply the life giving blood of Jesus Christ to our lives, we can declare that no evil shall befall us neither any plague come near our dwelling. Another story in Acts which comes to mind, is when Paul travelled from Rome to Malta and while collecting wood to build a fire, was bitten by a snake. “He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm” (Acts 28:5). The people around Paul watched and waited for him to swell up and fall down dead. When they realised that no harm came to him, they concluded that he must have been a God.

Paul was not the Supreme God, but God lived in him and the blood of Jesus Christ also flowed through him. Paul understood the power and authority that he carried, so he did not panic or run to seek help when he was bitten. I am not saying that we should not seek medical help when we feel unwell. It is also important that we adhere to medical advice and take practical steps to protect ourselves. That being said, our faith transcends what is happening around us and if we have faith then no harm can come to us. “And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die” (Revelation‬ ‭12:11‬).

A.P.-Y.

The Cost of Envy & Competition

“And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye” (Acts 19:15)?

We read in the New Testament about the envy and jealousy of some of the Jews towards Jesus and his disciples. One of the main groups that had such hatred for Jesus were the Scribes, Pharisees and the High Priest. After Jesus’s death, resurrection and ascension, the disciples operated with the same anointing as Jesus. Paul was not the least among them, although his conversion happened after the death of Jesus. “And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them” (Acts 19:11-12).

Paul’s gift stirred up jealousy and competition among some of the Jews that were exorcists. They took it upon themselves to call over those who were demon possessed in the name of Jesus. They proceeded to try to cast out the demons saying, ‘we adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.’ This sounded like a simple statement and could suggest that their intention was to set people free in the name of Jesus. The problem with this scenario was their motive for doing it. They were not converted and did not accept Jesus Christ as Lord and saviour.

These men had not received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus promised would give the disciples power to do greater works. The exorcist wanted to prove that they were as good as Paul. They felt that if they could do what Paul did, then they would have favour with the crowd and gain as much following as Paul. The outcome for the men was embarrassment and a lesson about rivalry and competition. “And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded” (Acts 19:16).

These men did not have the authority to operate in the name of Jesus Christ and so the evil spirits did not submit to them. “And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye” (Acts 19:15)? Principalities and powers know our names and they know our voices. They respond to the authority given to us by Jesus Christ and the person of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.

The world does not have the authority or the power to compete with us. Some people will try to compete with us but will not prevail against us. They may try to copy what we do and even use our words to try to get ahead. Don’t be disheartened but stand back and watch what God will do. The kingdom of darkness will always try to imitate the kingdom of light but the darkness cannot overcome the light.

A.P.-Y.

Can These Bones Live?

“And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know”” (Ezekiel 37:3).

Ezekiel was a prophet during the time of the Jewish captivity in Babylon. He spoke many prophecies concerning the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem, as well as regarding God’s restoration of his people.

In the 37th chapter of his book, Ezekiel writes about a vision where God takes him and sets him down in a valley of dry bones and asks the question, “can these bones live?” God then instructs Ezekiel to prophesy or speak over the bones and command life to come into them, and for them to be covered with skin. God again instructs Ezekiel to command the breath to enter the bones so that they might live.

God used this illustration to communicate to Ezekiel, that although the nation of Israel was in exile and felt as though they were dead and without hope, that God would bring them back into their own land and restore life to them (Ezekiel 37: 1-14).

This story is used to remind us of the power in our spoken word. It speaks to our ability to prophesy and speak life over anything in our lives that feels dead and hopeless. It sounds quite simple, yet it is profound mystery, that we often do not seem to understand although set out several times in the word of God. “You shall decree a thing and it shall be established” (Job 22:28). “Death and Life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21).

I challenge us to stop before we speak another idle, self-defeating, negative, self-sabotaging word and examine whether or not we are speaking life or death. I decree and declare that in this season our words will give life to dead situations. Let the word of God rest in our hearts and minds and proceed from our lips in Jesus Name. “as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist (Romans‬ ‭4:17‬).

A.P.-Y.

Roots of Fear (3)

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (1 John 4:18).

Yesterday we explored how fear can open a door, for the enemy to operate in the lives of people. Today we will look at the antidotes of fear, which is the perfect love of God and the truth of his word. John stated clearly that there is no fear in love and when we are perfected in love, it drives our fear. We fear when we do not fully understand the love of God and his love has not been perfected in us. Fear stems from the idea that God wants to punish us. Some major anxieties stem from the fear that may be God will not answer our prayers. The devil will whisper to someone who is depressed and say that God has forgotten them or does not love them. The spirit and the voice of condemnation comes from the devil and not from God.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). The understanding that God does not condemn us brings us freedom. “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2). What Paul is saying is that a relationship with Christ and our understanding of who we are in him, sets us free from the fear of death. We have to know and understand the truth of the word in order to be set free from fear.

“and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). No one who spends enough time reading and understanding the truth of God’s word can be continuously bound by fear. When we read the word, understand the word and allow the truth of the word to sink into our hearts, then it will be hard for the devil to keep us bound by fear. “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130). It is the darkness of misunderstanding that keeps people in fear. We cannot allow the devil to keep us in the darkness of fear.

Let us study the word to understand the love of Jesus Christ. If God did not spare his only son, but sent him into the world to die for us, this shows his everlasting love for us. No mistakes that we have made can keep us from the love of God. We don’t have to earn the love of God and if we understand just how much the father loves us, then we know that we have absolutely nothing to fear. “and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans‬ ‭5:5‬).

A.P.-Y.

Roots of Fear (2)

“Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea” (Psalm 46:2).

Yesterday we looked at some of the root causes of fear and explored some of the things that many people are afraid of. Today we will continue to explore some of the additional sources of fear and how they manifest in people’s lives. We know that fear is a spirit which does not come from God. If fear does not come from God, then we can agree that it comes from the Devil. The enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy and uses fear as a weapon against the believer.

There is a concept known as self-fulfilling prophecy, which relates to a person having a false expectation,which becomes a reality. The concept is that someone speaks or prophecies something false about themselves and it then comes to pass. The spiritual law of confession dictates that what we speak will manifest. An example of how this works, is when the enemy plants seeds of fear and doubt in the minds of someone. That person then speaks what they feel out of fear. Although the statement may be untrue at the time, if the person continues to speak the ideas over themselves, their words will manifest.

Often the very thing that someone fears can become true, because if they say it long enough, they will begin to believe and act on it. For example, a mother may fear her teenaged daughter becoming pregnant because she was a teen mother herself. The mother can become extremely controlling and overprotective of her daughter and project her fears unto her. This can cause her daughter to listen to what her mother says repeatedly and rebel against her mother’s rules. This can drive her into the wrong friendships and lead to the very thing that her mother feared.

“For the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me” (Job 3:25). Some Theologians believe that this statement suggests, that Job had a fear which opened a door for the devil to operate in his life. We may not know the answer to this question, but it is worthwhile examining where we have fears and start praying for God to remove these from our lives. Let us pray that our actions and motives are not driven by fear and also pray that we do not speak the seeds of fear that the enemy tries to plant in our minds. “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control(2 Timothy‬ ‭1:7‬).

A.P.-Y.

Roots of Fear

“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9).

Fear is a natural human emotion which alerts us to the presence of danger. Exaggerated or irrational fear is a symptom of phobias which causes limiting beliefs and ideas. There are many subtle irrational fears and thought patterns that we have internalised overtime. These can keep us from maximising our full potential and accomplishing our God given purpose. Some common fears that people have are the fear of death and dying, the fear of being sick, the fear of being alone or the fear of not being loved or accepted by others.

Many fears are created from negative experiences early in childhood. Other fears stem from negative thought and ideas which we develop from the things that significant people have said to us. Some people are afraid of things that they didn’t experience themselves but represent secondary trauma passed down from their parents. An example can be a mother filling her daughter with extremely negative ideas about men and marriage. Although her daughter may not have necessarily experienced a bad marriage, she can erroneously transfer that fear into her own marriage.

Someone may have been hurt by people in relationships in the past. This can result in the fear of entering into new relationships and cause us to struggle with trusting other people. A child who was hurt by a parent may struggle to trust others. The fear would be that other people may hurt or harm them in the way that their parent(s) did. A rich man can struggle to enjoy his wealth because he is afraid that someone will rob him and take away his wealth. He can also live with the persistent fear that he could wake up one day and find himself poor again.

Negative life experiences can leave deep seated fears in our minds and affect our emotional responses to others. While it is important to learn from our past experiences, we must not allow these experiences to create deep seated fears that can cripple our chances of living a meaningful life. As Christians, let us pray and continue to bind the spirit of fear and it’s limiting effect on our lives. Ask God to show you where you have fears that limit your ability to advance and make progress.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

A.P.-Y.

Love Will Win

“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

One of the greatest commandments in the bible, relates to loving God and loving each other. God is love and if God lives in us, then our lives should radiate his example of love and unconditional positive regard. Often in Christendom, when we consider spiritual warfare, we think about praying down fire and brimstone and binding principalities and powers. While this has its place, one of the most powerful weapons to rescue a dying world is love.

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). When the church demonstrates love to the world, this will draw people to experience the love of Jesus Christ. Our spiritual gifts are good for the edification of the church, but without love, our gifts and talents are useless in God’s eyes. “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1).

When we love others we show them patience and kindness. Love is not be jealous, proud or rude. Love is not be irritable or demand to have its own way in everything. Love does not keep a list of the mistake of others. Love never rejoices over injustice, but is happy when the right thing is done. Love never gives up on others or ourselves. Love never loses hope or faith and lasts through all circumstances (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

I believe that love is a powerful weapon and when we continue to show love, this will transform others and draw people to Christ. Our love will win the battles in our relationships, groups and communities. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”
‭‭(Matthew‬ ‭22:39‬).

A.P.-Y.