The Courage of Moses’ Parents

23 It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months when he was born. They saw that God had given them an unusual child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s command.
Hebrews 11:23 (NLT)

Welcome to the sixteenth installment on my study of faith from Hebrews 11. Until now, we have read about the faith of many people in the Bible. This time God wants us to look at the people who have often been neglected by many of us. They are the parents of Moses.

Let us go through the background at the time when Moses was born. When the Israelites first migrated to Egypt, they were just a family group with some servants. They were the VIPs there because they were the family members of Joseph. Joseph was the one running the whole country and he was remembered for transforming an ordinary country to the most powerful nation in the region through the monopoly of food in the time of famine. So, the whole family was naturally seen as the upper class in the Egyptian society.

However, as generations passed, the family grew into a huge population and the subsequent Pharaohs had no memory of Joseph’s role in their history. The Pharaoh started to consider the Israelites as a threat to his kingdom. So he enslaved them to keep these people in control, hoping that their numbers might shrink. Unfortunately for him, the population of the Israelites kept growing. At last, the Pharaoh had decided to be extreme, he wanted to kill all the baby boys.

15 Then Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, gave this order to the Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah:
16 “When you help the Hebrew women as they give birth, watch as they deliver. If the baby is a boy, kill him; if it is a girl, let her live.”
Exodus 1:15-16 (NLT)

Personally I find this policy to be really dumb. If you want to reduce their population, you should kill the girls, not boys. Why? Consider this, one man and five women can produce more babies than five men and one woman. Furthermore, why not just kill the adults, especially those who are capable of reproducing? The more I think of these, the more I am convinced that God must have a hand in this. He must have been planning for Moses future. The subsequent verses in Exodus confirm that.

This tells us that no matter what situation you are in right now, God is working behind the scenes. He is preparing your future for you. So, don’t be despair just because the situation does not look right. Build up your faith and get ready for the great prosperity God is preparing for you.

Hebrews 11:23 tells us that Moses’ parents hid him for three months when he was born. They were taking a huge risk for not throwing Moses into the river. If they were caught, the whole family could be in trouble. They could have obeyed the Vulcan’s creed that says, “The Need Of Many Outweighs The Need Of Few.” Hebrews 11:23 attribute that to their faith. The second part of the verse says they saw that God had given them an unusual child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s command.

There are 2 key words here: “unusual” and “not afraid”. Moses was unusual from birth. Somehow this gave the parents faith to have courage to keep him alive regardless of the risk. They had no fear of the evil king because of their faith. Their faith became a part of God’s plan to deliver Israel. If it were not for their faith, the deliverer of Israel that God sent would have died before he could fulfill his role. No wonder God chose to honor them in Hebrews 11:23.

As Christians, we too are unusual because we are born of God. We belong to a new species, God’s species. We are not meant to be just like the rest of the world. We are set apart by God for greater things he has planned for us. We are destined for greatness. We do not have to behave like the rest of the world. When there is a recession, many people will start to fear losing their jobs but we don’t because the source of our prosperity is God, not the economy. When there is a plague, we don’t have to be afraid of being infected because we believe Jesus had taken all our disease at the Cross. The plague that is ravaging the neighborhood has no right to oppress us. This gives us courage to face the future. No matter what it looks like, we do not have to be afraid of it.

Like Moses’ parents, our faith could have much larger consequence than we can ever dream of. What could it be? I don’t know but it will be great.

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The Heart Of Joseph

22 It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt. He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left.
Hebrews 11:22 (NLT)

Welcome to the fifteenth installment on my study of faith from Hebrews 11. This time we look at Joseph. It does not surprise me that Joseph made it to the list of people known for their faith. After all, he had the best career success in the Bible. He started from being a slave and rose to be in authority over his master’s household. I suspect even the free citizens of Egypt at that time did not have his standard of living. Later, when he was thrown into the prison, he rose to become the manager of it. He was given one interview with the Pharaoh and became the second most powerful man in the most powerful nation in the region. This is career success as never seen before.

Yet, God did not remember Joseph for his career success. According Hebrews 11:22, Joseph was remembered for his faith when he said that the people of Israel would leave Egypt and wanted the Israelites to take his bones with them when they left. Don’t you think it is strange? What has leaving Egypt and taking bones got to do with faith? What can we learn from it? It seems that Hebrews 11:22 does not tell us much. We will need to go to Genesis to find out.

24 “Soon I will die,” Joseph told his brothers, “but God will surely come to help you and lead you out of this land of Egypt. He will bring you back to the land he solemnly promised to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”
25 Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear an oath, and he said, “When God comes to help you and lead you back, you must take my bones with you.”
Genesis 50:24-25 (NLT)

Genesis 50:24 tells us Joseph knew God will come and lead his people out of Egypt to the land he promised to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He did not seem to know of the oppression that took place in the book of Exodus. His heart was with the promise of God, in particular the covenant God made with Abraham. At that time in Egypt, life was good but that did not affect Joseph’s faith in the will of God. He knew his people were meant to live in the land God wants them to have.

Could this be the secret to his career success? All the while, his attention was on the will of God. In fact he was so focused in fulfilling the will of God that in Genesis 50:25 he made his brothers swear to take his bones with them when they left. Even after his death, he wanted to go back to the land God had promised to give to his people. His desire to fulfil the will of God seemed to have enhanced his faith that has caused the success of his career. The wealth and riches he was enjoying were just the by-products of it.

What does this mean to us? How can we benefit from this? Please don’t get me wrong, God has nothing against people wanting to achieve career success, make more money, attaining better health, having more fun, better family relationship and other self-improvements. Religious people may have problems with self-improvements but God doesn’t. I believe what God wants us to know is when we choose to focus our desire to fulfil his desires, our rewards will be much greater than we can ever wished for. Our prosperity will be greater. In other words, we will be in better position of prosperity if his desires become our desires.

If we only focus on our own needs and enjoyment, our prosperity will be limited. Let me give you an example. I understand that this article is read all over the world but I can only use the Singapore background in this. In Singapore, if you have $1 million you can put the money in a stable investment that yields 5% per year. This translates to $50,000 a year and more than $4,100 per month. This amount of money can give you a middle class living standard without working. If you have 10 times the amount, which is $10 million, that will provide you with more than $41,000 per month. If you have this amount of income, you don’t need a house anymore. You can be a hotel and resorts hopper. You can afford to spend the rest of your life moving from one hotel (the 5 star types) to another. Any more money is just numbers. You may feel the thrill in the beginning but as time goes by, you will be bored and restless. Satan will start to tempt you into drugs and gambling addiction. Soon, all your money will be gone.

How could this happen? When we became Christians, we were born again as children of God. In my previous article entitled “We Are Gods”, I have shown that being the children of God means we are born of God. We belong to the same species as God. This means we are gods. As such, we have the nature of God. The nature of God is not only about health and wealth. The nature of God also includes compassion for people. God loves every human being in the world. He does not want them to starve, suffer from disease, oppression or be distressed in any other way.

As gods, his desires should also be our desires. Therefore, if we make his desires to be our desires, there is no limit on how much prosperity we can have. When we have more money, it is no longer a change in numbers. It will translate to lesser people dying of starvation. It will translate to more people getting to hear the Gospel and be saved. It will translate to more people being healed from sickness and disease. It will translate to lesser sufferings and more joy in the world. At that time, no matter how much money you have, you are in position to receive more.

This is the exceeding prosperity God wants us to have. Do you want it? If you do, you will have to take your “god-hood” seriously.

Faith To Extend Blessings

20 It was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau.
21 It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff.
Hebrews 11:20-21 (NLT)

Welcome to the fourteenth installment on my study of faith from Hebrews 11. This time we are going to look at the other direction of faith. If you have been reading the previous articles, you will be able to understand that faith is needed for us to receive blessings from God. In the above verses, God wants to know that faith is also needed for us to extend blessings to others. God is not just interested to bless us, he wants us to be channels of his blessings. In other words, God wants us to be his representatives in blessing others and in answering the prayers of others. We need faith to do those as well.

“What if I tell you that I am only interested in receiving blessings? I am not interested in helping others.”

First, you can say that now because you have not fully taken up the nature of God. In my previous article entitled “We Are Gods.” I used the analogy of a newborn puppy to show that a newborn puppy is a complete dog even if it does not behave like one. As long as it continues to drink milk, it will grow up. One day it will behave like a dog.

Likewise, you may not have the same desire as God but if you were born again, you are god. You have his nature. As long as you continue to “drink his milk” which mean spending time with God, listening to faith messages and meditating on the Word of God, one day you will exhibit his nature. You will have the desire to give and bless others. You will delight in answering the prayers of others. If you refuse to “drink his milk” you will not be able to receive his blessings in the first place.

Secondly, Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive. What does that mean? Think of it this way. When a disaster happened, there will be many victims and aid workers helping them. Which side would you like to be in? Here is more. Which roles will you want to fill?
 The one who seeks employment or the one who gives employment?
 The one who receives a huge bonus or the one who gives huge bonus?
 The one who seeks treatment of a disease or the one who gives the treatment?
 The one who receives a million dollars or the one who gives a million dollars?

What is the message here? The giver is always in a better position than the receiver. If you are in the position of giving a million dollars, you must have more than a million dollars in the first place. Not only that, the harvest from seed worth a million dollars is definitely a lot more than that.

In addition, your desire to give will reinforce you faith in receiving greater wealth from God. Let me give you an example. You may be so poor now that you are suffering from hunger. You have nothing to eat. If you have the mentality of a receiver, you will just pray for God to send food to you. However, if you have the mentality of a giver, you will realize that there must be many people who are suffering hunger like you. You will care for them and want to help them even though you are not much better yourself. Then you will resolve to trust God to put you in the position to provide food for 100 poor families. You will have to be quite rich to do that and God will make sure you do.

After you have reached the position where you can afford to feed 100 poor families, you may want to give more and start to use your faith to feed 1,000 poor families. If this process keeps repeating, one day you will be able to feed millions of poor people. The desire to give has helped you to be far richer than you have ever dared to dream of. So, if you want to be exceeding rich, develop the desire to give. Be a giver and you will find yourself far richer than you thought you could.

Let us get back to the above verses. Hebrews 11:20 tells us that it was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau. The blessings from Isaac were not empty words. They worked. They showed results. Jacob got the firstborn blessings through deceit but that did not stop the blessings to work. In fact he got rich not from the inheritance of Isaac’s estate.

When Esau realized that Jacob had got the firstborn blessings, he got so angry that he wanted to kill Jacob. Jacob had to flee and worked for his uncle. The entire family assets were left in Esau’s hands. Jocob got nothing. Yet this did not stop Jacob from getting rich.

41 Whenever the stronger females were in heat, Jacob would place the branches in the troughs in front of the animals so they would mate near the branches,
42 but if the animals were weak, he would not place them there. So the weak animals went to Laban and the strong ones to Jacob.
43 In this way the man grew exceedingly prosperous and came to own large flocks, and maidservants and menservants, and camels and donkeys.
Genesis 30:41-43(NIV)

Jacob was not just rich. The Bible says he was exceedingly prosperous and came to own large flocks, and maidservants and menservants, and camels and donkeys. God showed him how to get rich. Jacob started from nothing other than the firstborn blessing and ended up exceedingly prosperous. Where is the firstborn blessing today? It is in Jesus. Jesus is God’s first born. If you are a Christian, you are in him, you have the firstborn blessing. You may have nothing now but as long as you have the firstborn blessing you will be exceedingly prosperous. All you need is to believe.

How about Esau? He got a lesser blessing but it was not bad.

9 “My brother, I have plenty,” Esau answered. “Keep what you have for yourself.”
Genesis 33:9 (NLT)

Esau was not only rich, he had 400 men who could fight and he established his own city, which later grew into a nation. Even the leftover blessings from Isaac can deliver great results because of his faith.

In Hebrews 11: 21, Jacob blessed Joseph’s sons in faith. What do you think will happen to them?

20 So Jacob blessed the boys that day with this blessing: “The people of Israel will use your names when they give a blessing. They will say, ‘May God make you as prosperous as Ephraim and Manasseh.’”
Genesis 48:20 (NLT)

13 Moses said this about the tribes of Joseph: “May their land be blessed by the Lord with the precious gift of dew from the heavens and water from beneath the earth;
14 with the rich fruit that grows in the sun, and the rich harvest produced each month;
15 with the finest crops of the ancient mountains, and the abundance from the everlasting hills;
16 with the best gifts of the earth and its bounty, and the favor of the one who appeared in the burning bush. May these blessings rest on Joseph’s head, crowning the brow of the prince among his brothers.
Deuteronomy 33:13-16 (NLT)

They got the best real estate when the Israelites reclaimed their land. Their reputation was linked to prosperity.

In conclusion, if you want to get the best in life, get in faith to receive and to give. Faith will not only give you the best blessings, it will also enable you to extend the same blessings to your descendents. Your prosperity will outlast you and benefit your descendents as well.

The Sacrifice Of Isaac

17 It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac,
18 even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.”
19 Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.
Hebrews 11:17-19 (NLT)

Welcome to the thirteenth installment on my study of faith from Hebrews 11. I hope you enjoy being god after reading the previous article. In this article, we will look in detail on an incident, which can cause you to have a negative opinion on God if you don’t see it in full context. God instructed Abraham to kill his own son. If you read the above sentence alone, you may feel like staying away from God. Those who are against Christianity will prey on this incident to their advantage.

Let us start. The first fact I would like to highlight is this incident is a one-off event. It has never been repeated. So, if someone approached you and tell you that God wants you to sacrifice your son you can throw the scum out.

The second fact is, God did not ask Abraham to sacrifice his son the moment they first met. They knew each other long before it happened. God called Abraham when he was in his native country in Genesis 12. Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 years old. Before that he was 87 years old when Ishmael was born. The age gap between Ishmael and Isaac is 13 years. So Abraham must have got to know God for decades before he was asked to sacrifice his son. This means he must have known the true meaning of this sacrifice.

Thirdly, Hebrews 11: 19 tells us Abraham did not believe Isaac will really die. He was sure that even if he drove his dagger into Isaac’s heart, God would bring him back alive. How did he know? He had known God for a long time. His faith was firmly established. He trusted God. He was not in grief when he took Isaac for the sacrifice.

So far so good but why would God choose such a sadistic way of testing the man’s faith? In order to understand his intention, we need to understand his nature. God is sovereign. Being sovereign means he can do what he wants to do. He can make any laws and promises he wants. However, God is also a person of integrity. Having integrity means after he made the laws and promises, he is obliged to obey them. God has to obey his own laws and promises because he has integrity.

“What has that got to do with the sacrifice of Isaac?”

Be patient, I will get there. When Adam sinned, God banished him permanently out from the Garden of Eden. A cherubim was sent to prevent mankind from accessing the tree of life (Genesis 3:24). What is the tree of life? It is the source of eternal life. Today Jesus is our tree of life. However, if God to sent Jesus (who is our tree of life) to have communion with men and die for our sins directly, he would have broken his own law. After all, according to God’s rules, Adam and his descendents are to be cut off from God.

So, God planned to supercede this law with another one known as the Law Of Covenant. He made a covenant with Abraham. A covenant is a contract between 2 parties where both sides are to reciprocate the deeds done to each other. It is like saying we promised to help each other and stand together no matter what happens. I will do for you whatever favor you did for me. So when God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, he was hoping that Abraham would obey because once he did, God would be obligated by the Covenant to do the same, send his Son to die for us.

Here is another clue. Let us look at Hebrews 11:17 in Young’s Literal Translation to get the literal words.

17By faith Abraham hath offered up Isaac, being tried, and the only begotten he did offer up who did receive the promises,

Notice that God called Isaac as Abraham’s “only begotten”. Isn’t that a mistake? Isaac wasn’t Abraham’s only son. Abraham had another son before that. God had purposely used the words “only begotten” because he had planned to send his only begotten Son to die for our sins. When Abraham through faith had obeyed God to sacrifice his “only begotten” son for God, he was obligating God to sacrifice his only begotten Son for us. Are you not glad that Abraham obeyed God? Otherwise, Jesus would not have come to pay for the penalty of our sins.

The difference is, when Abraham was ready to kill his son, God stopped him. When God was to kill Jesus, no one stopped him. Jesus died to pay for all our sins. Through him we have eternal life. Through him we have full access to all the blessings God wants us to have.

We Are Gods

12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
John 1:12-13 (NIV)

Do you like the title? I am taking a break from Hebrews 11 to address the issue of us Christians being gods. I strongly believe this is what God wants us to take seriously. Here is the brief background on the reason I am writing this.

This blog has been attracting a lot of regular visitors. I believe many of you are sincere Bible believing Christians who want to build up your faith. However, there are also those from religious groups who want to fight for their religion. I am grateful for their participation because they have told me the latest persecution tactics used by the religious groups. By the way, I don’t waste time visiting the religious websites regularly. The question I suspect many may ask is why would I bother with what the religious people are doing?

Here is the answer. I don’t think I have to convince any Bible believing Christians that the persecution on us by the religious groups are inspired and directed by Satan. Satan had mobilized his army of religious people to persecute us because he is afraid of our faith. Therefore, when the religious people focus their attacks on a certain area, Satan must be extremely terrified of it. The actions of the religious people are the indicators on the fears of Satan.

One of them asked me whether I agree with Kenneth Copeland when he said we are gods and God is the biggest loser. Sounds like a trap like when they asked Jesus whether they should pay taxes. However, this is not a problem to me because I know the context behind the terms. One of the expertise of the religious people is they are good in quoting out of context. They quoted our words and gave their own meanings to them. Then they used the meanings to prove what they want to prove. To make the story short, I realize that the religious folks are very furious at Kenneth Copeland for saying that we are little gods that they slandered him as a Mormon. What does this mean? Satan must be very afraid of Christians seeing ourselves as gods. Well, I am going to make his nightmare come true. Run Satan, run. You can run but you cannot hide. I am your biggest nightmare.

So, in this article I am going to prove that we Christians are indeed gods and show you how we can access to the powers of God in our lives. Here we go.

John 1:12-13 above tells us that the moment we believed in Jesus, we have become the children of God. We are born of God. What does that mean? Let us look at the Bible to understand what does God mean by being children and born of someone or something.

20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.”
21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.”
23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.
24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so.
25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:20-25 (NIV)

Please note the terms “according to their kinds”. It is the will of God for the offspring to be the same kind or species as the parent they were born from. So, the children of dogs are dogs. The children of cats are cats. The children of elephants are elephants. Therefore, based on the laws God has set, the children of God are gods. When we call ourselves gods, we are in line with the will of God. We are telling the truth according to the Bible. Terms like “Christians”, “believers”, “children of God”, “gods”, “godlings” and “little gods” have the same meaning.

“Now that I am god, what type of superpowers that I am entitled to?”

23″I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.
24Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Mark 11:23-24(NIV)

You have the power to receive anything you want. This power lies in your faith. Through faith we are able to activate our godly powers. Superman may be able to throw mountains to the sea but he cannot get everything he wants. He is still limited. We are not. We can have anything we want and make things happen the way we want them to happen because we are the children of God. We are born of God. We belong to the same species as God. We are gods. This means we are entitled to his powers, his prosperity, his success, his health, his eternal life and the blessings that God has.

Let me illustrate further. When a puppy is born. It is blind and unable to walk. All it can do is to lie down and drink its mother’s milk. It does not behave like dogs that we are familiar with. It doesn’t run around and bark. However it is still a dog. It is wrong to describe a newborn puppy as a potential god or a future dog. It is a compete dog. All it has to do is to continue to drink its milk and sleep. Soon, its eyes will open and its legs will gain strength. It will see what the other dogs are doing and find itself doing the same. At this time, it will behave like a dog.

In the same way, you may not have the characteristics of God right now even though you have believed in Jesus. You may be poor or you may be suffering from a disease. You may even have behaviors that are not compatible with God. You may be religious, selfish, hot-tempered, greedy or judgmental. However, you are still god. Not displaying godly characteristics will not disqualify you as a god. The puppy is a dog because it is born as one. It does not have to behave like a dog to be one. Likewise, the moment you believed in Jesus, you have become a child of God. You are born of God. You belong to the same species as God. You are god because you were born as one.

Like the puppy, you need to drink milk.

11We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn.
12In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!
13Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.
Hebrews 5:11-13 (NIV)

As you continue to read the Bible, pray and rest in God, you will grow. Soon you will start to display the characteristics of God.

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)

The above verses do not say you must use your own effort to create the outward manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit. You are not to force yourself to have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. They come from the Holy Spirit in you. As long as you continue to feed on God’s Word, the fruit of the Spirit will manifest in your life from within you. A puppy does not have to learn to bark. Its only responsibility is to drink milk. It will bark. Likewise, as you spend time with God, you will display the fruit of the Spirit. In addition you will have access to his prosperity, health and long life.

“Why not stick to the term ‘Christian’? Why bother with another term that invites persecution?”

There is nothing inherently wrong with the term “Christian” but this term is so widely used that it got abused especially by the religious people. When I introduce myself as a Christian, people will get the impression that I am a follower of a religion that subjects me to a list of dos and don’ts. It does not convey the meaning God wants it to have. I suspect many believers have the same problem too.

However, when I see myself as a god. I see a position of power and authority that God has given to me. I don’t live in sin not because I am prohibited to but because I don’t want to. I do not consider sin to be compatible to my status as god. I am so conscious of my status as god that I consider sin to be unworthy of me. I don’t bow down and worship an idol because as a god, I outrank all the idols in the world. Other than the Trinity, no one in this universe is above me in position and rank. For me to worship something that ranks below me is against the protocol. So, sin has no place in my life.

When I face problems, I will not face them as a helpless and limited human being. I am god. I have access to all the powers and resources of God my father. My father’s will is for me to triumph over every problems, challenges and trials. Lack has no place in my life. Sickness has no place in my life. Failure has no place in my life. Giving up my faith is totally unacceptable.

At the same time, I also realize that God is the sole expert on being god. I need to seek him, spend time with him, read, meditate and confess his Word. If you are a born again Christian, you are born as god but you will not be able to use your godly powers unless you grow in the Lord. You will have to read the Bible, listen to faith messages, pray, meditate and confess his Word. Your faith is the key for you to activate your powers as god. Now, do you understand now why Satan is terrified with Christians who see themselves as gods?

God Is Not Ashamed To Be Called Our God

14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own.
15 If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back.
16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
Hebrews 11:14-16(NLT)

Welcome to the twelfth installment on my study of faith from Hebrews 11. If you are new to this blog, I have been writing about Hebrews 11 right from Verse 1. If you are interested to read the whole series, click on the “Articles From Yeap Chee Seng” category at the left hand side of this page.

The above passage is referring to people of faith. One of the common denominator for those living in faith is they were always looking forward. Specifically they were looking forward to a country they can call their own. What does that supposed to mean? Where is this country supposed to be? Hebrews 11:16 tells us that this country is the heavenly homeland, our ultimate home that we will dwell in it forever. This is the place where there is no lack, no sickness and no grief. It is a place where we will live in joy forever.

Even religious people have no problem with that. However you must realize that what you will receive in heaven is only for your own enjoyment alone. It cannot be used to help the poor and those who are suffering on earth. There is no way you can send the gold from heaven to earth to finance the preaching of the Gospel Of Jesus Christ to the world. We need money here and now on earth in order to do what God had put in our hearts to do.

Here is where religious people show their hypocrisy. I was in one of their churches before and I witnessed first hand all their practices. They have no problem resorting to any means to squeeze money from their church members to finance their pet projects. However, when we start to trust God for financial prosperity, they will turn ugly. They will use any method to get us to give up our faith. It appears that in their mind it is all right to resort to manipulative tactics to squeeze money from people but it is a sin to trust God for money.

Hebrews 11:15 says if they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. In Abraham’s example, he trusted God when God promised him a new place. So, he packed up and moved there. However, as he reached there, he found himself settling there. He did not own the place. He could have been disappointed and went back to his original country. Yet he didn’t. Why? He still had faith. He did not give up and went back to the place he came from.

Will you give up your faith and go back to the place you came from? I can never imagine myself going back to the religious church I was in before. They gave me a false impression of God, causing me to see him as a hypocrite, pervert, liar and is only interested in asking people for money. I hated God because I believed in the image of God that they gave me. Thank God, he loves me so much that he showed me who he really is. I have determined that no matter how bad the situation looks, I will never be religious again.

This does not mean I have never experienced setbacks after I knew the truth. Some time last year, I decided to give faith a break because I could not see any improvements in my life. So, I looked to secular ways for my prosperity. I turned to NLP, which stands for neuro-linguistic programming. I bought a book entitled “Unlimited Powers” by Anthony Robbins who is the equivalent of Kenneth Copeland in the field of NLP.

After reading a few chapters of the book I was very impressed by it but I put it down and picked up the Bible again. Do you know why? The book was saying the same thing as the Bible. The secular people who are successful have been practising the principles from the Bible all along. The success gurus even conduct seminars charging us thousands of dollars to give us lessons that we can get for free from the Bible. This tells us that the Bible has the formula for our success in every are in our lives. If you insist on being religious and still want to be successful, you may want to register for these seminars.

Have you met christians who have given up their faith? They could be those who gave up faith and joined the religious churches or those who gave up Jesus completely. No matter which category they are in, they are bitter. Not better but bitter. Why is that so? God designed us to be in communion with him. This means we are in our optimum state when we are in close relationship with him. If you are not a christian, you will not know it because you cannot tell the difference. However, if you became a christian and dropped out later, you will feel like losing something. Why? You have experienced the optimum state and now the state is no more. You feel a loss but you cannot identify it. This results in bitterness in your heart. Try to read the posting from those who left the Word Of Faith Church that are available in religious websites and you will see what I mean.

I have had the same experience before. I really wanted to be a christian, to love and obey God. However, the religious church that I was in had convinced me that God is a pervert. The behaviour of the corrupt pastors told me that God is corrupt too. If God had not shown me a church that preaches the true Gospel Of Jesus Christ, I guess I will still be bitter until today.

Therefore, my message here is, don’t give up your faith. Build it up instead. Nothing will improve if you give up.

Hebrews 11:16 tells us about heaven. No matter how good you think your life is on earth now, heaven is much better. We are going to stay there for eternity. So, no matter what troubles you are facing right now, they are all temporary. Heaven is our final home.

The second part of Hebrews 11:16 says that is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. Our God is not ashamed of us when we trust in him and are in faith. Why should we be ashamed of ourselves? No matter how much Satan and his religious forces try to persecute us and try to shame us into giving up our faith, we will still win. We are called for battle and destined to win. They are the ones who should be ashamed of their evil deeds.

God is not ashamed to be called our God, for he has prepared a city for us. This is a city where there are no sorrows, no tears and no strive. There will be full of joy and peace. Are you looking forward to this city?

Foreigners And Nomads Here On Earth.

13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.
Hebrews 11:13 (NLT)

Welcome to the eleventh installment on my study of faith from Hebrews 11. Hebrews 11:13 highlights the common ground for all the people who lived in faith. They kept their faith for life. Faith is not meant to be temporal. God wants us to have faith at every moment in our lives.

If you are to set time limit like saying, “I trust God for my first million dollars and if I don’t get my first million dollars in one week I will quit faith.” you might as well quit now. Why? By setting the time limit, you are telling the Satan that all he has to do is to focus his forces on you for a week only to defeat you. He will definitely give his best effort for one week to block your one million dollars.

Likewise, if you set failure targets like, “If I fall again for ten times, I will quit.” Satan will focus all his available resources to knock you down ten times. You might as well give up now to save time.

What should you do then? You have to determine that no matter how long it takes and how many times you have been knocked down, you will not give up your faith. Satan has no defense over that. Why? He does not know how long must he commit his resources to attack you. He has finite resources that can be used to attack us. So, it is better for him to focus his resources on those who have higher chances of giving up after a few setbacks than those who refused to give up no matter how many times they were knocked down. Kenneth Hagin has once said, “If you are determined to stand forever, it will not take very long.”

As long as you refuse to give up your faith no matter how Satan has attacked you, he will have to give up. He will have second thoughts. He will consider diverting his attacks to easier targets, those that will give up after some setbacks.

Have you ever wonder why Satan loves religious people? Their faith is in the circumstances. The situation around them is their God. This makes them easy prey for Satan. When Satan gives them some disease, they will think it is God’s way of calling them home. They thanked God for the disease because they believe disease will lead them to heaven. When Satan gives them a financial crisis, they will say that it is God’s will because God wants them poor. They don’t fight. They cannot tell the difference between God and Satan.

Satan has used them to attack us and used all kinds of manipulative tactics to get us to give up our faith and be religious like them. If you read their writings, you will find that their arguments are no different from what Satan has been telling you to get you to give up your faith.

This is why persistence is so important for us to win in this spiritual warfare.

The second part of the verse tells us that they did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. People of faith do not believe in God after they get what was promised. They believed what God said is true even before they receive what was promised. They saw it all from a distance and welcomed it.

What does this mean for us? We do not allow the natural circumstances to decide on our faith. You may be suffering from some symptoms of sickness right now but that does not mean Jesus did not take all your sicknesses and diseases at the Cross. Being in faith means you choose to believe you are healed by Jesus’ stripes even if the symptoms are still there. As long as you don’t give up and determined to fight on no matter what the situation says, the disease that is attacking you now must go away. I don’t care how “incurable” that disease it. My God is greater than them all.

The Bible tells us that Jesus died poor to make us rich. Just because you have no money and deep in debt now, it does not mean that the Bible is wrong. God is faithful and he is exceedingly rich. It does not matter how deep you are in debt, he is fully able to clear them for you and give up some leftovers that can make you far richer than you dare to dream of. All you need is faith. Through faith you are giving him the permission to prosper you. Why does he need our permission? He is not a tyrant. He does not enforce his blessings on people who reject them. Therefore by having faith we are opening the floodgates of God’s blessings in our lives.

The last part of the above verse tells us that they agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Didn’t Jesus said that we are in the world but not of the world? As Christians, we may be physically living in this world but we don’t belong here. We don’t have to live like the rest of the world. The people of the world do not have a faithful God as their anchor in their lives. The are swept by every tide and wave that come along. When there is a plague, they are afraid of being infected. When there is terrorism, they are afraid to get killed. When there is recession they are afraid of losing their jobs. I find it very pitiful to live like the world.

Thank God, we are not of the world. No matter what plague, terrorism or recession the world throws at us, we have the power to overcome them.

5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
Psalm 91:5-7(NIV)

Even in recession, we can be rich because God has guaranteed our prosperity through Jesus’ death at the Cross. Don’t you feel like thanking God for his love and faithfulness for you?