A Sculptor went to the wood market to buy a log of wood. There, he saw different sizes and colours of wood, yet he stayed long wondering from wood to wood, stall to stall. The log dealers conducted him round the market as he scrutinized each log to the amazement of the dealers. Still, he would not make up his mind which to buy. One by one they left him, disappointed to have wasted so much time on him. They concluded that he was not a serious customer and was not worth paying attention to.
However the Sculptor had something in mind; he knew what he was looking for and of all the log in the market, he could see only one with the pattern.
The dealers noticed he kept returning to a particular log. They could not see what he saw in the wood because as far as they were concerned, the logs were the same.
Presently, the Sculptor returned to the log. He stared hard and long at it; going round it in deep study. The years of experience had trained his eyes toward recognizing at a glance, the pattern on wood that matches the design in his mind. He could actually see the image in his mind on the wood!
Uninterested, the owner of the log turned his face away, looking for a potential customer. Certainly, this man is not serious, he thought, until the Sculptor beckoned on him.
Back at his studio, he went to work chiselling over the contours of the wood, his trained eyes seeing the design on the wood come to life, depicting the picture in his mind. At last the work was completed. It was a breath-taking master-piece.
We are the Wood, the Holy Spirit is the Sculptor. He knows God’s mind for us individually: His gifts and callings; God’s plan and design put in us before the foundation of the world.
“But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” -1 Cor. 2:10-12
He alone knows where to chisel us. And He does, here and there, in the path we should go so that the beauty and aroma of God in us may be revealed.
“……but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.” – John 21:18b
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” – Rom. 8:14
He connects us to God.
“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, He is none of his.” – Rom. 8:9
He makes us know our heavenly inheritance.
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” -1 Cor. 2:12
He teaches us and comforts us.
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” – John 14:26
He prays in us according to the will of God.
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” – Rom. 8:26-27
It takes the Holy Spirit to bring out or manifest the god in us as the Sculptor reveals the unseen beauty in the log.
Like the Wood, let’s learn to give Him the preeminence.
“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2).
After we are told that God made the Heaven and the Earth (verse 1), the bible begins to give the details by telling about the Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters.
It must be so important to God for this to be the first thing mentioned after the introduction.
Equally important and worth noting is that God ended His writing with water! “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth, say, Come. And let him that is thirsty, come: And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Revelation 22:17).
The Water was introduced at the beginning and offered at the end!
All through the bible the Water has been flowing but man has not been drinking! Whereas this is an integral part of God’s will and plan!
The Water is free! This is the Holy Spirit. Let’s hook-up and start drinking!
“But whoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14).
Religiously, Medically, Traditionally or otherwise, circumcision has come to stay!
Circumcision, the removing of the foreskin of the male reproductive organ, has been barbarically extended to the female folk in some traditions. Medically, this could be of advantage to the men but extremely very barbaric for women!
However our focus is not on the physical.
When Abram started his journey with God there was no covenant of circumcision. He only had faith and obedience. God for this, pronounced him righteous. But when he chose his wife’s advice over God’s leading, he walked out of faith. Though his business being born of God continued to blossom, God did not visit him for twelve years.
In the thirteenth year when God did it was with a rebuke!
“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.” – Genesis 17:1
God’s standard does not change. His Word is the same, eternal. His standard from which His Word comes says “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), and “the soul that sinneth shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:20).
These words are from the immutable standard of God. He is His standard, and His standard is Him. This standard cannot be lowered even for Abram. And so for what he did, he had to die!
Abram had broken God’s command, he had to die; and what better place to put the knife than on the tool that did the havoc!
How did Abram die?
The life of the creature is in the blood. (Gen. 9:4; Lev. 17:14) Abram’s blood (his life) had to be shed (run off). That half-believing old man that played with Haggar must die! Abram, put a knife on the “neck” of that creature that made you imperfect! If ABRAHAM must live and walk with me cut that old man of sin and let the poisnous blood (the life of ABRAM) run out. God’s Word cannot be broken! For Abraham, a new creature, to come to life, old things (Abram) must pass away; the old life must go, blood has to be shed!
And so, the circumcision of the flesh came into Man’s walk with God. It was not so at the beginning!
“This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.” – Genesis 17:10
God demonstrated both His judgement and His mercy by giving Abram a second chance as Abraham. A second chance at life, a new life. (2 Cor. 5:17) God gave Abraham the gift of a renewed life, of being born-again; a divine youthfulness.
“…………but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 6:23b
When a man dies he ceases to answer his name physically. Abraham, now you are a new creature. Abram is passed away, dead; with his old habit and nature. You are different both in habit and nature. When called Abram, you must not answer because the bearer of the former name is dead! Henceforth, you are Abraham! Behold I set before you a new beginning, new strength, new vigour and a new future. Walk before me in this new nature: blameless!
This new creature called Abraham cannot be married to the old woman called Sarai. So in you, I renew her youth! From today I remove that old barren woman full of sorrow and sadness. I replace her with the productive young woman who shall know no more sorrow or sadness. Her life shall be full of laughter! Her name shall be SARAH! For behold I do a new thing! I am Jehovah Elshaddai!
The same woman called barren, laughed at, rejected, despised, written off and regarded dead by reason of age was renewed in her youth. It had stopped to be with her after the manner of women but God, with Whom nothing shall be impossible, renewed her youth. The Almighty God made her the mother of Laughter at the YOUNG (?) age of 91! Hallellujah
Know Abraham, that walk with me is not what you can do for or by yourself but what I will do for you! I will be your exceeding great reward! My ageless strength will renew your strength like that of a young man. Stop looking at your age, look at what I am doing in your life! I am the Omnipotent God, with Me nothing shall be impossible!
What God did for Abraham, He did for everyone of us that believe in Him but we need to change the way we think.
That is the true circumcision. Circumcision is the proof of a new person, a renewed person who promises to be faithful. The higher dimension of circumcision is the proof that one is married to Jesus.
In our walk with God, physical circumcision is profitable IF we keep the Law.
“For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.” – Romans 2:25
Nadab and Abihu did not profit from circumcision because they did not climb to the higher circumcision. Korah, Dathan and Abiram though circumcised died without inheriting God’s blessings. Eli a Priest, was rejected because he could not operate in the higher circumcision. The Pharisees and Sadducees were circumcised but Jesus called them “white-washed sepulcre”. The “devout” men in Acts 2, were circumcised but could not receive any inheritance in God.
It does not matter what work one does for God or what title one carries, inheritance in the Kingdom of God can only be attained through the higher dimension of circumcision. It does not matter today whether you are physically circumcised or not, if you attain this higher circumcision you will receive from the Lord.
What is this circumcision?
That of the heart!
Man looks at the outward circumcision. But God looks at the inner circumcision. Man looks at age, at height, facial beauty, at covering of HAIR, at clothing; the natural. God looks at the unseen, at the supernatural.
Saul was circumcised but God rejected him. If you like be circumcised in the flesh, if you are not circumcised in your heart you will not have an inheritance in the Lord.
“A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.” – Romans 2:28-29 (NIV)
Every message you hear is God’s knife peeling off your spiritual foreskin.
“You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” – 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 (NIV)
His Word is the razor, sharper than any two edged sword, your heart is the foreskin. So in your heart think of yourself according to God’s thought for you. Any other thought should be pulled down; rejected. Take away from your heart whatever is not of God. That is the true circumcision.
Your heart should be a reflection of Christ: humble and contrite in spirit and sticks to the word of God. (Isaiah 66:2b)
Let’s renew our minds and think more on the things of God, His Kingdom and His Word, even above our comfort and His peace that passes understanding shall be ours. IJN. Amen.
“For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” – Romans 11:36 (NIV)
The Christian life is not an easy one especially with the enemy, the devil, telling us God has abandoned us. And that we cannot achieve whatsoever we have planned.
We need to realize that God has not abandoned us, and that yes, we cannot of our own do anything. He keeps His promises forever. One of which is that He would never leave us nor forsake us. (Hebrew 13:5)
By His presence, He gives us the power to do what He wants to do. The ability to do a good thing or achieve anything does not reside in us but in Him! He manifests this power in and through us. He gives strength to the weak; empowering us by His Spirit to do all things. We are His instruments, His weapons of war.
“Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms.” – Jeremiah 51:20
He is the one doing the work, we are only instruments! The plan of what to do, the power to do the work and the wisdom of how best to do the work are His! We should like weapons in our hands, respond to His leading and do all things HIS WAY! We should follow His leading, His method.
True, Adam named and defined all of creation, but God was there, interested and perhaps communicating!
Moses was asked to build to specification. Crazy, old King Saul did not and was rejected. Ezekiel made dry bones come to life! He followed God’s method. Barnabas and Paul went on missionary work. They followed God’s Way.
Success, in every endeavour, is doing things God’s way.
“And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. [KJV] Matthew 8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” – Matthew 8:23-27
There is something awesomely good about following the Master! Receiving instructions from and following the Master can be so much fun and rewarding. However it can also stir up much pain and agony! But if one learns to faithfully follow those instructions, the heat of the pain and agony would eventually be soothed out and changed to joy.
The scripture above tells of Jesus entering a boat, followed by His disciples. He took the initiative, the lead, and His disciples followed. The idea of what to do and where to go were His. A lot of pain and anguish many go through today are the result of trying to lead the Lord; thinking up the thing to do and asking God to come along! Of Him (originating from Him) and through Him (His Way and method) and to Him (surrendered to Him and His plans) are all things.
“For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” – Romans 11:36
All things: thought, word and deed should originate from Him; that is when, and the only time when His peace that passes all understanding is shed into our hearts.
Jesus was in the boat with His disciples, yet a “great tempest” rose against them!
Walking with and obeying the Lord’s instructions does not make us immune to trials! Rather, it opens us up to trials! The Lord may be mighty in your life, your job, business, ministry, home and marriage, yet storms arise!
Translated from “seismos”, the Greek word as used in Matthew 24:7 and Matthew 27:54 which means earthquake, this was not an ordinary storm, but an EARTHQUAKE! A sudden, violent movement of the earth’s surface; this, under the sea.
Some of you maybe experiencing earthquakes in your lives: a job moving normally, a business making waves, a Ministry touching lives, a marriage full of fun and promise, a normal healthy life. Then all of a sudden, unexpectedly and without warning, a violent change comes; a severe attack, an EARTHQUAKE that comes with such great force that leaves you despairing for life and possibly asking for death!
“For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life. But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.” – 2Corinthians 1:8-9
Even with Jesus in the boat!
These fishermen who had spent all their lives at sea became helpless. Their knowledge, experience and abilities had failed them! Their peace was gone! Indeed no man should trust in his knowledge, experience, education or connection, “for by strength shall no man prevail!”
Despite the earthquake you may experiencing now, God wants you to have peace! Even in the midst of turmoil, strife and trial, with every ground breaking up around you and falling apart, God wants you to know that He has you covered; you are secure. A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right, no harm can come on you! (Psalm 91:7)
The disciples were worried, afraid and not at peace because of the Earthquake, and Jesus rebuked them as faithless! Imagine being in a summersaulting vehicle and with no seat-belt, and for crying out in panic, God rebukes you!
What does He expect you to do?
Ignore the storm! Jesus ignored it! That was why He rebuked them.
“And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.” – Matthew 8:26
He was disappointed that they were afraid and woke Him up. Why was He disappointed?
They did not ignore the storm!
He had told them how much they mean to God and how much God cares for them. (Matthew 6:25-34.) They were not to worry! Satan cannot do anything to you except God allows him. That was why Jesus could sleep in the boat! But obviously, the disciples did not learn it; they lived in fear and worry.
Whereas the Word of God tells us not to fret because of evil doers (Proverbs 24:19)
Thankfully, they began to practice, for over ten years later Peter faced a situation that threatened his life. He had learned and exercised himself to be at peace with his everyday situations, no matter the environment.
In Acts 12:1-5, with just a few hours to be beheaded, he did not rehearse his fate, or try to figure where he went wrong. Rather he slept soundly, peacefully in the midst of a “quarternium” of soldiers (16 soldiers).
Now he knew. There was a knowing now, that we are hidden in Christ where no devil or harm can come. They can raise every kind of storm but cannot touch a child of God that knows the power of God that works in him!
“But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” – Daniel 11:32b
Knowledge is powerful, it delivers!
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:32
It takes knowledge of the Word of God, to be free or delivered from worry. Peter knowing the Word of God and having an understanding of same through practice, was able to put his trust in Him who gave that Word. And as trust begets peace, he was filled with peace and was able to sleep!
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” – Isaiah 26:3
Trust comes by knowledge, and knowledge does not come cheap! It does not come overnight, but with time, patience and consistency.
It took Peter over ten years of practice, over ten years of “tasting” the Lord, before knowing He is good.
“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” – Psalm 34:8
To taste means to get involved, to experience, which sometimes, come with a high price.
Learn to leave some things alone. After you have huffed and puffed, leave everything in the hands of the Lord and go to sleep. Allow peace into your heart kknowing that God is working all things to your favour!