Grace is the first tool at work in a believer’s life. It is the great reminder that we have no power of our own to become or achieve anything in and for Jesus Christ. It takes His grace to be saved and it takes His grace to maintain salvation and it takes grace to do big things for God.
We can think of His grace not only as his mercy and forgiveness when we have sinned but as his divine enablement to live above sin, progress from stage to stage and be useful to Him.
Everything you are going to discover that God requires of you, is going to be bigger than you and eventually impossible for your mortal body – the prayer life, the fasting life, the holiness required, the sacrifice required can only be accomplished by the work of God in us; His grace.
The Word of God –
Man shall not live by bread alone but by EVERY word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Great sacrifice has been made to afford us access to the word of God.
The word of God is encapsulated into the Bible which was received by inspiration or direct dictation/prophecy from the spirit of God. The whole of the Old Testament is a type and shadow of things to come in the New Testament and prophesies the coming and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is the undiluted instruction and direction from God on how to lead every aspect of life.
The word has three parts to it. The Logos (written word), Rhema (revealed word), Epignosis (Jesus the Word become flesh)
You have to engage with the Logos in a regular and disciplined manner. It is in your quiet time with the Logos, that the Holy Spirit gives a personal revelation. A Rhema is usually a personal depth of revelation that speaks to a situation in your life.
Applying the Rhema yields an Epignosis where you can see the word in action in your life and not just in your mind.
You have to
1. Pray for the grace to stick to the commitment
2. Choose a reading plan
3. Choose a time that you can commit to daily
4. Choose a space in the house where you are un-interrupted
5. Keep a pen and paper to write what you have learnt, prayer and action points
• Start to finish
• Word study
• Different bible translations
• Audio Bibles
• Expository Commentaries
• World History
Reading the word is neither here nor there if it is not going to be applied. But here are three questions we often have when it comes to applying the word –
What do I take literally and what do I take figuratively.
We may be confused because we know that the scripture says we do not wrestle against flesh and blood and so we are to direct our fire power against the spirits and not the people involved. But the same scripture says suffer not a witch to live and is full of stories of war, killing and bloodshed in the Old Testament. The bible says do not judge, yet we are the legislative arm of the kingdom of God on earth and are told that it is given to us to judge in the world to come, that we will even judge angels.
Where an instruction is explicitly phrased – do or do not, then this must be taken as a commandment and followed accordingly.
Where the lesson is wrapped up in a story, we must pray for the Holy Spirit to extract the Rhema in the word. For example, stories of warfare in the Old Testament can be used to engage in spiritual warfare today while addressing the spirits but not wishing death upon people. However, in self defense, it is acceptable to return arrows to the source in the spirit realm. However, understanding seasons and times, we must understand that a time comes when the Lord has had enough of a people, a dispensation or a situation and will call upon us to legislate judgment. Being a God of grace, we would often be required to phrase our judgment with space for repentance.
What do I do when the word of God does not say anything specific about my situation?
What is the general direction on such issues?
What is the specific leading of the Holy Spirit?
What are everlasting ordinances?
Instructions that were given in the old testament which are still to be obeyed in the New Testament. The Apostles like Paul who were Jews continued to observe the ordinances even in the New Testament.
Failing to keep these ordinances yields the following results – Isaiah 24:5. Defilement of the earth. If the earth is defiled, all we seek to do in the earth will come under defilement and not yield its best.
Feast of Passover and unleavened bread in taking communion– Exodus 12:14 – 17
Smearing the blood on the doorpost – Exodus 12:23-25
To gather at the temple and bring a sacrifice to the Lord during the solemn feasts, the New moon, etc – 2Chronicles 2:4
Circumcision of the male seed at 8days of age – Genesis 17:7-13
How do I balance the law of the Old Testament versus the grace of the New Testament?
Remember that Jesus did not come to change the law but the fulfill it. The Old Testament is full of types and shadows which are fulfilled in the New Testament. The New Testament exposes you to the grace that makes keeping the law possible and to the love that makes it desirable.
Intercession – standing in the gap for another and praying the will of God be done in that life, group or circumstance. It is the duty of a priest and requires selflessness. Jesus dying on the cross was an act of intercession. Derived from the word to intercede or come in between like an advocate would do in pleading your case
Supplication – making a petition before the Lord and giving Him reason why He should grant this prayer
Thanksgiving/praise/adoration –entry point prayer. We are to enter His gates with thanksgiving and remain aware of what He has done. This gives us faith that He is still able.
Fellowship & communing with the Holy Spirit – can be referred to as a cool of the day fellowship. Just enjoying His presence as you would a loved one or dear friend
Decrees & declarations & prayers of authority, – legislative prayer presenting the word and will of God over a matter to replace the uprooted and ungodly laws
Confessions – similar to decrees and declarations. A form of prayer to boost your faith and comprises speaking into being the things that are not as if they are, creating something from nothing through faith.
Spiritual warfare – prayers to confront the enemy and to uproot whatever he has planted in order to plant the will and word of God. Do not engage in warfare without putting on your armor and securing your gates and all that is dear to you.
Weapons of warfare–Not carnal but mighty to the pulling down of strongholds – The blood, the word, the fire, the artillery
Characteristics of effective prayer –
Based on the word – prayer is always based on the word of God as He will not do anything outside His word. When you want to embark upon a prayer strategy, search up scriptures on the matter and stand on them. Faith comes by hearing and God is pleased by and moved by our faith.
Backed by fasting – Some issues can only be effectively engaged with fasting while praying
There are different types of fast and must be embarked upon on the basis of the leading of the Holy Spirit. Dry, Daniel, Esther,
From a heart of love – a heart filled with bitterness and anger is ineffective. This is why the bible instructs that we settle fights before trying to pray. Husbands are taught to treat their wives well so that their prayers will not be hindered. God is love and must know that your love for Him and His creation has motivated your prayer. He sees the heart and rejects a selfish motive.
Faith filled – faith even the size of a mustard seed moves mountains.
In tongues – not only builds up your most Holy Faith, but also enables you to pray beyond your limited view of things. It also avails you as a vessel for the Lord to accomplish things through, without your flesh and unbelief getting in the way
Persistent – praying is the one thing we are told to do without ceasing. We are told of the woman who persisted till the unrighteous judge gave in to her demands. The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much
With the right motive – the Lord sees the intent of the heart and blesses prayers that seek the good of His Kingdom.