13… the priest shall bring it all and burn it on the altar; it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the Lord.
In Old Testament times, when a burnt offering is killed, its head is severed, the fat removed, and the entrails and legs washed. Then, everything is placed on an altar and burnt, and the sacrifice is a sweet aroma to God.
All this speaks of the death of Jesus, who has “given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma”. (Ephesians 5:2)
The head of the sacrificed animal speaks of the mind of Christ offered as a covering for our minds. This means that although our minds are often clouded with unbelief, worries, foolishness, filth and human reasoning, God treats us as if we have the mind of Christ, without wrong or displeasing thoughts, bringing pleasure to Him like a sweet aroma.
The fat of the animal speaks of the riches of Christ, His best, for God equates the fat of something with the best of that entity. (Genesis 45:18) The fat of the burnt sacrifice speaks of Jesus giving us His riches, His best, as our covering. So God does not see us in our lack, but in the riches and excellence of Jesus going up to Him as a sweet aroma.
The entrails or intestines speak of Jesus’ motivations, feelings, affections and desires. We often feel fearful, anxious, stressed out or angry (and it affects our stomach and intestines). But God sees only Jesus’ feelings and desires, which are always pure, beautiful and acceptable to Him — a sweet aroma.
The legs refer to Jesus’ perfect walk — His power to serve and obey the Father — imputed to our weak and faltering walk. And the fact they are washed shows that even our crooked walk has been cleansed.
Precious saints, God does not see your foolish mind, weak nature, inadequate feelings or faulty walk. Instead, He sees you in the perfection of His Son, who gave Himself up for you as a sweet-smelling sacrifice to God…Hallelujah!
Hebrews 8:12 12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
I once read a comic book which showed how a man lusted after a woman, then died of a heart attack and went to heaven. In heaven, he saw a big screen showing everyone present a recording of all the sins which he had committed while on earth, including the last one. How embarrassing!
Don’t worry, that is not going to happen to you in heaven. There is no big screen with front-row and circle seats for everyone to sit and watch your past sins. There is no video recorder in heaven recording your sins right now. Because your lifetime of sins has already been punished in the body of Jesus, God declares to you, “Your sins and lawless deeds, I will by no means ever remember!”
This is true even for the Old Testament heroes of faith such as Abraham, Moses and David. If you read Hebrews 11, which was written after the cross of Jesus, you will notice that there is no record of their sins or failures. Yet, their life stories tell us that they were far from perfect.
Abraham lied twice about his wife Sarah. He told Pharaoh, and later, King Abimelech, that she was his sister to protect his own life. Moses killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew, and hid the body in the sand. David committed adultery with Bathsheba and later arranged for her husband to be killed in battle. Yet, their sins were not recorded in Hebrews 11, only their deeds done in faith!
God is showing you that He does not record your sins or failures today. Instead, He records your faith confessions and deeds done in response to what His Son has done for you. Every time you sin, every time you waver in your faith, God does not record it. But every time you believe Him and respond in faith, He records it! That should not make you want to sin more. It should free you to love God more!
So don’t be conscious of your failures. If God Himself does not remember them, who are you to remember them? Be conscious instead of your righteousness in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21), and you will reign in life! (Romans 5:17)
Romans 4:7–8 7“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.”
Some people think that if they were more “right” with God, then He would hear their prayers. For example, they sometimes believe that if they had not quarreled with their wives or had those bad thoughts earlier in the day, then God would answer their prayers.
God is not like that. He wants you to know beyond any doubt that you can always come to His throne of grace with boldness and have every confidence that you will receive His mercy and grace. (Hebrews 4:16) You see, because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross, you are already right with God. You don’t need to do anything to make yourself more right with God.
In fact, by faith in Jesus, you have received the righteousness of God Himself ! (2 Corinthians 5:21) And no matter how many mistakes you make, you will never lose that righteousness because in the first place, God gave it to you apart from your works. (Romans 4:5–6) In other words, God did not impute righteousness to you because you were good, but because you believed in Jesus.
Because of what Jesus has done for you at the cross, all your sins — past, present and future — are forgiven. God will by no means ever remember your sins or count them against you! (Hebrews 8:12, 10:17)
My friend, because Jesus has been punished for your sins, today, God is not counting your sins against you. This means that your sins won’t stop Him from hearing and responding to your prayers. So you can always run into His presence knowing that you can boldly stand in and enjoy His presence and His love.
When you know this truth, it is going to set you free in your relationship with God. You can talk to Him without fear or any sense of condemnation. You can practice His presence and trust that He always hears you. Should something happen at home or at work, you don’t always have to call for your church leaders — you pray and God hears you!
Beloved, you are righteous in Christ and God hears your prayers — all because of Jesus!
Deuteronomy 28:12 12The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.
In the Bible, rain usually speaks of blessings. Even today, Israelis thank God when it rains because they know that when He gives them rain, their blessings will be plentiful. Their cattle will feed in large green pastures and eat cured, winnowed fodder. And when they see rivers and streams of water flowing from their mountains and hills (Isaiah 30:23–25), they know that times of refreshing have come.
Likewise, you can expect God to rain His blessings on you and bless the work of your hands. Then, you will come to a place where you will “lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow”. In fact, Jesus wants you to know that this is a blessing which He died to give you because when He died, He did not even have a tomb of His own. He was laid in a borrowed tomb, so that you can have the power to lend.
My friend, there is nothing you can do about the rain but to let it fall. So just expect God to rain His blessings on you! Let them fall! And you will be blessed with more than enough, so that with your needs and your family’s needs more than met, you can be a blessing to others too!
Ephesians 4:32 32And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
People like to say, “I can forgive, but I cannot forget.” Have you heard that before? Now, in the first place, nowhere in the Bible does God tell you to forgive and then to forget. It is not in the Bible! The devil is adding something here to make the whole thing burdensome.
God only tells us to forgive because God in Christ has forgiven us a debt we cannot pay. When we do this, we do ourselves a favor because harboring bitterness and unforgiveness can sometimes destroy our health!
So just forgive and let God take care of the rest. When you really forgive, sometimes, He makes you forget. But sometimes, you still remember the incident because it was a major thing in your life. Yet, when you look back at it, the pain is no more there. The sting is gone and you are not bitter.
Joseph had forgiven his brothers before they came and bowed before him. He remembered what they did to him, but he did not remember it with bitterness. (Genesis 50:15–21) So you may remember the incident, but the bitterness is gone because you have put the cross in the picture — “God in Christ forgave me. Daddy, I forgive you. Mama, I forgive you. My cousin, I forgive you.”
When you forgive, forgive by faith, not by your feelings. We walk by faith, not feelings. (2 Corinthians 5:7) Some people are waiting for feelings — “I am waiting, Father, for the right emotion to come on me to forgive that person.” That “right emotion” may never come!
No, forgive by faith, and do it once and for all. Spend time in prayer. Take out your diary and write it down: “Father, I bring this person before you. You know what he did to me. Father, as You forgave me through Jesus’ cross, even though I did not deserve it, by faith, I now forgive this person and I let my anger against him go in Jesus’ name. Amen!”
Once you forgive by faith, you will see the sting of bitterness removed from your heart. You will experience the peace and joy of God filling your mind, and see a greater measure of wholeness in your body!
Leviticus 27:12 12… the priest shall set a value for it, whether it is good or bad; as you, the priest, value it, so it shall be.
Your colleague says that this week is going to be a lousy one because the new boss is mean. You disagree and say that it is going to be a blessed week. Both of you will go through the same week, but with very different outcomes. While your friend’s week will indeed turn out to be a lousy one, yours will be filled with the favor of the Lord!
In the Old Testament, when someone brought what he had to the priest for a valuation, whatever the priest assessed the value of the item to be, it was so. If he assessed it to be of good value, then it was of good value. If he assessed it to be of poor value, then it was of poor value.
Today, you are also a priest because of Jesus’ blood. (Revelation 1:5–6) And “as you, the priest, value it, so it shall be”. If you assess your year to be one of financial breakthroughs, so it will be for you. If you assess your life to be filled with divine health, so it will be for you.
God is your salvation, He has already satisfied you with long life. (Psalm 91:16)
Actually, you have more authority than the Levitical priests of the Old Testament. They were of the old priesthood of mortal men. But you are of the greater and “forever” priesthood of Jesus! (Hebrews 7:8, 17) Not only that, you are a king-priest. (Revelation 1:6) In other words, you are a king as well! And as a king, your assessment is also binding because where the word of a king is, there is power! (Ecclesiastes 8:4)
My friend, this means that you have a double portion of assessment power. Therefore, boldly assess good things for your life, and it will be so for you!
Isaiah 54:2 2“Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes.
2020 The Lord is saying to you : “I your God have gone ahead of you and I have already been to your future. I have seen it. And I declare that it is good.”
This is prophetic for every member of the body of Christ. I tell you, when God declares your future good, it will be good! It will be filled with many wonderfully good days!
So what do you do when the Lord tells you that you are going to have a good future loaded with His blessings? You prepare for it! In other words, before the blessings come, before the increase comes, He wants you to enlarge the place of your tent and stretch forth the curtains of your dwellings.
For example, if you are believing God for a child, start reading books on babies and preparing the baby’s room. In fact, prepare to have more than one child. Start looking for a bigger place for your family for God says, “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes.” Get ready for expansion!
My friend, God wants you to get ready, and expect such favor and increase in the days ahead that “you shall expand to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations, and make the desolate cities inhabited”. (Isaiah 54:3)
Because God has declared your future good, know that you stand on favor ground today. Expect good things to happen to you. Expect to see the favor of God on you and your family. Expect the blessings and increase of the Lord. Expect many good days to show up in your life!
Ephesians 1:3 3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
God does not see as we see. Abraham was a childless, 100-year-old man. His wife, Sarah, at 90 years old, was doubly dead in her womb. (Genesis 17:17) Yet, God saw him and talked to him as if he were already the father of many nations.
My friend, God wants you to see the way He sees. Right now, you may see yourself going through a trial in your marriage, work, finances or health. But God sees a blessed marriage, success at work, supernatural provision and a healed body because He tells you that you are already blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
You see, God sees you in Christ. So when you see yourself in Christ, who is outside time, you step into the timeless zone. In that timeless zone in Christ, whatever needs and trials of yours are already removed, repaired, restored or resurrected! In that timeless zone in Christ, you are already blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places!
John 14:27 27Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you… Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
The night before Jesus died, He gave His peace to His disciples — “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you…” This peace was not just for His disciples, but also for us today. We have His peace.
The moment you believe in Jesus Christ, He who is the Prince of Peace comes to live inside you. And when the Prince of Peace resides in you, every blessing that you will ever need pertaining to your soundness and wholeness is already inside you.
“Emmanuel, if this is true, then why do I still see problems in my health, Injustices in my nation, unlawful killings, financial mismanagement, family crisis and relationship deterioration?”
The answer is a troubled heart. That is why after Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you,” He said, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
A troubled and fearful heart works like fingers that clamp down hard on a water hose. The supply of water is flowing from the tap, but little or nothing is coming out at the other end of the hose. God’s ever-present supply of blessings toward you is like the water flowing freely from the tap. But you don’t see the blessings when you allow your heart to be gripped by worry or fear.
So when fearful, anxious thoughts come, remind yourself of Jesus’ words: “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Even when things appear to get worse, say, “Lord, I refuse to worry about this. In the midst of all this, I see the finished work of Christ. He said, ‘It is finished!’ So my country is blessed with good governance, justices, peace and prosperity. My child’s healing is accomplished. My marriage is blessed. My debts are cleared. I will let not my heart be troubled by these things.”
Beloved, I cannot “let not” for you. Your family and friends cannot “let not” for you. Only you can “let not your heart be troubled”. So guard your heart from being troubled. You don’t have to guard your career, reputation, children or even health. When you guard your heart, God will guard everything else for you!
Acts 1:8 8But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Before Jesus went back to heaven, He told His disciples to “wait for the Promise of the Father”. (Acts 1:4) There are thousands of promises in the Bible, so which promise was He referring to?
The early church knew which promise Jesus was referring to because He had told His disciples, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the Promise of the Father, which you have heard Me speak about. For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:4–5) Jesus was referring to the baptism in the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues. (Acts 2:1–4)
Jesus wants you to know the value of the Promise of the Father because He said, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me…” He did not say, “You shall do witnessing,” but “You shall be witnesses”. In other words, your very person will be a witness to Him!
This is because the power you receive when you are baptized in the Holy Spirit is the same power that so anointed Peter that the sick were laid on the streets for his shadow to fall on them and heal them. (Acts 5:15) Even handkerchiefs and aprons from Paul’s body were so saturated with the anointing of the Spirit that when they touched the sick, people witnessed diseases and evil spirits leaving the sick! (Acts 19:12)
That same power caused a Holy Spirit-baptized brother, who prayed in tongues, to experience God’s healing power when he laid hands on his mother who was in an advanced stage of cancer. And because she was healed, she became a witness of the love and power of God to her friends and unbelieving relatives.
Beloved, when you are baptized in the Holy Spirit, you will be a witness to others that no problem, trial, disease or sickness is a match for the power of the Spirit in you!
Luke 15:31 31… ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.
After running a few errands for his parents, a little boy went to his father and said,“I know why you and mummy had me.”“Why?”asked his father.
“So that you guys would have someone to run errands for you!” exclaimed the boy.
Like the little boy, do you see God as a Father who demands obedience and service from you? Have you ever felt that unless you obey Him and keep all His commandments, you don’t have a right to be blessed by Him?
Jesus shared the story of the prodigal son to show how some of us call God “Father” and yet don’t know His heart. There are two sons in this parable. We know what happened to the prodigal son, but we can also learn something about the older son. This is what he said to his father when he discovered that his father had thrown a party to celebrate the return of his irresponsible, spendthrift brother: “Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.” (Luke 15:29)
Now, this son believed that his father had brought him into the world to serve him. He saw his father as someone issuing commandments to him all the time. And he saw himself as someone who had to obey those commandments to enjoy his inheritance. But the truth is that the father had already given him his inheritance. (Luke 15:12) The father even reminded him lovingly: “Son… all that I have is yours.” And I am sure that inheritance included more than one goat!
Have you, like the older son, failed to understand your Father’s heart? Your heavenly Father already gave you a rich inheritance in Christ when you became His son. He wants you to know that you have received the Spirit of sonship. (Romans 8:15) So call out to Him, “Abba, Father!” and know how much He loves you. Because you are His heir, all that He has is yours to enjoy today and always!
Proverbs 17:8 8A present is a precious stone in the eyes of its possessor; wherever he turns, he prospers.
When we see something moldy, we throw it away. But when Alexander Fleming saw his culture dishes contaminated with mold, he discovered penicillin. You see, he had a gift which prospered him.
Joseph, a Hebrew slave in Egypt, had nothing except his gift of interpreting dreams. But look at what that gift did for him. It prospered him. He interpreted Pharaoh’s dream and became the most powerful man in Egypt after Pharaoh. (Genesis 41)
“But Emmanuel Stephen, what if I don’t have any gift?”
My friend, don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have any gift. God has given each person a gift which can open doors of opportunities and bring in great blessings.
Maybe you are just not aware of that gift you have inside you, or perhaps it has profited you nothing thus far as you have not found out how best to use it. You need to take your gift and ask God for wisdom to cultivate it until it becomes such a powerful tool or “precious stone” that wherever you turn, you prosper.
This was the case with a church brother who was tremendously gifted in the creative arts. For a long time, he lacked the confidence and boldness to leave the security of his police job and step out on his own. But when he began to seek God’s wisdom for his situation, God gave him boldness to leave his job and go back to school to pursue the creative arts. In school, he prospered, becoming one of its top students and impressing the principal so much with his creative gift that he was offered a teaching position in the school even before he graduated.
Now, please don’t go and quit your job after reading this. What you should do is ask God for wisdom regarding your gift. For when the wisdom of God is added to your gift, that gift becomes “a precious stone in the eyes of its possessor; wherever he turns, he prospers”.