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In the early months of 2020, the stock market was riding high on the back of a strong economy and record low unemployment. However, in March, the market experienced a sharp downturn as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe and sent investors into a panic. As countries went into lockdown and economic activity ground to a halt, the stock market suffered its worst quarter on record, with the S&P 500 index losing more than 20% of its value.

In the months that followed, the market showed signs of recovery as governments and central banks stepped in with massive stimulus packages. The Federal Reserve, for instance, cut interest rates to near zero and launched several asset-purchase programs, which helped to stabilize the market and bring down borrowing costs for companies.

By the summer, markets began to stage a rebound, and throughout the fall, The Nasdaq hit several all-time high as technology companies, especially those in the e-commerce and cloud-computing sectors, outperformed the broader market. This "stay-at-home" stocks benefit from the lock-down and social distancing measures set to slow down the pandemic.

However, near the end of the year markets began to experience a bit of volatility as investors worried about the slow distribution of the vaccine and the possibility of lock-down again. Also, the market was anxious about the presidential election and the increasing tension in Congress.

Overall, 2020 was a year of extreme volatility in the stock market, with investors experiencing both dramatic losses and gains. It shows the pandemic effect on the economy and how quickly it can shift the trend of the market.

These are notes on the sermon, The Kairos Year Of Right Time, Right Place, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 8 January 2023, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!

Be sure to sign up to get updates on the latest sermon notes by Team JP.

Overview

  1. Introduction: Put your trust in the Lord!
  2. This year, God will put you at the right place at the right time
  3. Kairos moments are God-appointed moments of breakthrough. Expect to receive your breakthrough this year!
  4. Depend on God’s grace and be led to right happenings
  5. God wants us to believe Him and pray for qarah—right happenings—this year!
  6. God’s blessings for you are exceedingly good
  7. Salvation Prayer & Closing Prayer

Introduction: Put your trust in the Lord!

God works with times and seasons. Every year, God gives the church a theme, a specific word that has a strong emphasis on what He’s doing in that particular season/year. When we lean into God’s word in season for us, we will be more conscious of what He’s doing in our lives and give glory to Him when we see the blessings and breakthroughs manifest according to His Word!

“I returned and saw under the sun that—
The race is not to the swift,
Nor the battle to the strong,
Nor bread to the wise,
Nor riches to men of understanding,
Nor favor to men of skill;
But time (‘eth’ – ‘kairos’) and chance
happen (‘qarah’) to them all.”
—Ecclesiastes 9:11 NKJV

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
—Psalm 91:1 NKJV

The number 911 occurs in the two verses above. The number 911 is a significant number for our times. It’s a date that marks one of the largest terrorist attacks the world has seen. Even more so, Pastor Prince believes that the prayer of protection in Psalm 91 marks the times we are living in. This psalm gives us assurance that we don’t have to live in fear because as children of God, we can believe God for His divine protection.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High” — This refers to us believers, we are today seated with Christ in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6).

Although the convention of using chapters and verses in the Bible was not original with the Hebrew/Greek text, God can still use them to show us His hand/ways in our lives. For example, when we study Psalm 118, we notice that it is sandwiched between the shortest psalm (Ps. 117) and the longest psalm (Ps. 119) in the Bible. What’s more interesting is that there are 594 chapters from the first chapter of the Bible, Genesis 1, to Psalm 117, and 594 chapters from Psalm 119 to Revelation 22, the last chapter of the Bible. When we add the numbers together, it gives us 1188. And in Psalm 118:8 it says: “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” All these seemingly insignificant details reveal and highlight to us this central theme in the Word of God.

Going back to the first portion of Ecclesiastes 9:11, it tells us that success, favor, and victory do not come by our intelligence, skills, and accolades. They come by time and chance happening to us. And only God is able to put us at the right time, at the right place.

“. . . But time (‘eth’) and chance happen (‘qarah’) to them all.” — The Hebrew word for “time” is “eth”, which means “the right time”. On the other hand, the Hebrew words for “chance happen” are “pega qarah”. Together with “eth”, this phrase refers to right happenings orchestrated by the Lord.

Being at the right place at the right time this year could mean having divine protection, being positioned for success, having opportunities to meet the right people, and being a blessing to others.

This year, God will put you at the right place at the right time

2023 is the “kairos” year of right time, right place.

The Hebrew word for “time” is “eth”, but from the Septuagint, we understand that the Greek word for “time” is “kairos”.

According to Bible scholars, “kairos” is defined as:

  • opportune seasonable time, the right time (Thayer's Definition)
  • time as opportunity—the suitable time, the right moment, a favorable moment (Word Studies)

Kairos” is best understood when contrasted against “chronos”, which is another Greek word for “time.” “Chronos” refers to the quantitative nature of time, or the chronological order of time, while “kairos” refers to the quality of time in a season we can have in a season.

To further understand the significance of the word “eth” or “kairos”, let’s look at the first mention of this word in the Bible. There is a principle in Bible interpretation known as the principle of first mention—when a word is mentioned for the first time in the Bible, there is usually a special significance and lesson that we can learn.

The word “eth” was first mentioned in the story of Noah in Genesis 8. After the flood, Noah sent out a dove to see if the waters had receded from the face of the ground.

Then the dove came to him in (‘eth’) the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth.”
—Genesis 8:11 NKJV

in (‘eth’) the evening” — This first mention of “eth” or “kairos” happened after God’s judgment through the flood. In our dispensation, this is a picture of God’s favorable time for His people under the new covenant. We get to enjoy God’s blessings of grace and favor because our Lord Jesus took all of the judgment we deserved when He bore our sins at the cross.

Then the dove came to him” — The dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:16). In this “kairos” year, it is the Holy Spirit who will lead us to the right places at the right time. As believers, we have the Holy Spirit in us—let’s listen and be led by Him!

As an aside, Pastor Prince also shared how the ark in this story is a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ. Noah and his family were protected and saved from the flood because they were in the ark. Even though there were times the storms were huge and they may have lost their balance—they were always in the ark, and they never fell out of the ark. Likewise, we are in Christ today (Gal. 2:20), and nothing can cause us to be separated from His love for us (Rom 8:38–49). As believers, we can also trust the Lord for His divine protection because we are in Christ today!

Kairos moments are God-appointed moments of breakthrough. Expect to receive your breakthrough this year!

“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times (‘kairos’) of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”
—Acts 3:19 NASB

Times” — The Greek translation for this word is also “kairos”. In this “kairos” year, we will also get to enjoy seasons of refreshing—favorable and enjoyable times. Notice how these times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord.

This year, we will experience many more “kairos” moments of God leading us to the right place at the right time as we are found in His presence. There will be some instances where we might find ourselves in seemingly inconvenient situations. But Pastor Prince encourages us to be aware of what the Holy Spirit is doing through us. For example, the Holy Spirit might lead us to “coincidentally bump” into a friend, so that we can minister and encourage them, to be an extension of God’s love to them. And when we follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit, these God-orchestrated moments shall be times of refreshing to us!

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
—Galatians 6:9 NKJV

In due season” — The Greek translation for the word “season” is “kairos.” For those of us who have been trusting God for a breakthrough for a while, take heart! We will receive our miracle at God’s appointed time. And we are entering into a year where God will orchestrate many “kairos” moments for us!

Genesis 18 records God’s promise of a son to Abraham and Sarah. When God appeared to Abraham and prophesied Sarah’s pregnancy, He said:

“And He said, “I will certainly return to you according to the time (‘eth’) of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.” (Sarah was listening in the tent door which was behind him.)”
—Genesis 18:10 NKJV

When Sarah was doubtful, God assured the couple saying:

Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time (‘eth’) of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”
—Genesis 18:14 NKJV

Is anything too hard for the LORD?” — In Hebrew, this word actually translates to “wonderful” or “miraculous.” In other words, God was assuring Sarah that there was nothing too wonderful nor miraculous that He could not do, and Sarah will bear a son according to His promise!

Time of life” — The Hebrew word for “time” here is “eth.” This also means that the promised son would come at the “kairos” time (Rom. 9:9).

Pastor Prince encourages those of us still trusting God for a breakthrough, that just like Sarah, we will see God’s promises manifest in our lives this “kairos” year. Whether you are trusting God for a life partner, a family member’s salvation, or an opportunity in your career, there is nothing too miraculous for God. Whatever you are trusting God for, know that He is willing and able to bring them to pass!

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
—Galatians 6:10 NKJV

In Greek, the word “opportunity” means “kairos” as well. This “kairos” year is an opportune and favorable season where we will reap many blessings. When God’s blessings manifest in our lives, let’s use it as an opportunity to do good, and bless others!

Depend on God’s grace and be led to right happenings

“And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter. And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap (‘qarah’—noun) was to light (‘qarah’—verb) on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.”
—Ruth 2:2–3 KJV

I shall find grace” — Ruth believed in God’s grace even though there was a law of Moses against Moabites, which says that no Moabite can enter the Lord’s congregation (Deut. 23:3). This means that under the law, Ruth did not qualify to receive any of God’s blessings. However, because Ruth made Naomi’s God—the God of Israel—her God (Ruth 1:16), she was able to receive God’s grace and favor in her life! In this story, we see that God over-answered and caused Ruth to be at the right place at the right time to meet Boaz. Ruth ends up being included in the genealogy of David, and even our Lord Jesus.

Just like Ruth, we are non-Jews (Gentiles) who have been received into God’s kingdom through Christ (Gal. 3:26–29). Even though we do not naturally deserve His grace and blessings in our lives, we get to because of Christ’s finished work at the cross.

hap was to light” — “Hap” is an old English word and it means “to happen.” The Hebrew word for “hap” is “miqrê”, which is the noun for “qarah.” The Hebrew word for “light” is also “qarah”, which means “right happening.

In the natural, it might seem like a coincidence that Ruth happened to be at the part of the field that belonged to Boaz. But this was in fact a God-orchestrated happening because Ruth had prayed to find grace!

“Qarah” is all about right happenings—being at the right place at the right time. To be at the right place at the right time is something that we cannot manipulate with our skills, talents, or intelligence. It is something that only God can cause to happen in our lives and it will happen to us this year!

God’s grace will lead you to be at the right place at the right time!

The following chapters in the book of Ruth expound on the favor that Ruth had found in Boaz’s eyes, how he became her kinsman redeemer and married her. According to Levitical law (Lev. 25), if someone is in trouble, a relative can redeem them if they are willing and able to pay for their redemption. This love story is a beautiful picture of the Lord’s redemption for us—He is our most willing and able Kinsman Redeemer.

God wants us to believe Him and pray for qarah—right happenings—this year!

Genesis 24, the longest chapter in the book of Genesis, records the story of Abraham’s servant searching for a bride for Abraham’s son.

The servant who is unnamed typifies the Holy Spirit, who came not to draw attention to Himself but to point to the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. And just like how the servant went searching for a bride for Isaac, the Holy Spirit is searching precious people out, so that they will become a part of the many-membered bride of Christ i.e. the church.

Before the servant went out searching for a potential bride, this was what he prayed:

“Then he said, “O LORD God of my master Abraham, please give me success (‘qarah’) this day, and show kindness (‘hesed’) to my master Abraham.”
—Genesis 24:12 NKJV

“Please give me success” — The Hebrew word for success is “qarah”, right happenings. When we experience the right happenings, we experience success! This is also the first mention of “qarah” in the Bible.

“and show kindness to my master Abraham” — In Hebrew, “kindness” translates to “hesed”, which refers to “grace.” This shows us that “qarah” is intricately related to grace—unearned, undeserved favor. This also means that God’s grace is what will lead us to be at the right place at the right time.

Like Abraham’s servant, let’s learn to pray for success! There might be naysayers who will try to dissuade you from praying for success but it is not wrong to do so. When we pray for success, it speaks of our dependence on God for success. If we do not pray to the Lord for success, we end up relying on our self-effort, someone else, or even new-age teachings to experience success in our lives. Let’s learn to trust the grace of God more this year.

God’s grace will lead to “kairos” moments (God-orchestrated happenings) in our lives!

For those of us who feel distant from God and sometimes it feels like God does not hear our prayers, Pastor Prince encourages us to pray from a posture and consciousness of our nearness to God—we are today seated with Christ at the Father’s right hand (Eph. 2:6). This is how close we are to God and He will surely hear our prayers!

God’s blessings for you are exceedingly good

“Behold, here I stand by the well of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, ‘Please let down your pitcher that I may drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink’—let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac. And by this I will know that You have shown kindness to my master. And it happened, before he had finished speaking, that behold, Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, came out with her pitcher on her shoulder. Now the young woman was very beautiful to behold, a virgin; no man had known her. And she went down to the well, filled her pitcher, and came up.”
—Genesis 24:13–16 NKJV

before he had finished speaking” — Before Abraham’s servant had even finished praying, God led Rebekah to appear before him. This shows how speedily God can answer our prayers, just like He promised in Isaiah 65:24: “It shall come to pass That before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear.”

very beautiful to behold” — The Hebrew translation for the word “very” is “me'ōḏ”, which means “exceedingly.” This represents the quality and beauty of the blessings that God has for us! Whether it’s a life partner, a business deal, whatever these blessings are, God only has the best for us.

“Then he said, “O LORD God of my master Abraham, please give me success (‘qarah’) this day, and show kindness (‘hesed’) to my master Abraham.”
—Genesis 24:12 NKJV

“Please give me success” — This is the first mention of “qarah” in the Bible. Notice how the first mention of “qarah” is in the story about Christ and the church. This means that “qarah” or success is something that we cannot experience outside the church; nothing is of value to God except the things concerning the church. This is where He wants our hearts to be and what He considers true success in our lives!

Going back to the story of Isaac and Rebekah, let’s dive deeper into the qualities and characteristics of Rebekah, the chosen bride for Isaac.

“And the servant ran to meet her and said, “Please let me drink a little water from your pitcher.” So she said, “Drink, my lord.” Then she quickly let her pitcher down to her hand, and gave him a drink. And when she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking. Then she quickly emptied her pitcher into the trough, ran back to the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels.”
—Genesis 24:17–20 NKJV

I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking” — Camels can drink a lot of water, minimally 30 gallons of water at one time. Abraham’s servant had ten camels that Rebekah drew water for. That’s A LOT of water! Not only was Rebekah a beautiful girl, she was someone who would go the extra mile. Notice also how Rebekah was exactly what the servant had prayed for (v. 13-15).

“And the man, wondering at her, remained silent so as to know whether the LORD had made his journey prosperous (‘tsalach’) or not.”
—Genesis 24:21 NKJV

The word “prosperous” is ‘tsalach’ in Hebrew. This same word is used in Joshua 1:8 where it says: “. . . meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous (‘tsalach’), and then you will have good success.”

The world might try to explain such seemingly “random” coincidences to luck or serendipity. In fact, serendipity is defined as “an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident, good fortune; luck.” But being at the right place at the right time is something only God can orchestrate for us.

This year, we will experience more of these moments. Many of us have already experienced them before, e.g. meeting our life partners at a gathering that we happened to be at. But this year, these happenings will occur even more, and more consistently so that we can give glory to God when they happen!

These blessings will manifest especially in the form of right happenings with people we can minister to and share Christ with! This year will be a year of right happenings not just for our benefit, but for others too. God might lead us to meet an old colleague or friend, and open doors of opportunity for us to share the gospel of grace with them. When God uses us to share the gospel, it’s because He trusts us!

As we have seen in Galatians 6:10, there will be many opportunities, “kairos”, for us to do good. God’s heart for us in this year of “kairos” is not to be self-occupied and being concerned only with the blessings He has for us, but to also be blessings to others!

Salvation Prayer

Father in heaven, I believe Jesus Christ is my Lord and my Savior. You sent Him to die on that cross because You love me. And on that cross, Jesus took all my sins, all my diseases, all my pains, and all my judgment, and finished them off. And you raised Him from the dead when You declared me not guilty, justified. Thank You Father, in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Closing Prayer

God of Abraham, Heavenly Father, this week, give me success, give me “qarah”, give me “kairos”—right time, right place. Let it happen to me, to my family, to my children, even in school. Thank You Father, in the name of Jesus’, Amen.”

We hope these sermon notes blessed you! If they did, we encourage you to get the sermon and allow the Lord to speak to you personally as you watch or listen to it.

© Copyright JosephPrince.com 2023
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.

These are notes on the sermon, Healing And Restoration For Your Mind, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 1 January 2023, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!

Be sure to sign up to get updates on the latest sermon notes by Team JP.

Overview

  1. Introduction: God cares for you and His eyes are on you throughout this year
  2. God’s heart is for you to be well and in health
  3. You have the mind of Christ!
  4. When you receive wisdom from God, you receive discernment that goes beyond logic and sight
  5. The wisdom of God brings health, provision, honor, pleasantness, and peace
  6. Wisdom leads you to treasure the presence of Jesus
  7. The greatest form of wisdom is the knowledge of Jesus’ love for you
  8. Salvation Prayer & Closing Prayer
  9. OWN THE WORD (Life Application)

Introduction: God cares for you and His eyes are on you throughout this year

Happy New Year! As we step into a new year, we might not know what the year holds. But we know the One who holds the year! We just have to put our hands in His hands. The Lord has gone ahead of you this year, making all the crooked paths straight (Is. 45:2). He will care for you and protect you from all the devices of the enemy.

“. . . a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year.”
—Deuteronomy 11:12 NKJV

The context of this verse is about God’s care for the land of Israel, a picture of God’s love and care for His people. God cares for us from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year. We have a heavenly Father who loves and cares for us. If He cares for even the sparrows, surely He cares for us even more (Matt. 6:26)! His eyes are on us and on our families throughout this coming year, not to find fault but to lead, direct, bless, protect, and provide for us.

In the natural, the world seems to be getting darker and more dismal. We are beginning to see more signs of the end times e.g. plagues, diseases, and famine (recession) as prophesied by our Lord Jesus (Matt. 24, Luke 21). While the world might be entering into a time of recession, God will provide for His people and watch over them throughout this year.

“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”
—Matthew 24:6 NKJV

While it is easy to be afraid when we are faced with these signs of the end times, our Lord Jesus encourages us not to be troubled, but to lift our heads up because our redemption draws near (Luke 21:28). What redemption was our Lord Jesus referring to? Once we are saved, we are already redeemed spiritually. So this refers to our bodily redemption when He returns for us again (Phil. 3:20–21).

God’s heart is for you to be well and in health

We still experience sickness, old age, and tiredness here on earth. But the finished work of our Lord Jesus at the cross has redeemed the tripartite nature of man—spirit, soul, and body.

We are spirits, housed in bodies with souls. The soul refers to our minds, emotions, and will. When God made man’s body from the dust of the ground, it was lifeless even though the body was made in His image. The body is temporal and only came to life when God breathed into it.

When we see how God first designed the earth to be, we see how He cares for us. When God made Adam, He made him last (Gen. 1:26) so that Adam could enjoy the fullness of God’s creation. He put Adam and Eve in the beautiful garden of Eden, full of goodness and devoid of any sicknesses, or pains. This shows us God’s heart for us to enjoy a perfect paradise, to be well and in health, and to freely enjoy everything that He has created for us.

When God made man, He also gave them free choice. Even though God had specifically told Adam and Eve not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen. 2:16–17) and even warned them of the consequences, death, they still chose to eat of that tree. Adam and Eve sinned, and the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). As a result, man was separated from God and death came into the world—first spiritually then, physically. This is why we have to be born again (John 3:3), since our spirits are cut off from God.

Death was not part of God’s plan. In fact, God sees death as an enemy (1 Cor. 15:26). This is why the rapture is our blessed hope (Tit. 2:13) because it’s about our bodily/physical redemption! Even though we do not know the day or the hour that it will happen (Matt. 24:36), we can continue to look forward to the Lord’s return for us (John 14:1–3).

During the rapture, we will receive a brand new body (Phil. 3:20–21), an incorruptible body that is free from sickness and all the effects of sin (death)! This is forever because our Lord Jesus has already conquered death for us through His finished work at the cross (Heb. 2:14). The empty tomb and His resurrection are proof of our eternal redemption from death!

The finished work of our Lord Jesus at the cross redeemed our spirits, souls, and bodies. Our Lord Jesus redeemed us when He took our place at the cross, giving us His place of righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). Today, God sees us in our spirits and our spirits are righteous because of the finished work of Jesus at the cross.

“But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.”
—Isaiah 53:5 NKJV

Not only did our Lord Jesus carry our sins on the cross, He also carried our sicknesses and diseases so that we can be healed! Healing is a promise for us today. We only need healing on this side of heaven because when our Lord Jesus returns for us, we will have a brand new body free of diseases. God’s heart is for us to be well—He wants us to prosper and be in health even as our souls prosper (3 John 1:2).

You have the mind of Christ!

As Pastor Prince was preparing for this message, he received a word from God that God wants to heal our minds.

In the beginning when God made man, our minds were not forgetful. Many of us have accepted this as a norm of growing old, even making jokes about it. But this was not how God designed it to be, it came as a curse that came in when Adam sinned.

Our minds are part of our souls. It is where we can experience ailments like depression and forgetfulness. When one area(our spirit, soul, or body) is affected, it affects the others. For example, if our minds are restless, our bodies will produce disease. This has been proven by studies which have found that stress leads to sickness in our bodies.

How do we know that Christ has redeemed our souls? First, we need to understand that God made man tripartite, in His image (see Gen 1:26, Deut 6:4). God is one God but He is also a triune God, with three divine persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Like God, we are also tripartite. When Christ died, He redeemed the tripartite nature of man—spirit, soul, and body.

Going back to the word that Pastor Prince received, God wants to heal our minds! We need to acknowledge that forgetfulness is not normal for the believer, even though we often hear news and medical reports about this condition. Instead of saying “I’m getting old, I’m being forgetful”, let’s hold on to what God says about us, that we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16) and His mind never forgets!

We appropriate God’s promises through faith. And we release faith by believing God’s Word in our hearts and speaking it with our mouths (Rom. 10:9). When God first saw darkness, He called forth light by speaking. He said “Let there be light” (Gen. 1:3). Similarly, we should also call forth what we want to see! For example, instead of saying “I am forgetful,” confess “I have the mind of Christ!” The more we speak forth God’s promises in our lives, the more we will see them manifest.

When you receive wisdom from God, you receive discernment that goes beyond logic and sight

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
—John 10:10 NKJV

Before the thief can kill and destroy, he steals. When a thief steals, he usually steals what is valuable. The devil wants to steal the Word of God from us because he knows how valuable and powerful it is.

So how does the devil steal from us? Let’s take a look at the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:

“Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.”
—Matthew 13:18–19 NKJV

The devil comes and steals the Word when we don’t understand it.

The devil doesn’t want us to receive God’s Word because he knows that the Word of God has the power to save and protect us from his attacks against us. He will try to distract us with worldly entertainment, or put barriers in our ways to stop us from going to church (e.g. by making us believe that church is boring). And if we do make it to church and hear the Word, he swiftly comes to steal the Word from those who do not understand it.

While it’s not wrong to enjoy entertainment, we should not prioritize it above God’s Word. Instead, we should hold on to God’s Word for it is what will produce God’s blessings, favor, miracles, breakthroughs, and healings in our lives. Just like how even the tiniest seeds can grow into big trees that can cut through pavements, the seed of the Word has the power to bring mighty results in our lives. This is why the enemy will always try to come quickly to rob us.

““Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.”
—Matthew 13:18–19 NKJV

“does not understand it,” — The Greek translation for the word “understand” is “suniémi.” “Suniémi” refers to supernatural wisdom from God that will allow us to put two and two together, to have supernatural and uncommon insight and discernment.

“But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands (‘suniémi’) it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
—Matthew 13:23 NKJV

“Seed” — This refers to the Word of God.

“some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” — This is a picture of a bountiful harvest. This means that when we understand God’s word, it produces powerful results in our lives.

“For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand (‘suniémi’) with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.’”
—Matthew 13:15 NKJV

“Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears . . . understand with their hearts” — Notice the pattern through which we receive God’s Word. It first enters through our ear-gates, then goes through our eye-gates, and finally drops into our hearts. This means that the more we hear and see God’s Word, the more it drops into our hearts. That’s where God gives us the understanding and revelation, the ‘suniémi’, that’s beyond natural reasoning and logic.

“So that I should heal them” — this line in the verse above tells us that when we receive and understand ("suniémi") the Word, God cannot but heal us! While there are times we do lay hands on the sick and they are healed (Mark. 16:18), God’s ordained way for us to receive healing is through us receiving revelation about our inheritance of divine health and healing in His Word.

The wisdom of God brings health, riches, honor, pleasantness, and peace

“My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
Do not let them depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart;

For they are life to those who find them,
And health to all their flesh.”
—Proverbs 4:20–22 NKJV

“Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart” — Again, we notice the pattern of receiving God’s Word: first through our ear-gates, then our eye-gates, which then finally drops into our hearts.

How do we keep God’s Word before our eyes? One way we can do so is by visualizing the pictures in His word. God’s Word is full of pictures and visual descriptions of how we should see ourselves. For example, Psalm 1:3 paints a picture of a righteous man as a tree planted by rivers of water. The more we meditate on God’s Word by seeing ourselves as this luscious tree, the more God’s Word will drop into our hearts and we’ll receive fresh revelations of God’s promises for us!

“they are life . . . health to all their flesh” — This includes all areas of our bodies, from the crowns of our heads to the soles of our feet! For those who are struggling with depression, know that God wants you free. He loves you and His heart is for you to have peace in your mind and tranquility in your heart.

Not only do we receive health when we spend time in God’s Word, we also receive wisdom. God wants us to have wisdom. To God, wisdom is the principal thing (Prov. 4:7). Wisdom is independent of our intelligence; it is something that comes from God.

“For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver,
And her gain than fine gold.
She is more precious than rubies,
And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.”
—Proverbs 3:14–15 NKJV

“And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her” — Wisdom is more valuable than all the earthly pleasures we can seek after.

“Length of days is in her right hand,
In her left hand riches and honor.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
And all her paths are peace.”
—Proverbs 3:16-17 NKJV

With wisdom comes:

  1. Length of days (longevity/health)
  2. Riches (provision/supply)
  3. Honor
  4. Pleasantness
  5. Peace

“In her right hand” — The right hand is usually our dominant hand. It is a picture of priority. This shows us that God’s priority is for us to enjoy good health and length of days!

“Peace” — The Hebrew translation “shalom”, which also means wholeness, completeness, and joy. Happiness depends on the right happenings but joy from the Lord is independent of our circumstances.

Wisdom leads you to treasure the presence of Jesus

1 Kings 3 records King Solomon asking God for wisdom when he first rose to kingship. Solomon was at Gibeon when God appeared to him and asked what he’d like God to give him. This was Solomon’s response to God:

“Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart (hearing heart) to judge Your people, that I may discern (‘suniémi’ – GRK) between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.”
—1 Kings 3:9–10 NKJV

Of all the things that Solomon could ask God for, he asked God for an understanding heart! This prayer pleased God so much that God not only blessed Solomon with wisdom, He also blessed Solomon with blessings he had not asked for: riches, honor, and length of days (1 Kings 3:11–14). When you ask God for wisdom, you get everything else!

“So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”
—1 Kings 3:14 NKJV

Even though God promised Solomon length of days, Solomon died at a young age because he had turned away from God (1 Kings 11:9).

Under the Old Covenant of the law, certain blessings e.g. healing could only be received when the children of Israel kept God’s commandments. Our Lord Jesus fulfilled all the demands of the law when He took our place at the cross (Matt. 5:17, Col. 2:13–14), qualifying us to receive all of God’s blessings for us! Since He is the Son of the Father’s right hand and the blessing of the right hand is healing, healing is a blessing that we get to receive today!

“Then Solomon awoke; and indeed it had been a dream. And he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, offered up burnt offerings, offered peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants.”
—1 Kings 3:15 NKJV

The first thing that Solomon did after he awoke from his dream was to go before the ark of the covenant and offer offerings to God. The ark of the covenant is a picture of Jesus. This shows us that when you receive wisdom, you will cherish the presence of the Lord!

The greatest form of wisdom is the knowledge of Jesus’ love for you

Genesis 41 records the story of Joseph interpreting the dreams that Pharaoh had received from God.

“And the dream was repeated to Pharaoh twice because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. “Now therefore, let Pharaoh select a discerning (‘phronimos’ – GRK) and wise (‘suniémi’ – GRK) man, and set him over the land of Egypt.”
—Genesis 41:32–33 NKJV

The Greek translations for the root word of “discerning” and “wise” are “phronimos” and “‘suniémi”, which mean “understanding or prudence” and “supernatural insight” respectively.

Joseph was able to interpret Pharaoh's dream not because he had natural talents, but because he had discernment and supernatural wisdom from God.

“So the advice was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants. And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.”
—Genesis 41:37–40 NKJV

As Joseph interpreted Pharaoh's dream, he also gave him advice on how to handle the seven years of famine that were to come. God’s wisdom upon Joseph was so evident that Pharaoh promoted Joseph from a slave to the overseer of Egypt! This shows us that God’s wisdom can lead us to success.

The greatest wisdom is knowing Jesus’ love for us.

The book of Song of Songs is about King Solomon and his bride, which is a picture of Christ and His bride, the church. The analogy of a bridegroom and a bride is used because the union of newlyweds is usually the most passionate time of their relationship—this is the degree of the passionate love the Lord has for us!

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
For your love is better than wine.”

—Song of Songs 1:2 NKJV

“Kiss” — This speaks of nearness, and knowing God’s love for us personally.

“Your love is better than wine” — Wine is usually a celebratory drink. It is also a symbol of a time of great harvest, or prosperity. This means that the Lord’s love for us is better than all the earthly pleasures we can ever desire e.g. riches and prosperity. And His love for us is independent of the circumstances that we go through in our lives. Wake up every morning with the consciousness that the Lord Jesus loves you, and that His eye is on you!

“How fair is your love,
My sister, my spouse!
How much better than wine is your love,
And the scent of your perfumes
Than all spices!”
—Song of Songs 4:10 NKJV

“My sister, my spouse” — We are both the Lord’s sister and spouse.

“How much better than wine is your love” — Our love for the Lord can never compare to His great love for us. Yet, the Lord sees whatever little love that we might have for Him as something that is better than wine. He appreciates our love! Such is the magnificent grace and love of our Lord! He exceeds us in all areas, even in loving us, yet He is mindful of our love towards Him.

Pastor Prince ends the service by praying for the healing and restoration of our minds, and also over our three prayer requests for 2023.

Salvation Prayer

“Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me. Your love is better than wine. Thank You for sending Your Son Jesus Christ, who died on that cross for my sins. He bore all my judgment and all my condemnation. All my sins have been put away when I was declared righteous by You. You raised Jesus from the dead and all my sins are put away. I'm totally forgiven because Jesus Christ is my Lord and my Savior, now and forever. Thank You, Father. This year, I step into 2023 greatly blessed and highly favored and You so love me. Unveil more and more of how loved I am by You, in Jesus' name, Amen.”

Closing Prayer

This coming year, I pray over you and your families. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, may you and your families be in the secret place of the Most High, under the shadow, the protection, the shelter of the Most High. A thousand may fall at your side, 10,000 at your right hand, it will not come near you. Whatever comes this year, it will not come near you. Recession or whatever it is, it will not touch and affect you negatively. In the name of Jesus, Father, I pray, Lord, You will unleash more than enough provisions, Lord, for Your people, not just for their own needs, Lord, but plenty left over to be a blessing to others, Lord, and for the gospel of Jesus Christ, that they not compromise, Father, on tithing, on sowing, and reaping, and giving to you, Lord because Your ways will never fail. Father, in Jesus' name, they'll become givers and blessers, Lord. Hallelujah, everywhere they go. And Father, I pray in Jesus' name, that this year be so full of favor, satisfied with the favor of the Lord. I pray that everyone under the sound of my voice, Lord, they and their families will be satisfied and be full of the favor of God. That people be drawn to them not knowing why just because of the favor of God that is upon you and your loved ones. Amen. The Lord protect you and your loved ones throughout this year. None of you will die before your time. You'll die only if Jesus tarries. If Jesus doesn't come back, you'll die when you are satisfied. In the name of Jesus', Father, in the name of Jesus the Lord, lift up His face on you, his smile on you, grant to you and yours throughout this year, peace. In Jesus' name, Amen.”

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These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.