You Are So Special…


 

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a Living Soul.

As usual in my walk with the Lord, I have often read scriptures and not really thought very deeply about them. It’s amazing how we can read a verse a few times and nothing ‘jumps’ out at us, and then one day we read it again and it comes to life! Such is the greatness of our heavenly Father – such is His great love for us. His hand is upon our lives day in and day out, carefully steering us on the path of life which He has planned for us.

“…let us make man in our image, after our likeness…. How wonderful that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost decided they should create a being which was different to all creation on earth up to that point. Somebody special, whom God desired to have fellowship with. Not only would God be able to see and talk with Adam but also, He would bless him with the whole earth to have as his own. And so, mankind was originally created in the image and after the likeness of God.

“…God formed man out of the dust of the ground…” As I ponder these words, I try to imagine what it might have been like at the time that Adam was ‘formed’. Was the dust that God used to form Adam the same as the dust that we know today? God had not yet cursed the ground from which Adam had been formed, so it could have been a veryAdam, dust of the Earth different substance from what we know. Adam was surely very different compared to humankind today. He not only had face-to-face fellowship with God, but God brought all the living creatures to him so that he could name them. How many animals can you and I name right now off the top of our heads?

“…and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life…” God placed His own breath into Adam – Adam became a living soul. God had breathed Adam’s spirit into life. He was no longer just ‘dust’, but now became a living soul with his own spirit and own body. There was breath in the bodies of all the animals and other creatures on earth, but God had not breathed into them. Adam was created a very special and unique being. A being God had formed for His own joy.

We know that all this changed when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Therefore, as God promised, Adam and Eve died spiritually and were condemned to a place of solitude from Him. Spiritual death meant that humankind would no longer have communion with God. After Adam had reached 130 years old, he had children in his own image and after his own likeness  – our direct line of hereditary.

I thank the Lord that He sent His son Jesus to restore the situation back to what it was originally in the Garden of Eden. Jesus gives this opportunity to every human being, regardless of culture or nation.

He “… breathed into his nostrils the breath of life..”. As we come to know Jesus and Him crucified, we receive the breath of life from God. This is no ordinary breath. Not a breath that has been mass-produced or thoughtlessly brought into life. No, this is HIS breath – the breath of the almighty Lord of Hosts – the breath of true life, and we are heirs of this wonderful breath as we acknowledge Him.

Each one of us is a unique creation – made greater than any other being on this earth because God desires to have Uniquenessfellowship with us. God ‘formed’ each one of us – not thoughtlessly mass-produced, but individually crafted. We are HIS workmanship created for good works in Christ (Good works where? – IN CHRIST!).

Don’t let the world tell you that you are just like everyone else. You are not like anyone else! When you became reconciled with Him, you were given your own unique spirit, breathed into you by God Himself. You were uniquely ‘formed’ by the Master tradesman to be used by Him and have the fellowship He so desires to have with you.

Hold your head high and know that you are very special to the one who breathed life into you, irrespective of how many times you feel you have disappointed Him or those around you. Know HIS breath of life is in you now… and…forever more!

From: “…time with the Master…”

Published Bi-Monthly

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Hold My Emotional Hand


We are naturally self-centred and therefore it is not easy for us to accept negative things that other people say about us. When we do not agree, the built-in instinct to defend ourselves, criticise situations and blame others, raises its head.

This is true of us in our general lifestyle – our daily work place and at home. It seems the closer to ‘home’ (family members) we are, the more sensitive and explosive our reaction can get.

Why is this happening to us?

Pride, when born out of the Adam nature, causes us to react in a negative way when we are offended. Once offended, our reaction is either anger, retaliation, withdrawal or feelings of guilt.

One of the natural characteristics that we are born with, pride, comes to us from the fallen nature of Adam. It is interesting that Adam was created in the Image and Likeness of God. This image and likeness showed the true nature of God reflecting in Adam. He could not only see God, but could fellowship directly with Him. Adam’s way of thinking was based in God’s nature.Pride

When they disobeyed God, Adam and Eve lost their Image and likeness of God. The self-centred ‘Adamic’ nature was then transferred down the line of humankind to us today. All the human cultures we know today were born out of this fallen nature, which is not restricted to certain races – ALL of humanity have received it.

That is why we tend to react in a negative way when things don’t go according to the way we want them to.

If we have people in our midst that always appear to be irritating us, we need to either continue with the relationship and endure the misery (for however long), or we need to confront the situation and ask God to help us deal with it.

Let us look at the example of a person or persons who we don’t seem to get on with. The closer that person is to our heart, the stronger the irritation to us. For those who are not close to us, we may tend just to brush them aside or at least not have contact with them for the majority of our day. Those we love are closer to us and it is not so easy to merely brush the situation ‘under the carpet’, so to speak.

Let us think about this ….
If the person who is the source of our irritation were physically ill with a terminal sickness, how would we react to them? Perhaps if they were not close to us, we may still tend to push them one side. However, if they were close family members, surely we would find ourselves caring for them. Doing whatever we can to make their lives that bit more comfortable.

Why is it then when these people, so close to us, have emotional characteristics we do not agree with, we seem to take offense? It appears the last thing we want to do is to ‘nurse’ them through the emotional illness, as we would do with a physical illness.

If we love a person, we want to see them physically healthy. Surely, it stands to reason therefore, that we would want Emotional Healthto see them emotionally healthy?

Is the prideful Adamic nature in us preventing us from nursing our loved ones’ emotional character? If this emotional imperfection were terminal in that person, would we turn our backs on them?

Let us seek the Lord and ask Him to help us begin to live out of the new (Godlike) nature within us and not the old Adam nature. As God’s nature in us grows and strengthens, we will show more Godly fruit in our lives and have more compassion in circumstances. Patience is earned, not given to us by God. He gives us grace (unmerited favour) to overcome.

From: “time with the Master…”

“…time with the Master…” is an on-going series of teachings, about lifestyle in the Church and is published bi-monthly.
If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

Mission Malawi – Chapter 23


September 1996
We now find ourselves preparing to go back to Joburg to see what the Lord will have for us. In the natural, we have nothing to go back to. No place to live, no work and once we arrive back in Johannesburg, we will have no money. Well, one thing we have learnt is that we can now trust the Lord to take care of all these concerns. Perhaps in a couple of years’ time we will be writing another diary of what happened after this!

Kathy, I and our youngsters, are very sorry to have left the little mission base, as we know a part of each of our lives is there. We witnessed the hand of God, first hand in our lives many, many times. There were plenty of days that were very difficult and a few times we wanted to run away, but now that the Lord has brought it to an end, we are very blessed and mightily encouraged. We truly saw everything that we had learned, being outworked in real life.

I asked Kathy if there was anything she would have changed were we given the time over again and she said, “No, every detail happened because God allowed it and our lives wouldn’t be the same today if He had not planned it that way”.

Titus will continue to run the mission base and the little business to support the work, so they may not be a burden to anyone. Andy and Sue will go back to England to share with others all they have learned in Africa over the past two and a half years.Young disciples at the mission

During our two years and seven months there, the gospel was preached, to many. Many heard the word. A large number committed their lives to the Lord. Others came and were taught for a short time – but only two (in the end), were willing to be discipled and lay their lives down totally for the Lord, so that they might go out and do the same thing.

“Behold, the sower went out to sow and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. And others fell upon the rocky places, where they did not have much soil and immediately, they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched and because they had no root, they withered away. And others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil, and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty and some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”

Jesus was right when He said, “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Establishing that mission base, called “Church at Lilongwe”, has taken so many wonderful people and Kathy and I don’t know how to thank you all. For those who have prayed for us and the work, your faithfulness has been Building on the mission base in Area 49, Lilongwerewarded, as we conclude our purpose for being there. For those who have written, your contributions have helped to encourage us through the not so good times. For those who contributed materially so that our physical needs were met, the Lord will bless you, ten-fold as that work now multiplies.

On the fourth of January 1994, the Lord said to Hein and me ….
“…And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. Suffer hardship with Me as a good soldier of Christ Jesus…”

By His grace and power alone, we can say this command has been fulfilled for now, and we look forward to that which He has planned for us in the future.

We thank the Lord for keeping us safe during this time and for the many lovely people we have met from all over the world, not to mention the great amount He has taught us. We thought we were going to Malawi to teach others, which we did, but we were the ones that were really being taught, and for that, we will be eternally grateful.

Thank you, FatherSharing the Gospel with young men

Epilogue
It is really our hearts desire that something in these chapters has somehow brought you closer to God. We thank God each and every day for the few experiences He has allowed us to go through so far in our walk – only the tip of the iceberg has been scratched. God is real and He really does provide. The question is: Are we able to allow Him to provide for us?

Paul says that we should work out our salvation in fear and trembling.

Each day we draw a little closer to God if we listen to that which He is teaching us, if we are not too busy with ‘things’ which block out our Holy Spirit ‘frequency’. If we follow the path of seeking and speaking to Him daily, we will come to trust Him more and more. As we show faith in the small things, so He will grant us favor in the larger things, not only in this world, but in the Kingdom to come.

Bless You All.

Characters

Raymond and Kathy – Children: Theresa-Anne, Wayne, Simon, Bethany and Daniel
Worked in Johannesburg, South Africa and decided to sell all and live a season of time being led by the Lord. Their last son, Daniel was born during the time of this journey.

Today they are living in Vereeniging in South Africa where they now have three lovely grandchildren. They own their own business, which is used to generate funds for the furthering of the Gospel. They share the Gospel and disciple others in small home groups.

Hein and Erica – Children: Joshua
Worked in Cape Town, South Africa and decided to forsake their jobs as medical Nurses and live a season of time being led by the Lord.

Today they live in Alberton, South Africa and have three children. Hein works in a company where he is able to share the Lord and disciple others. Erica is teaching at a Christian School.

David and Zelifa
Lived in Malawi and were the hosts for the beginning of this work. They had five children.
They remained in Malawi where sadly David passed away and there is no updated news of Zelifa.

Frank
A Pastor with a Charismatic Church in Malawi. He was married with five children.
They remained in Malawi but there is no updated news of them.

Timothy and Joseph
Malawian brothers who had gone to South Africa to find employment and a better future. They were based at the Mission in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. There is no updated news of either of them.

Chris and Sally – Children: Heath, Matthew and Leigh-Megan
Worked in Durban, South Africa for a large corporate food company and decided to sell all and live a season of time being led by the Lord.

Today they live in the Nottingham/Derby area in England. Chris is self-employed and shares Jesus wherever his work takes him. Sally is teaching at a Christian School. They have two lovely grandchildren.

Arthur
Worked in Johannesburg, South Africa for a large corporate company in the field of Electrical Engineering. He decided to sell all and live a season of time being led by the Lord.

Today he is married with 3 children and one fostered child. They live in Thohoyandou, South Africa where they are actively involved on an outreach Mission base serving the community.

Titus
Was found at the African Market in Area 49, Lilongwe, Malawi where his small business had come to an end. Wayne brought him home to meet us and his discipling season began.

Today he is married with 5 children and works at the headquarters of an international aid organization. He continues to share the Gospel in Malawi wherever he goes.

This is the last in the series of Mission Malawi, if you have not participated in the richness of the story of young missionaries in the warm heart of Africa – Malawi go to the beginning and read about an amazing experience.

“…time withe Master…” is an on-going series of teachings, about lifestyle in the Church and is published bi-monthly.
If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

Mission Malawi

Our daily Garden


As we travel along our daily road of life, we can find ourselves, broadly speaking, in one of two states of mind – filled with fear and anxiety or abiding in the peace of the Lord.

Let us imagine walking into a neatly laid out vegetable garden. The rows of plants are straight, and access between them and down the rows, is very easy. As we walk between the beds, we see lovely tomato bushes on either side of our path. Looking further ahead, we notice that all the vegetable gardens contain the same vegetables on the left and on the right – all perfect and looking delicious.

Temptation is too great and eventually we decide to pick a lovely bright red tomato from the bed to the left of us. Imagining the taste, we are about to experience, we take a large bite and begin to swallow. Our system is suddenly shocked!! The taste is anything but what we imagined! A bitterness like we have never experienced before. Trying to spit the contents out of our mouths does not really help as the bitter acid settles down into our stomachs – wow! The taste lingers and in fact, everything we think of at that point is affected by the sourness of the flavour in our mouths and stomachs.Vegetable Garden 2.png

A short time passes, and we recover. Looking at the tomato plants in the opposite bed, we are tempted to try again, because they look so beautiful. From the opposite bed, we gently break off another tomato. Cautiously, we venture another taster. What an amazing difference! So juicy and pleasant. We hurry for the next few bites until the tomato is finished! It settles in our stomachs beautifully… and so satisfying!

Why are the two plants so different? Surely it must be to do with the type of food the roots are drawing from the soil.

Our path in life is very similar. Either we will feed from fearful situations or we will feed from peaceful situations. The ‘veggie garden’ of life, from which we will select, has been planted either by God or by the Evil One. The Vegetable Garden 3.pngsituations of life that the evil one would distract us with, are sown in fear (the sour tomato). He offers opportunities based in fear (like the acid soil), which, on the outside appear normal, but finding ourselves in those given situations, we start to feel fear of failure, fear of non-conformance and fear of physical things (phobias). It is whilst we are in fear that we are weak and vulnerable.

Weakness brought on by fear is not a sin but could certainly lead us into sin if not dealt with in the early stages. Anger is a fruit of fear. We become angry as a reaction to something which brings fear to us. Then we may well act differently to our norm, as a result of that fear.

Situations that God would bless us with are grounded in grace and peace. Jesus came to this earth to restore the things that were lost to mankind in the garden of Eden. Our old sinful nature was one of those things. He not only came to take our sins away, but to give us a new heart with rightful desires.

The old sinful nature is a magnet for the evil one’s distractions. He simply sows a fearful thought into our minds and as we accept it, the sourness invades our inner man and then everything we see, every action we perform, becomes tainted with bitterness. Fear requires more fear to feed itself, otherwise it will fade.

As our lifestyle transforms to be more like Jesus, we live more ‘in Christ’. The more we live ‘in Christ’, the more we will eat from the ‘veggies’ of Grace and Peace.

We need to make a conscious decision to daily walk out of our new nature – the ‘Christ’ nature. Why should we remain in our old nature, which is so attracted to fear, when we can daily walk in HIS grace, forgiveness and peace?

Remember, the veggies all look the same. If we choose from the wrong bed, we will very quickly know. Instantly spit out the sourness and replace it with a vegetable of grace and peace. Feed off HIS vegetables and we will experience peace and forgiveness.

From: “…time with the Master…”

“…time with the Master…” is an on-going series of teachings, about lifestyle in the Church and is published bi-monthly.
If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

My Armour or God’s Armour?


How many times do we feel that we have need to go out and ‘fight the good fight? How many times do we feel that if we don’t go out and fight the good fight, we will be disappointing God? How much of our own strength can we commit to this task when we have so much on our plates?

I have tried many times, rising early, believing that THIS day, I will be a good example of God’s child and stand firm, only to discover, like Peter the disciple, I am truly very weak!

The truth is, in our own strength, we cannot please God and our loving Father is very aware of this fact. The old nature, which we inherited from Adam, is just not equipped to please God.

Our loving Father has already poured out His peace into our hearts, so we should just take hold of it and allow Him to work IN us and THROUGH us, in HIS time. The ‘THROUGH us’ work will be a result of the ‘IN us’ work, just like the fruit of a tree. The tree does not have to concern itself with the fruit making, it’s bearing is a natural process. The quality of the fruit is dependent on the intake of the roots.

So it is with us. Spend time with the Lord in prayer, reading the Word and fellowship with other members of His family, and your ‘fight the good fight’ will be a natural process, not something you have to constantly drive.

What a blessing the scripture says:
Put on all of God’s armour so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil.Armour of God 2

God’s armour…not MY armour. The ‘good fight’ is God’s battle and He encourages us not to try and fight this battle in our strength. Instead, He says…. “submit to me…”. We are His instruments, clay in the potter’s hands…

Gird your loins with truth….. loins are normally associated with giving life – we will only be able to fight the good fight to the level of our own relationship with our Father. The deeper we are in Him, the more effective our fruit to bring new life to those around us – the natural process of fruit bearing. Is it God’s fruit from within, or do we have to force it by the power of our strength?

Put on the breastplate of righteousness…. A breastplate is something that covers a large area of the body and is bright and shiny. The breastplate is seen first when a person approaches. If the breastplate is damaged and dull, it does not create a good impression. A bright shiny breastplate indicates cleanliness and righteousness. Does the fruit of righteousness shine through us as a natural process or do we have to force it by the power of our strength?

Shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel …. Our Father’s desire is to disciple the nations. Our feet are going to take us to our families, communities and Nations. As we go, we will take the Gospel with us. The Gospel will regenerate minds and lives will begin to change. Is the fruit of the Gospel evident in us a natural process, or do we have to force it by the power of our strength?

Take up the shield of Faith …. A shield of trusting God (faith) will protect us. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we believe God has the power to resolve a condition, but we cannot seem to trust (or have faith) that He will do so for us in our time of need. It is at this time, that our trust in God is stretched. The more we stretch our trust, the more we will be protected in any given situation. Is our trust in the Lord evident as a natural process or do we have to force it by the power of our strength?

The Helmet of Salvation…A helmet is vital for survival, protecting the brain, the central command station. It is in the brain that the evil one begins his mission to lead us away from God. He plants a tempting thought and we begin to entertain it. If this thought is not put out of our minds, the scripture says it will take us on a path of death. Salvation in our lives is as secure as a helmet on our heads. Jesus died on the cross that we might receive Salvation as a gift (free) – all we must do is…receive it! Within the Salvation process, our minds are renewed. Are we allowing God to work IN us as a natural process in order that He can work THROUGH us, or are we resisting Him in our own strength?

From: “…time with the Master…”

This is a bi-monthly series of spiritual teachings.
If you are encouraged and learned something by and from this article, please share it with others, great oaks grow because they spread their seed.
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The Power of Prayer


Prayers 1.jpg

The Scriptures were given to us for many good reasons. Among these, they reveal God’s promises to us, they give the lost and forsaken hope and comfort.

We are always safe to take the words of the scriptures and to so place them, that they can be made into our own personal petitions to God.

Psalm 91 is a wonderful example of this – see God’s promise and reassurance to us, see His guarantee; that He will never leave us or forsake us. He asks that we should believe, what He tells us and in doing so, we harness his promise of power in our lives.

Continue reading “The Power of Prayer”

A Timeless tale – Chapter Twenty Five


Living a Life in the Kingdom of God – Continued

How often have you heard people say, or have read, that all you and I have is now, this moment in which we breathe and live; laugh and cry, sing and shout? Yesterday exists in our memory, tomorrow in our dreams; it is only today that we hold in our control. Where we make choices based on love or fear, faith, doubt….

Continue reading “A Timeless tale – Chapter Twenty Five”

A Timeless Tale – Chapter Twenty Four


Living a Life in the Kingdom of God – Continued

What is God’s Desire?

Continue reading “A Timeless Tale – Chapter Twenty Four”

A Timeless Tale – Chapter Twenty Three


 

Living a Life in the Kingdom of God – Continued

We continue this week, discussing the third part of our three-part human make up – the spirit.

Living in the Spirit.

Before beginning this week’s session I need to, once again, emphasize an important point. As a young man training for the priesthood, my tutor used to say over and over again, “Repetitio est mater studiorum” repetition is the mother of studies. As you can see through this series, I have adopted this approach.

Continue reading “A Timeless Tale – Chapter Twenty Three”

Heaven is For Real


Heaven is for Real

Authors: Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent.

A Book Review by sirpeterjamesdotcom.

Heaven is for Real, is the story of one four-year-old boy, Colton Burpo – who experiences a miracle and then, over the course of more than a year, is able to relate his miraculous experiences in a very vivid and challenging manner.

Continue reading “Heaven is For Real”