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Let’s Look at Prayer -4


Let’s look at Prayer Video

Session 4

Welcome to session 4 of Let’s look at Prayer

How about a quick recap on what we said in last week’s session on Warfare prayers?

  1. Pray God’s Will – Warfare prayers are a matter of seeking God’s will. It is never man’s place to make a decision on behalf of God.
  2. What is warfare prayer? – Warfare prayer is asking God to come up against powers of darkness and spiritual wickedness, that we may witness in our day
  3. What are spiritual weapons? – Spiritual weapons are the unseen weapons of the spiritual world – through God
  4. When to pray ‘forbid or Permit’ prayers – The more we are one with God, the more we hear Him directing us when to pray
  5. How to pray ‘forbid and permit’ prayers – God will give us the wording for each burden that he gives us to pray for
  6. How not to pray ‘forbid and permit’ prayers – ‘Binding and Loosing’ prayers should never be prayed in our own strength or out of an emotional frenzy
  7. Where is our Authority? – The only authority that we have on this earth is “…through God…”

And lastly

  • How do we lay hold of this authority? – Our authority lies ‘In Christ’ only. The more our old nature is laid down, the deeper ‘in Christ’ we move and the more His authority is released through us

In this week’s session we’ll look at some important questions about prayer.

WHAT SHOULD MY ATTITUDE BE WHEN I PRAY?

In Luke 18, Jesus explains to us what our attitude should be when we pray.  He is saying that it is persistent prayer, inspired by faith and intensity, from a heart that is humble and repentant, that receives a response from the throne of God .

It’s not that God gets some kind of pleasure at seeing us begging and grovelling before Him day after day, but rather that the persistent prayer of a righteous believer will break down the evil forces that try to prevent the answers to our prayers reaching us as confirmed by these scriptures (Eph. 6:12; Jas. 5:16; 1Thess.5:17). Later, we’ll look more closely at the example of Daniel’s prayer in Daniel chapter 9.

Believing and trusting God (in other words Faith) when we pray, puts the emphasis on God Himself. It is all about Him and His faithfulness. Jesus did not teach us to rely on prayer alone – He taught us to rely on, and trust Him. Only when we can fully trust Him, can we fully pray believing. We are to believe Him first, and then express that belief in prayer. Trust must be in the heart before prayer comes out of the mouth. In Luke 18, we see how strong the beggar’s faith was. He trusted God to heal him.

Another example of prayer attitude is once again seen in Luke 18 where Jesus says that the Tax gatherer’s seeking God, was one of humility. We also see in Daniel chapter 9 how Daniel prayed from a heart that was humble and repentant, longing to understand God’s will. Please, if you have time this week, read through this chapter and let the Lord show you the state of Daniel’s heart.

CAN WE PRAY LIKE THE GREAT MEN OF GOD?

Let’s have a look at two examples of how great men of God prayed. In 1 Kings 18, we enter the story at the point where Elijah tells King Ahab that it is going to rain (and that’s after three and a half years of drought!).  Although he tells Ahab, what he is really doing is prophesying.

Elijah immediately then got onto his knees and prayed until what he had prophesied had come to pass.

Daniel, in chapter 9, said this: “So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes…” (Dan.9:3).

Daniel’s seeking the Lord was very serious – not a light hearted approach.

We must desire to pray the way Elijah and Daniel prayed because these types of prayers produce results.  Not only this, but they are within the reach of every believer.

We need however to take note of a very important factor here:-

Both these men prayed in God’s will. 

Elijah heard from God before he prophesied to Ahab that there would be no rain.

And

Daniel read about the prophecies of Jeremiah before he began to pray .

PRAY IN GOD’S WILL, PRAY BELIEVING

The next important issue is that they both firmly believed that their prayers would be heard by God.  This was visible by their behaviour.  Elijah went to Ahab and told him what was going to happen, then prayed without moving from his place until his servant reported a cloud.

Daniel never moved from his place for three whole weeks, neither eating, drinking nor bathing!!

HUMILITY AND BROKENESS IS WHAT WE NEED IN PRAYER

If we go back to Luke 18, Jesus describes two attitudes in prayer:

Firstly, the scribe who is proud of his achievements and legalistic in his manner of praying. 

Secondly, and very different, is the attitude of the tax-gatherer.  He goes to God with a heart that is looking for mercy.

Let’s try and remember these prayer attitudes, as we next seek God.

CAN I ONLY PRAY THE WILL OF GOD?

Praying in the will of God is really a way of life. In other words, people who have utterly surrendered their lives to God, don’t have much difficulty praying God’s will, because they KNOW Him – not just know ABOUT Him. Let’s just repeat that… they KNOW him – not just know ABOUT Him.

But for those of us still growing to that place, we need firstly to desire to pray in God’s will, and then ask Him to cause our prayers to be prayed in His will.  But we are certainly free to ask God for the things that we want, then ask Him to make it subject to His will.

WHY DOES GOD WANT US TO DO THE PRAYING?

God’s ways are unique to Him and they work in spite of what we do or don’t do. He does require us to pray and preach to fulfill His purpose on earth, but even where we are disobedient, He will find others that are willing, so He always accomplishes His will. The scripture of Romans 10 shows us this.

In Luke 18, Jesus gives us some idea as to why God wants us to pray:

In this instance, the judge can be likened to the position God holds over the earth.  He is in total charge.

The widow (who is a symbol of defencelessness and a particular focus of God’s deep compassion), is likened to a person who cries out for deliverance from their adversary.

The adversary is Satan who constantly seeks to bind people in slavery to his will.

The widow remained persistent, and it was because of this that the judge agreed to deliver her, “…lest by her continuous requesting, she wear me out…” (vs. 5).  Jesus says that God too, will deliver, when His children pray to Him, “…crying to Him day and night…” (vs. 7).

Jesus guarantees, in fact, that God will deliver speedily (vs. 8)!

WHY PERSISTENCE IN PRAYER?

Why would God insist that we persist in prayer, is He like a judge waiting to be wearied?  Never!  God is just and has a very good reason for us persisting in prayer. 

We see in Daniel 9, how and what Daniel prayed.  The answer to his prayer comes in chapter 10 when a messenger from God tells Daniel that his prayer was answered the first time he prayed, but it took twenty-one days for the answer to reach him.  Why?  Because it was hindered by the Prince of Persia (which we can understand to be a demonic strong-hold over the area – vs. 13).

Daniel fasted and never gave up on his praying.  His prayers were persistent and in deep sincerity.

In 1 John 3, we read that Jesus defeated Satan, yet Satan is still the god of this world as we see in 2 Cor.2.  How?  By illegal means, he does this.  He tempts man to sin and those that do not have the power to overcome, become slaves to him.  Therefore, he rules!

However, as the saints persist in prayer, many shall be freed from his evil clutches. In Heb.10, we see that through perseverance and the will of God, we will receive what He promises us (Heb.10:36).

SOME LAST POINTS TO CONSIDER…

In essence then, this is what Jesus is teaching us:

When we pray, first look for what GOD wants.

Ask God to empty us as we begin to pray and show us what’s on His heart.

Pray according to the will of God.

BELIEVE that God will not only hear our prayer, but will answer them as well.

Persist in prayer – don’t give up!

Lastly, when all this has been done, ask God to give you peace about that which you have prayed.

OK… let’s quickly recap what have we seen this week:

  1. What should my attitude be when I pray? – It is persistent prayer, inspired by faith and intensity, from a heart that is humble and repentant, that receives a response from the throne of God
  2. Can we pray like the great men of God? – Praying is well within the reach of everybody and is encouraged by God – there are many biblical examples of praying people.
  3. Pray in God’s Will, pray believing – All great praying people totally believed God would answer their requests
  4. Humility and Brokenness in prayer – God looks for humble hearts seeking mercy rather than arrogant prideful attitudes in prayer
  5. Can I only pray the will of God? – God’s will in our prayers will come naturally as we get to know Him – but we are free to ask for the things we want according to His will
  6. Why does God want us to do the praying? – God uses us to further His Kingdom here on earth – through prayer and His will
  7. Why persistence in prayer? – We need to persevere in prayer because answers are sometimes delayed in the heavenlies and through perseverance and the will of God, we will receive answers.

And lastly, when we pray:

  • Look for what God wants – ask God to empty our hearts as we begin to pray – pray the will of God – believe God will hear our prayer and trust Him for the answer – persist and don’t give up – and then ask Him to give us peace about what we have prayed.

Let’s end off this last session by praying together in your group. Hopefully by now we are all used to praying with each other and we’ve begun to hear God sharing His heart with us in the prayer time.

Remember – we hold a very powerful tool in our hands when we pray, not by our power – but by His. Talk to God all day long – get to know Him intimately and tell Him you love Him. Marvel as we see situations around us change by the power of our prayers, subject to God’s will.

Thanks so much for joining me as we’ve had a look together at the topic prayer over the last few weeks. I pray the Lord has used these sessions in some way, to bring us all that bit closer to Him.

May our Father in Heaven Bless you all.

“…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).

The Holy Spirit – Part Five


Join our Pastor Ray as he shares the dynamic power of The Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit Video

Session 5

Welcome to number 5 of The Holy Spirit sessions

Last week, we had a closer look at the gifts of ‘knowing or revelation’, more of the gifts that the Holy Spirit brings with Him as He resides in us, in order that individuals become equipped to enter in and walk along the narrow road.

This is what we discussed:

  1. Word of Wisdom (How to act or speak) – receiving divine understanding and insight, which enables us to deal with a specific situation or circumstance, is a word of Wisdom.
  2. Word of Knowledge (Know about a situation) – God imparted information of facts and details which are humanly impossible to know in any circumstance we may face, is a word of Knowledge.
  3. Discerning of Spirits – Being able to perceive the spiritual source behind a spoken word, motive, attitude, mood or action of an individual or group, is the gift of discernment. Spiritual sources are either: Heavenly, Human or Demonic.
  4. Healings – The supernatural ability to minister physical healing to those who are sick, is a gift of healing.
  5. Working of Miracles – God working through individuals to perform the impossible or an act contrary to the physical laws of nature, is the working of miracles.
  6. Faith – The ability to believe God for the impossible in a situation beyond the normal, is a gift of Faith

This week we’ll look at the gifts that the Spirit gives to certain individuals for the purpose of building up, equipping, and serving the members of the local body (or His Church) – as confirmed in the scripture of Ephesians 4 .

Just a quick reminder here: Who are the true ‘Body of Christ’? Jesus tells us in John 3 who His body is… those who are born of water and of the spirit. We can refer back to the Gospel Explained sessions for a recap on being “born of water and of the Spirit”.

According to Gods plan, it is not sufficient for us to just enter in the narrow gate and walk along the narrow road. Rather through His unit, the Church or His body, we should be assisting directly or indirectly, in preparing others for what God wants of them.

The prayer of Jesus to the Father in John 17, was that His body would be one. In the prayer, Jesus asks God for His body to be perfected in unity so that the world would know He had been sent by God. Paul says in 1Cor that we were all baptized into one body.  Therefore, we have a responsibility to others in the body, and cannot just center on ourselves. To pray for others, encourage others, help others materially, are just some of the things we need to be doing for one another.

The Spirit adequately prepares us for these functions, by giving us specific gifts that we use to minister to others.  There are seven Gifts of Function that are used for the uplifting of the members of the body, in both the individual and corporate sense.

PROPHETICAL GIFT OF FUNCTION

This gift of prophecy is a gift that operates in different people from time to time …” just as God wills…” and this, as we see in 1Cor, is for the edification, exhorting, and comforting of the body. The gift operates differently to those who are appointed to the office of Prophet, in the Fivefold ministry.  These operate in the gift of Prophecy all the time. We will look more deeply into this topic in the next session.

THE GIFT OF SERVICE

This gift involves serving the brethren in a very practical way.  Such members of the body are reliable, willing helpers, that experience fulfillment in getting a job done. As confirmation of this, we can look at the book of Acts, to see how the early church dealt with this.

THE GIFT OF TEACHING

This gift involves the desire for truth and the willingness to share it with others.  It also involves the ability to communicate the truths from the scriptures to the body.  This person is usually found teaching in smaller home groups and to the children’s church.  Depending on the degree of the gift, some of those with this gift may well find themselves appointed to the office of teacher, as in the Fivefold ministry which we will discuss next session.

THE GIFT OF EXHORTATION

To exhort is to appeal, encourage, console or comfort.  Exhortation can even involve admonishing or urging someone to follow the right course of action.  The scriptures command us to do this for one another.  This gift enables a person to have a ‘spiritual eye’ for a need, and then respond with the proper advice, encouragement, warning, or counsel to others.

THE GIFT OF GIVING

This gift is the ability to generate money or acquire material goods and give generously for the work of God’s kingdom as we see in the book of Acts when Joseph (or Barnabas), sold his land and blessed the body of Christ.  The gift is manifested by consistent giving and also God’s blessing on the one who does the giving.

THE GIFT OF LEADERSHIP

This gift provides the ability to lead others into accomplishing God’s purpose for their lives and the life of the body as a whole. We see this as Peter leads the disciples at an outreach situation.

Those with the gift of leadership, are visionaries in the making and are used to establish different ministry areas by the Lord.  Those with this gift are being formed into the appointments of ‘administration’ or apostle as we see in the scripture of 1Cor.  The gift is vital for the growth of the local church and is particularly important for pastoral work.

THE GIFT OF MERCY

This gift provides the ability to empathize with those who suffer misfortune or are experiencing some kind of hurt.  The gift leads those who have it, to perform acts of kindness, help, and comfort towards those in need.  We see in Psalms that God is the source of all mercy, and according to Luke, God requires His children to be merciful.

Just to help us get further understanding of what we’ve looked at this week, let’s have a look at this diagram:

– Once again we see the ‘fruit’ of the Spirit can be seen all together (as one unit) in the green section – showing that all parts of the fruit of the Spirit are within us at the same time.

The Holy Spirit brings ‘gifts’ with Him.

– The 7 Gifts of Function we’ve just discussed can be seen – made up of Prophecy, Service, Teaching, Exhortation, Giving, Leadership and Mercy.

Right – Let’s recap then, on what gifts we’ve heard about this week:

  1. The gift of Prophecy – This prophetical gift of function, is a gift that operates in different people from time to time as God wills – to lift up and encourage His body. Normally it is witnessed at a group gathering.
  2. The Gift of Service – Serving the body of Christ in a very practical way, is a gift of service.
  3. The Gift of Teaching – Teaching others involves the desire for truth and the willingness to share it.  It also involves the ability to communicate the truth of the scriptures, to the body.
  4. The Gift of Exhortation – Being able to appeal to, encourage, console or comfort others, is the gift of exhortation.
  5. The Gift of Giving – The ability to generate money or acquire material goods and give generously for the work of Gods kingdom, is the gift of giving.
  6. The Gift of Leadership – The ability to lead others into accomplishing Gods purpose for their lives, and the life of the body as a whole, is the gift of leadership.
  7. The Gift of Mercy – To be able to empathize with those who suffer misfortune or are experiencing some kind of hurt, is the gift of mercy.

LET’S PRACTICE….

To close this session, as in previous sessions, take a few minutes to go around your group, practicing the gifts that we’ve learned over the last three weeks. Be encouraged to leave your seat and lay hands on other members of the group whilst praying for them – as the Lord leads.

Remember as we mentioned before – The purpose of practicing the gifts is to help us overcome the ‘fear of man’ (or

shyness). PLEASE – IT IS NOT AN EXERCISE TO FORCE GOD TO ACT BY OUR OWN STRENGTH. Rather simply, the more we practice in front of others, the more confident we will become.

Once again – As you pray now – remember:

With the language gifts, we must Firstly, Believe and

Secondly, open our mouths and move our tongues – otherwise absolutely nothing is going to happen!

Thirdly, we must get rid of any unforgiveness or anger in us by praying quietly for the Lord’s help. (remember we said forgiveness is a decision not a feeling!). 

Also, please be sensitive to those who are not comfortable praying out aloud. Don’t force them to pray, but rather allow them to be still and let the Spirit of the Lord, wash over them during this time.

The Lord be with you as you discover new things this coming week – In Him!

Thanks so much for spending this time with me – next week in the last session, we’ll look at some more gifts the Holy Spirit brings to us which are more permanent, abiding gifts.  Until then, Bless you all.

“…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).

The Holy Spirit – Part Six.


Join Our Pastor Ray as he shares on the power of The Holy Spirit

“…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).

The Holy Spirit – Part Four


Join our Pastor Ray as he shares the power of The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit Video

Session 4

Welcome to number 4 of The Holy Spirit sessions

Last week, we had a closer look at some of the gifts that the Holy Spirit brings with Him as He resides in us.

Let’s quickly recap what we discussed:

1. A Gift from God – The Holy Spirit is a gift (singular) from God and He brings along with Him gifts of the Spirit (plural)

2. The Holy Spirit Comes to Live in Us – When the Holy Spirit resides in us, we display the Fruit of the Spirit and receive gifts.

3. God’s Nature – The Holy Spirit is the nature of God abiding in us.

4. God’s Tool Box – The Fruit of the Spirit is only part of the equipment we need; the gifts of the Spirit make up the balance.

5. God the Source – The spirit of God (NOT MAN), is the source of the gifts – the gifts glorify God (NOT MAN).

6. Nine Personal Gifts – The language gifts, Knowing or Revelation Gifts and Doing or Power Gifts, make up the group of personal Gifts.

7. Heavenly Language – Tongues is a heavenly language by the power of Holy Spirit, spoken to God – not Man.

8. Interpretation – Paul commands us to pray for interpretation of the heavenly language, so that all may be edified.

9. Prophecy – Words brought by the power of the Holy Spirit from God to man is called prophecy.

10. Given Freely by God – The gifts are given freely by God to all those who desire them.

In session 3, we said that there were nine gifts, which could be split into three groups of three; the first three we discussed were the ‘Language gifts’.  These consisted of:

1) Diverse tongues,     

2) Interpretation and      

3) Prophecy.

The next group of gifts we are going to look at are the gifts of ‘knowing or revelation’.

WORD OF WISDOM (HOW TO)

Word of wisdom is a gift which involves the imparting of divine inspiration to see, understand and respond to life situations from Gods viewpoint.  In other words, receiving divine understanding and insight, which enables one to deal with a specific situation or circumstance.

A good example of this gift is found in Matt. 22, where the scripture says,“…But Jesus, perceiving their malice, said, “Why are you testing me?…”  By divine revelation, Jesus knew that they sought to trap him, but this divine revelation showed him how to answer them in a way that would not allow them to trap him.  It was also a sign of the spirit abiding in him.

WORD OF KNOWLEDGE (ABOUT)

The Word of knowledge is a supernatural revelation of some detail of the knowledge of God.  It is God imparted information of facts and details which are humanly impossible to know.  It is receiving a portion of the mind of God, about a given life situation, at any one given moment.

A good example of this gift is Jesus speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, where He says “ You have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband, this you have said truly” (Vs.18).  Her response was, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet”.  In other words, “God, not man, has revealed this thing to you”.

The gift would be used to reveal a vital piece of information that could help deal with certain life situations.  It could also be used as a testimony of the indwelling Sprit in the life of the one having it, to cause others to turn to the truth (as in the case of Jesus at the Well).

DISCERNING OF SPIRITS

Being able to perceive the spiritual source behind a word, motive, attitude, mood or action of an individual or group, is the gift of discernment. Spiritual sources are either: Heavenly, Human or Demonic.

An example of this gift, which operates in the lives of all spirit filled believers at various times, in Acts, where the Spirit revealed to Peter that Simon was trying to buy the gifts of God with Money. Significantly, Peter also had a word of knowledge here as well, when he said to Simon, “…. for I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and bondage of iniquity…”

Finally, we look at the last group of gifts of ‘Doing or Power’.

HEALINGS

The supernatural ability to minister physical healing to those who are sick, is a gift of healing.  By virtue of the expression ‘gifts of healing’ (plural) in 1 Cor. 12:9, the implication could cover all areas of healing, namely: spiritual, emotional, mental and psychological.

It must be born in mind that this gift is firstly to glorify the name of God as we can see in the scriptures of John, and then for the benefit of the one that has been healed.

WORKING OF MIRACLES

A miracle is a phenomenon that is supernatural – an act contrary to the physical laws of nature.  Miracles defy reason and transcend natural laws. This gift requires God working through individuals to perform the impossible.  An example of miracle working is seen in Acts 13, where Paul is used by God to bring blindness to Elymas in order that Sergius Paulus would come to know the Lord.

FAITH

The ability to believe God for the impossible in a situation beyond the normal, is a gift of Faith.  It is the faith to accomplish specific tasks, face potentially overwhelming circumstances, or to persevere in the face of dangerous situations.  We should read Acts 27 sometime this coming week, to see Paul working in the gift of faith.

To try and give us better understanding of what we have been sharing over the last two weeks, let’s have a look at this diagram:

– The fruit of the Spirit can be seen all together (as one unit) in the green section – showing that all parts of the fruit of the Spirit are within us at the same time.

– The Holy Spirit brings ‘gifts’ (plural) with Him.

– The 9 personal gifts as we have been discussing this week and last week, can be seen in three groups.

– Language gifts – made up of Diverse tongues, Interpretation and Prophecy.

– Knowing or Revelation gifts – made up of word of wisdom, word of knowledge and discerning of spirits

– Doing or Power gifts – made up of Healings, Miracles and Faith.

Let’s recap then on what gifts we’ve heard about this week:

  1. Word of Wisdom (How to act or speak) – receiving divine understanding and insight, which enables us to deal with a specific situation or circumstance, is a word of Wisdom.
  2. Word of Knowledge (Know about a situation) – God imparted information of facts and details which are humanly impossible to know in any circumstance we may face, is a word of Knowledge.
  3. Discerning of Spirits – Being able to perceive the spiritual source behind a spoken word, motive, attitude, mood or action of an individual or group, is the gift of discernment. Spiritual sources are either: Heavenly, Human or Demonic.
  4. Healings – The supernatural ability to minister physical healing to those who are sick, is a gift of healing.
  5. Working of Miracles – God working through individuals to perform the impossible or an act contrary to the physical laws of nature, is the working of miracles.
  6. Faith – The ability to believe God for the impossible in a situation beyond the normal, is a gift of Faith

LET’S PRACTICE….

To close the session, once again, take a few minutes to go around your group, practicing the gifts that we’ve learned about over the last two weeks, as was done before in the previous sessions.

VERY IMOPORTANTLY though – The purpose of this exercise is to help us overcome the ‘fear of man’ (or shyness) – by practicing together. PLEASE – IT IS NOT AN EXERCISE TO FORCE GOD TO ACT BY OUR OWN STRENGTH. Rather simply, the more we practice in front of others, the more confident we will become.

As you pray now – remember:

With the language gifts, we must Firstly, Believe and

Secondly, open our mouths and move our tongues – otherwise absolutely nothing is going to happen!

Thirdly, we must get rid of any unforgiveness or anger in us by praying quietly for the Lord’s help. (remember we said forgiveness is a decision not a feeling!). 

Also, please be sensitive to those who are not comfortable praying out aloud. Don’t force them to pray, but rather allow them to be still and let the Spirit of the Lord, wash over them during this time.

The Lord be with you as you discover new things – In Him!

Thanks so much for spending this time with me – next week in session 5, we’ll look at some more gifts the Holy Spirit brings to us which we’ve grouped as ‘the gifts of Function’.  Until then, Bless you all.

“…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).

The Holy Spirit – Part Three


Join our Pastor Ray as he shares the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit

Session 3

Welcome to Number 3 of The Holy Spirit sessions

Last session, we saw when it is that we receive the Holy Spirit, and we looked at some questions about the Holy Spirit which may have concerned us in the past.

Let’s quickly recap what we said:

  1. When do I receive the holy spirit? – We receive the Holy Spirit during the process of becoming Born Again.
  2. Two examples of receiving the holy spirit – The Samarian men were baptised but had not received the Holy Spirit; Cornelius’s household were born of the Spirit, but not yet baptised.
  3. Two schools of thought – Whether we take hold of the Holy Spirit at the time of being born again or at a later stage, both are scriptural
  4. Why do I need the holy spirit? – We need the Holy Spirit to assist us in our work of building the body of Christ
  5. How does the holy spirit prepare me for service? – Dramatic change comes to our lifestyles as the Holy Spirit takes up residency within us
  6. Why no change in me? – There are people, right in our midst who are experiencing all or some of the Holy Spirit’s power.
  7. How do we know we have the holy spirit indwelling us? – If there has been change in our lives and we hear a ‘still small voice’ teaching and guiding us, then we have the Holy Spirit living in us.

By way of introduction this week, let’s have a look at this scripture in 1 Corinthians

Previously, we talked about receiving the Holy Spirit. We said that the Holy Spirit is a gift from God – a single gift – not gifts (plural). In other words, when He comes to live in us, not only is HE a gift, but He brings GIFTS with Him – and please notice here – HE is a gift (singular) and He brings Gifts (plural) with Him, and those gifts are for us to use.

Once He begins to live in us, two things happen:

  1. We display the fruit of the Spirit in our lives

and

  • The Spirit gives us gifts.

Gal. 5 shows us the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Notice here that the scripture says “Fruit” of the Spirit – singular – which means all these characteristics are in one! We cannot have one characteristic without the others. As an example, if we were to plant a peach pip, we will not receive an apple tree – no – a peach pip will produce a peach tree with peaches as a fruit. The Holy Spirit is the same – as He resides in us, His fruit automatically comes out. Let’s have a quick look at this diagram to explain (Fig.2). Notice how the ‘Fruit’ of the Spirit is ‘altogether’ (as one unit), in the green band and the ‘gifts’ of the Spirit are separate.

If we read through the scripture of 1 John 4, we will see that, “…God is love…” and as a result, He is all the other fruit of the Spirit; In 2Cor., we see our very beings are the temple of God and that His Spirit lives in us.

It is so important to remember that the fruit of the Spirit is really the nature and character of God being displayed through us.  The scripture of John 15 verses 4-6, explains this clearly and warns us that without God indwelling us, we will not only never please Him, but that the result will be eternal damnation.

As the process of being ‘born of the Spirit’ now takes place, we start to enter the narrow gate as Matthew tells us in chapter 7.  However, to pass through this gate and walk along the narrow road, we need to be suitably equipped – the ‘Fruit’ of the Spirit is only part of this equipment.

The remaining parts of the equipment are the ‘gifts’ of the Holy Spirit.  Notice that this is now ‘gifts’ (plural) as opposed to ‘gift’ (singular) of the Holy Spirit himself.

What is very important for us to know at this point is – that, these gifts are given to benefit the body of Christ – not mankind personally. God gives these gifts in order to show the work He does through His children, while demonstrating His supernatural power. The gifts benefit both believers and unbelievers alike.

REMEMBER: The spirit of God (NOT MAN) is the Source of the gifts, and they are there to equip the body of Christ as well as, to glorify God (NOT MAN).

Let’s look more closely at the gifts….

There are nine personal gifts and these are divided into three groups:

– Language Gifts

– Knowing or Revelation Gifts

And

– Doing or Power Gifts

In this session, we’ll look at the first group of gifts, the ‘language gifts’:

1 –  DIVERSE TONGUES

Romans 8, shows us that this gift comes to us as a means of the Spirit praying within us, either when we do not know how to pray, or when we just simply have no words to express ourselves.  The heavenly language or ‘tongue’ is strange to our ear, and at times, can even sound nonsensical to us.  We don’t understand this language and neither do others in our midst. The Devil also doesn’t understand – God alone understands this language.

It is a language that is therefore spoken to God alone.  It’s important to note here that Pauls says in 1 Cor., this language is never from God to us, but spoken from us to God.  Words spoken from God to us are called prophecy, which we will deal with later.

The heavenly language varies in type, not necessarily being the same from person to person and can be different from one day to another, as witnessed in the book of Acts.

As we are released into the gift of tongues, so we must allow that tongue to flow freely when we pray alone and with others, before God.  As time goes by, the tongue will change in sound and become more mature as we are confident of accepting the gift. 

2 –  INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES

In 1Cor, Paul is very clear about the order of speaking in tongues. He says If anyone speaks in a tongue, they must pray for interpretation as to its meaning. This, so that we and others might be edified.

Interpreting, once we have asked for it, is a matter of faith…. namely, opening one’s mouth and speaking whatever is coming into one’s mind.  Like prophecy, all those listening will discern the interpretation in terms of God’s word.

It should be remembered when interpreting another person’s heavenly language, that the prayer is going from them to God, as the Spirit of God searches their hearts. Because it is a prayer which is going from that person to God – this sometimes helps us, with the interpreting of that tongue.

3 –  PROPHECY

Paul outlines the gift of Prophecy in 1 Cor., – I would like to ask you to please spend time in this scripture during the coming week, as we are restricted by time on this video and can’t go through the whole of it now.

It would be unwise to suggest that in a few minutes, everything pertaining to prophecy could be fully discussed.  In the main, prophecy in our day is for the purpose of edification, exhortation and consolation.  On the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we would open our mouths and speak that which the Spirit brings to us.

Prophecy is a communication from God to man, unlike tongues which are a communication from man to God. Paul confirms this in 1Cor.14.

Prophecy will always be in line with the written word of God and is something that we believers must not treat lightly, but rather we should test (with the word of God).

LET’S REMEMBER….(Here’s a few points to remember…)

– God gives the Holy Spirit freely to those who ask Him (Luke 11:13). 

– God has offered, we must accept. 

– This arrangement applies to all the gifts we have mentioned. 

– We need to become like little children to receive these gifts (Matt. 18:1-6). 

And…

 We need a desire to use the gifts see also 14:31.

LAST POINT…

The gifts are freely given to those who are devout to do the will of the Father.  The physical manner in which they are given is that: God uses our mouths, lips and other body parts to suit His purpose.  

The story of Cornelius and his household in Acts 10 is a beautiful example of this: Firstly, Cornelius was a man whose devotion was expressed by his fear of God, his prayers, and giving to the Jewish people. The result of this situation was that God heard his prayers and saw his works.  The Holy Spirit gave all in his household gifts, and they received them, praying in tongues. What an amazing story.

Let’s recap what we’ve heard this week:

1. A Gift from God – The Holy Spirit is a gift (singular) from God and He brings along with Him gifts of the Spirit (plural)

2. The Holy Spirit Comes to Live In Us – When the Holy Spirit resides in us, we display the Fruit of the Spirit and receive gifts.

3. God’s Nature – The Holy Spirit is the nature of God abiding in us.

4. God’s Tool Box – The Fruit of the Spirit is only part of the equipment we need; the gifts of the Spirit make up the balance.

5. God the Source – The spirit of God (NOT MAN), is the source of the gifts – the gifts glorify God (NOT MAN).

6. Nine Personal Gifts – The language gifts, Knowing or Revelation Gifts and Doing or Power Gifts, make up the group of personal Gifts.

7. Heavenly Language – Tongues is a heavenly language by the power of Holy Spirit, spoken to God – not Man.

8. Interpretation – Paul commands us to pray for interpretation of the heavenly language, so that all may be edified.

9. Prophecy – Words brought by the power of the Holy Spirit from God to man is called prophecy.

10. Given Freely by God – The gifts are given freely by God to all those who desire them.

LET’S PRACTICE….

To close this session, why not take a few minutes to go around your group, practicing the gifts that we’ve just covered.

VERY IMOPORTANTLY though – The purpose of this exercise is to help us overcome the ‘fear of man’ (in other words shyness) – this is done by practicing. The more we practice in front of others, the more confident we will become.

With regard to the language gifts, we must:

Firstly, Believe and

Secondly, open our mouths and move our tongues – otherwise absolutely nothing is going to happen!

Thirdly, we must get rid of any unforgiveness or anger in us by praying quietly for the Lord’s help. (remember – Forgiveness is a decision not a feeling!). 

Also, please remember those who are not comfortable praying out aloud. Don’t force them to pray, but rather allow them to be still and let the Spirit of the Lord wash over them during this time.

The Lord be with you as you discover new things – In Him!

Thanks so much for spending this time with me – next in session 4, we’ll look at some more gifts the Holy Spirit brings to us.  Until then, Bless you all.

“…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).

“…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).

Prayerfully for Others


“…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).

The Apostle Paul tells us that, as believers – born of water and the spirit, we are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. Normally a citizen of a certain country will display characteristics of the country from which they come. For instance, as South Africans, if we were to visit Japan we would immediately be seen as different. We would tend to live the lifestyle that we are accustomed to. So, as citizens of the Kingdom of God, should we not then display the characteristics of the Kingdom of heaven while we are here on the earth?

Part of our mission on earth is to represent our real (and permanent) home – the Kingdom of God. We are like small agents, if you like, of the Kingdom. Our ‘head office’ would desire us to represent the Kingdom as best we can all through our day. It really means that we should ‘be about our Father’s business. Yes – we do need to make sure that certain needs are met for our life here, but those efforts should not consume us to the point where we are not able to perform our Kingdom duties.

Continue reading “Prayerfully for Others”

The Holy Spirit – Part Two


Join our Pastor Ray as he shares the dynamic power of The Holy Spirit

Welcome to Number 2 of The Holy Spirit sessions

Last week we were introduced to the Holy Spirit and we saw the following:

  1. Who is the Holy Spirit? – The Holy Spirit is a member of the Godly Trinity
  2. How are we made up? – Human kind is made up of Body, Soul, and Spirit
  3. The Holy Spirit: our promise of help – Jesus said He had to leave the earth in order for the Holy Spirit to come to us
  4. He convicts us of sin and God’s forgiveness – The Holy Spirit will be our teacher
  5. Sight is not enough; we must enter – The Holy Spirit will convince us of our sinful condition and need for change
  6. How does this happen? – We need to have revelation that our old sinful nature has gone and daily be led by the Holy Spirit
  7. He gives us gifts – The Holy Spirit is a gift from God and He himself brings gifts to us – the fruit of the Spirit (singular) and gifts of the spirit (plural)
  8. How many gifts can I have? – We can use as many of the gifts as we desire
  9. What will hinder my use of the gifts? – Unforgiveness, being afraid and unbelief will hinder our use of the gifts

This week, we will go a bit deeper and explore when it is that we receive the Holy Spirit, as well as answer some questions that may have concerned us about the Holy Spirit in the past.

Continue reading “The Holy Spirit – Part Two”

The Holy Spirit – Part One


Join our Pastor Ray as he shares about the dynamic of The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit Video

Session 1

Welcome to The Holy Spirit sessions.

Over the years, there have been many different interpretations of the Holy Spirit. Some of these have been based on a certain individuals understanding and some handed down from organizations doctrines.

For us today, misunderstood interpretations, have sadly resulted in some negativity, confusion and fear when it comes to finding out more about the Holy Spirit.

Please join me over the next few sessions where we will unpack some scripture and prayerfully the Lord will guide us into the simplicity of the Holy Spirit.

In this week’s session we are going to be introduced to the Holy Spirit.

WHO IS THE HOLY SPIRIT?

The Holy Spirit is a member of the Godly Trinity.  First, there is God the Father, then Jesus the Son, and the third member is the Holy Spirit Matt.28:19; 1 John 5:7 KJV.

God created the world, and because of Adam & Eve’s disobedience, Jesus came to earth to restore us, the sons of Adam and Eve, from our sinful condition.  We know by now that this was necessary because our nature just wants to sin all the time, and anyone who sins, spiritually dies Rom 6:23 and can’t get to heaven.

HOW ARE WE MADE UP?

Mankind is made up of three main parts 1 Thes.5:23. Let’s look at this simple diagram:

Our Body – Firstly, we have our physical body – 1 Cor. tells us that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit 1Cor.6:19.

Our Spirit – Then, is the spirit of Man – and Please note here: this is not the Spirit of God. These scriptures clearly confirm… Prov.20 “…the spirit of man is the lamp…” Prov.20:27; Prov.18 “…the spirit of Man can…” Prov.18:14; 1Cor.2 “…except the spirit of man within him…” 1Cor.2:11; and 2Tim  “…be with your spirit…” 2Tim.4:22.

Our Soul – Thirdly, is the soul, the place of our will, emotion and intellect – “…He restores my soul..” says Ps. 23 and Ps. 116:8 “…for you have rescued my soul from death…”. God is able to restore our souls.

THE HOLY SPIRIT – OUR PROMISE OF HELP

When Jesus left the earth, after completing His work here, He promised to send someone to help us in His (physical) absence.  In Acts 1, He promises that we will be “baptized with the Holy Spirit”. He goes on to say that the Holy Spirit will give us the power to be His witnesses (which is another way of saying that we will be duplicates of Him) “to the uttermost parts of the earth” Acts 1:5, 8.

Jesus said that it would be best for us that He goes away, because if He didn’t, the comforter (or the Holy Spirit), won’t come…” John 16:7.

He refers to the day when the Holy Spirit comes to us and makes us one with our Lord, when He says in John 16:26 ” …in that day you will ask in My name…” – IN THAT DAY.

HE CONVICTS US OF SIN AND GOD’S FORGIVENESS

We know that Jesus kept His promise and in Acts 2 we see the Holy Spirit did duly come, at first in the form of tongues of fire upon the heads of the Disciples Acts 2:1-4.  There is also something quite meaningful here; the first evidence of the Holy Spirit’s arrival was not only the tongues of the fire on their heads but the fact that the people spoke, “…with other tongues…”.

Please bear this in mind as we continue into future sessions. 

What would be the purpose of Jesus sending the Holy Spirit?  The living bible describes the answer in John 16:8: “…and when He comes He will convince the world of its sin, the availability of God’s goodness and of deliverance from judgment.” (John 16:8).  Verse 13 adds that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth Jn.16:13.

SIGHT IS NOT ENOUGH – WE MUST ENTER

As a new Christian, Matt.16 shows us that the first thing that the Holy Spirit did for us, was to convince us of our sinful condition and our need for change Matt.16:17. This is called receiving sight through being ‘born again’ John 3:3.  But we can’t stop here, for sight of a place is only the beginning.  Having seen that place, we must now enter into it John 3:5.

Entry into the Kingdom of God simply means that we understand that our old sinful nature was taken away on the cross with Jesus. We then start seeing the holiness of God and we begin the journey of becoming Holy just like Him.  To become holy, we have to have a complete reconditioning of our minds.

Let’s just recap here:

The Holy Spirit has come to show us our sinful nature and the need to change.                                                

The Holy Spirit shows us the need to be holy as Jesus was holy.

And…

The Holy Spirit begins to help us on this journey.

HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN

You may ask, “How does this all physically happen?”  Quite simple really.  At the point where we begin to see our sinfulness, we’ve become born again – the Holy Spirit has come to live inside us.  Seeing our sinfulness and wanting to be holy, are two of the many things that we now become aware of, as He takes up residence within .  Our minds start to become renewed and new actions follow – day by day. I’d like to encourage us all to read Romans 8 verses 8-17 this coming week, as our time is limited on this video.

The scripture in Gal 5 shows us that as the renewal process begins, we start to display the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ – Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, and Faithfulness Gal 5:22-24. Another way of describing the fruit of the Spirit is what happens to us when the Holy Spirit comes to stay inside us. Let’s have a look at this diagram: (Fig.2).

Notice here that the fruit (and that’s singular – not Fruits), the fruit of the Spirit, are all together as one – in other words we can’t have one without the other. This is shown on the outside green ring of the picture. The gifts He allows us to use, on the other hand, are plural not singular, and maybe used as and when the Lord allows, for His glory and for the benefit of the body of Christ.

HE GIVES US GIFTS

However, the fruit of the spirit is not all we receive. We see from Acts 2 that the Holy Spirit is a gift from God Acts 2:38.  Once He lives in us, as we see in 1 Cor., He himself will give us gifts (and this is plural – not gift). These for the glory of God and helping the body of Christ 1Cor.12:7.  We will speak at length on these gifts in later sessions, but for the moment we will see ourselves in the position of the early Disciples, who when the Spirit came upon them, ‘spoke in other tongues’.

Let’s just repeat : –

The Holy Spirit comes to live in us and this is a gift from God. 

The fruit (which is singular), of His Spirit begins to grow in us

When He lives in us, He too gives us gifts (now plural not singular) (1 Cor.12:1).

HOW MANY GIFTS CAN I HAVE?

How many of these gifts can we have?  Quite simply, as many as we desire!! 

Is there anything that will stop us from using these gifts?  Yes, there certainly are. There are at least three conditions that will hamper our use of the gifts.

WHAT WILL HINDER MY USE OF THE GIFTS?

Firstly, if we have any unforgiveness in our hearts, it needs to be prayed out. Look at John 20: “Then he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you refuse to forgive them, they are unforgiven’ John 20:22-23. We can look at Matt.6:15 and Mark 11:25-26 for further confirmation of this point.

Paul tells us in Eph.4, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice Eph.4:30-31.

Secondly, is being afraid of making fools of ourselves in front of others when we use the gifts, in other words, fear of man. Although we may not want to hear it – pride prevents us from speaking out. Pro.29 says, “The fear of man brings a snare; But those who put their trust in Jehovah shall be safe” Pro 29:25.

And lastly, unbelief will also hinder our use of the gifts. Hebrews 11 says, “So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him Hebrews 11:6.

OK… let’s recap what we’ve shared this week:

  1. Who is the Holy Spirit? – The Holy Spirit is a member of the Godly trinity
  2. How are we made up? – Human kind is made up of Body, Soul and Spirit
  3. The Holy Spirit : our promise of help – Jesus said He had to leave the earth in order for the Holy Spirit to come to us
  4. He convicts us of sin and God’s forgiveness – The Holy Spirit will be our teacher
  5. Sight is not enough; we must enter – The Holy Spirit will convince us of our sinful condition and need for change
  6. How does this happen? – We need to have revelation that our old sinful nature has gone and daily be led by the Holy Spirit
  7. He gives us gifts – The Holy Spirit is a gift from God and He himself brings gifts to us – fruit of the Spirit (singular) and gifts of the spirit (plural)
  8. How many gifts can I have? – We can use as many of the gifts as we desire
  9. What will hinder my use of the gifts? – Unforgiveness, being afraid and unbelief will hinder our use of the gifts

Next week, we will go a bit deeper and explore WHEN it is that we receive the Holy Spirit, as well as answer some questions that may have concerned us ABOUT the Holy Spirit in the past.

Let’s end off this session by praying together in your group if you are in one. Through the sessions on “Let’s Look at Prayer”, hopefully by now we are all used to praying with each other and we’ve begun to hear God sharing His heart with us in the prayer time. Ask the Lord to empty your heart now as you sit and listen for the ‘still small voice’ of the Holy Spirit deep in your heart and share what you hear with the others.

Thanks so much for joining me in this first session. Until next time… the Lord bless you all.

“…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).

Rushing God’s Season


How are you and I feeling about our current circumstances? After this message, why don’t we take a moment out to take stock of what’s really happening in our lives, at this point in time. How much of it would we like to change – if we had the power to do so? And then again, I wonder how successful we would be in making the correct change.

I think of a young child who sees a packet of sweets and just wants to eat them – and eat them now! The child’s desire is for the sweets and that’s all he or she can think of – knowing how good they will taste. The little one doesn’t yet have the capacity to understand that, as they continue eating the sweets without stopping, they will be doing harm to their bodies and very soon will feel sick, because of not knowing when to stop eating. Feeling nauseous and looking back, the idea of eating the sweets won’t be so appealing after all!

This little example is so similar to how God works with us. In a sense, He sees the immaturity in our lives but has the maturity to know the absolute importance of sticking to the life plan, which He has designed for us.

A Basket Of Fruit.

In the book of Amos, God shares with Amos how He has placed before the Israelites, a basket of fruit – not any fruit – but summer fruit. It creates a picture of a lovely selection of beautifully ripe, juicy, sweet fruit. Everything good and all that they needed.

The people asked, “When will the new moon be over, so that we may sell grain, And the Sabbath, that we may open the wheat market, To make the bushel smaller and the shekel bigger, And to cheat with dishonest scales, So as to buy the helpless for money And the needy for a pair of sandals, And that we may sell the refuse of the wheat?”

The Israelites were in a rush to get on with their lives – so focused on their business’s that they didn’t have time to see their ’basket of fruit’, or understand what God was about to bring upon them, should they not keep their focus on Him.

God was giving them their needs (in other words the fruit) – giving them a season of time – but they couldn’t see anything, other than getting back to business. Just like the child with the sweets…

God has planned our current circumstances – every single detail of them. He knows them intimately well, and even though we may not think so, it is like a basket of ‘summer fruit’ for us.

Yes, given the chance, we probably would change things in our current circumstances – why? – because it would make us feel comfortable – for now. How would the actions of those changes impact our lives in the future Kingdom of heaven? Would they draw us closer to God or lead us away from Him?

The Master architect knows exactly what situations our lives need to experience in order to bring us closer to Him.

Let’s not rush this season of time that God has allowed for you and I – after all – it’s only a season – things will change again. Let’s see our current circumstances as the basket of summer fruit God has placed before us – enjoy and appreciate the taste. Have peace, as we trust the Father in our current season – He is allowing it to change us, for the better. Perhaps we can’t see why He’s allowing the season – but we need to trust, that He knows the little child who won’t know when to stop eating the sweets!

If we have a quick look over our lives, we’ll see how God has arranged it into perfect seasons. We probably grumbled at the time we were deep in the midst of them, but look how amazingly they turned out, for the purpose of drawing us closer to Him….

Once again it’s been a joy for me to have spent this time with you. May The Master bless your current season and many more after…. Until next time –  bless you all.

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).

Howdy Neighbour


Join Our Pastor Ray in his sharing .

Howdy Neighbour

Jesus told us the two most import commandments are: “…YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ and then He said, the second most important one is, `YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ He continued…”There is no other commandment greater than these.” . No command greater than these – said Jesus!

We shared in previous sessions the difference between God’s Love and Human Love. In essence we said that our human love is ‘self-centred’ and Gods Love is ‘selfless’. We said that the two kinds of love cannot mix, and that as humans, operating out of our old sinful natures, we are not capable of loving someone as God would love us.

The answer to this challenge is that our old sinful nature needs to die – as Paul shared in Romans – and then we need to start the process of living out of our new resurrected life, which displays Gods love. We need to remember that this renewal is a daily process, as our thinking becomes renewed by the power of God’s word, revealed to us through the power of His Spirit.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan found in Luke, the lawyer asked Jesus a question that I have heard many times in my own life: “And who is my neighbour?”

Just prior to that question, the scripture says – “But wishing to justify himself”. So the lawyer actually asked the question in an effort to justify his own actions towards others. Are we like the lawyer, asking the Lord questions wishing to justify our actions? 

How many times have we asked the Lord, “Who is my neighbour?” and how many times have we heard this question being asked in our country currently?

I had a closer look at the parable to find my answer. However, to make the parable more meaningful to present time in this country, I replaced some characters:

So starting at Luke 10:30-37

Luk 10:30  Jesus replied and said, “A European man was going down from Johannesburg to Durban, and fell among hijackers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.

Luk 10:31  “And by chance an Ndebele pastor was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

Luk 10:32  “Likewise a Sotho person also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

Luk 10:33  “But a Zulu man, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion,

Luk 10:34  and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him into his own pickup, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.

Luk 10:35  “On the next day he took out two Rands and gave them to the innkeeper and said, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’

Luk 10:36  “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hijackers’ hands?”

Luk 10:37  And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”

The key to the parable lies in verses 36 and 37. In verse 36, Jesus asked the lawyer, “…who proved to be a neighbour to the victim?” The lawyer replied, “The one who showed mercy toward him… “

In our South African version of the parable, it was the Zulu man who showed mercy – the Zulu man was being a neighbour to the victim. When we show mercy to anyone, we become a neighbour to them. – it’s not about WHO is MY neighbour – as much as it is about BEING a neighbour to others. I really pray the Lord will show us this truth.

Jesus said “love your neighbour as yourself…” We find it relatively easy to show mercy towards ourselves, but what about those around us. Do we show the same mercy to others as we show ourselves?

In the Lord’s eyes, and through HIS nature, showing mercy to others is unconditional – irrespective of who the person is. Showing mercy from the human perspective (in other words from our old sinful nature) is conditional. In other words, I will have mercy if the person is of a certain culture…or…I’ll show mercy if the person is the same religion as me….or… I’ll have mercy if I perceive them to be a ‘good person’. The character of God shows mercy irrespective…anywhere, anytime, any person.

When next it comes time for us to have mercy on others, lets first think how much mercy we would have for ourselves in that situation, and then apply that same mercy to others, irrespective of who they are.

So…. Let’s spend less time worrying and arguing about WHO our neighbour is and more time focussing on BEING a good neighbour.

Thank you for sharing this time with me – may the Master share much of His heart with you this coming week. Until next time…bless you all.

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).