Prayerfully for Others


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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.

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. 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…”

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. Often, when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

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Let’s Look at Prayer – 3


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Wanted; Dead or Alive


Weekly encouraging messages from our Pastor Ray…..enjoy and be uplifted.

Wanted Dead or Alive?

We’ve heard it said that Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for us, but I wonder if we have really applied deep thought into what actually took place on the Cross at Calvary. Normally when thinking about Jesus’s death, we are inclined to focus on His physical death, the pain suffered, how His body was disfigured and how much it was damaged. Now I certainly don’t wish to take anything away from the seriousness of His physical death, it must have been horrendous to say the least, but is His physical death what the Lord wants us to focus on?

Continue reading “Wanted; Dead or Alive”

Let’s Look at Prayer – 2


Our Pastor Ray talks About Prayer

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. Often, when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

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Loving God’s Way


Weekly encouraging messages from our Pastor Ray…..enjoy and be uplifted.

Loving God’s Way

In line with the desire to make our walk with the Lord more practical, let’s look at the most important commandment….’Love your neighbour as yourself. I’m sure we’ve heard these words many times, but have we really understood what Jesus meant? In order to appreciate His command, we need to see how it is that God intended us to love others.

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Is His Spirit Dormant?


From the day of The Garden of Eden, the Spirit of God dwelt in Adam and Eve. “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness, So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

Continue reading “Is His Spirit Dormant?”

Let this Cup Pass from Me…


Matthew 26:36-44

36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.”

 

Why did Jesus make this request of His Father not once, but three times!

Many commentators have offered their versions of what this means and of all those I have read; none really gave an explanation affording me a revelation of why the Son of God should have requested the very purpose of his mission on earth be ‘passed from Him?’

I have long removed myself from making definitive statements about interpretations of scripture; as all to often, after making a definitive statement, I felt that my interpretation might be wrong.

Let me say then, for me this request to his Father from Jesus is a mystery.

Yet, I wonder if it has any link to the last words of Jesus on the Cross, “…My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” 

 

Many commentators suggest, and I can understand this; the darkness of the ‘sin of the world’ Jesus bore in that moment was such, He felt utterly abandoned (the Greek root word for forsaken.) In His entire lifetime he had NEVER felt ‘abandoned’ by His Father. After all, Jesus said, “I and the Father are one…” 

Could the request have been an expression of the love of Jesus for His Father, being so eminent in His life; He did not want to experience the state of separation from His Father?

Would that our love for the Father be such as never to sense His abandonment in our lives.

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.
If you are worldview inclined see my other site; http://www.sirpeterjames.com.
Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).