Let’s Look at Prayer – 3


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The Progressive Influence: Christianity and Modern Black ...
Jesus chases the money lenders out the Temple.

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Let’s Look at Prayer – 2


Our Pastor Ray talks About Prayer

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The Progressive Influence: Christianity and Modern Black ...
Jesus chases the money lenders out the Temple.

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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.

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Psalm 27 – A Devotional


Another wonderful encouraging devotional from GG and sent to us by Vivi.

DENZEL WASHINGTON ONCE SAID STAYING POSITIVE DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE TO BE HAPPY ALL OF THE TIME. IT MEANS THAT EVEN ON HARD DAYS YOU KNOW THAT THERE ARE BETTER ONES COMING.

I LOVE HIS CONFIDENCE! DON’T YOU? BUT HOW CAN WE BE CONFIDENT IN THESE DAYS OF UNCERTAINY, AND FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN. IT IS IN CHAOTIC TIMES LIKE THESE THAT IT IS VERY EASY TO FALL INTO THE DEPTHS OF DESPAIR AND HOPELESSNESS. WE NEED AN ANCHOR TO HOLD US FAST.

ONE WAY TO DO THIS IS TO LOOK TO THE GODLY MEN AND WOMEN OF THE BIBLE – BECAUSE THEY WERE HUMAN JUST LIKE US – BUT WE CAN LEARN SO MUCH FROM THEM. HOW DID THEY FACE THEIR HARD DAYS?

DAVID IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE. HE WENT THROUGH MANY HEARTBREAKING,  FRIGHTENING  AND LIFE-THREATENING TIMES.  WHEN HE WAS YOUNG HE WAS CHASED THROUGH THE DESERT BY JEALOUS KING SAUL WHO TRIED TO KILL HIM AND TOWARDS THE END OF DAVIDS LIFE  HIS VERY OWN SON TRIED TO DO THE SAME THING.

BUT YOU KNOW RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF HIS DIFFICULT TIMES HE WROTE MANY PSALMS. PS 27 IS AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE OF THAT AND I WANT TO SHARE THIS WITH YOU BECAUSE THIS PSALM IS FOR YOU AND ME TODAY. I JUST WANT TO FOCUS ON ONE VERSE. 

BUT JUST TO GET THE CONTEXT….

27 THE LORD IS MY LIGHT AND MY SALVATION; (MEANS DELIVERANCE FROM SOMETHING THAT WOULD HARM ME – SIN, SICKNESS, DISEASE – COVERS EVERYTHING) GOD IS MY SALVATION.
WHOM SHALL I FEAR?
THE LORD IS THE [A]DEFENSE OF MY LIFE;
WHOM SHALL I DREAD?….
GOES ON AND SAYS MY HEART WILL NOT FEAR

IN THIS PSALM DAVID WASN’T TALKING ABOUT SLIGHT AFFLICTIONS. LISTEN TO THE INTESITY OF HIS WORDS V3 “EVEN THOUGH WAR ARISE AGAINST ME.  IN SPITE OF ALL THIS I AM CONFIDENT.

WHERE DID THIS CONFIDENCE, ASSURANCE COME FROM? HOW WAS HE ABLE TO SAY IN SPITE OF ALL HIS HARD TIMES, THE LORD IS MY, MY SALVATION, MY DEFENSE, MY LIGHT. HOW COULD HE BE SO CONFIDENT IN UNCERTAIN AND SCARY TIMES?

HE’S GOING TO ANSWER THAT SOON BUT HE CONTINUES…

10 [G]FOR MY FATHER AND MY MOTHER HAVE FORSAKEN ME,

THIS IS LIKE READING DAVIDS DIARY.  HE IS WRITING ABOUT HIS PRIVATE LIFE, HIS PERSONAL STRUGGLES. THIS WAS A TIME OF MENTAL DARKNESS.  A HOPELESS SITUATION. A TIME OF FEAR, CHAOS, DOUBT.  BUT AGAIN LISTEN TO HIS  CONFIDENCE.

BUT THE LORD WILL TAKE ME UP. THE LORD WILL CARE FOR ME. THE LORD WILL HOLD ME CLOSE.

HOW WAS HE ABLE TO BE SO CONFIDENT? HOW WAS HE ABLE TO GET TO THAT POINT IN LIFE? WHAT WAS THAT SOMETHING THAT STOPPED HIM FROM DESPAIRING AND GIVING UP? WHERE DID DAVD FIND HOPE, THE STRENGTH TO CARRY ON.

VERSE 13 IS THE KEY

13 [J]I WOULD HAVE DESPAIRED UNLESS I HAD BELIEVED THAT I WOULD SEE THE GOODNESS OF THE LORD IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING.

NO MATTER WHAT WAS HAPPENING AROUND HIM AND TO HIM HE DEEPLY  BELIEVED THAT SOMEHOW HE WOULD SEE THE GOODNESS OF GOD. AND HE SAYS HE WOULD SEE THE GOODNESS OF GOD IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING. NOT ONE DAY WHEN I GO TO HEAVEN BUT HERE NOW HERE WHERE I AM LIVING. I WILL SEE THE GOODNESS OF GOD WORKING OUT IN MY DAILY LIFE

HE KNEW THAT GOD IS GOOD. HE BELIEVED THAT. HE WAS ABSOLUTELY SURE THAT GOD WOULD SEE HIM THROUGH HIS TRIALS. 

SO HE IS SAYING; “UNLESS I HAD SEEN, UNLESS I HAD BELIEVED IN THE GOODNESS OF GOD IN MY LIFE, IN THIS CHAOTIC WORLD RIGHT NOW, I WOULD HAVE GIVEN UP.” YOU SEE ALL OF D SENSES TOLD HIM IT’S HOPELESS OUT THERE. I’M FINISHED. BUT INSTEAD HE CHOSE TO BELIEVE THAT HE WOULD SEE THE GOODNESS OF GOD.

THE GOODNESS OF GOD. IS GENTLENESS, KINDNESS – IT’S THE GENEROSITY OF GOD. IT  IS GODS LOVE IN ACTION. JC CAME TO REVEAL HIS GOODNESS.  IN THE BOOK OF ACTS WE ARE TOLD THAT JESUS WENT AROUND DOING GOOD. JC CALLED HIM SELF THE GOOD SHEPHERD AND A GOOD SHEPHERD PROTECTS PROVIDES FOR HIS SHEEP.

IN PS 23 (WHICH WAS ACTUALLY WRITTEN AROUND THE SAME TIME AS THIS PSALM) DAVID WROTE “SURELY GOODNESS AND MERCY WILL FOLLOW ME ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE.” DO YOU REALISE THAT YOU ARE THE FOCUS OF GODS GOODNESS? THE GOD WHO IS GOOD IS AT THIS VERY MOMENT PURSUING YOU TO DO YOU.GOOD AND WILL IN HIS OWN WAY AND IN HIS OWN TIME SHAPE THE CHAOS INTO SOMETHING GOOD.

SO, TURN YOUR ATTENTION FROM FEAR, ANXIETY AND UNCERTAINTY TO GOD WHO IS YOUR HOPE, YOUR STRENGTH,Y OUR LIFE.   ANCHOR YOURSELF IN THE GOD WHO IS SGOOD TOWARD YOU NOW.

UNTIL NEXT TIME, THIS IS GG

STAY SAFE, STAY SANE, STAY TRUE.

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The New Covenant.


Another thought provoking and God-inspired article by Vivi.

 Why is it important to understand what the New Covenant means? – so that we can make a free-will, quality decision to enter into covenant with Jesus

God is a covenant-keeping God and it is good to understand exactly what His New Covenant means, because the New Covenant takes us – as someone jokingly put it: “out of the death column and into the birth column!”

We are all destined for the ‘death column’ – not only do we have physical, perishable bodies which don’t go on forever but the Bible tells us that the ‘wages of sin = death’ and if we continue to live a life of sin, we are all destined to die spiritually as well physically.

Sin separates us from God.  He warned Adam that if he disobeyed, he would die.  The devil has always tried to deceive us into believing that God’s word is not true!

God’s Word is true and as He loves us, His creation, so much He made the way for us to get back what we had lost.  He made the way by ‘becoming flesh’ i.e. He came to earth by being born as a human, although without a human father, (like Adam) but unlike Adam, He did not deserve death because He did not sin! 

He was the only human who had not sinned and therefore He did not have to pay ‘the wages of sin’ – He was the only human who did not have to die!  

Remember, God told Adam not to eat the fruit from the tree of the ‘knowledge of good and evil’ – God wanted us to live forever without ‘knowing’ (often means ‘experiencing’) or tasting evil.  Jesus, in His humanity was the only human who lived the way God intended us to live, without knowing evil. 

Jesus certainly came across evil, all through His earthly life.  He came against evil all the time.  Scripture tells us: ‘He came to destroy the works of the devil’.  He came up against sickness, disease, hunger and pain, fear and death and He destroyed them each time, bringing about healing instead of sickness and disease, provision instead of hunger and deliverance instead of pain and fear – life instead of death.

He was showing us all the time He walked on this earth that He had come to reveal God – the love and power of God was in everything He did and the wisdom of God was in everything He said!  Do you remember Jesus telling us that the thief comes ’to rob, kill and destroy’ – and He, Jesus comes ‘to give LIFE – and that more abundantly’.  Jesus was God in the form of a human so that He could shed His own blood to seal the New Covenant with us to give us what He had – eternal life!

The problem is most of us don’t even understand what a covenant is all about!  We are brought up in a ‘civilized’ culture that knows nothing of blood sacrifice and even our theologians don’t like to mention blood. 

However, God teaches us from His Word that ‘without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness for sin’.  Jesus chose to go through death as part of the covenant.  His words were:   This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins’.  Even in most of our churches, when we have communion, the word ‘covenant’ is left out and some churches don’t even have the blood – symbolically of course, Jesus had lifted the cup of wine, called the cup of redemption after the Passover meal and He said: ‘As oft as you drink it, do this in remembrance of Me’.

He broke down the barrier that separated us from Him, namely sin, by taking the punishment on Himself – and made it possible for us to be redeemed, i.e. delivered out of the bondage of sin.  Some people say He ‘paid’ for us, but that is not a good explanation because it implies that we are just ‘bought merchandise’!    The Lord made us much more precious than that!  He gave us the freedom to choose whether or not we wanted to be redeemed and He does not force anyone into His Kingdom.

If we choose to confess and repent of the sin which has separated us from Him, He forgives us and we become His children.  We can receive His love and we can love Him and receive our redemption and our freedom from the bondage of sin. 

We are no longer on a one-way road to death but can believe and KNOW that there is life after death.  Jesus said so!  He said:Whoever believes on me, though He dies, yet shall he live’.

When Jesus removed the barrier that separated us from God, He also made the way for us to live in harmony with each other.  Now we can really love God and each other.  We can follow His example of always talking to God before we make any decision – and then do it God’s way.   We can live with the right attitude, i.e. not even wanting to sin.   Jesus came to earth to make the way back to God because everyone had sinned and was destined for the death column!  Now we can get into covenant with Him and be born again!

Born of the spirit, so that when we die physically, we go right on living in the spirit – not separated from God, but we will find that we will be with Him!  His New Covenant was confirmed with His blood to forgive many – ALL those who enter into covenant with Him!  The way we get into covenant with Him, is to receive what He gives us and to give Him what is ours!  What an uneven swop!  But He loves us so much, He doesn’t mind – He designed it that way!

Jesus ratified the New Covenant with His blood which means He sealed it because he really meant it and will not break it.  We have an awesome Father God who revealed Himself to us in time and space in Jesus.  The ceremonial law was the parable, or picture He painted to show us how strongly He felt about sin.  Jesus told us that He did not come to change the law – but to fulfill it and He did.  He became the sacrifice to redeem us or get us back from the evil one who robs, kills, and destroys.

Let’s get into covenant with Jesus, our covenant-keeping God, who loved us so much He shed His own blood, so that we would be able to get into covenant with Him and live with Him forever!  Instead of being lost, lonely and afraid of the unknown, let’s climb onto His lap and ‘seek His face’ (like a child tugging at his father’s beard for His attention).

He waits for us to do that, He gently draws us by His Holy Spirit and when we understand what a covenant relationship is and respond, we give Him joy!  He said even the angels in heaven rejoice over one sinner who repents.  It’s awful to think of how He suffered, but it’s wonderful to know that He thinks we are worth it!

********************************************************************************************

The A’s, B’s, and C’s (below) of understanding the New Covenant are relatively easy, but we need to also understand the danger of the D’s.  The devil is the ‘father of lies’ and the ‘master of deception’ – lies are easier to detect than deception!

The devil can make bad things look good and inviting  – remember how he deceived Eve?  First he cast doubt on what God had actually said, then he told her that the fruit would make her like God!  The deception of darkness, drunkenness and divorce have trapped very many people…and as a result many lives have been broken.  Praise God that He is our Healer and nothing is too difficult for Him!

The A’s are:  If we call Him Adonai (Lord) we must give Him our All

The B’s are:  If we believe, it should be evident in our behavior

The C’s are:  To get into Covenant means commitment

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How Wonderfully the Lord Provides!


 

Today we have another inspiring article by Vivi. She shares from her heart and love of  The Lord our God.

We read in God’s Word that He wants us to ‘give and it shall be given to you’ – but sometimes, very often, we are astounded by His provision!  It often comes through a different, unexpected source. 

A few years ago, we were visited by my husband’s grandson, Pauly, who lives in Australia.  He needed a vehicle while he was over here and instead of hiring one, my husband lent him his Opel Monza.

We were shocked to hear that Pauly was hijacked!  We were incredibly grateful that he was not hurt, but the Monza was gone!  However, not long after that Pauly’s older brother also left for Australia and gave us the car he had been driving, which was the blue Toyota Corolla we are still driving!

Continue reading “How Wonderfully the Lord Provides!”

The Greatest Power


Albert Einstein spoke of the greatest power on earth.

  1. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a ringing gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have absolute faith so as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and exult in the surrender of my body,a but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no account of wrongs. 6Love takes no pleasure in evil, but rejoices in the truth. 7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be restrained; where there is knowledge, it will be dismissed. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when the perfect comes, the partial passes away.

11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I set aside childish ways. 12Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of these is love.

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Thy Kingdom Come


Luke 17:20-21 KJV

https://biblehub.com/commentaries/luke/17-21.htm

20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

‘…Is within you…”- This is capable of two interpretations.

  1. The reign of God is “in the heart.” It does not come with pomp and splendour, like the reign of temporal kings, merely to control the external “actions” and strike the senses of people with awe, but it reigns in the heart by the law of God; it sets up its dominion over the passions, and brings every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
  2. It may mean the new dispensation is “even now among you.” The Messiah has come. John has ushered in the kingdom of God, and you are not to expect the appearance of the Messiah with great pomp and splendour, for he is now among you. Most critics at present incline to this latter interpretation. The ancient versions chiefly follow the former.

There are those among us that believe that the arrival of the Kingdom of God, was heralded by the ministry of Jesus, via John, as option 2 above.

My own personal understanding is as option 1 above.

Whichever option we choose is up to us and I would not engage in an academic discussion as to which understanding is correct.

Being fully immersed at baptism in a Pentecostal denomination, I had followed option two. After a few years I left denominational fellowship and decided to, “go it on my own.” I spent eighteen years in the mission field before I had personal clarity about the Kingdom of God ‘within me’. This clarity worked for me and has done since that time.

Never before has the love of God been so realistic to me.(a useful note here; I started to search for God at the age of twelve years.)

Not only in a spiritual sense, but in a strong practical sense, on a day-to-day basis do I enjoy the thrill of God’s presence. I don’t preach or teach anymore, and I don’t know if I ever will again. If I did, I could only say, “God is within me, He is my inner being.”

I have come to the place of loving my fellow humans more than ever before and offer them assistance whenever, wherever and however possible. My prayer is that as His loves flows forth from me, others will desire that which has been given me so freely (Zech.8:23.)

My spiritual life is now very deep within me and I refer to the Protagonist of my life as ‘Father Coach’. I hope this expression won’t offend the more conventional among us. I call Him this because, He coaches me day and night, through work and play.

My use of words like Father, Him, He, are more in the secrecy of my heart, because I do not believe that one who is indescribable and whose works are far beyond the scope of my understanding can be caught up in the issues of sexism.

Whether you believe ‘in’ or ‘among’, ‘Father’ or ‘Mother’, ‘Him’ or ‘Her’; have peace, love your fellow humans; try not to judge anyone, enjoy and be grateful for the life you have been given.

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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.

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Please feel free to send in questions and comments. Comments at bottom of each article and  here for contact.

All rights reserved sirpeterjamesdotcom©2020-01-20

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.