God – A Man?


“Jesus came to die for my sins” – we have heard the expression many times – so many times, that I think it has begun to sound a bit like a ‘stuck record’. After hearing these words so many times, they seem to have lost their power. They don’t seem to cut as deeply into our hearts as they perhaps once did. Do the words still pierce deep into our souls and do we really appreciate what an amazing gift we have been given?

Before the foundation of time, a very serious board meeting was convened. The board consisted of the triune Godhead – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. At this meeting God’s plan for mankind was discussed. God wanted to bring His Peace and Joy into all the world and the heavens. However, the Godhead saw that rebellion against God would set in. The heavenly beings – Angels – would rebel against God’s authority and the earthly beings – Mankind – would disobey God’s instructions.

What a relief that the Godhead not only had a solution to the situation, but they knew before the foundation of time, that rebellion was going to occur! There was a time in my life when I thought that God was sitting on His throne in the heavens dealing with problems on the earth daily as they occurred. Can you imagine God looking at a certain situation in a country and saying, “Oops…? I didn’t see that coming!”. That would be a pretty scary situation for us to be in. No – God knew before the foundation of time, ALL that HAS occurred on the earth – ALL that IS occurring on the earth – and ALL that WILL occur on the earth. This applies to our personal lives as well.

It was decided at the meeting that Jesus’ death on the cross would be the restitution or sacrifice for this rebellion. Those who wanted to be restored back to God, would have a way back through the Son. For this to happen, Jesus would have to come to the earth as a man. Let’s just think about this statement for a while…Jesus had to become a man.God a Man

The Godhead’s plan began to unfold. Satan rebelled against God in the heavenlies, and Adam disobeyed God in the garden of Eden. Jesus, the Son of God, in order to enter the world as a man, had to empty himself of his deity and everything associated with His power in God. It is relatively easy for mankind to be humbled and begin to be obedient to God, because as mankind, we have much less to lose. How much greater for Jesus to remove all the Godly power within Himself?

Jesus became a man in every respect, except that He never sinned. Not only did He become a man, but He became the lowest of all men. A servant to those around Him – a target to those who hated Him – a sacrifice for those he didn’t even know. The lowliest of all, and never once did He complain or react badly in the situations, He found Himself in.

At any point during His life on earth, Jesus could have succumbed to the temptations around Him. He could have fallen into sin, being a man in all respects. Even if He had fallen into sin, He could have gone back to heaven as part of the Godhead because He is inherently the Son of God. However, He would not have received Glory and Lordship from God on His return. This would mean that at His second coming, He could not be honoured and glorified by all.

As a man, Jesus resisted all temptation. Through Him, God gave us an example to follow. Never could it be said that Jesus did not sin because He is the Son of God. No – He was a man – emptied of God and humbled as a human. Therefore, ALL the world has an opportunity to be reconciled back to God through Jesus – not only rich or poor, educated or uneducated, culture or no culture, but ALL who seek Him. At the second coming of Jesus, the scripture tells us that EVERY KNEE will bow, and EVERY TONGUE will confess “Jesus is Lord”, also the “Kingdoms of this world will be the Kingdoms of our Lord”. God bestowed Lordship upon Jesus because He resisted temptation and sin.Jesus as God

It would be good for us to dwell on this truth and allow God, through the power of His Spirit, to reveal to us the totality of Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Emptying Himself of His Father’s deity to become the lowest of all humankind. This is surely a good reason to honor and worship Him all through our day. Hallelujah!

Hopefully when we next hear the phrase, “Jesus came to die for my sins”, we will recall the depth of its meaning and really appreciate how much love the Father has for us.

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.

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Died for My Sin or Resurrected for my life?


We have heard about the “The Gospel” – the foundation of the Christian faith. Today there seems to be many different versions of how the gospel is interpreted, what the Gospel is or what it means.

The gospel is normally explained by saying, “Jesus died on the cross so that my sins may be forgiven”. This explanation is correct, but is it the fullest answer?

In the Christian faith, a tremendous amount of focus is placed on the death of Jesus, and quite rightly so, for it was the ultimate sacrifice paid for mankind’s sin. A debit that God paid in order that we might have opportunity to have our wrong doings wiped away…as far as the East is from the West. This is an amazing thought and one worthy of our focus.

So…. the gospel shows us how we are forgiven our sin – but then what? Is that the end of the story?

We have seen from past articles that Adam lost his likeness to God through disobedience. He gained a sinful nature Adams sinand passed this nature down the line of mankind. Therefore, every human being is born with a sinful nature – an engine if you like – that drives us to sin. This drive to sin comes about automatically and is so natural that we are powerless to resist.

All of mankind, irrespective of culture, is bound by this self-centred nature. This all adds up to a pretty miserable and difficult existence. No tolerance or respect for one another.

However, the gospel of the Kingdom shows us the next step in the death and burial of Jesus. A continuation of the story. The scriptures show us that on the third day, Jesus rose from the grave. It also shows us that around 500 people witnessed this event. This is an historical fact.

The Apostle Paul asks a very pertinent question in the book of Romans. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound – God forbid”. Paul goes onto explain that our old sinful NATURE was buried with Victory over sinJesus – the engine which drives us to sin. Hallelujah – we are therefore no longer slaves to the sinful nature – we don’t have to sin any more.

He continues by saying that if our old sinful nature died and was buried with Jesus, then also we were raised up in the newness of life with him.

So… the gospel of the Kingdom shows us that we have power to overcome the temptation to sin by the fact that Jesus took away our sinful natures. This is worth focussing on!

This makes the gospel real in our personal lives. Yes, Jesus died for our sins, but He also died that we might walk in victory daily!!

Here is a point to ponder – how many services have we attended in honour of the resurrection of Jesus and heard that He took away our sinful natures?

The resurrected Jesus gives us a toolbox to use in our daily lives. This toolbox helps us through our walk on earth. It helps us stand firm as we are sanctified (made more like Jesus) – daily, a bit at a time. The final reward will be when we hear His voice saying to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant”.

The toolbox is the resurrected Jesus – the Holy Spirit! We don’t have to look outside ourselves to find God – He lives within us!

We are the temple of His Holy Spirit.

By all means focus on the fact that Jesus died for your sins, but never forget the fact that the resurrected Jesus lives Victory over sin 2.pngwithin you – the very character of God, giving you power to overcome the sinful nature and granting you wisdom and knowledge about life circumstances.

When we are confronted by life’s tests and trials, will it be necessary for us to ask the question, “What would Jesus do?”

With His character firmly within in us, the question is, “Will we allow Jesus to do what He needs to?” …..

From: “…time with the Master…”

“…time with the Master…” is an on-going series of teachings, about lifestyle in the Church and is published weekly.

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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button).

 

 

Hold My Emotional Hand


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

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

Why is this happening to us?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From: “time with the Master…”

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

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

Mission Malawi – Chapter Nineteen


 o3.o1.96

Well, “Christmas” and new year have come and gone for another year. Some Christians have again been drawn into the pagan origins of Christmas celebrations for the wrong reasons. How the Lords heart must break at this time when He witnesses the goings on during this season. He weeps and says, “Why do you only focus on Me at this time of the year? Don’t you know I have made you a people set apart, a Royal Priesthood? But instead, you follow the ways of the world in celebrating something which lacks My power and majesty. It is in the death of My son, whom I GAVE for the forgiveness of your sin, that My power is made manifest.

You sing songs and give gifts in My name, but your hearts are not with Me. I need your obedience to fill My heart with Joy. Not only over this season of time but ALL year round, each and every minute of every day”.

 It’s sometimes very difficult to understand how God works. The other day I sensed God saying to me, “Am I a man that I should explain my ways to you?” The words came as a bit of a shock to me but after deliberating on them, I could see the truth and when I realized the real awesome, mighty power of God (which words cannot describe), I wondered how I could dare to question Gods ways. Who am I? It is only for me to obey not to question His mighty ways.

 I felt that way this morning during my prayer watch between 4-5am. The challenges that faced Kathy and I have become so big. Where to start?

 Our immigration permit expires on the 4/2/96 and cannot be renewed. This means we have to go out of the country for three weeks and then we are able to return on new permits.

 The one trailer which we brought with us has also reached the end of it’s permitted time in the country and must be imported in to Malawi before the end of February. It cannot be imported until it is released from South African customs, which cannot be done but at the border post in R.S.A. This means a trip to S.A. at great expense (which we don’t have!).

 The lease for the house which Chris, Sally, Andy and Sue are staying in, expires at the end of March. Chris and Sally are leaving on 24th January as the doors have opened for accommodation in England, but the question is: Where will Andy and Sue stay?, not to mention all the furniture we have been blessed with that is in the house.

 The Owner of our house is not certain whether we can stay on as he may want to move in. At our last meeting he said he would let me know soon.

 If we go out of the country, there will be no transport here for the brethren to continue the businesses. Andy and Sue will be on their own and will have to manage with the bicycles.

 Arthur phoned from R.S.A. and it seems he is uncertain when or if he will be back. Another great shock!

 So, we sit. Does God want to end this work now? ”

 Another call from S.A. tells us that Rene (my mother), has no place to stay and needs to come to be with us. I would love to have her here, but how will she cope?

what now lord
What Now Lord?

 There is a certain anger which wells up inside of me when I’m trapped in this kind of circumstance. There is nowhere to turn. I feel like screaming at the Govt. departments and saying, “It’s for your people that we have come here, not for our own gain – where is your support for us? – why should we have left what we did just to be treated like this?”

 It’s then that I realize it is only by God’s grace that we are here. We are under His “orders” not our wills. HE must decide what will happen. We must follow the Shepherd and trust that He will not desert us. But it’s so hard to trust during uncertainty like this.

04.01.96

I prayed this morning and felt myself becoming softer and softer. It was like a great pair of hands enveloping me. I hear the accuser saying….”The calm before the storm” but by God’s grace, I choose not to buy that thought.

 We have been in this kind of situation before and the Lord has never failed us. Each time it occurs I have forgotten the past experience and how wonderfully God worked and shielded us. So, it now seems like a new experience and the pains are being felt all over again. 

 After that prayer time, these are the words I received: “When God brings a time of waiting, and appears to be unresponsive, don’t fill it with busyness, just wait. Never run before God gives you His direction. If you have the slightest doubt, then He is not guiding. Whenever there is doubt – wait. Never act on the impulse of feeling, if you do, you will cause difficult situations to arise that may take months or years to untangle. Wait for Gods timing and He will do it without heartache or disappointment”. And so, by His grace that’s what I’ll do……

12.01.96

The Lord is definitely doing something, but I wonder what? As I’ve learned previously, it’s not for me to question but merely to obey (by His power).

 I have received a letter from the Immigration dept. to say that I may proceed with my application for a Temporary Employment Permit which, if successful, will last for two years, in the meantime I don’t have to leave the country until the application has been answered, one way or the other (thank you Lord).

 In answer to my prayers about Rene, she arrived yesterday from Cape Town. She was in a terrible state, hardly able to walk or remember anything. Anyway, there is a great improvement after only one day. Kathy has been such a great blessing with Rene and I’m really grateful. Both Kathy and I really want to look after her, to help her find peace and a sense of belonging. It will be a very trying job, but we trust that the Lord will guide us and give us the necessary strength because we understand this to be the right thing to do.

 We should look after our parents so that they may have life and fellowship in the body of Christ and not amongst the world in special ‘homes’. We should have the opportunity of giving back to them something of which they gave to us as they brought us into the world.

 It is a wonderful time to minister into fears, regrets and doubts. Lord please let us know that we have the grace you have so willingly poured over us.

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

 

 

Something to Celebrate? – Part Two


Last SupperIn part one we saw how wonderful it is for us to celebrate things in our lives. Our spiritual lives should be the same. We started to explore two incredible truths that are really worth celebrating. We looked at the first truth of Jesus giving up His life so that our sins may be forgotten and how to celebrate this fact. Now we will move on to the other truth and see how to celebrate real life!…..

Truth Two (of many):
Paul the Apostle in the book of Romans, explains to us that not only were our sins forgiven (by the shedding of the blood), but that our sinful NATURE was buried with Jesus, NEVER to return. This in order that we may no longer be a slave to our sinful nature. Reason to celebrate? – most definitely.Resurection Jesus

How do we celebrate this wonderful gift?

Jesus on the night He was betrayed broke bread and said, “This is My Body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” As we break the bread and proclaim His death, let us remember this powerful work that was done for us – our sinful NATURE was removed. We can now walk in the newness of life knowing that we do not HAVE TO sin anymore!

Surely, in two amazing acts that Jesus performed, we have reason to celebrate. Next time we sit with friends around a table and have communion, let us focus and be truly grateful for the freedom we have received – our sin has been forgotten, and our sinful nature removed – forever!

Yet another celebration…
What an exciting revelation – Jesus took our sinful nature into the grave with Him and when He was raised from the dead, we too, were raised together with Him, into the newness of life…” and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” Notice here that the scripture speaks in the past tense! Heavenly Places

Such a great sacrifice and work that it is, the Lord did not intend for us to focus so much on the death of Jesus as much as on His resurrection. For it is in the resurrection of life that our ability to overcome sin is found. Seriously – if we could truly appreciate that our sinful nature has been taken away – that engine that drives us towards sin – how different our lives would be. No more being a slave to do the things I do not want to do. Reason to celebrate? – Absolutely!

Once again, what better way to celebrate this truth than to demonstrate an outward sign of what we have understood inwardly – going into a pool of water, being submerged and rising up in ‘the newness of life’ for all to see. This simple act tells the world that we understand and believe that our sin nature was removed by Jesus at His death on the cross. Of course, there is little point in celebrating something unless we understand and believe it.

Yes friends, we have many reasons to celebrate in our worldly lives, but how much more do we have reason to celebrate our spiritual lives which will last forever!

Jesus intended us to live a burden free life. Forget the things of the past – as He has – and walk in a new understanding that our natures have been renewed. Reason to celebrate – most assuredly!

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 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).