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.

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The Holy Spirit – Part Six.


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

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.)

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.

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The Power of Debt


Buried for my sins or resurrected for my life?

The Power of Debt

I was having a chat with my son the other day and he asked me, “Dad, if you lived your life over again, would you change anything?”

I had a little chuckle, knowing there would probably be a number of things I would do differently. However, without any doubt, I replied, “I would certainly live my life without debt… all my 45 some years of working life, I had debt of one sort, and I now see how much time and stress I went through to pay it back…on the treadmill of debt payment – day in and day out”.  

Had I not chosen to use debt, I realised things would probably have been a lot more difficult, but one thing is for sure…. I would have had a lot more peace of mind.

The scriptures are very clear when it comes to debt – NO debt – not any kind of debt – except to owe others love. Proverbs says those who borrow become a slave to their lender. Think about this. As we borrow money – or anything else – we have to pay it back. Immediately we complete the borrowing transaction, we put a yolk around our necks and begin the treadmill of repaying. Interest rates can go up and borrowing conditions can change but as slaves, we are powerless to complain.

As people go about their daily lives, some appear not to be concerned about their commitment to repay, while others are deeply troubled and find themselves worrying about the fact that if they lose their jobs, they have no means of meeting their commitment. Worry is borne out of the fear of not being able to repay. Are we one of those who are constantly walking around with a dark cloud of worry over us? More than likely debt is the cause.

The accuser of the brethren, the devil, has a wonderful time with this topic. Fear does not come from the Lord. Fear is a great tool for the accuser. In Ephesians, we see how easy it is for us to “indulge in the desires of the flesh and the mind”. How easy it is for us to fall victim to fearful thoughts. Fearful thoughts cause us to worry. Worry will lead us into depression. Worry will make us physically sick.

How many times have we prayed asking God to bless and prosper us, when we continue walking outside of His principles by making more debt? It simply cannot make sense to God to prosper those who do not obey Him. Would you keep giving money to a compulsive gambler who consistently squandered it?

DEBT FREE = FEAR FREE.

So what can we do to get out of debt? As with any negative situation, we first need to acknowledge that there is a problem. Next we need to ask God to partner with us in order to find a solution. We need a renewal of our thinking. If we continue to do the same things in our life, we will end up with the same results. Different results require different inputs. “Lord please change me”.

With the leading of the Holy Spirit, write down a plan of how you can begin immediately to reduce your debt. Implement the plan and be disciplined to stick to it. This requires us to pay attention to the battle which will be present in our minds – the battle to try and get us to stay with our old way of thinking. However, we see in Romans, that we are no longer slaves to our old way of thinking. Believe this verse by faith and be diligent to “stick to the plan”.

As you make up your mind to commit yourself to this challenge, God is faithful to bless your obedience. Immediately you acknowledge your wrong and commit to getting away from it, His blessings will flow and what may seem an impossible hill to climb, will be complete before you know it!

Fear will no longer be part of your life and you will truly feel the power of the peace of the Lord daily, as you walk in Him.

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.

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

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!

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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

All rights reserved©vivi 2020

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).

 

 

 

 

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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button).

God’s Cinderella


 

I really don’t believe God gets any kind of joy at seeing us suffering in our daily lives, as we go about the challenges we face. God certainly is not like a human being. As a genuine Father, He wishes to see us succeed in getting to know Him. Why would He want us to know Him? Simply put, so that we have someone to help and guide us daily – a spiritual Father of great wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Who better to call on during our day than one who is compassionate and caring?Calling God

God is not bound by time as we are, and therefore He can see into our future. From the ‘foundation of time’, God saw our whole life span on this earth. This is quite an astonishing thought. As a result, He knows the correct path for us to travel through time, in order to end up firmly in His spiritual kingdom forever.

In a sense we are very similar to Cinderella in the famous fable. As Cinderella’s Step Mother and sisters were jealous of her, treating her badly, so the world is the same with us. Because our world is filled with people soaked in self-centred natures, we are more often than not, in an uphill battle as our lives unfold. Inclusive in the uphill battles are the down sides – the times when we seem to miss the mark with God. Getting angry with Him, blaming Him, not managing to do the things that please Him or just misunderstanding Him.

We look at fellow believers and think that we fall far short of God’s expectations, while others are constantly flying in their walk with the Lord. We seem to use other believers as a measure, comparing ourselves to them. As we dwell on thoughts of failure, we become more demoralised and eventually believe there is no hope for us.

According to the fable, when the fairy Godmother asked Cinderella what she wanted, Cinderella replied that it didn’t matter what she wanted because it would be impossible for her wishes to be granted. The fairy Godmother’s reply to Cinderella was, “Let me be the judge of that!”Cinderella and Godmother

How many times have we thought it impossible to achieve God’s expectations…? In a way we are right! In our own strength it is impossible. However, if we allow the Holy Spirit within us to do HIS work – in us and through us – we will begin to find a greater peace flowing throughout our lives.

The truth of the matter is this: For by that one offering, He perfected forever all those whom He is making holy.

God sees us as a finished work. Isn’t that astounding? For those who have received, by grace, God’s gift of salvation, He sent His son to pay the ultimate price so that sin could be removed forever. Not only did Jesus die to remove our sin, but also to put to death our sinful nature which came into the world via Adam’s sin of disobedience. Through the death of Jesus – the scripture in Romans tells us – we are no longer slaves to sin!

As God looks upon us, He sees what we look like ‘in Him’ – our glorified bodies – our future.

If you knew that by tackling a certain difficult task, there was an absolute guarantee of a great reward at the end – you would certainly persevere through that task with excitement. And so it is with the Lord and our lives. For those God's Rewardwho have committed their lives to Him, believing by faith that change will come, He sees the finished work and is excited to commit Himself to us on a minute by minute basis. He fully commits to us because He knows His reward is great.

The final product He witnesses is worth everything He has had to put up with from us daily – our every outburst of anger, our every rebellious thought, our every tear shed. As we commit to Him, remember: He no longer sees our weaknesses but through His son, He sees the joy and peace he has longed for us to walk in.

“…And so Cinderella and the handsome Prince were married and lived happily ever after…”

YOU… ARE God’s Cinderella – married to Him – His bride – forever to live happily ever after!

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).

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.

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

button).

 

 

Mission Malawi – Chapter 23


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, FatherSharing the Gospel with young men

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

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

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

Bless You All.

Characters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mission Malawi

A Timeless Tale – Chapter two


Why not start at the beginning of the series?

In the times of the first five books of Moses, at the beginning of the Old Testament, God made an arrangement with His people.

Instead of the severity of the punishment, suffered by Adam and Eve, for their disobedience, God arranged for people to come to His temple in Jerusalem, once a year, bringing along with them a pair of spotless (free of any blemishes) lambs, or if they could not afford these, then two pigeons would be in order. [1]

Continue reading “A Timeless Tale – Chapter two”