Howdy Neighbour


Join Our Pastor Ray in his sharing .

Howdy Neighbour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So starting at Luke 10:30-37

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From: “…time with the Master…”

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Jesus chases the money lenders out the Temple.

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Seven Promises in Him


Join Our Pastor Ray as he shares on the Seven Promises

7 Promises ‘In Christ’…

You know one of the most amazing things I find is the way that God talks to us. If we dwell on the fact that He is all powerful and everlasting… then it’s even more incredible that He would take time to talk to you and I.

One of the ways He shares His heart with us, is through His word.

Look at this scripture in the book of Ephesians: …and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…. One of the incredible things here is that the scripture speaks in the past tense – isn’t that amazing…. We have already been raised up into heavenly places with Christ!!!

Have you ever come across the expression “In Christ” or “in Him”?  So… what does “In Christ” or “in Him” mean?   It simply means how we behave as Christians here on Earth.  In other words, the way we walk our Christian path on a daily basis. As we obey God (or His Godly principles), we are walking “In Christ” or “In Him”. The more we walk in His principles – the more we are ‘in Him’.  When we miss the mark with Him in our walk, we are no longer “In Christ” or “In Him”.

I’d like you to do something positive for yourself in the next few days and spend a bit of quiet time on the following encouraging 7 promises:

No Condemnation

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. Are we feeling condemned over any issue? – no need – as we walk in Christ there is no condemnation.

Free from our sinful nature

“…Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death”. There is no longer any need for us to do things the way we do them – we have a new nature – in Christ.

Our new nature is in Christ

“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive”. Our new nature (which desires to follow God) is in Christ.

Never separated from God

“…nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”. What a wonderful promise – we are safely in His hands!

No partiality

“… for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. The Lord sees all His children as equal.

We will walk in good works planned by God for us

“…created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them”. We may have many plans but God has already ordained our steps.

His promises to us are guaranteed

“For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore, also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us”.

Notice here that each of these 7 promises applies if we are ‘in Him’ or ‘In Christ’. Trying to imagine what ‘In Him’ means could be very difficult and complicated for you and I. However, as we’ve shared before, God’s word is never complicated when He opens it up to us, by the power of His Spirit.

God needs to control our walk here on Earth, until Jesus returns. As we walk ‘In Him’ (or according to His principles), He is able to bless us. Let’s see confirmation of this in the Psalms: “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.

Lastly, if we’re are finding it difficult to stay ‘in Him’ on a daily basis, remember that it’s God’s doing that we find ourselves ‘in Him’ – not any work of our own. We can strive to be good Christians daily, but we will fail at some point, until we learn that it is Christ in us, who gives us the strength to change.

Thanks for this blessed time together – may the Master richly bless your week ahead – until we meet again – blessings

From: “…time with the Master…”

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

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Loving God’s Way


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

Loving God’s Way

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

Continue reading “Loving God’s Way”

WHAT I LEARNT FROM “BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT”.


WHAT I LEARNT FROM “BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT”.

HI EVERYONE

HAVE YOU EVER READ AN OLDER BIBLE AND COME ACROSS SOME STRANGE WORDS? LIKE VERILY OR THOU OR THEE.

THEY ALL SOUND SO OLD FASHIONED DON’T THEY?  SO RELIGIOUS.  WE JUST DON’T TALK THAT WAY ANYMORE

BUT YOU KNOW – THAT’S A SHAME. BECAUSE WHEN THOSE KINDS OF WORDS  ARE REPLACED BY MORE MODERN WORDS IN THE BIBLE THEY OFTEN LOSE THEIR ORIGINAL MEANING.

FOR EG JESUS OFTEN USED THE PHRASE TRULY TRULY. WE DON’T TALK LIKE THAT ANYMORE BUT WHAT IT MEANT WAS: “STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND LISTEN CAREFULLY BECAUSE THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT – THIS IS AN ETERNAL TRUTH.”

ANOTHER WORD IS “BEHOLD”.  NOW THAT’S A WORD THAT  SHOULD BE REINTRODUCED BECAUSE ITS MEANING WILL TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY – JUST LIKE THE JUDGES BREATHS WERE TAKEN AWAY ON BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT.

BUT I’M GETTING AHEAD OF MYSELF.

LET ME SAY A FEW THINGS ABOUT THIS WORD “BEHOLD”  LISTEN TO HOW THE APOSTLE JOHN USED IT IN 1 JN 3:1  “BEHOLD WHAT MANNER OF LOVE THE FATHER HAS BESTOWED ON US, THAT WE SHOULD BE CALLED CHILDREN OF GOD! (1JOHN 3:1 NKJV)” NOW THAT REALLY SOUNDS OLD FASHIONED. .

BUT AS I SAID MOST MODERN BIBLE TRANSLATIONS HAVE EITHER REMOVED “BEHOLD” COMPLETELY OR REPLACED IT WITH WORDS THAT OFTEN LEAVE US IN IGNORANCE AS TO WHAT THE ORIGINAL WRITER INTENDED. WHY DO THEY DO THAT? WELL BECAUSE THE GREEK WORD FOR “BEHOLD” IS A  DIFFICULT WORD TO TRANSLATE FROM THE GREEK TO ENGLISH BECAUSE IT CARRIES SUCH INTENSE FEELING AND EMOTION. IT CARRIES THE IDEA OF SHOCK, AMAZEMENT AND WONDER BUT THERE IS NO SINGLE ENGLISH WORD THAT FITS. THE BEST WE CAN DO IS SAY  WOW!1THE WORDBEHOLD IS THAT  AWE THAT CAUSES US TO STOP IN OUR TRACKS TO ADMIRE A BEAUTIFUL PAINTING, TO GAZE INTO THE STARRY HEAVENS  OR… WITNESS SOMETHING EXTRAORDINARY ON THE REALITY PROGRAMME “BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT”   

PERHAPS YOU SAW IT.  A LITTLE MIDDLE-AGED LADY MARCHED  ONTO THE STAGE AND INTRODUCED HERSELF AS SUSAN BOYLE. THE JUDGES TOOK ONE LOOK AT HER AND ROLLED THEIR EYES AT EACH OTHER AND MANY IN THE AUDIENCE SMIRKED, GIGGLED OR HELD THEIR HEADS IN EMBARRASSMENT. BUT WHEN SHE BURST INTO A STUNNING RENDITION OF THE FAMOUS “I DREAMED A DREAM” THE JUDGMENTAL LAUGHTER AND THE SCORN AND THE DOUBT DISSIPATED. THE JUDGES WERE ASTONISHED. THEIR FACES SAID IT ALL. THEY GASPED. THEY GAPED. THEY WERE MOMENTARILY LOST IN WONDER – THEN THEY BURST INTO APPLAUSE. AND THE AUDIENCE RESPONDED TO THE EXCELLENCE AND BEAUTY BY JUMPING TO THEIR FEET AND CHEERING.

WHEN JUDGE PIERS MORGEN WAS ABLE TO CATCH HIS BREATH HE SAID IT WAS “WITHOUT A DOUBT THE BIGGEST SURPRISE I HAVE HAD IN THREE YEARS OF THIS SHOW. THAT WAS STUNNING, AN INCREDIBLE PERFORMANCE. AMAZING. I’M REELING FROM SHOCK. I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!” EVEN SIMON COWELL CALLED THE PERFORMANCE “EXTRAORDINARY”.  AND FELLOW JUDGE AMANDA HOLDEN SAID “I AM SO THRILLED,”I GOT GOOSE PIMPLES!” 

ONE JOURALIST WROTE “SUSAN BOYLE LET ME FEEL, FOR THE DURATION OF ONE BLAZING SHOW-STOPPING BALLAD, THE MEANING OF HUMAN GRACE. SHE PIERCED MY DEFENCES. SHE REORDERED THE MEASURE OF BEAUTY. AND I HAD NO IDEA UNTIL TEARS SPRANG -HOW DESPERATELY I NEED THAT CORRECTIVE.”

THE WELL- KNOWN THEATRICAL PRODUCER CAMERON MACINTOSH,  SAID HE WAS  “GOB-SMACKED” BY THE PERFORMANCE,

DID YOU HEAR ALL THOSE WORDS?

GOB SMACKED. GOOSE BUMPS. AWE. THRILLING. BEAUTY. BREATHTAKING. INSPIRING..

WHEN I SAW THE REACTION OF THE JUDGES AND THE AUDIENCE I GOT A GLIMPSE OF WHAT “BEHOLD” MEANS. THROUGH THE GOOSE-BUMPS AND THE AWE AND THE TEARS AND THE BEAUTY THERE WAS A CONNECTION – A CONNECTION THAT REACHES RIGHT INTO THE HEART. SUCH HUMAN FEELINGS ARE GIFTS THAT GOD HAS GIVEN TO US, AND I BELIEVE WE CAN SEE THEM AS POINTERS TO THE REALITY OF WHO GOD REALLY IS AND WHO WE REALLY ARE BECAUSE OF WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR US, WITH US, THROUGH US AND IN US. 

SO, WHEN YOU SEE THE WORD “BEHOLD” IN YOUR BIBLE DON’T JUST QUICKLY REACH FOR A MODERN TRANSLATION BUT SEE IT AS AN INVITATION TO STOP AND PONDER. AND WHEN YOU READ THOSE WORDS OF JOHN “BEHOLD WHAT MANNER OF LOVE THE FATHER HAS BESTOWED ON US, THAT WE SHOULD BE CALLED CHILDREN OF GOD!” YOU CAN NOW READ IT THIS WAY: “WILL YOU TAKE A LISTEN TO THIS, WILL YOU LOOK AT THIS; AT THIS AMAZING, STUNNING LOVE THAT GOD IS SHARING WITH US? THAT WE SHOULD BE CALLED THE CHILDREN OF GOD, AND THAT’S WHAT WE ARE. ‘CHILDREN OF GOD’ IS NOT JUST A HIGH-SOUNDING NAME THAT WE BEAR; IT IS A REALITY!IT IS A GIFT FROM GOD! CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?  THAT’S BREATHTAKING!  BEHOLD THIS AWESOME LOVE OF GOD!”

WOW. UNTIL NEXT TIME THIS IS GG

Thank you GG for your wonderfully inspiring message.

 

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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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De Profundis…..


King David

From the depths of despair, O LORD,
I call for your help.
Hear my cry, O Lord.
Pay attention to my prayer.

LORD, if you kept a record of our sins,
who, O Lord, could ever survive?
But you offer forgiveness,
that we might learn to fear you.

I am counting on the LORD;
yes, I am counting on him.
I have put my hope in his word.
I long for the Lord
more than sentries long for the dawn,
yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.

O Israel, hope in the LORD;
for with the LORD there is unfailing love.
His redemption overflows.
He himself will redeem Israel
from every kind of sin.

How often have you cried out to God in the misery of your circumstances. How often have you sought an answer to the problems you have faced, the fears that you could not face?

The authorship of this Psalm is anonymous, but it echoes a cry like many that King David wrote.

David, the warrior King, beloved of all Israel, cried out to God more often than he rejoiced. In moments of fear, failure, guilt, frustration, loneliness, he cried out to God. Almost every emotion you and I have experienced in our lives, David experienced.

‘De Profundis…” out of the depths of our pain we cry, because our eyes are seeing ourselves only and do not have the time and perception to understand why we have found ourselves in our predicament.

Although God in His compassion, laments with us, His reason differs from ours. We lament because of ourselves, our emotion; God, because, we lack understanding that He longs for us to have.

The psalmist points to the problem – sin. (sin is probably the most misunderstood word in the bible) The state of ‘sin’ is no more than being apart from God – doing our own thing, to use a contemporary expression.

RedemptionThe intense hope of the Psalmist is seeing the dawn of redemption, the dawn of the Son of Man, God incarnate – Jesus.

The Psalmist’s hope was reserved for another dawn; the dawn reserved for you and me. A hope free from all the cares and anxieties of this life.

Out of the depths of this dawn is the greatest treasure of all.

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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!

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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

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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!”

With God Nothing is Impossible


The Following article was submitted for publication by Vivi and is a timeous warning on the danger of alcohol abuse.

‘I’m not an alcoholic’! – many alcoholics claim. The good news is, even if you are, you can be cured.

Alcoholics have been heard to comfort one another with the fact that although they are alcoholics at least they do not have cancer.

Someone by the name of Don who died of cancer, had this read at his funeral:

Cancer is so limited – it cannot cripple love – it cannot shatter hope

it cannot corrode faith – it cannot eat away peace

it cannot destroy confidence – it cannot kill friendship

it cannot shut out memories – it cannot silence courage

it cannot invade the soul –

However, unless alcoholism is prevented through abstinence – it can cripple love, shatter hope, corrode faith, destroy healthy diet, drink away peace, cripple confidence, kill friendship, break up marriages, decimate families, kill the body and sometimes (in accidents caused by drunkenness) even kill other, innocent people!

If you had cancer, would you search for some help or treatment?  Perhaps even have an operation to remove it, in the hope that it will not grow again.  Why then, I wonder, do people with a drinking problem take so long to recognize the fact that they might be on the way to becoming an alcoholic and continue drinking when all they need do is get some help?  To abstain means that the alcoholism is arrested – even overcome and the Lord loves overcomers!!

After a few years of marriage, my husband realized that his drinking habit was spoiling our relationship and although he tried to come home after work without stopping for some drinks on the way home, he’d tell himself: ‘I’ll just have ONE beer’ but, after one, his resolve was broken down and he’d come home having had four or five!

I was attending weekly Al-Anon meetings at a local church-hall and after a few narrow escapes while driving, my husband agreed to come to the weekly AA meetings on the same evening.  The meetings were remarkably interesting and educational in that we both learned just how addictive and how poisonous alcohol/ethanol is!

He realized he was actually addicted to alcohol, that is, he accepted he was  an alcoholic and kept trying to shake off the addiction, which some of those attending the meetings had managed to do, though certainly not all of them!

When I say, ‘shake off the addiction’ and in the heading: ‘you can be cured’, I should make it clear that there is no cure, except for abstinence and the addiction is only successfully ‘shaken off’ when it is no longer being fed!  That is only possible it seems, with the help of God.

In AA’s “Twelve Steps” the word ‘God’ is mentioned four times, and ‘asked “Him” to remove our shortcomings’ in the seventh step.  However, now, in order to keep those of differing faiths accepting, they call the Lord a ‘higher power’. For me – He is the Highest Power!be7295ddfb9c2160832b9d09b4855ed8

After a few ‘slips’ my husband asked the men at our Bible study evening to pray for him, because he really wanted to be free of the addiction.  They got up, stood around him and prayed for him.

On only one occasion after that did he drink and the result was he fell down the stairs from the garage to the house!  When I arrived home he tearfully told me it was his fault, because he had had a drink!  But after that, he never looked back!  He had seen his folly, made up his mind, asked the Lord for the strength and received it.  He has not touched alcohol since then; nearly twenty years ago!  We are so grateful to God with whom nothing and no-one is impossible!  (However, He does not force them)!

So the answer to the question of how to deliver your loved one from the clutches of alcoholism is: you cannot, but the Lord can and will.  However, He waits for the person who is addicted to ask Him and commit themselves to His guidance!

When alcoholism/nicotine addiction/any drug addiction has been in our family we need to forewarn our children that they may be susceptible so that they are forearmed.  Although no-one knew anything about DNA when the scriptures were written onto scrolls, God did – and He warned us that the sins of the fathers would be visited on the children to the third and fourth generation.

It sounds like a gong of doom, but it is not a curse, it is a warning!  God inspired the prophets to warn us (because He loves us)!  So if your dad is a heavy smoker, or your granddad was a heavy drinker, not only should you be aware that these habits can become addictions, but also, be aware that the susceptibility can be passed on to the next vulnerable generation!Alcoholism

God does not blame the children or punish them for what their parents did, see Ezekiel Ch. 18, in particular, vs 20, we can inherit traits (strengths and weaknesses) and susceptibilities from our parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents, especially when the traits are on both sides of the family!

Although the advertising of cigarettes has been stopped in this country and a warning of the danger of lung cancer is now printed on the packets, there is no warning on bottles of alcohol, that alcoholism could be the result of consuming the contents!  It is socially acceptable to have a drink and good times are continually advertised on television, interrupting your entertainment and ‘brainwashing’ you to get started or to have another drink!

Scriptures that tell us to guide and teach our children: Deuteronomy Ch. 4 vs 9: ‘Make them known to your children and grandchildren’ (your seed and your seed’s seed).  We are encouraged to keep God’s commandments so that it may go well with us and with our children after us, so that we may ‘prolong our days/live long on the land which the Lord is giving us for all time’.

‘I will appoint you as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations, to open blind eyes and free those that walk in darkness’.  If people cannot see that they are becoming addicted, they are blind to the disaster that could be lying ahead – and the Lord wants them to be free of that bondage – to whatever substance!

So the answer is to pray for those who suffer from alcoholism or other substance abuse and then encourage them to ask for help! They need to get to the point of acknowledging that they are addicted and the Lord will answer their prayer.

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.

 

 

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.

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

If you are worldview inclined see my other site; www.sirpeterjames.com

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