Prayerfully for Others


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The Apostle Paul tells us that, as believers – born of water and the spirit, we are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. Normally a citizen of a certain country will display characteristics of the country from which they come. For instance, as South Africans, if we were to visit Japan we would immediately be seen as different. We would tend to live the lifestyle that we are accustomed to. So, as citizens of the Kingdom of God, should we not then display the characteristics of the Kingdom of heaven while we are here on the earth?

Part of our mission on earth is to represent our real (and permanent) home – the Kingdom of God. We are like small agents, if you like, of the Kingdom. Our ‘head office’ would desire us to represent the Kingdom as best we can all through our day. It really means that we should ‘be about our Father’s business. Yes – we do need to make sure that certain needs are met for our life here, but those efforts should not consume us to the point where we are not able to perform our Kingdom duties.

Continue reading “Prayerfully for Others”

Rushing God’s Season


How are you and I feeling about our current circumstances? After this message, why don’t we take a moment out to take stock of what’s really happening in our lives, at this point in time. How much of it would we like to change – if we had the power to do so? And then again, I wonder how successful we would be in making the correct change.

I think of a young child who sees a packet of sweets and just wants to eat them – and eat them now! The child’s desire is for the sweets and that’s all he or she can think of – knowing how good they will taste. The little one doesn’t yet have the capacity to understand that, as they continue eating the sweets without stopping, they will be doing harm to their bodies and very soon will feel sick, because of not knowing when to stop eating. Feeling nauseous and looking back, the idea of eating the sweets won’t be so appealing after all!

This little example is so similar to how God works with us. In a sense, He sees the immaturity in our lives but has the maturity to know the absolute importance of sticking to the life plan, which He has designed for us.

A Basket Of Fruit.

In the book of Amos, God shares with Amos how He has placed before the Israelites, a basket of fruit – not any fruit – but summer fruit. It creates a picture of a lovely selection of beautifully ripe, juicy, sweet fruit. Everything good and all that they needed.

The people asked, “When will the new moon be over, so that we may sell grain, And the Sabbath, that we may open the wheat market, To make the bushel smaller and the shekel bigger, And to cheat with dishonest scales, So as to buy the helpless for money And the needy for a pair of sandals, And that we may sell the refuse of the wheat?”

The Israelites were in a rush to get on with their lives – so focused on their business’s that they didn’t have time to see their ’basket of fruit’, or understand what God was about to bring upon them, should they not keep their focus on Him.

God was giving them their needs (in other words the fruit) – giving them a season of time – but they couldn’t see anything, other than getting back to business. Just like the child with the sweets…

God has planned our current circumstances – every single detail of them. He knows them intimately well, and even though we may not think so, it is like a basket of ‘summer fruit’ for us.

Yes, given the chance, we probably would change things in our current circumstances – why? – because it would make us feel comfortable – for now. How would the actions of those changes impact our lives in the future Kingdom of heaven? Would they draw us closer to God or lead us away from Him?

The Master architect knows exactly what situations our lives need to experience in order to bring us closer to Him.

Let’s not rush this season of time that God has allowed for you and I – after all – it’s only a season – things will change again. Let’s see our current circumstances as the basket of summer fruit God has placed before us – enjoy and appreciate the taste. Have peace, as we trust the Father in our current season – He is allowing it to change us, for the better. Perhaps we can’t see why He’s allowing the season – but we need to trust, that He knows the little child who won’t know when to stop eating the sweets!

If we have a quick look over our lives, we’ll see how God has arranged it into perfect seasons. We probably grumbled at the time we were deep in the midst of them, but look how amazingly they turned out, for the purpose of drawing us closer to Him….

Once again it’s been a joy for me to have spent this time with you. May The Master bless your current season and many more after…. Until next time –  bless you all.

From: “…time with the Master…”

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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.

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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…”

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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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).

You Are So Special…


 

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a Living Soul.

As usual in my walk with the Lord, I have often read scriptures and not really thought very deeply about them. It’s amazing how we can read a verse a few times and nothing ‘jumps’ out at us, and then one day we read it again and it comes to life! Such is the greatness of our heavenly Father – such is His great love for us. His hand is upon our lives day in and day out, carefully steering us on the path of life which He has planned for us.

“…let us make man in our image, after our likeness…. How wonderful that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost decided they should create a being which was different to all creation on earth up to that point. Somebody special, whom God desired to have fellowship with. Not only would God be able to see and talk with Adam but also, He would bless him with the whole earth to have as his own. And so, mankind was originally created in the image and after the likeness of God.

“…God formed man out of the dust of the ground…” As I ponder these words, I try to imagine what it might have been like at the time that Adam was ‘formed’. Was the dust that God used to form Adam the same as the dust that we know today? God had not yet cursed the ground from which Adam had been formed, so it could have been a veryAdam, dust of the Earth different substance from what we know. Adam was surely very different compared to humankind today. He not only had face-to-face fellowship with God, but God brought all the living creatures to him so that he could name them. How many animals can you and I name right now off the top of our heads?

“…and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life…” God placed His own breath into Adam – Adam became a living soul. God had breathed Adam’s spirit into life. He was no longer just ‘dust’, but now became a living soul with his own spirit and own body. There was breath in the bodies of all the animals and other creatures on earth, but God had not breathed into them. Adam was created a very special and unique being. A being God had formed for His own joy.

We know that all this changed when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Therefore, as God promised, Adam and Eve died spiritually and were condemned to a place of solitude from Him. Spiritual death meant that humankind would no longer have communion with God. After Adam had reached 130 years old, he had children in his own image and after his own likeness  – our direct line of hereditary.

I thank the Lord that He sent His son Jesus to restore the situation back to what it was originally in the Garden of Eden. Jesus gives this opportunity to every human being, regardless of culture or nation.

He “… breathed into his nostrils the breath of life..”. As we come to know Jesus and Him crucified, we receive the breath of life from God. This is no ordinary breath. Not a breath that has been mass-produced or thoughtlessly brought into life. No, this is HIS breath – the breath of the almighty Lord of Hosts – the breath of true life, and we are heirs of this wonderful breath as we acknowledge Him.

Each one of us is a unique creation – made greater than any other being on this earth because God desires to have Uniquenessfellowship with us. God ‘formed’ each one of us – not thoughtlessly mass-produced, but individually crafted. We are HIS workmanship created for good works in Christ (Good works where? – IN CHRIST!).

Don’t let the world tell you that you are just like everyone else. You are not like anyone else! When you became reconciled with Him, you were given your own unique spirit, breathed into you by God Himself. You were uniquely ‘formed’ by the Master tradesman to be used by Him and have the fellowship He so desires to have with you.

Hold your head high and know that you are very special to the one who breathed life into you, irrespective of how many times you feel you have disappointed Him or those around you. Know HIS breath of life is in you now… and…forever more!

From: “…time with the Master…”

Published Bi-Monthly

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The Business of God’s Love – Part Two


In Part One, we saw that God wants us to “Love your neighbour as yourself”. It is very difficult for us to obey this command if we try to love one another with human love. Part One showed us the difference between God’s love and Human love. We continue….

To care if others come to the Kingdom of God – This should be our total motivation for serving God. This is the greatest gift we can possibly give to another. How wonderful to be the vessel God uses to channel His gift of everlasting life to others. With this goal in mind, we will then willingly serve others.

As we fellowship with other believers our goal should remain the same – to care if our brethren come to a deeper knowledge of God. Criticizing and judging others destroys people and breaks down situations, which is not how God works. “Loving our neighbour” by laying down our selfish motives in order that those around us come to the Kingdom of God, is a far more encouraging way – and is God’s way.

Apostle Paul shows us how Gods love (not human love), works.

How kind and patient are we? Do we brag? (even slightly?). God’s love does not take into account a wrong suffered and bears all things (not just those that are convenient!). Are we able to endure all things?  It would be good for us to daily meditate on this scripture during a quiet time with the Lord.

Jesus shows us another way in which we love our neighbour. Sadly, today it is easier for us to gossip behind the backs of others rather than to confront the situation in an open way. In our emotional state we are afraid to approach others for fear of rejection or offending. We find ourselves witnessing the sin and talking to others about it (as harmless as it may seem).

If we really care whether that person comes to a deeper knowledge of God (love our neighbour), we will openly reprove them (in private at first) so that they may come closer to God through that admonishing word of encouragement. Remember: We judge the sin, NOT the person!

If we witness the sin in others and do nothing about it – is that really ‘loving our neighbour’ or caring whether they come to a deeper knowledge of God?

These two kinds of love are completely different. God’s love through us is based upon a laid down life, caring if others come to the Kingdom of God (at any cost to ourselves).

Human love is based on emotion. The two cannot mix and we need to seek the Lord daily to have His love flow through us.  This can only be done as we die to the self-centered nature and live a more spirit led life.

God’s Love (1 Cor.13:4-8) Man’s Love (Gal.5:19-21)
Suffereth long and is kind Uncleanness, hatred
Envieth not, Vaunteth not Envyings, revellings
Not puffed up, seeketh not her own Disputes, dissensions, factions
Is not easily provoked, does not think evil Wroth, witchcraft, emulations (jealousy).
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, rejoiceth in the truth Impurity, evil desire, greed  (Col. 3:5)
Beareth all things, endureth all things Wroth of man worketh not the righteousness of God. (James 1:20)

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).