Walking in Godly Principles


Feature Photo of Dead Sea Israel By Dave Herring Upsplash.com

Walking in Godly Principles is a bi-weekly scripture of encouragement, subscribed by “…time with the master…”. Previously published on the front page of the site, it will now appear additionally, as a post.

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Walking in Godly Principles


Feature Photo of Dead Sea Israel By Dave Herring Upsplash.com

Walking in Godly Principles is a bi-weekly scripture of encouragement, subscribed by “…time with the master…”. Previously published on the front page of the site, it will now appear additionally, as a post.

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 Sermon on The Mount – Part Three


Feature Photo: Adam Kring Upsplash.com

The Sermon on The Mount – Part Three

If you missed the introduction to The First Sermon on The Mount please tap on this link.

You will reach Part Two here.

Matthew 7:1-28

Tap this link for scriptures.

In this final session, Jesus begins by teaching on the issue of the judgment of others. He warns that in terms of how the Disciples judge others, they themselves will be judged by the same measure. In comparatively harsh words, He explains why they are not in a position to judge others. Rather they should concentrate judgment of themselves.

Changing subjects, Jesus goes on to tell His disciples they should be discerning with whom they share these teachings. Unholy people will mock their words, damming them, and finally, use those words to attack the disciples personally.

Jesus now tells them that there are three things they should always do: Ask, if they are in need; they should seek if they are in doubt, and should they wish to enter Him and follow his example, they only have to knock. He assures them, in asking, they will receive what they ask for, in seeking they will find what they are looking for. Lastly, if they knock to enter Him, he will open the door.

He now compares their giving to that of His Father and states his Father’s giving to be the stronger, this is the way that their giving should be.

Wrapping this point up, Jesus states that they should always do unto others as they would have others do to them. He explains that this is the fulfillment of their law.

Now Jesus talks about the way forward, saying, the entrance to the Kingdom of God on earth is only accessible through a narrow gate. This leads to an equally narrow walk. Because the gate is narrow, few find it. Because the way is so narrow, it is a difficult walk. They will observe though, that the world at large enters their lives via a wide gate, easy to find and easy to walk.

He warns His disciples concerning those that would approach them with differing doctrines. He says that whilst they would appear as mild as lambs on the outside, they will be as ferocious as wolves on the inside. The way they should judge this ilk is to look at the fruit they bear in their lives. They well know that grapes don’t grow on thorn bushes and figs are not found on thistles. Neither do good trees bear bad fruit or bad trees bear good fruit. Those that do not bear good fruit are uprooted and destroyed. In short, don’t entertain these, they will ultimately destroy themselves.

Jesus continues; saying that because there will be those that call Him “…Lord, Lord…” does not necessarily mean they will enter into the Kingdom. Only those who do His Father’s will. Even when these protest that they performed miracles in His name, He will say, “I don’t know you, away from me you thugs!”

Jesus concludes by saying that any person who hears His words and acts on them would be compared to a wise person, who builds their house on firm foundations. When violent storms ravaged the earth, the house stood firm. Those, however, who hear His words and do not act on them are like the foolish person, who built their house on sandy foundations. When the storms raged the house collapsed in a huge heap.

The crowds below observed that Jesus did not teach like the teachers of their day, but as a person who had authority.

My prayer is that this series enlivened the Spirit within you and me, resulting in us thanking God for etching these Kingdom principles into our hearts.

Blessings

Peter.

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Let’s Look at Prayer -4


Let’s look at Prayer Video

Session 4

Welcome to session 4 of Let’s look at Prayer

How about a quick recap on what we said in last week’s session on Warfare prayers?

  1. Pray God’s Will – Warfare prayers are a matter of seeking God’s will. It is never man’s place to make a decision on behalf of God.
  2. What is warfare prayer? – Warfare prayer is asking God to come up against powers of darkness and spiritual wickedness, that we may witness in our day
  3. What are spiritual weapons? – Spiritual weapons are the unseen weapons of the spiritual world – through God
  4. When to pray ‘forbid or Permit’ prayers – The more we are one with God, the more we hear Him directing us when to pray
  5. How to pray ‘forbid and permit’ prayers – God will give us the wording for each burden that he gives us to pray for
  6. How not to pray ‘forbid and permit’ prayers – ‘Binding and Loosing’ prayers should never be prayed in our own strength or out of an emotional frenzy
  7. Where is our Authority? – The only authority that we have on this earth is “…through God…”

And lastly

  • How do we lay hold of this authority? – Our authority lies ‘In Christ’ only. The more our old nature is laid down, the deeper ‘in Christ’ we move and the more His authority is released through us

In this week’s session we’ll look at some important questions about prayer.

WHAT SHOULD MY ATTITUDE BE WHEN I PRAY?

In Luke 18, Jesus explains to us what our attitude should be when we pray.  He is saying that it is persistent prayer, inspired by faith and intensity, from a heart that is humble and repentant, that receives a response from the throne of God .

It’s not that God gets some kind of pleasure at seeing us begging and grovelling before Him day after day, but rather that the persistent prayer of a righteous believer will break down the evil forces that try to prevent the answers to our prayers reaching us as confirmed by these scriptures (Eph. 6:12; Jas. 5:16; 1Thess.5:17). Later, we’ll look more closely at the example of Daniel’s prayer in Daniel chapter 9.

Believing and trusting God (in other words Faith) when we pray, puts the emphasis on God Himself. It is all about Him and His faithfulness. Jesus did not teach us to rely on prayer alone – He taught us to rely on, and trust Him. Only when we can fully trust Him, can we fully pray believing. We are to believe Him first, and then express that belief in prayer. Trust must be in the heart before prayer comes out of the mouth. In Luke 18, we see how strong the beggar’s faith was. He trusted God to heal him.

Another example of prayer attitude is once again seen in Luke 18 where Jesus says that the Tax gatherer’s seeking God, was one of humility. We also see in Daniel chapter 9 how Daniel prayed from a heart that was humble and repentant, longing to understand God’s will. Please, if you have time this week, read through this chapter and let the Lord show you the state of Daniel’s heart.

CAN WE PRAY LIKE THE GREAT MEN OF GOD?

Let’s have a look at two examples of how great men of God prayed. In 1 Kings 18, we enter the story at the point where Elijah tells King Ahab that it is going to rain (and that’s after three and a half years of drought!).  Although he tells Ahab, what he is really doing is prophesying.

Elijah immediately then got onto his knees and prayed until what he had prophesied had come to pass.

Daniel, in chapter 9, said this: “So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes…” (Dan.9:3).

Daniel’s seeking the Lord was very serious – not a light hearted approach.

We must desire to pray the way Elijah and Daniel prayed because these types of prayers produce results.  Not only this, but they are within the reach of every believer.

We need however to take note of a very important factor here:-

Both these men prayed in God’s will. 

Elijah heard from God before he prophesied to Ahab that there would be no rain.

And

Daniel read about the prophecies of Jeremiah before he began to pray .

PRAY IN GOD’S WILL, PRAY BELIEVING

The next important issue is that they both firmly believed that their prayers would be heard by God.  This was visible by their behaviour.  Elijah went to Ahab and told him what was going to happen, then prayed without moving from his place until his servant reported a cloud.

Daniel never moved from his place for three whole weeks, neither eating, drinking nor bathing!!

HUMILITY AND BROKENESS IS WHAT WE NEED IN PRAYER

If we go back to Luke 18, Jesus describes two attitudes in prayer:

Firstly, the scribe who is proud of his achievements and legalistic in his manner of praying. 

Secondly, and very different, is the attitude of the tax-gatherer.  He goes to God with a heart that is looking for mercy.

Let’s try and remember these prayer attitudes, as we next seek God.

CAN I ONLY PRAY THE WILL OF GOD?

Praying in the will of God is really a way of life. In other words, people who have utterly surrendered their lives to God, don’t have much difficulty praying God’s will, because they KNOW Him – not just know ABOUT Him. Let’s just repeat that… they KNOW him – not just know ABOUT Him.

But for those of us still growing to that place, we need firstly to desire to pray in God’s will, and then ask Him to cause our prayers to be prayed in His will.  But we are certainly free to ask God for the things that we want, then ask Him to make it subject to His will.

WHY DOES GOD WANT US TO DO THE PRAYING?

God’s ways are unique to Him and they work in spite of what we do or don’t do. He does require us to pray and preach to fulfill His purpose on earth, but even where we are disobedient, He will find others that are willing, so He always accomplishes His will. The scripture of Romans 10 shows us this.

In Luke 18, Jesus gives us some idea as to why God wants us to pray:

In this instance, the judge can be likened to the position God holds over the earth.  He is in total charge.

The widow (who is a symbol of defencelessness and a particular focus of God’s deep compassion), is likened to a person who cries out for deliverance from their adversary.

The adversary is Satan who constantly seeks to bind people in slavery to his will.

The widow remained persistent, and it was because of this that the judge agreed to deliver her, “…lest by her continuous requesting, she wear me out…” (vs. 5).  Jesus says that God too, will deliver, when His children pray to Him, “…crying to Him day and night…” (vs. 7).

Jesus guarantees, in fact, that God will deliver speedily (vs. 8)!

WHY PERSISTENCE IN PRAYER?

Why would God insist that we persist in prayer, is He like a judge waiting to be wearied?  Never!  God is just and has a very good reason for us persisting in prayer. 

We see in Daniel 9, how and what Daniel prayed.  The answer to his prayer comes in chapter 10 when a messenger from God tells Daniel that his prayer was answered the first time he prayed, but it took twenty-one days for the answer to reach him.  Why?  Because it was hindered by the Prince of Persia (which we can understand to be a demonic strong-hold over the area – vs. 13).

Daniel fasted and never gave up on his praying.  His prayers were persistent and in deep sincerity.

In 1 John 3, we read that Jesus defeated Satan, yet Satan is still the god of this world as we see in 2 Cor.2.  How?  By illegal means, he does this.  He tempts man to sin and those that do not have the power to overcome, become slaves to him.  Therefore, he rules!

However, as the saints persist in prayer, many shall be freed from his evil clutches. In Heb.10, we see that through perseverance and the will of God, we will receive what He promises us (Heb.10:36).

SOME LAST POINTS TO CONSIDER…

In essence then, this is what Jesus is teaching us:

When we pray, first look for what GOD wants.

Ask God to empty us as we begin to pray and show us what’s on His heart.

Pray according to the will of God.

BELIEVE that God will not only hear our prayer, but will answer them as well.

Persist in prayer – don’t give up!

Lastly, when all this has been done, ask God to give you peace about that which you have prayed.

OK… let’s quickly recap what have we seen this week:

  1. What should my attitude be when I pray? – It is persistent prayer, inspired by faith and intensity, from a heart that is humble and repentant, that receives a response from the throne of God
  2. Can we pray like the great men of God? – Praying is well within the reach of everybody and is encouraged by God – there are many biblical examples of praying people.
  3. Pray in God’s Will, pray believing – All great praying people totally believed God would answer their requests
  4. Humility and Brokenness in prayer – God looks for humble hearts seeking mercy rather than arrogant prideful attitudes in prayer
  5. Can I only pray the will of God? – God’s will in our prayers will come naturally as we get to know Him – but we are free to ask for the things we want according to His will
  6. Why does God want us to do the praying? – God uses us to further His Kingdom here on earth – through prayer and His will
  7. Why persistence in prayer? – We need to persevere in prayer because answers are sometimes delayed in the heavenlies and through perseverance and the will of God, we will receive answers.

And lastly, when we pray:

  • Look for what God wants – ask God to empty our hearts as we begin to pray – pray the will of God – believe God will hear our prayer and trust Him for the answer – persist and don’t give up – and then ask Him to give us peace about what we have prayed.

Let’s end off this last session by praying together in your group. 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.

Remember – we hold a very powerful tool in our hands when we pray, not by our power – but by His. Talk to God all day long – get to know Him intimately and tell Him you love Him. Marvel as we see situations around us change by the power of our prayers, subject to God’s will.

Thanks so much for joining me as we’ve had a look together at the topic prayer over the last few weeks. I pray the Lord has used these sessions in some way, to bring us all that bit closer to Him.

May our Father in Heaven Bless you all.

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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”

Let’s Look at Prayer – 3


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Let’s Look at Prayer – 2


Our Pastor Ray talks About Prayer

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Mishaps


If I look at my life over many years I will recall that there have been many mishaps along the way.

What is a mishap? Webster’s defines it as an unfortunate accident, bad luck, misfortune. In other words, something that has taken place that was not expected, should not have happened. Something that could also have taken place through poor choice, carelessness. There are many ways in which we could see the meaning of the word, mishap.

Often mishaps can lead to disastrous effects which may even last a lifetime after the experience. Sometimes it could be a freak happenstance.

Mishap
Falling from chair accident, falling down stairs, slipping, stumbling falling man vector illustration

I can’t imagine that there is any one of us that hasn’t, at one time or another, experienced a mishap. Some poor souls go on, time after time suffering mishaps.

Many of these souls become angry and embittered at life, feeling that it has dealt them an unfair blow. A great number openly blame God for their misfortunes.

A mid eighteenth century New Thought author, James Allen said, “You are today where your thoughts have brought you and you will be tomorrow, where your thoughts take you.”

What James Allen was saying is that our lives are the direct result of how and what we think.

In two of the many scriptures relating to the issues of thoughts, Luke 9:7 and Matthew 15:19, Jesus alludes to the fact that thoughts result in emotions and actions. He reassures us that the only humans who are not affected by this are children.

On closer examination of the above, what we will find is that thoughts lead to actions, actions produce result and finally result produces consequence. Either consequence for our benefit or consequence for our obstruction.

The Bible is full of stories to support this fact and probably one of the most well known of all is that of David and Bathsheba.

David was the greatest and most loved King in the history of the Israelites. Loved, not only by his people, but more importantly, by his God. God said David was ‘A man after His own heart.’ He never spoke of any other person in this way. Yet, one night David gazed at a beautiful woman bathing on her rooftop and lusted after her.

David & Bathsheba
David was the king who united Israel and Judah. It was through his lineage that Jesus, the Messiah, would one day be born. As a boy, he was selected to be a musician for King Saul. He also killed the Philistine giant named Goliath. David became best friends with Saul’s son, Jonathan. Saul became very jealous of David and plotted to kill him. Jonathan helped him escape. David became King of Israel and made many mistakes. He was married when he saw Bathsheba. He fell in love with her. She was also married. David arranged for Uriah to be killed in battle. He then married Bathsheba. Their firstborn son died, but she later gave birth to Solomon. David had several children with troubled lives. His son, Ammon, raped David’s daughter Tamar. Absalom, David’s third son, resented David. He became king of Hebron. A battle took place between Hebron and Israel. Joab with David’s army killed Absalom. David’s life was filled with sin, heartache, grief, and forgiveness. David ruled from about 1005 to 965 B.C. and was thought to be the ideal king. He was the writer of Psalms.

His thoughts led to him committing adultery and ultimately murder. The consequences of his actions, brought on by thoughts was the death of two sons he deeply loved, unseated from his (physical) throne, and prohibited from building God’s temple. He died a man of great sorrow.

Let’s return to the issue of mishaps. How many of us are blinded to the fact that, what we term as ‘mishaps’ in our lives are in fact, like David, the results of thoughts that led us to do things, or make decisions that, in the end worked against us.

This article was prompted by my realization, a few days ago, that Jesus never faced any mishaps in His thirty-three year lifetime!

What picture emerges from the Gospels, concerning His life?

He was obedient to God and Man. Luke 2:52

He was a man driven by a purpose, from which he never deviated.

He spoke to people and they were healed, He spoke to the elements and the were stilled. He spoke to wine and it multiplied.

He never prayed to the Father asking for help, He simply spoke and it was done!

The issues He faced in His life were the results of His obedience to God

and not His own will. Nothing occurred in His life that could be vaguely

described as a mishap.

Considering these points, we could be forgiven for thinking that He achieved this by virtue of the fact that He was God in a human body. But many places in the Bible testify that he was human in every way, Hebrews 2:17 being only one of these. He was born of the seed of God via a surrogate mother. 

We could be forgiven for suggesting that He was surrounded by divine protection and so avoided all mishaps.

What the Bible tells us however, is that Jesus was a man of prayer, constantly in communion with The Father. He said that the Father and He were one. He gained Godly wisdom, enabling Him to always think like The Father thought and thus make decisions that would always protect Him from mishaps.

Finally, we could be forgiven for thinking that we could never be like Jesus or do the things He did. Again Jesus Himself tells us, “I tell you for certain that if you have faith in me, you will do the same things I am doing. You will do even greater things, now that I am going back to the Father.” John 14:12

Let’s say goodbye to mishaps and live for beneficial outcomes.

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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.

All rights reserved sirpeterjamesdotcom©2019-05-20

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button).

 

 

The Miracles


A sponsored article by Vivi.

This miracle I’m going to tell you about, illustrated to me how amazingly God is outside time as we know it!  He was compassionate and merciful in revealing to my husband and I, we had a neighbor who needed prayer and care, which included being driven to do shopping, when he could no longer drive.

The neighbour attracted my attention by showing me what a healing God had done over sixty years ago!

Continue reading “The Miracles”