My Armour or God’s Armour?


How many times do we feel that we have need to go out and ‘fight the good fight? How many times do we feel that if we don’t go out and fight the good fight, we will be disappointing God? How much of our own strength can we commit to this task when we have so much on our plates?

I have tried many times, rising early, believing that THIS day, I will be a good example of God’s child and stand firm, only to discover, like Peter the disciple, I am truly very weak!

The truth is, in our own strength, we cannot please God and our loving Father is very aware of this fact. The old nature, which we inherited from Adam, is just not equipped to please God.

Our loving Father has already poured out His peace into our hearts, so we should just take hold of it and allow Him to work IN us and THROUGH us, in HIS time. The ‘THROUGH us’ work will be a result of the ‘IN us’ work, just like the fruit of a tree. The tree does not have to concern itself with the fruit making, it’s bearing is a natural process. The quality of the fruit is dependent on the intake of the roots.

So it is with us. Spend time with the Lord in prayer, reading the Word and fellowship with other members of His family, and your ‘fight the good fight’ will be a natural process, not something you have to constantly drive.

What a blessing the scripture says:
Put on all of God’s armour so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil.Armour of God 2

God’s armour…not MY armour. The ‘good fight’ is God’s battle and He encourages us not to try and fight this battle in our strength. Instead, He says…. “submit to me…”. We are His instruments, clay in the potter’s hands…

Gird your loins with truth….. loins are normally associated with giving life – we will only be able to fight the good fight to the level of our own relationship with our Father. The deeper we are in Him, the more effective our fruit to bring new life to those around us – the natural process of fruit bearing. Is it God’s fruit from within, or do we have to force it by the power of our strength?

Put on the breastplate of righteousness…. A breastplate is something that covers a large area of the body and is bright and shiny. The breastplate is seen first when a person approaches. If the breastplate is damaged and dull, it does not create a good impression. A bright shiny breastplate indicates cleanliness and righteousness. Does the fruit of righteousness shine through us as a natural process or do we have to force it by the power of our strength?

Shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel …. Our Father’s desire is to disciple the nations. Our feet are going to take us to our families, communities and Nations. As we go, we will take the Gospel with us. The Gospel will regenerate minds and lives will begin to change. Is the fruit of the Gospel evident in us a natural process, or do we have to force it by the power of our strength?

Take up the shield of Faith …. A shield of trusting God (faith) will protect us. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we believe God has the power to resolve a condition, but we cannot seem to trust (or have faith) that He will do so for us in our time of need. It is at this time, that our trust in God is stretched. The more we stretch our trust, the more we will be protected in any given situation. Is our trust in the Lord evident as a natural process or do we have to force it by the power of our strength?

The Helmet of Salvation…A helmet is vital for survival, protecting the brain, the central command station. It is in the brain that the evil one begins his mission to lead us away from God. He plants a tempting thought and we begin to entertain it. If this thought is not put out of our minds, the scripture says it will take us on a path of death. Salvation in our lives is as secure as a helmet on our heads. Jesus died on the cross that we might receive Salvation as a gift (free) – all we must do is…receive it! Within the Salvation process, our minds are renewed. Are we allowing God to work IN us as a natural process in order that He can work THROUGH us, or are we resisting Him in our own strength?

From: “…time with the Master…”

This is a bi-monthly series of spiritual teachings.
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Mission Malawi – Chapter Nineteen


 o3.o1.96

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

what now lord
What Now Lord?

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

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

04.01.96

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

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

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

12.01.96

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Mission Malawi – Chapter Sixteen


Why don’t you start the series from the beginning – click here.

15.10.95
All has been quiet on the ‘wakhuba’ front. We are very tired but still blessed by our hourly watch and praying at night.

Continue reading “Mission Malawi – Chapter Sixteen”

Being a container for the Lord….


I’ve heard the expression “desperate times call for desperate measures…” and can’t help but think sometimes my prayer life is something like that. We live in desperate times. Our country’s economy is currently very difficult and as a nation, we struggle with divisions along racial lines, not to mention our ownindividual situations of debt, personal relationships and work challenges.

Desperation - Homeless
Desperation – Homeless

Prayer, which is our communication with the Lord, is obviously influenced by these factors in our lives. One might argue that if we had no challenges in our lives, we probably wouldn’t communicate with God!

Recently, I had a conversation with someone at a fellowship gathering which went something like this:
I asked him how he was. He replied the he was very well.
I enquired after his wife and he told me she too, was very well.
An enquiry about their young son brought a similar answer.
I then asked him how Jesus was…..
There was a short silence and I could see he was a bit lost for an answer.

The thought then occurred to me, that if we are in constant communication with people, we generally know how they are and what they are currently feeling. Shouldn’t it be the same with the Lord? Shouldn’t we know what He is feeling at present ?

How are we currently communicating (praying) with the Lord? Are our prayers only born out of a place of desperation? – In other words, as our personal situations become more grave, our prayers become more intense. I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with these types of prayers, but there are additional ways of communicating with our Father.

Pray - Lord Teach Us
Pray – Lord Teach Us

“Oh Lord, teach us how to pray?”

Most of us are familiar with the scripture in
in Matthew. Jesus uses this example to teach us how to pray.
It is interesting to note the following:
Firstly…
“Our Father who art in Heaven….” – Exalting HIM
“Hallowed be thy name….” – Worshipping HIM
“Thy Kingdom come….” – Desiring HIS Will
Then….
“Give us this day OUR daily bread….”

It seems our needs (if translated as ‘daily bread’) are further down the list than the position of exalting, worshipping and desiring HIS Will. A point to ponder: When we measure this against how we pray – what do we find?

The King James Version of the Bible says “Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.” This portrays a picture of someone who is at total peace with the Lord. Not concerned about his needs or fretting in a given situation, but just resting his head on his Father’s heart – listening….

If we go to the Lord throughout the day and place our head upon His heart, we will find the same peace and joy as we listen out for what His heart is saying to us. Not always ‘bombarding’ Him with desperate requests, but listening for His will.

John on the breast of Jesus
John on the breast of Jesus

“Give us this day OUR daily bread”. If we ask the Lord, He will not only supply our daily need, but will give us ‘bread’ for those that we come into contact with on a daily basis. It may be a physical need, a prayer and words of encouragement or perhaps just being there for them.

Let’s desire to be a container for the Lord today. Let Him use us as a vessel to bless those around us. Before we leave home today, let’s ask Him for our daily bread – that which we can deliver to others on our Father’s behalf. What a privilege to be used by 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 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).

Kingdom Business or Business in the Kingdom?


Today’s business market is extremely competitive. I don’t think there has ever been a time in our history when all aspects of business need to be so well honed in order to merely stay ‘afloat’.

 We believe, by faith, that God can do anything. Can we trust Him to help us take our businesses to a level where He can freely bless us?

Continue reading “Kingdom Business or Business in the Kingdom?”

The Power of Prayer


Prayers 1.jpg

The Scriptures were given to us for many good reasons. Among these, they reveal God’s promises to us, they give the lost and forsaken hope and comfort.

We are always safe to take the words of the scriptures and to so place them, that they can be made into our own personal petitions to God.

Psalm 91 is a wonderful example of this – see God’s promise and reassurance to us, see His guarantee; that He will never leave us or forsake us. He asks that we should believe, what He tells us and in doing so, we harness his promise of power in our lives.

Continue reading “The Power of Prayer”

Building Bridges – Part One


Experiencing life in community can be a very rewarding time. Let’s have a look at some examples of community situations outside of our normal understanding of city or neighborhood communities.

Community may be one of the following:

  • Church group: i.e. prayer group or home cell.
  • A sports group or club.
  • A business.
  • A Marriage or a family are a good example of a ‘micro’ community.

Continue reading “Building Bridges – Part One”

Getting To Know Him


In the world today communication is very important. In worldly terms – success is borne out of effective communication.

We learn communication from teaching institutions but primarily from our upbringing. This would not only be the spoken word but body language as well. We sometimes take these skills for granted – spare a thought for the visually and hearing impaired – how would our lives change if suddenly we could no longer see or hear?

Whenever there is success in a sports team, a business or a marriage, we will find effective communication.

Ray Prayer 7If we communicate better, this results in improved relationships and improved relationships mean unity. Where there is unity there is strength.
Stop to look at ourselves for a moment – how are we communicating in our present circumstances? (In our work and personal relationships). RememberRay Prayer 3 communication is not only the spoken word but body language as well!
We use communication for many different purposes. One such use is to find out information. In other words when we meet people for the first time we try to find out more about them – we ask questions. To those we already know, we ask deeper questions to find out more about them and we will also share some of our opinions with them – this, so they will know more about us and we them. Rayer Prayer 5In this way we form meaningful relationships. Lastly, where we have emotional feelings for someone we tell them as much (“I love you”) and we get to know them more intimately as we learn to trust them with our emotions.

Looking at the spiritual world, God wants us to work in a similar manner. (Psa 105:4; Pro 8:17; Psa 46:10 and Jer 24:7). He gives us the tool of prayer to effectively communicate with Him. This truly is a gift from Him. Just as salvation is a gift from Him (we did nothing to earn it!) so prayer is also a gift from him.
Prayer is really nothing more than speaking to God. It is a tool which we can use to strengthen our relationship with Him.
We need to spend time with God in order to know Him better. This means reading His word and also fellowshipping with other believers. In our private times with the Lord, and during our day-to-day living , we must feel free to ask God questions in order to find out more about Him. We should also tell God how we feel about things – intimately. Jesus said, “All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore, I said that He (the Holy Spirit) will take of mine and will announce it to you.
Some would say…. “Why would such an almighty God want to hear these things from me? He has many more important things to work on…..” Also the scripture says that God knows all our needs before we even pray them, so why ask Him? The answer is simple…. God loves to hear from us and loves to communicate with us. His love for us is so great that He wants to be in constant communion with us. We know from our own experience, when you love someone you want to be with them – all the time!
Find time to commune with God and ask Him about the things that perplex you. Tell Him how you feel about some of the current situations in your life and tell Him about the things in the deepest part of your heart. It’s good to tell Him you love Him.

Ray Prayer 6

All these things will draw us into a deeper place with God and help us to better communicate with Him. Be like the Psalmist David, when he said, “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
Better communication with God means we come to know Him better and therefore we are able to hear His Spirit within us. The more effectively we hear His Spirit, the more useful we can be in His service.
From: “time with the Master…”