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.

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Eyes to See


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

Eyes to See

Jesus gave us a command in Matt.28:19 to Go and make disciples. Most of us become a little concerned when we read this scripture because we think we’re not good enough to fulfill this role – and in extreme cases some begin to feel condemned. We think we need to become qualified teachers, preachers or Evangelists before we can share the word of God with others – not so.

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Let this Cup Pass from Me…


Matthew 26:36-44

36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.”

 

Why did Jesus make this request of His Father not once, but three times!

Many commentators have offered their versions of what this means and of all those I have read; none really gave an explanation affording me a revelation of why the Son of God should have requested the very purpose of his mission on earth be ‘passed from Him?’

I have long removed myself from making definitive statements about interpretations of scripture; as all to often, after making a definitive statement, I felt that my interpretation might be wrong.

Let me say then, for me this request to his Father from Jesus is a mystery.

Yet, I wonder if it has any link to the last words of Jesus on the Cross, “…My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” 

 

Many commentators suggest, and I can understand this; the darkness of the ‘sin of the world’ Jesus bore in that moment was such, He felt utterly abandoned (the Greek root word for forsaken.) In His entire lifetime he had NEVER felt ‘abandoned’ by His Father. After all, Jesus said, “I and the Father are one…” 

Could the request have been an expression of the love of Jesus for His Father, being so eminent in His life; He did not want to experience the state of separation from His Father?

Would that our love for the Father be such as never to sense His abandonment in our lives.

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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Make Time to Take Time


 

YOU KNOW, I’VE NEVER CONSIDERED MYSELF TO BE MECHANICALLY MINDED. YES, I’VE WIRED PLUGS AND CHANGED THE OIL IN MY CAR BUT WHENEVER IT CAME TO MORE COMPLICATED REPAIRS – LIKE FIXING BROKEN WATER PIPES OR RENEWING BRAKE PADS  – I QUICKLY CALLED THE EXPERTS. BUT THAT CHANGED ABOUT FIFTEEN YEARS AGO WHEN ONE DAY I WATCHED MY FATHER-IN-LAW REPAIR HIS LAWNMOWER. I SAID TO HIM “WOW, YOU ARE SO GOOD AT REPAIRING THINGS. I’VE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO DO THAT.” IN HIS USUAL FORTHRIGHT MANNER, HE SHOT BACK AND SAID, “THAT’S BECAUSE YOU DON’T TAKE THE TIME.”

HIS WORDS ACTUALLY CHANGED MY THINKING. 

NOW, WHENEVER I ENCOUNTER A PROBLEM – WHETHER IT IS MY CAR OR MY LAWNMOWER OR WHATEVER, I TRY TO TAKE THE TIME TO THINK ABOUT IT AND MAKE THE EFFORT TO DO MY BEST TO SOLVE IT – AND YOU KNOW WHAT –  IT OFTEN WORKS! BUT OVER THE YEARS I HAVE LEARNT THAT THIS APPROACH IS NOT ONLY APPLICABLE TO REPAIRING PIPES, CARS OR LAWNMOWERS – TOO OFTEN WE DON’T TAKE THE TIME TO SOLVE MANY OF LIFE’S CHALLENGES – LIKE BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS AND DOING SOMETHING WELL OR CAREFULLY.  

YOU MAY RECOGNISE THE SONG IN THE BACKGROUND. IT’S ONE OF MY FAVOURITES FROM THE 60’S BY PERCY SLEDGE CALLED “TAKE TIME TO KNOW HER”. IT’S ABOUT A YOUNG MAN WHO CAN’T WAIT TO GET MARRIED TO HIS GIRLFRIEND BUT HIS MOTHER PLEADS WITH HIM “SON, TAKE TIME TO KNOW HER. IT’S NOT AN OVERNIGHT THING. TAKE TIME TO KNOW HER. PLEASE, DON’T RUSH INTO THIS THING.” BUT HE DOESN’T LISTEN TO HER AND GETS MARRIED. AND THEN HE – AS THE SONG GOES “CAME HOME A LITTLE EARLY ONE NIGHT….” NO PRIZES FOR GUESSING WHAT HAPPENED!  

A WISE MAN ONCE WROTE; “ONE OF THE TRAGIC CASUALTIES OF OUR AGE HAS BEEN THAT OF THE CONTEMPLATIVE LIFE—A LIFE THAT THINKS, THINKS THINGS THROUGH…. A PERSON SITTING AT HIS DESK AND STARING OUT OF THE WINDOW WOULD NEVER BE ASSUMED TO BE WORKING. NO! THINKING IS NOT EQUATED WITH WORK. YET, HAD NEWTON UNDER HIS TREE, OR ARCHIMEDES IN HIS BATHTUB BOUGHT INTO THAT PREJUDICE, SOME NATURAL LAWS WOULD STILL BE UP IN THE AIR, OR BURIED UNDER AN IMMOVABLE ROCK.”1

BUT YOU KNOW THIS IS NOT NEW ADVICE! KING SOLOMON WAS SAID TO BE THE WISEST MAN WHO EVER LIVED AND HE WROTE A BOOK CALLED PROVERBS AND IT’S A REAL GOLD MINE OF WISDOM. LISTEN TO SOME OF HIS GOLD NUGGETS ABOUT THIS SUBJECT OF TAKING THE TIME. FOR EXAMPLE, IN PROVERBS 21 HE ADVISES: “BRILLIANT IDEAS PAY OFF AND BRING YOU PROSPERITY, BUT MAKING HASTY, IMPATIENT DECISIONS WILL ONLY LEAD TO FINANCIAL LOSS.” AND YOU KNOW WHAT? SOLOMON EVEN INSTRUCTS US TO STOP WHAT WE ARE DOING, BEND DOWN AND “CONSIDER THE WAYS” OF THE TINY, HARD WORKING ANT (PROVERBS 6:6). THE WORD “CONSIDER” MEANS TO CONTINUALLY TURN SOMETHING OVER IN YOUR MIND AND IN SO DOING YOU BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND. ACTUALLY THIS WORD “CONSIDER” WAS USED OF ANCIENT ASTRONOMERS TO DESCRIBE WHAT THEY DID TO SEEK AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE UNIVERSE. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY WOULD DO? THEY WOULD LIE ON THEIR BACKS IN A FIELD ALL NIGHT AND “CONSIDER” THE HEAVENS AS IT UNFOLDED  BEFORE THEM IN THOUSANDS OF SMALL DOTS OF LIGHT.

YOU KNOW, NOTHING RANKS HIGHER FOR MENTAL DISCIPLINE THAN REGULAR STUDY OF GOD’S WORD, BUT HAVE YOU GIVEN UP READING THE BIBLE BECAUSE YOU FIND IT BORING, IRRELEVANT OR TOO DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND? DO YOU RUSH THROUGH YOUR BIBLE STUDY?

THE GREAT ENGLISH PREACHER CHARLES SPURGEON WROTE – ABOUT 150 YEARS AGO – ; “FIX YOUR THOUGHTS UPON SOME TEXT OF SCRIPTURE BEFORE YOU LEAVE YOUR BEDROOM IN THE MORNING—IT WILL SWEETEN YOUR MEDITATION ALL THE DAY. ALWAYS LOOK GOD IN THE FACE BEFORE YOU SEE THE FACE OF ANYONE ELSE. LOCK UP YOUR HEART IN THE MORNING AND HAND THE KEY TO GOD AND KEEP THE WORLD OUT OF YOUR HEART. TAKE A TEXT AND LAY IT ON YOUR TONGUE LIKE A WAFER MADE WITH HONEY AND LET IT MELT IN YOUR MOUTH ALL DAY. … YOU WILL BE SURPRISED TO NOTICE HOW THE VARIOUS EVENTS OF LIFE WILL HELP TO OPEN UP THAT TEXT…. LET YOUR SOUL BE SO FULL OF THE WORD OF GOD THAT AT ALL THE INTERVALS AND SPACES WHEN YOU CAN THINK UPON IT, THE WORD OF GOD DWELLING IN YOU RICHLY MAY COME WELLING UP INTO YOUR MIND AND MAKE YOUR MEDITATION TO BE SWEET AND PROFITABLE.”

IF BECAUSE YOU HAVE MADE THE TIME AND TAKEN THE TIME TO FOCUS ON A VERSE IN THE BIBLE IN THE MORNING IT WILL HAVE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE WAY YOU HANDLE DAILY CHALLENGES. 

IN 2 TIMOTHY 3:16 WE READ THAT THE SCRIPTURES ARE “GOD-BREATHED” AS YOU READ, GOD IS COMMUNICATING WITH YOU PERSONALLY. SO AS YOU MAKE TIME TO READ THE SCRIPTURES – EVEN IF ITS JUST FOR A SHORT WHILE – ASK QUESTIONS LIKE, “LORD, WHAT ARE YOU SAYING TO ME TODAY, LORD?” OR  “IS THERE SOMETHING IN YOUR WORDS THAT I NEED TO SEE THAT I’M NOT SEEING?” THE BIBLE IS A PRECIOUS GIFT, “BUT” AS EUGENE PETERSON ONCE SAID “ONLY IF THE WORDS ARE ASSIMILATED, TAKEN INTO THE SOUL – EATEN, CHEWED, GNAWED AND RECEIVED IN UNHURRIED DELIGHT.”2

SO MAKING THE TIME, TAKING THE TIME IS A LIFE TRANSFORMING HABIT.

OK THERE’S MUCH MORE TO SAY ABOUT THIS LIFE-CHANGING SUBJECT. BUT I NEED TO CONCLUDE. MY NEIGHBOUR HAS JUST CALLED TO ASK ME IF I HAVE SOME TIME TO HELP HIM REPAIR HIS LAWNMOWER…. 

SO UNTIL NEXT TIME, THIS IS GG

This article is generously submitted by GG to whom we are indebted for sharing his God-given wisdom and encouragement. 

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 so inclined visit my worldview site; www.sirpeterjames.com

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

button).

 

The New Covenant.


Another thought provoking and God-inspired article by Vivi.

 Why is it important to understand what the New Covenant means? – so that we can make a free-will, quality decision to enter into covenant with Jesus

God is a covenant-keeping God and it is good to understand exactly what His New Covenant means, because the New Covenant takes us – as someone jokingly put it: “out of the death column and into the birth column!”

We are all destined for the ‘death column’ – not only do we have physical, perishable bodies which don’t go on forever but the Bible tells us that the ‘wages of sin = death’ and if we continue to live a life of sin, we are all destined to die spiritually as well physically.

Sin separates us from God.  He warned Adam that if he disobeyed, he would die.  The devil has always tried to deceive us into believing that God’s word is not true!

God’s Word is true and as He loves us, His creation, so much He made the way for us to get back what we had lost.  He made the way by ‘becoming flesh’ i.e. He came to earth by being born as a human, although without a human father, (like Adam) but unlike Adam, He did not deserve death because He did not sin! 

He was the only human who had not sinned and therefore He did not have to pay ‘the wages of sin’ – He was the only human who did not have to die!  

Remember, God told Adam not to eat the fruit from the tree of the ‘knowledge of good and evil’ – God wanted us to live forever without ‘knowing’ (often means ‘experiencing’) or tasting evil.  Jesus, in His humanity was the only human who lived the way God intended us to live, without knowing evil. 

Jesus certainly came across evil, all through His earthly life.  He came against evil all the time.  Scripture tells us: ‘He came to destroy the works of the devil’.  He came up against sickness, disease, hunger and pain, fear and death and He destroyed them each time, bringing about healing instead of sickness and disease, provision instead of hunger and deliverance instead of pain and fear – life instead of death.

He was showing us all the time He walked on this earth that He had come to reveal God – the love and power of God was in everything He did and the wisdom of God was in everything He said!  Do you remember Jesus telling us that the thief comes ’to rob, kill and destroy’ – and He, Jesus comes ‘to give LIFE – and that more abundantly’.  Jesus was God in the form of a human so that He could shed His own blood to seal the New Covenant with us to give us what He had – eternal life!

The problem is most of us don’t even understand what a covenant is all about!  We are brought up in a ‘civilized’ culture that knows nothing of blood sacrifice and even our theologians don’t like to mention blood. 

However, God teaches us from His Word that ‘without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness for sin’.  Jesus chose to go through death as part of the covenant.  His words were:   This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins’.  Even in most of our churches, when we have communion, the word ‘covenant’ is left out and some churches don’t even have the blood – symbolically of course, Jesus had lifted the cup of wine, called the cup of redemption after the Passover meal and He said: ‘As oft as you drink it, do this in remembrance of Me’.

He broke down the barrier that separated us from Him, namely sin, by taking the punishment on Himself – and made it possible for us to be redeemed, i.e. delivered out of the bondage of sin.  Some people say He ‘paid’ for us, but that is not a good explanation because it implies that we are just ‘bought merchandise’!    The Lord made us much more precious than that!  He gave us the freedom to choose whether or not we wanted to be redeemed and He does not force anyone into His Kingdom.

If we choose to confess and repent of the sin which has separated us from Him, He forgives us and we become His children.  We can receive His love and we can love Him and receive our redemption and our freedom from the bondage of sin. 

We are no longer on a one-way road to death but can believe and KNOW that there is life after death.  Jesus said so!  He said:Whoever believes on me, though He dies, yet shall he live’.

When Jesus removed the barrier that separated us from God, He also made the way for us to live in harmony with each other.  Now we can really love God and each other.  We can follow His example of always talking to God before we make any decision – and then do it God’s way.   We can live with the right attitude, i.e. not even wanting to sin.   Jesus came to earth to make the way back to God because everyone had sinned and was destined for the death column!  Now we can get into covenant with Him and be born again!

Born of the spirit, so that when we die physically, we go right on living in the spirit – not separated from God, but we will find that we will be with Him!  His New Covenant was confirmed with His blood to forgive many – ALL those who enter into covenant with Him!  The way we get into covenant with Him, is to receive what He gives us and to give Him what is ours!  What an uneven swop!  But He loves us so much, He doesn’t mind – He designed it that way!

Jesus ratified the New Covenant with His blood which means He sealed it because he really meant it and will not break it.  We have an awesome Father God who revealed Himself to us in time and space in Jesus.  The ceremonial law was the parable, or picture He painted to show us how strongly He felt about sin.  Jesus told us that He did not come to change the law – but to fulfill it and He did.  He became the sacrifice to redeem us or get us back from the evil one who robs, kills, and destroys.

Let’s get into covenant with Jesus, our covenant-keeping God, who loved us so much He shed His own blood, so that we would be able to get into covenant with Him and live with Him forever!  Instead of being lost, lonely and afraid of the unknown, let’s climb onto His lap and ‘seek His face’ (like a child tugging at his father’s beard for His attention).

He waits for us to do that, He gently draws us by His Holy Spirit and when we understand what a covenant relationship is and respond, we give Him joy!  He said even the angels in heaven rejoice over one sinner who repents.  It’s awful to think of how He suffered, but it’s wonderful to know that He thinks we are worth it!

********************************************************************************************

The A’s, B’s, and C’s (below) of understanding the New Covenant are relatively easy, but we need to also understand the danger of the D’s.  The devil is the ‘father of lies’ and the ‘master of deception’ – lies are easier to detect than deception!

The devil can make bad things look good and inviting  – remember how he deceived Eve?  First he cast doubt on what God had actually said, then he told her that the fruit would make her like God!  The deception of darkness, drunkenness and divorce have trapped very many people…and as a result many lives have been broken.  Praise God that He is our Healer and nothing is too difficult for Him!

The A’s are:  If we call Him Adonai (Lord) we must give Him our All

The B’s are:  If we believe, it should be evident in our behavior

The C’s are:  To get into Covenant means commitment

All rights reserved©vivi 2020

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

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

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”

The Kingdom of God – Part Two


For those of you who have just joined us, you need to read through “The Kingdom of God” first.

Luke 17:20-21 KJV

https://biblehub.com/commentaries/luke/17-21.htm

20And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Continue reading “The Kingdom of God – Part Two”

Be still in your busy day…


We are busy in our lives. Whether it is at work, at play, bringing up children, managing work colleagues or simply trying to make ends meet – we are busy and in today’s world, it seems we are getting busier. We are constantly pouring ourselves out into the lives of others. The common factor of all these types of busyness is that they drain us – physically and emotionally.

 Is it possible for us to – ‘take time out’?

 Yes it is! I’m not necessarily talking of going on a vacation for a few weeks, although that would be very nice, no, I’m talking about taking ‘time out’. This time out can be a few minutes or a few hours depending on our circumstances. Ever heard of a ‘power nap’? Well, what about a ‘power time out’?

 A wonderful scripture says, “Be still and know that I am God…”Be Still...2

 The other day I had planned my day as I thought it best. I was secure in my plan, which in turn brought me peace of mind. As I began the day, I received a business call, which would result in me having to make a one hour round trip by car to fulfil an urgent need of one of my customers. My first reaction was to start complaining, grumbling because MY plans had now been changed. My day was already under pressure and now it would seemingly get worse…..

 I climbed into the car and set off on my trip. Very soon, I began to dwell on the thought – ‘the Lord knows everything’. As I ‘abided’ in that thought, I began to calm down and the anxiety started to drift away.  It was then that the scripture came to me…. “Be still and know that I am God….”

 I asked the Lord to help me linger in this scripture while driving. Jesus said that if we abide (to stay a while – not jump in and out) Abide in Mein Him, then He will abide in us. So I kept the scripture on the movie screen of my mind and this is what the Lord showed me….

 “Be still and know that I am God…”

 ‘Be’ – “Just BE”, said the Lord. “Just exist…don’t try to be somebody that you aren’t. I fearfully and wonderfully made you. There is no other like you. Wherever you go – just BE. Split seconds before you were conceived in your mother’s womb, you did not exist, but I formed you – and you were! From the foundation of time I planned for you to BE”, said the Lord.

 ‘Still’ – Where there is stillness, there is depth. Our Father so desires for us to come to a deeper place with Him. We cannot find that depth until we are still, a still place where He will share His heart with us, where we will hear His heartbeat.

 ‘and Know’ – “Don’t try to figure me out”, said the Lord, “don’t take opinions of others and form Me into those opinions – simply ‘KNOW’ that I am God, simply ‘KNOW

 ‘I am’ – “There is nothing outside of Me”, said the Lord, “Walk with boldness wherever you go, for I am with you. Wherever YOU go…I AM” said the Lord…

 Had my plans not changed that day, I would have missed this ‘time out’ with the Lord.

 For those of us who are parents, normal conversation with our children is usually about them constantly ‘asking’ us for things. How lovely it would be for us instead, to sit with our children and hear them expressing their opinions about life or simply saying to us, “I love you…”

 God is the same with us. He would love us to have ‘time out’ with Him and discuss the things on our hearts while telling Him that we love Him.

 Don’t plan your next time out – just do it. Stay focused on Him for a few quiet minutes and let Him share His heart with you. Receive from Him rather than asking from Him. You will be blessed, and your inner strength will be revitalized.

 From: “…time with the Master…”

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

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

Mission Malawi – Chapter Twelve


Back again

Kathy, I and the family (increasing again by the way!!), have finally arrived back in Malawi after being away for 4 months.

We returned to find our precious brother Jacob Arthur quite tired but very, very blessed. He had been kept on his toes by the various situations which were brought about to allow him to grow in his faith! This included two robberies and other testing things.

The brother who stole the bike, radio and money from us just after we left for South Africa, was forgiven and came back to work in order to repay the money he stole. He stayed for two weeks and did exactly the same thing again. As a result our little ‘grocer’ business took a real dive. However, in the Lords time things have got back to normal and most of our regular customers are back.

Continue reading “Mission Malawi – Chapter Twelve”

Building Bridges – Part Three


In the previous parts of this series we saw that it is of prime importance for us, as believers, to make sure that the word of God can freely pass between us and all whom we have relationships with. This at any time – in season and out of season. Nothing can be of more importance than to make sure the bridges of relationship grow and are kept clear – whichever community situation we find ourselves in.

Continue reading “Building Bridges – Part Three”