Saturday, 24 June 2017
We concluded our last message by saying that Jesus’ preparation of the rooms in His Father’s house is continuous.
Father is holy and man not, so the preparation task of Jesus at the Father’s side involves first: “God exalted Him to his own right hand as Prince and Saviour that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel” (Acts 5:31). These include all the children of Abraham, thus also gentile believers. And second: “Christ Jesus, who died - more than that, who was raised to life - is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:34). He has to see to it that you are saved and then, as the Holy Spirit prepares you for holiness, Jesus intercedes for you. Jesus sees to it that you are ready to come into the Father’s presence -- the place (house) where He (Jesus) is. Through the Holy Spirit He must see to it that you enter the Kingdom – “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
Usually the Father gives a command and the Holy Spirit converse it to you who is supposed to obey, so God’s Kingdom can grow. When you do not do what the Spirit tells you to do, Jesus intercedes for you while the Holy Spirit tries to convict you of your sin. The whole purpose of their effort, in their great love for you, is to keep you in right standing with the Father (righteousness) so you can be with God.
Jesus intention for you is to be holy; in other words set aside for the Lord and His plans for your life.
"Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord," (Hebrews 12:14).
In this final teaching of Jesus, as recorded in the book of John chapters 14 to 17, He gave intense attention to this aspect of closeness to the Father, because He knew that intimacy on earth will mean eternal intimacy.
Lord, please help me to be intimate with you.
Friday, 23 June 2017
For as long as it takes we are going to study the gospel of John chapters fourteen to seventeen.
Jesus spent a lot of time teaching. If we ignore His directions, He has wasted his time and energy to come to this earth. He did not just come to die for our sin as some tend to believe. He came to enable us to make a difference in this world. He said in Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” and in Matthew 28:19 and 20 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
Doing and teaching His commands are very important. George Müller made an amazing difference in his time early in the 19th century and his work is still going on even today. He had an amazing faith, which caused, in today’s terms, millions of pounds to go through his hands without him having to have done a single business deal or ever having to have asked for money. He simply prayed and believed. His secret – he read through the whole Bible more than 300 times during his seventy years ministry! “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Let’s open the Word at John 14. We are going to focus on John 14 to 17 - Jesus’ final words to His past and present disciples and His prayer for all of us.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going,” (John 14:1-4).
The teaching in these four chapters revolves around intimacy with the Lord. Before we proceed it is important to understand the Trinity of the Godhead. I have heard quite a number of explanations, but the one most logical to me, I believe the Holy Spirit revealed to me.
We must always remember we were created in the image of God. The systems by which man therefore functions are actually systems God designed and also lives by. One can therefore see the Godhead as a Company, such as in a business. The Company’s name is God. The Managing Director of God is Father. He does all the planning, directing and commanding. Another ‘Director’ is Jesus Christ. Since the creation of the earth He was in control of every interaction with man and usually manifested to Old Testament people, such as Abraham and Gideon, as ‘The Angle of the Lord’. From His birth as a man until His ascension into heaven He was directly involved with mankind. After that the third ‘Director’ of God, the Holy Spirit became involved with mankind until today.
One can also see the Trinity as a family unit with the surname; God, where Father God is the father and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are the two sons doing the father’s bidding.
When we therefore talk about God we mean the Godhead or otherwise we will call the individual ‘directors’ by name. The Bible, however, often refers to the Father as God, since He is the head. In these chapters of John, Jesus gives clear direction concerning each of these ‘directors’ future involvement with those who follow Him.
From the above passage we first of all learn that our heavenly house belongs to the Father and in that house are enough rooms for all who want to be there. We also learn that these rooms need to be prepared by Jesus himself so His disciples could be where He is. But where is He? He is at the Father’s side, at His right hand. “But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God” (Luke 22:69). What does this preparation of Jesus entail? These words of Jesus regarding the preparation were written in the present tense. In other words the process is continuous.
Father, please help me understand the Godhead.
Next time we will continue dicussing Jesus' preparation process.
Sunday, 11 June 2017
This passage in Ephesians 6 concludes with “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,” (V18).
Note that it does not suggest for us to just pray by asking all kinds of things. It instructs us to pray in the Spirit and to do it at all times. Praying in the Spirit means we pray what the Spirit wants us to pray. “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words,” (Romans 8:26). In the light of the spiritual war, which Christians are constantly involved in, prayer is more serious than just giving the Lord a shopping list. The Holy Spirit is very much aware of the spiritual activity in the air, and therefore knows the movements of the evil spiritual forces and their intentions for the children of God. He consequently knows how we should pray.
Although the Lord is sovereign, He is committed to wait until we ask and pray before He acts (Matthew 7:7, Matthew 21:22, James 4:2, 3, etc.). In order to conquer in this spiritual war, we need to stay in touch with our Commanding Officer who knows how to fight the battle. He has already overcome the devil whom He knew for thousands of years, so He understands Satan’s methods and strategies, which is why James exhorts us to first submit to God and then resist the devil (James 4:7). Our prayers therefore should be led by the Holy Spirit and we should pray as He guides us. Praying in tongues is valuable in this. I have often been in deep groaning in tongues, whilst every now and then a thought of something or somebody crossed my mind. As I understand it, the Holy Spirit led my prayers in times like those, while He occasionally made me aware of whom or what I was praying for. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,” (James 5:16). Only the Lord can overcome the enemy, which is why prayer is part of the Armor of God.
An essential part of being a soldier is staying alert, which is why Paul exhorts Timothy not to get involved with civilian affairs (2 Timothy 2:4). Being involved with too much of materialistic life distracts us. The war should be our first priority. The devil’s main strategy is to offer us all kinds of things like power, pleasure and wealth which will keep us so occupied that we will not find time to be alert. This is an ideal situation for the evil forces to attack us stealthily and render us useless to the Kingdom work. He tried the same strategy with Eve and Jesus. He succeeded with Eve, but failed with Jesus because He knew how to overcome him.
The last important part of spiritual warfare is support of fellow soldiers, by interceding for them. If all Christians understand this important part of Kingdom living, this army will be a force to be reckoned with.
Lord, I want to be effective in prayer. Please deliver me from materialistic civilian affairs.
Saturday, 3 June 2017
“And (take up) the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” (Ephesians 6:18).
In spiritual warfare the Word of God has a few purposes and all of them relate to a relationship with the Lord.
1. When Jesus was tempted as recorded in Matthew 4:3-10 He referred to the Word of God with every temptation – “it is written”. The lie can only be defeated by truth, so to expose and neutralize any lie, the truth of God’s Word must be applied to prove lies invalid. In order to do that, one should know the Bible well so that the Holy Spirit can bring that knowledge to the surface when it is necessary to counter a spiritual attack. The devil can deceive either through whispering lies into our ears or by using people and ideologies. Both can only be exposed by using the sword of the Spirit, the Word.
2. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division
3. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work,” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching,” (2 Timothy 4:2). How often has this kind of Word been preached to you? In order for us to be clean and holy before the Lord we need to face being reproved and rebuked and we need to be exhorted to obedience, all of which could be summarized as training in righteousness. It is the Word of God that is our sword and we need to know it and know how to wield it. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth,” (2 Timothy 2:15).
If a soldier is not trained in the skills of warfare and in handling his weapon, he is bound to come second in battle. In the same way, we need to know our weapon and our commanding officer. Read the Bible, think about it and memorize passages the Holy Spirit highlights in your heart. This way the Word becomes part of you and when the Holy Spirit needs it for defense, offence or equipping, it is available in your heart.
Lord, help me to handle the Word of God correctly.
Wednesday, 24 May 2017
During the last number of posts I have addressed the necessity of having to watch and pray, since Satan, our enemy, will launch attack after attack. Only our great commander, Jesus Christ, can help us, since He has already overcome Satan. This is therefore a re-post of the series on using the armour of God.
Using the Armor (Part Two)
“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one,” (Ephesians 6:16).
Note that it says ‘in all circumstances’. The shield protects us against lies and circumstances brought against us. I asked the Lord why the shield would be faith. Immediately a picture formed in my mind. I saw a little girl hiding behind her father when she felt unsure. Faith is the indication that we trust in and rely on the Lord. If a little girl is threatened, it would be foolish of her to anchor her little feet firmly in front of her enemy, challenging him in self defense. Her enemy, who is bigger and stronger than her, would simply abduct her without effort.
The devil is cunning and a powerful liar and on our own we do not really stand a chance against him. His lies are devious and in ourselves we do not have the wisdom to withstand him. Jesus, however, conquered him at the cross and now Satan is very scared of him. Hiding behind the Lord in faith is our shield. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.
“Because he holds fast to me in love, says God, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name,’” (Psalm 91: 1, 2, 14).
How do we hide behind the Lord? We live a life of submission to God (James 4:7) and when we are attacked by lies, deception and circumstances, we declare that the Lord is our refuge and shield and verbally resist Satan like Jesus did: “Get behind me Satan in Jesus’ name,” (Matthew 16:23) or “go away Satan in Jesus’ name,” (Matthew 4:10).
“And take the helmet of salvation,” (V17).
Have you ever doubted or felt insecure? All of us have. When you feel insecure you are vulnerable to deception. Sales people use techniques to put their targets into a vulnerable position so that their offers will make them feel safe again. If we are not sure of our salvation, Satan will gladly arrange for us to be deceived into some ungodly doctrine. “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life,” (1 John 5:13). Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand,” (John 10: 27-29). Our salvation is our security so we may have peace.
I see in my spirit a little girl walking hand-in-hand with her huge father, looking up at him and smiling. All around them danger is lurking, evil that would love to destroy her, but she is unaware of it for she is safe and content with her father. Then I see a dirty street kid unsure of herself, always looking over her shoulder. Fear and insecurity is written all over her anxious face. She has no one to turn to.
How about you?
Father, I need to submit to you so I can be safe.
Wednesday, 17 May 2017
On 22nd April we received a mandate to mobilise prayer as a method to fight against the wrong things around us. Below is a repost of the first of a series of articles that were originally written to guide us into using the armour of God for personal protection. It can, however, be applied to any form of spiritual warfare and intercession. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you apply it to intercession against the evil in your country and the world.
Using the Armor (Part One)
I do not know your circumstances, but I do know that the Lord knew we would be under attack and that we would need protection. Maybe you have suffered much condemnation, circumstantial persecution or all kinds of fears and doubts and do not know how to deal with it. Let us look at Ephesians 6.
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm,” (V13).
Here two actions are stressed – ‘having done all’ and ‘stand firm’. Both imply faith. In the previous chapter I mentioned that we need to be in relationship with the Lord for this armor to be effective, for it is He that does the protecting. If we do not action each of these items of the armor, they will not protect us. It is not automatic. And if we run away from the responsibility to action our protection... well, then we are on the run and the devil is in pursuit and problems will just continue – therefore we need to stand.
“Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,” (V14).
These two are mentioned in one breath. A belt in those times kept the clothes together. We need to decide whether we are prepared to believe the Bible as the only truth and then base all our beliefs on it. Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44) and will continuously try and undo your belt to expose you to deception. We need to daily fasten this belt through filling our minds with truth as we read and apply the Word of God.
A breastplate protects the heart, which is our communication centre with the Lord and the habitation of the Holy Spirit. We therefore need to protect our relationship with the Lord by living righteously – in right standing with God. If a friendship is precious to us, we will live carefully so as to not estrange the friend. Righteousness comes simply. 2 Corinthians 5:21 states: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” We need to get and stay in Jesus through faith and obedience – do what God says in His Word and specifically to us. This is how we maintain a precious friendship. If we do not, we sin and our relationship with God is therefore hampered and our center of fellowship with the Lord – our heart – becomes vulnerable. This opens the door for the enemy to attack and God also has to discipline us. Sometimes temptation puts pressure on me to just sin only a little to satisfy my ever craving flesh. In the past I got away with it for a while before the Lord stepped in with disciplinary action to teach me a lesson. Now, however, the Lord does not tolerate much of my fleshly actions before He deals with me.
“As shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace,”(V15).
Attack is the best strategy of defense. Feet are meant to advance and so
Also note it is called the gospel of peace. As long as we have peace, we are in victory. Jesus came so we may have peace, and as long as we keep our peace, it is evidence of our faith – this Satan hates and would like to steal from us.
Lord, I am your soldier. Please train me.
Friday, 12 May 2017
Violence is currently erupting again in Coligny and surrounding towns in South Africa. Are you involved in the spiritual warfare against the evil forces instigating it? Are you one of the people proclaiming fear and speaking death, or are you praying intensely and speak life over the situation. “Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world” – the instigator of death and destruction. NOW is a good time to “fight the good fight of the faith” and take up the victory Jesus has won over the father of the lies who came to steal, kill and destroy. PLEASE PRAY THE WARRIOR’S PRAYERS.
Wars and Sports (Part Two – The Armour for Battle)
You may have heard many teachings about the armour of God, for example we are told to put it on physically every morning. Unless we understand the spiritual realm and are able to picture how these spiritual battles work, we will not use the armour correctly. Satan is very real and unless we can see him coming, how can we defend ourselves? If we walk by the Spirit though, He will open our eyes to the spiritual realm.
“Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able towithstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,” (Ephesians 6:13-18).
This armour refers to a relationship with God. “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth ,”(John 4:23, 24) – this is the belt. “And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation’” (Mark 16:15) – these are the shoes. “Without faith it is impossible to please the Lord” (Hebrews 11:6) – this is the shield. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” (Ephesians 2:8)” – this is the helmet. “So shall My word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it,” (Isaiah 55:11) – this is the sword.
The armour of God demands a dependence on the Lord and therefore a relationship with Him. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you,” (James 4:7). Submitting demands laying down our own will and obeying His will, it demands humbling yourself and “dwelling in the shelter of the Most High,” (Psalm 91:1). If we walk with the Lord, we will see into the spiritual realm and the Holy Spirit will show us what is happening there. We must therefore live the armour of God rather than just imagining putting it on physically. This is why this description of the armour is concluded with an urge to pray in the Spirit, for it is only by prayerfully staying in touch with the Lord that we will overcome these forces.
Righteousness (right standing) with God protects our heart against fear and condemnation, truth protects us against lies and deception, having a purpose to preach the gospel advances us against the evil forces for they fear the gospel, salvation gives us that assurance that we are safe in God’s hands and faith helps us to know that His hands are there for us to jump into. Proclaiming the Word of God in every situation advances Him against these forces on our behalf and believe me, these forces fear God.
In the next message we will look at using these weapons practically and skilfully.
Monday, 8 May 2017
The connection between Rugby and Prayer
Recently everybody was excited about what the Lord God has done during the It’s Time prayer meeting. People have testified to changes that have happened in their hearts and health, we have seen miracles of prayer meetings taken place in certain local government as well as breakthroughs in cases of corruption. Yet, soon after the ‘It’s Time’ prayer meeting, violence broke out in Coligny, and since then there were more reports of violence.
Has God not answered our prayers?
Has He even paid attention to them?
What’s the point of praying then?
These and many more questions are on the lips of South Africans. I hear it from people and I see it.
So what is happening? Why is it that all hell appears to be loose so soon after we had such a dynamic breakthrough at Bloemfontein? There are two potential reasons.
1. God tests our faith.
He specialises in it. Throughout the Bible and throughout life there are evidence that the Lord tested people. He wants to see whether we are going to keep believing against all odds. Are we going to be faithful in doing what we have committed to in Bloemfontein – mobilise prayer wherever we go? The latter brings me to the second point, which I discussed in an earlier post some time ago.
2. We are at war. This is one thing Christians need to get their minds around. We simply cannot live life at leisure as if we do not have an enemy. If we look at what is happening in terms of violence and other kinds of attacks so soon after the prayer meeting, we can consider the fact that Satan is determined to discourage our faith, and God uses it to see whether we will stand (Ephesians 6:13).
The articles I will place over a few days are called ‘Wars and Sports’, and since South Africans are so keen on Rugby, this will appeal to you and bring understanding.
Wars and Sports (Part One)
Paul said “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith,” (2 Timothy 4:7).
He mentioned two types of events here – fighting and sport. Man loves to battle things out. In the past there were many wars due to this nature of man. Before firearms were developed, battles used to be face to face combating where technique and skill played a major role. The army or individual with the greatest skill would drive the other back and overpower them.
Skill and technique are also essential in modern day sports, which by grace replaced war in the developed countries as an outlet for man’s desire to battle. Instead of killing one another to determine which individual or country is the strongest, these battles are these days fought in sports in most countries. In rugby, for instance, each team has a goal line to defend. Through sheer power mixed with clever technique and refined skill, the primary objective of each of these forces is to reach their goal, while the opponents use every skill and strength they have to stop the other from reaching their goal.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places,” (Ephesians 6:12).
The primary aim of sin and the evil forces mentioned above is to stop us from reaching our goal and destiny, which is to please the Lord through obedience and faith and accomplish what He planned for us. They will put temptations in our way to distract us and offer us all kinds of pleasurable activities and thoughts to replace those that are beneficial to the Kingdom of God.
In order for us to stay focused and accomplish that which the Lord put before us, we have to stop these forces from reaching their goal, which is why it is called wrestling. Through using all the weapons and armour made available to us, we are actively in battle. If we are determined to accomplish what the Lord planned for us, the evil forces will make every effort to hinder and stop us (as in the recent case of our Bloemfontein commitment). If we are scared to fight or are unaware of this battle, we will give up and become unproductive to God.
In my life I have often had relational battles or major temptations to sin just before a major spiritual victory. If we sin deliberately, God cannot use us, which is why Uncle Angus had the crowd at Bloemfontein first of all confess our weaknesses and sin. So when we have built up a work of God with Him for a while and start seeing fruit, the devil will suddenly lay an attractive temptation to sin before us, which we will obviously resist. He is headed towards his goal line, though, and we are defending. The same applies when an attack from him challenges our faith, like in the case of the violence. Just as in rugby, he will not stop. He will come again and again, so we will have to stay in active defence. Sometimes we are getting tired and just want to rest a bit, which may lead to a victory to the enemy. Another technique of his is to stir up conflict, for instance, to introduce a family fight just before you have to minister or serve. You then feel unworthy, although ministry after such an event usually has much power, which is why the devil tries to stop it. Therefore, in the light of the violence that happened after April 22nd we can expect major breakthroughs if we stay faithful in prayer, for Satan frantically tries to sow fear so we would hopefully give up the fight. There is nothing he desires more than for us to settle back into a relaxed mode, so he can continue destroying our land.
This is not easy, which is why Paul told Timothy to “share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus,” (2 Timothy 2:3). We are not to have a comfortable life. “No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him,” (2 Timothy 2:4).
Lord, I desire to rather suffer and be obedient than to be comfortable. We keep praying for our land.
Saturday, 6 May 2017
South Africa seems unable to stop talking about this wonderful event. We continuously receive videos and articles about it. The following was written about the It's Time Prayer Event in Bloemfontein, South Africa by Amanda de Lange, a journalist, and translated from Afrikaans by Henry Luyt.
Last week I attended the mooted prayer meeting outside Bloemfontein as an ‘Angus Novice’ and, as a result, I soon hugged people I didn’t even know.
In the camping chair amongst the dust and tufts of grass I realized what this
was all about. Here we had a million people, all of whom searched for something – redemption, hope, freedom, God - something to hold on to. Anything that confirmed this was not the end.
was all about. Here we had a million people, all of whom searched for something – redemption, hope, freedom, God - something to hold on to. Anything that confirmed this was not the end.
This was not about things that were wrong in our country, nor about unbelievers, or the government and the corruption, arrogance, and power obsession of those in control. This was about the church – not the building with the tower and bell that rings on Sundays. Not the auditoriums where large numbers of people get together to worship and hopefully hear a life-changing message. People are the church. I am the church. Every individual who claims they serve Jesus is a little church on two legs.
Do you complain about the church; then you actually complain about me. If you are a Christian and complain about the church, then you complain about yourself. We are ambassadors of the Kingdom of God. Our job is to love and to serve unconditionally and without judgment. To encourage, to comfort, and to walk a second mile when others are only prepared to walk one, to have compassion, to be a light in the darkness, and to be the answer to those who say: “There is no God – look around you, man, and show me where God is.”
What initially seemed to be a jolly picnic, eventually changed to abasement.
With the smells of farm in the air, we are addressed by someone who is a spiritual dad to many South Africans. I have never heard Uncle Angus (as people affectionately refer to him) preach. I only heard of his so-called chauvinistic statements of which he is accused by his critics, but didn’t yet hear it from his mouth. I am an Angus novice.
The men sat hat in the hand and listen. He spoke without compromise.
“Get your house in order! Here are people that wish to save the world, but their own homes are in a state. You don’t talk to your wife, your children have taken to the road, but you want to save the world Sir. I have a very strict word for you from the Lord. Get your house in order before you try and help others.” He took us on about pornography, alcoholism, addiction, and adultery – the one sin on top of the other, whilst the men sat and listened hat in the hand.
After a while I didn’t hear what he said anymore, for I was too busy to think about my own sins – stubbornness. I have always struggled with it. When I was small my dad always told me I haven’t got ears. I was ashamed of my unbelief and lack of trust.
Then we kneeled, the entire million, inclusive of Uncle Angus, right there in the dust. We need to confess our sins, Uncle Angus told us. We cannot expect God to answer our prayers whilst our lives are full of sin and unbelief. We confessed our weaknesses and sin. Tears flowed – it was quite an emotional business. How can it be different – where have you ever heard of love without emotions. Whenever the Bible spoke of God approaching man, emotions were involved – they cried and they rejoiced, they felt scared and they found peace. They shook and could not stand. They repented and were forgiven. Why would it be different now? But I get distracted. We prayed for people without hope.
There in the dusty Free State, with the sun that burned every remaining sin out of us, so to speak, we began to rejoice because Uncle Angus reminded us that Jesus has a bad memory. If you repent and ask forgiveness, He forgets your trespasses. So we rejoiced for we knew God is good. We also rejoiced for we were actually a joyful lot.
We hugged people we don’t even know and told them we love them. We took their hands and cried with them about relationships that weren’t what they should be. We prayed for those that suffer with anxiety and depression, for the unemployed, for the sick and those that didn’t have any hope left. We prayed for our beautiful country and her people and that the government will seek righteousness and serve the country with integrity. We prayed against violence and corruption, murder and rape.
After each topic a loud amen rose to the heavens. It was like the Mexican wave – the sound rolled and rolled and rolled. It rolled over you and past you, right to the end where it drops in the hay. It gave you cold shivers. It caused you to jump up and down and clap your hands. It let your face turn heavenwards in the hot sun so you can drink it in. Amen! Amen! Amen!
Your will be done Lord and not ours!
A nation can be born in one day.
As noisy as a million people can be, as quiet they can be. If you could hear a pin drop in the dust, it would have echoed across the plains.
In spite of it having been as windless day, a blast suddenly appeared. It whirled among us, went from heart to heart. With a whisper it touched us.
The words bounced around inside of me: Go tell them I love them as they are, with their sin. Tell them I do not hate them. Tell them how much I long for them. Go and be my hands, my feet, my love and my light.
It’s time church, for a nation can be born in one day - she can be brought into this world in a moment. (Isaiah 66:8).
Tuesday, 2 May 2017
Monday, 1 May 2017
Saturday, 29 April 2017
We are discussing how to live like the King based on Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” If you haven’t read the first part, you may want to read it first.
Think about whatever is pure.
Throughout His Word Jesus has spelled out His standards for purity by defining various kinds of impurity. He told His disciples in John 15:3: “You are already clean because of the Word I have spoken to you.” Hebrews 4:12 states: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart,” and 2 Corinthians 7:1 states: “Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”
It appears that purity in thought and action is important to God, which is why Satan does everything within his ability to tempt us to get involved with impure activities and thoughts. “For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God,” (Ephesians 5:5). Oops!
Therefore you need to examine yourself to see whether there is any impurity in you (Psalm 139:23-24). You need “to offer your body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will,” (Romans 12:1-2). And do not forget Hebrews 12:1-2.
Think about whatever is lovely.
I don’t need to tell you that the majority of news we receive through the media is negative, destructive, and disturbing. The general tendency these days in the entertainment media is to portray the vile areas of life – violence, lust, gruesomeness, weirdness, and so on. To me these are not lovely. How about you – what do you think? So what are lovely things we can think about?
The lovely things in life bring us joy, fulfilment, laughter, and peace. They do not disturb the spirit, are soothing to the eye and ear, and produce good and long-lasting memories. They make the heart beat faster.
What are the lovely things in your life? To each person they will be different. To start with, the fruit of the Spirit is lovely – love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (Galatians 5:22-23). But ordinary things in life such as sounds of nature, music, images, relationships, good works, and so on are also meant to be lovely. Satan uses people and media to pervert everything. It’s your choice as to what will fill your mind.
Think about whatever is commendable (admirable).
If you reflect on your behaviour in general; your actions and habits, are they something to be proud of, or do you feel ashamed of them? Satan, in cooperation with your sinful nature is an expert in getting you to justify despicable behaviour as being right. You do this because your sinful nature enjoys it. Since it is unacceptable by society and especially by Christian society, you usually do it in secret, don’t you.
At the time of doing it, it does not feel wrong because it is so enjoyable, but afterwards you don’t feel good about it. You actually feel quite bad and repent frantically. What people will think of you, should they know about it, bothers you. In the meantime the Lord knew of it all along.
Living like the King always has peace and self-respect as a result. If you test your anticipated action as to whether it will be admirable or commendable by God and people of God, it will be easier to resist behaviour unacceptable to God.
Act with excellence, which is worthy of praise.
In the first part of our message we discussed the requirement that a king should actually be an example to his subjects. Jesus was such a King. Everything He did was done with excellence. Living like Him would mean no second grade work or behaviour. You should always give your best in everything you do and be proud of your effort. Plan it properly, research it thoroughly, execute it excellently, and do it with pride. Do not compare your excellence with those of others. We all have our abilities. As long as you have done your best, it is considered as excellent. At all times be aware that the Lord is looking on. “Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men,” (Colossians 3:23 AMPC).
Lord, help me to develop habits that would have me live like you, the King.