The Ultimate in Service to God

“Not my will Lord; Let your will be done in my life.”


We often think we know what’s best for ourselves and what we should do to please God. Usually without a thought as to what God’s perfect will is for our lives, or what is actually pleasing to Him. In spending some time with the Holy Spirit to understand this, I was lead to John 13, when Jesus washed the feet of His Disciples after He finished the Last Supper.

It is easy to think that the ultimate service we can perform for God is to be great in our calling… to be a great Prophet, a great Preacher or worker of Miracles; but no, this is not the case. Jesus is the Son of God, a Prophet, a teacher and preacher of the Gospel, a worker of miracles; and so much more. Yet, in John 13, after He had the Last Supper He washed the feet of His disciples. So what is  Jesus saying to us here?

John 13:3-5
Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He rose from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded…

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper with twelve men who had been journeying with Him throughout His ministry, and … WASHED THEIR FEET!

It was the custom at that time for slaves to be assigned the task of washing the feet of the masters’ guests. That task was NEVER done by anyone of high status in society…EVER…So why did Jesus do this? He removed His outer garments took a towel and girded Himself in preparation for the task just as the slaves would have done at that time.

But this was not just a physical or practical exercise. In this one act there are many spiritually symbolic meanings. In verse 10; Christ says; ‘he who is bathed needs only to wash His feet, but is completely clean.’ When we come to Christ we are washed in His blood so we are COMPLETELY clean, we have been justified by our Faith in Him. Our FEET however continues to get dirty and unclean as they represent our WALK in Christ. We are at the start of our journey so we have a long way to go! They will get dirty on this daily journey as we make mistakes. Sometimes we will get ourselves all messed up, we will sin whether consciously or unconsciously; physically or in our minds!! So therefore, our feet need washing again and again. We do this through confessing our sins to God and to each other… (JAMES 5:16 confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.)

WE MUST ACKNOWLEDGE WHERE WE ARE GOING WRONG! 

Only Jesus can cleanse us from the sins committed on our walk, only He can wash away sins… so Peter or any of the disciples could NOT wash the feet of Jesus. Jesus also knew that shortly one would betray Him; one would deny Him and the others would run away from Him… so He was already cleansing them and forgiving them for what they were about to do. This was the fullness of God’s Love and Mercy, that all the Disciples had to do was to confess their sins to Him acknowledge what they had because He had already cleansed them and forgiven them… He washed Judas’ feet’ so Judas was already cleansed and forgiven for his part but we know that he never went back to the Lord with it… he later took his life when he realised what he had done!!

We follow Christ’s example by washing each other’s feet not to cleanse anyone from their sins but to show LOVE, COMPASSION AND FORGIVENESS TO EACH OTHER and to commit to serving each other…

It is a practical act with a deep spiritual meaning, just like the Holy Communion. When we eat the bread which represents Christ’s body and drink the wine which represents Christ’s blood we remember His crucifixion; a practical act with a very deep spiritual meaning.

The washing of each others’ feet represents the ultimate in service to God and His people. Jesus did not ask us to wash our own feet as this would be self-serving, we MUST serve each other. When we make our lives about others and NOT about ourselves… only then can God work with us! The ultimate service to God is to love and serve Him obediently as Christ did and to love and serve each other as Christ did. It’s not about ‘us,’ it’s about Him. God needs to be able to call on us at anytime to do whatever He asks us to do.

When God calls on you, do you hear Him, or do you continue doing what pleases you?

Fishers of Men

Fishers of men

I am proud to say that I have a new profession… I am a Fisher; forget the gender specifics! I fish for the humankind.


When we are called into the kingdom of God there is a lot of attention and emphasis on us, the new convert. And while we continue to be grounded in our Faith by staying closely connected to God and growing spiritually, we have been called into a greater purpose; a new profession. No, don’t give up your day job just yet, unless God has called you into full time ministry. The training for this role is on the job training.

Matthew 4:
And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
And He said unto them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.
And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

Becoming a Fisher for God is simple. Qualifications: accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, confess and repent of your sins, turn away from your old life and live a righteous life in Christ. Too simple? Not at all! There are no catches, hidden agendas for fine print. Don’t think you are not good enough or that you don’t deserve the ultimate promotion? Yes you are and yes you do.

So what does it mean to be a ‘Fisher of Men?’ Our greatest example was and always will be Jesus Christ. At no point did He live a pomp, privileged life unconcerned with the world or the fate of others. He was focused at all times on His purpose… to educate the world about Him and the Kingdom of Heaven. He therefore travelled far and wide preaching and teaching the Gospel; daily. He remained in constant contact with God the Father and never diverted to follow His own path. The four Gospels; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John tell us of Jesus Christ, His life and works.

Jesus did not sit in the temples and synagogues daily or on a particular chosen day, Sunday or Saturday suited and booted and waiting! Waiting for the sick and needy to find Him. No, He went out of the four walls of the synagogues or His house and He travelled on the transported afforded to Him at that time… oh and He walked; a lot. As Christians we cannot get so comfortable and complacent in the four walls of our church. Our lives cannot revolve solely around our Sunday worship or whichever day of the week is designated for worship. Remember worship should be every day.

A Fisherman of the natural kind, cannot wait at home for the fish to jump out of the sea and travel to find them. They have to commit to their profession, invest in the necessary equipment, tools, resources and time. They need expert knowledge of the weather and the best locations to fish; and most importantly of all they have to get up out of the four walls of their homes and go fishing. I imagine in this age of technology they would need to staying abreast of innovative technology, with continued training and reskilling throughout their lives to be an effective fisherman.

So how does the Christian measure up to this new profession. Well first of all; secular societies are often insulted at the mention of Jesus’ name, making it difficult to spread the Word of God. There seems to be a lot of respect for other religions and faiths, but little for the Christian Faith. But that’s ok, the fisherman too has to ride the storms and cannot give up because the weather is threatening and perilous. Jesus continued with His ministry against oppositions such as the might of the Roman Empire, the King, the Jewish Leaders. Know that it is not nor ever will be easy! Don’t let fear prevent you from spreading the message of Christ far and wide. Don’t wait for someone to find you, to discover you are a Christian in the hope that they will find Christ through their own efforts! Help them by telling them about Christ and the kingdom of heaven.

Leave the four walls of your church and your home and tell people about your Faith. Let yourself be guided by God the Holy Spirit and use wisdom and discernment; but do tell them. Work situations can be easier than you think. During many discussions on a Monday morning when work colleagues would ask each other how their weekend went and what they did! Everyone openly shared their exciting weekend adventures, ‘I went to a party and got drunk off my face and don’t remember how I got home,’ or ‘I went away for the weekend and stayed in a beautiful hotel,’ or ‘I caught up with household chores and did some gardening.’ Naturally, I did something as well so I wasn’t going to stay silent. I shared my wonderful weekend too, don’t stay silent because you think someone might not want to hear it. “I had an amazing time at church, I was moderating, or ushering… there was a baptism.” I too have a voice and the many weekend escapades of the world do not interest me; but I had to listen to them every week; so I shared my experiences and my joys just like anyone else.

You have a voice so use it! Don’t stay silent and hope for the best, Jesus didn’t! Use your spiritual gifts, cast your net wide, spread the Gospel of Christ and become real Fishers of Men!

The Royal Law

James 2:8
If you fulfil the Royal Law according to the Scripture, you shall love your neighbour as yourself, you do well.


All too often in the world today, love and respect are shown to some while rejecting others.  The book of James, in the New Testament teaches us to show love to each other and not show special love to some while dismissing others. Jesus was no respecter of persons, meaning He showed love to everyone in the same way. To the Lord no one is more important than the other. Partiality is a sin and if we respect or love someone who is rich, dresses well has a certain status and hate someone who is poor and not dressed well or treat them any less than the other person, we are guilty of committing that sin.

James tells us to fulfil the ‘Royal Law’ which is to love each other as ourselves and if we do that we are definitely obeying God’s commandments. We know we cannot keep the ten commandments by our own self efforts; we need the Holy Spirit to help us and God’s grace to keep us. So, putting that aside let us look at the only two commandments we need to concentrate on… because all the other commandments hang on these two!

Matthew 22:37-40
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Once we begin to practice and understand the fullness of ‘Love,’ and how important it is to God, it will begin to flow in our lives. Everything God did for us was out of Love otherwise we would not be here. We in turn must love each other and showing partiality and being dismissive of each other is not showing love. If this very important segment of fruit is not hanging from your tree… the other segments won’t be their either. Yes I am speaking of the Fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-26
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

How often do we say; “I don’t like that person,” or “I can’t stand that person,” or treat others with respect while ignoring others. How often do we scowl when someone walks into a room or avoiding sitting at the table with them. Pretending we don’t see someone by holding our heads straight… all acts of partiality and a definite lack of love. I see these actions in everyday life and definitely in the Body of Christ. We think we can treat each other like this and say we love God, but God is saying no you can’t! As Christians, God does not tolerate this type of behaviour and if we think He does, we are fooling ourselves. The following scripture confirms this:

1 John 4:20-21
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

If we are to live by the First law which is to Love God, followed by the Royal law, to love each other; then everything else will slowly but surely fit into place in our lives.

Love activates and sustains all Godliness in the Christian.

Going through Trials

Whether you are a Christian or not, you WILL go through trials. The moment we rejected God and chose Satan in the Garden of Eden; we signed up for trials and misfortunes. There is no getting out of it nor avoiding or sidestepping it: Satan makes sure of that. We are faced with these struggles whether we are directly responsible through our actions or not. The book of James in the New Testament tells us how to deal with these trials:

  • Embrace your trials because God will bless you if you don’t give up, and endure to the end
  • The crown of life is eternal life with God after this life is over
  • All those who continue to love God through their trials and do not give up will receive this gift of life

When we go through struggles and challenges in life we like to blame someone for this even when it is directly our own fault. More often than not the world likes to blame God. James tells us here to stop blaming God for our shortcomings and for the bad things that happen to us.

James 1:13
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts he any man:

I have heard Christians say that because they didn’t pay their tithes, God made something bad happen to them and they had to pay all their money to fix the problem, so God was punishing them for not paying their tithes! Or God made them get sick as a punishment for something they had done wrong. Or when marriages fail; if God didn’t want them to get married He should have stopped them…the list of accusations go on and on! Somehow, we manage very well to shift blame onto God. But the book of James tells us that we of our own free will, lust after things. We have a great desire to have what we want regardless of the cost which is sin; and when conceived in our hearts it brings forth sin!

God is life, He does not sin and is not sin, so He cannot give us the fruits of sin. Sin is from darkness (Satan), and God is the “Father of Lights,” so His gifts are always good and perfect. God gives life! He will never stop being who He is, to consult Satan for some inspiration on how to punish us and make our lives a misery; then after He has inflicted pain on us He goes back to being a loving God! He will never do that. God never changes and never deviates from being who He is, and James confirms this in the following verse:

James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

There are no shades, shadows, darkness or variations in God, He remains the same always. The Book of Malachi in the Old Testament 3:6 confirms this: For I am the Lord, I change not;

When we follow our desires, and fall foul of life, the Lord does not interfere in our choices. He has given us free will. If He didn’t step in to prevent Adam and Eve from disobeying Him, He won’t step in now to force us to do His will. You cannot tell someone they love you, they have to tell you themselves and they have to show it through their actions. No one who values the love of another will try to force that person to love them, it has to be freely given or it means nothing. So, God will not make bad things happen to us so that we will chose Him, He allows us to make our own choices.

But God’s grace is so amazing that when we make the wrong choices and get ourselves tangled up in the thicket or when life throws us a curve ball; we can always go to Him and ask Him to help us out of it. Unfortunately we are so impatient that if He doesn’t respond as quickly as we would like, we go off and get ourselves caught up even deeper in the thicket.

The message from James, is to not blame God for the situations we find ourselves in, but instead to go to Him in prayer and tell Him all about it. Ask Him to help and guide you out of the situation. Definitely do not give up when you are going through trials and don’t get so desperate that you do things to make the situation worse. Once God is in that situation with you He will bring you out of it while using it to strengthen you; ready for the next one… yes it’s a lifelong cycle!

Making wise decisions

It is fair to say that with the state the world is in today we very rarely use wisdom when we make choices, in our lives: relationships, decision making, life choices and our actions towards each other. The absence of wisdom in our daily lives, not only impact others but will have a direct impact on us. Wisdom is a rare commodity, yet is completely free and absolutely necessary. We cannot go out and buy it, as it is not for sale and it doesn’t matter how positive we try to be, it will not just present itself before us. Wisdom, as defined by Nelson’s Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible; is “the ability to judge correctly and to follow the best course of action, based on knowledge and understanding.”

The true wisdom of God far transcends the wisdom of the world. In God, this gift will flourish beyond your expectation. If you are not making the right decisions in your life you will have to live with the consequences of it, but there is a simple solution to this problem:

  • Ask God for wisdom, by Faith, without wavering
  • If we waver, and are unstable in our beliefs we will not receive anything of the Lord
  • If we continue to live without wisdom in our lives, we will continue to make the same mistakes again and again.

I find that wisdom is greatly under-rated in life. When you are applying for a job, how often do you see ‘wisdom’ listed in the list of requirements for the role? The following is a list of just some of the desirable qualities employers look for:

Strong communications skills, Excellent interpersonal skills, Driven and ambitious professionals, Knowledge and experience in the given field of work!

I have never yet seen ‘wisdom,’ or any other Godly characteristics requested by an employer. Yet wisdom is the ability to judge correctly based on knowledge and understanding. In light of this I understand better why there are so many people incorrectly placed in a job they are ill equipped to do.

You may be thinking, what has ‘wisdom’ got to do with business? Who needs wisdom to be a successful business person? Well, let me draw your attention to Solomon, the richest man and king who ever lived; even by today’s standard. God appeared to Solomon in a dream and told him to ask for something from Him. Solomon asked for ‘wisdom!’

God was pleased with this request because Solomon needed the necessary skills to rule over God’s people and no amount of riches or self-effort would have qualified him for the task. So, God gave Solomon the great gift of wisdom and more.

1 Kings 3:9
Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?

From the gift of wisdom, so many other great qualities and skills were birthed. Sound judgement, a heart to do the right thing, empathy, astuteness, great communicator; and more: which made Solomon the greatest businessman both of his time and ours. Many travelled from far and wide to see him in action and to bestow great gifts on him. He amassed great wealth… and all from being a wise man with an understanding heart. Many businesses today could learn a lot from Solomon.

Today there seems to be a desire for gifts that bring fame, recognition and riches. But James confirms here that wisdom is one of the first gifts we should desire and we should go directly to God for it.

 

 

 

 

Acts of God?!

When we have great natural disasters, destruction, mass loss of life we tend to label them ‘acts of God,’ and we level a lot of blame at God. Accuse Him of all sorts of things and spend a even more time trying to understand why He would do this!


However, I am not a believer that these things are caused by God, never have been and never will be! We can only begin to understand the things that are happening and why they are happening when we begin to understand the God we serve. We will never truly have a complete understanding of God but we can have a deep understanding of Him and how He works. You can obtain a level of understanding from others; but ultimately you have to go to God Himself; no one knows Him better!

Once you begin to understand God, you will know that the world accuses Him of many things that are not in His nature and things He will not do in our life time.

We know throughout the Bible that there have been times when God had to punish evil and wrong doings because of the consistent wicked nature of mankind. He had to cleanse the earth with a flood and start over again; he had to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of the depth of evil that had taken hold of the city; he had to perform some amazing feats to bring the Children out of Egypt… and there is much more. So, we know there has been an age when God did punish evil in the earth. However, this is not that age and we really need to study the Word of God to truly understand this. This is not the Judgement Age!!

The Bible is very clear that this covenant, the Covenant of Jesus Christ is a better covenant than in the past. It is a covenant of Grace, blessing mankind with unparalleled forgiveness and mercy. It is a time of ‘second chances.’ This is the only age in which we have direct access to God, we can go to Him through Jesus Christ, we can ask for forgiveness again and again and He never holds past indiscretions against us. This is NOT the judgement age; that is yet to come after this world as we know it has passed away.

Let’s be clear, God is not causing terror attacks, tsunamis, earthquakes and freak accidents. If He has made a promise He cannot lie and will not go back on it… why would He? Just to make our lives miserable? It is already miserable without Him. God is not judging us and He is not trying to send us a message in this destructive, hap-hazard way.

Unfortunately, a lot of ‘Christians’ and so called modern day ‘prophets’ continue to propagate these stories that God is judging people, and countries by making terrible things happen to them causing mass loss of life and destruction. And that if they don’t accept the Lord as their Saviour these things will continue to happen to them. The only effect this has on people is to put fear, anger and hurt in their hearts; resulting in them cursing God and refusing to give their hearts to Him. God has more than enough patience to wait for the judgement age before dealing with all that stuff; He’s been around a long time so He is in no rush. He has appointed a time and that time has yet to come.

We live in a fallen world that is breaking apart as a result of ‘sin’ entering it. It is beset with one disaster after another and this is not going to change any time soon. These are not acts of God. God is life, He is not death! He does not sin and is not sin and these acts are a result of sin; so He cannot give us the fruits of sin. Sin is from darkness (Satan), and God is the “Father of Lights,” so His gifts are always good and perfect. He will not stop being who He is to punish us and make our lives a misery; then after He has inflicted pain on us He goes back to being a loving God! He will never do that. God never changes and never deviates from being who He is, or from His plan; and James confirms this in the following verse:

James 1:13
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

There are no shades, shadows, darkness or variations in God, He remains the same always. The Book of Malachi in the Old Testament 3:6 confirms this: For I am the Lord, I change not;

My Alabaster Box: A Simple Guide Through the Christian Journey looks at this topic in more detail.

Don’t neglect your bodies

Look after your bodies2

Man, a tri-partite being exists in three parts that make up a whole; the spirit, soul and body. We have confirmation of this in many scriptures of the Bible.

1 Thessalonians 5:23
And I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 


To function effectively in this life, all three parts must work as one in purpose and will. The moment one part of our being is out of balance, things start going wrong in our lives. Because many people are dismissive of the spirit or the soul, they are not always able to identify where the problem lies, so they are not able to fix it.

It is not now, nor has it ever been God’s will for us to be sick and suffer illnesses; but with the entry of sin into the world things started going wrong in our lives. The ability to connect with God in our spirit came under attack, mental and psychological problems presented themselves and physical decay leading to death became our new reality. Therefore, I think it only fair to write about some of the physical struggles we are faced with in life as our bodies have to deal with all sorts of disorders, conditions, natural cycles that cause us pain and discomfort. We know that it will deteriorate over time and eventually die, and a body deteriorating over time will sometimes be in pain and generally not respond to life as well as it did when it was young and healthy. Eyesight dims, hearing impaired, joint movements slow or motionless, the aging process and its’ own set of unique attributes.

When we come to the Lord, we must begin to live in the Spirit and the emphasis is no longer on the physical man, but is now on the spirit man. However, the Lord does not expect for a moment that we should lose interest in looking after our physical body or allow it to fall into a state of disrepair. On the contrary, without this body we will not be alive, without it there would be no place for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to come in and dwell within us. We are need to look after our bodies. Now approaching the age of 53, I am dealing with things that I was definitely not prepared for.

I don’t remember any lessons or guidance on your body feeling like it is overheating to the point of combustion, followed by uncontrollable sweating, and the need to desperately seek for something; anything, to cool yourself down! Call me naïve, but through the years I have often seen women cooling themselves down with fans, sheets of paper, electric fans directed in their faces at work; and never thought to question it. All I knew was that I was nearly always cold and need fairly hot temperatures to truly enjoy the weather. I have often thought ‘it’s not that hot, why are they fanning sporadically?’ Obviously sometimes it’s the heat or a lack of air circulating in the room, but in these last 18 months I seem to have joined in this strange behaviour. Now a little older and wiser, I have come to realise that these ‘heat attacks’ as I call it, is none other than the onset of the menopause, a very natural cycle in our lives yet so full of varying degrees of discomfort pain!

Obviously with all the things happening in our lives, we take them first to the Lord, pray about them ask for healing, endurance and strength to cope with whatever is being thrown at us. But we must also acknowledge that we will not be healed of all ailments in this life because the promise of a perfect life without sickness and death is not here and now, it is the spiritual and everlasting life in Christ. We still need to be wise in looking after this body until it is time to go. We know in Genesis 1 that God gave us all the green herbs and fruits bearing seeds to feed our bodies and keep us healthy. And although we have moved so far from the life God had planned for us, we should continue where possible to use these natural remedies that grow on God’s green earth to help to keep our bodies going.

There are many things as Christians we seem reluctant to discuss or deal with, but for me I think it is good to talk and share our experiences to help each other. Sometimes we have family, friends, acquaintances, church brethren or strangers who are suffering in silence and dare not bring up certain life subjects for fear of reprisal; so it is very important that we talk about these very real issues to help someone who may be struggling with them.

Having always maintained a healthy lifestyle, and healthy diet where possible, I find that as we are getting older and our bodies are not functioning as well as they used to, it is wise to make healthy eating a priority and use healthy products on our skin. More recently I have re-acquainted myself with some healthy remedies my grandmother used to give me. One of them being root ginger, she would pop a small chunk into my mouth as a child to combat travel sickness… and it worked. I have recently become more involved in making my own juices using healthy organic products and avoiding those with unnatural sweeteners, artificial colours and preservatives. It is very exciting and therapeutic, and so much healthier for us as we get older. I have also been given a recipe of: apple cider vinegar, garlic and unpasteurised honey mixed together and taken daily in the morning to help with the effects of the menopause. I have only been using it for a few days so no updates on its’ effectiveness as yet!

However I am more than happy to trial healthy remedies with no side effects than the artificial alternatives with side effects. Don’t be afraid to use the natural remedies that come from the earth and balance it with the medical alternatives that God has blessed us with also. And please, introduce some exercise into your daily lives. Keep that heart healthy. Let us do the little things to help ourselves and leave God to do the big things. Remember Faith without Works is dead; so let’s not abuse our bodies and then expect God to work a miracle to fix it.

Don’t neglect your bodies, it is the house of the soul and the spirit; and the dwelling place of God, so it is important that we take care of it. We have a responsibility to look after ourselves as no one can do it for us. If you have any healthy remedies you are using, don’t be afraid to share them.

Be Blessed!

 

My world is breaking apart!

Job pure gold

You seem to be failing at everything and suffering needlessly? Nothing is working out for you anymore. Job offers have dried up, relationships crumbling; the things that came easily, that you once excelled at are no longer working for you. There seems to be no end in sight! The rug has been pulled out from under you.


Stresses and problems, disappointments, grievances and pain are a given in this life. We can’t avoid or escape them; but we can learn how to deal with them by understanding what God is doing in that situation. Dealing with life is a learned skill and regardless of what you have been through and how well you coped at that time; when something new hits you it can feel as if you are starting all over again. Every situation has its’ own set of unique principles. One of the first things to learn is that life will keep happening. It is not just a one-off occurrence disappearing once you’ve dealt with it, expecting that everything will run smoothly from that point forward.

When you have been going through what seems like a never ending roller-coaster of disappointments; for absolutely no fathomable reason, look deeper. There is always a reason. Like me, you will be reasoning with yourself… have I done something wrong, why is this happening, did I put myself in this position? “I’ve been focussing on God’s work and His purpose for my life,’ you tell yourself. “So why is nothing working out for me anymore?” It is good to reflect, look inward and assess yourself first. Although many times we do act foolishly, and get ourselves into all sorts of situations, not everything that happens to us is of our own doing, whether good or bad.

So, when this situation presented itself to me for the second time in my walk with God; seven years in, I sought guidance from the Lord. I had to try to understand what was really happening. The Lord will always answer and on this occasion, He lead me back to the book of Job. Now, just to be clear, I am not saying I am Job or that I am going through anything remotely close to what Job went through! However, there are always deeper meanings in the Bible that we cannot find on the surface. And this was the case in reading Job, which is not the easiest book to understand. I was able to understand what the Lord was saying to me… and it was deep!

Job

Job was a blessed man, who lived a righteous and consecrated life for God. He was very wealthy, had seven sons and three daughters and was very happy. Job had all that he could every want and more. Then comes Satan, who as we know walks the earth seeking to kill and destroy anyone and everyone. So, he presents himself to God to see who he can turn against God. Now God knows the heart of those who claim to love Him, so He suggests that Satan tests Job; but does not allow Satan to kill him. Job loses all his children, all his wealth and is struck down with sicknesses, sores and boils.

Job continues to worship God and although he never curses God or sins or turn away from his faith, he begins to question a lot of things and to question God. He also has three so-called friends who not only mislead him but greatly misrepresent God at the same time. God then speaks to Job challenging his arguments. After Job’s repentance, God restores Job and gives him so much more than he had before.

So how does the narrative of Job help us when we are suffering in a way that we cannot explain? It would take a whole book to explain the deeper meanings of Job so a study guide to Job will be available on my website by the end of this month. Check out www.plbennett.org for more information.

In the case of Job and also in our situations, many things happen in the spiritual realm that we are not privy to and do not understand. God has councils and meetings with angelic and celestial beings who report things to Him that we know nothing about. Satan had access to God and would also go and present his findings. A lot of things changed when Jesus came so we don’t know if Satan still has that level of access to God. Sin has already entered into the world so there will always be suffering and destruction. We see also that God did not cause the destruction, it was Satan; yet so often when natural disasters happen we claim it was an ‘act of God!’ Like Job, we should hold on to our Faith and what we know of our God whilst seeking Him to reveal the deeper meanings to us.

The fundamental message from the book of Job is that suffering is an inevitable part of our lives whether we are directly responsible or not. We will not understand it unless we seek God’s face and speak to Him about it. He is the only Person who can reveal these things to us. God will watch over us and even when we cannot hear from Him we must know that He has not forsaken us and will bring us through; and when He brings us through it, we will never be the same as we were before. We will always be spiritually stronger with a deeper insight into God our Father and how He works in our lives.

Job 23:8-10
Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:
On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hides himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:
But he knows the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

Be Blessed!

 

 

 

The most persecuted Faith on earth!

Cross on the Rock2

CHRISTIANITY; to be Christ like. To spread the Gospel of Christ and tell the world of the Kingdom of God. Not to force our beliefs onto anyone but to let them freely chose. To share God’s love and to do it peacefully. That is who we are…


So how did we become the most persecuted Faith (religion) on the earth? Well we know that everything God does is challenged by the opposing force; the enemy, Satan! And we know that all strife in the world has a spiritual foundation. Every single one, without exception. Whether the world believes that or not is a different matter altogether!

Ephesians 6:12-13
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 

Regardless of what the physical world professes; it is driven by spiritual forces which we cannot see and often do not understand!

Persecution of Christians is not new and it will not stop! This is not to say it should be accepted, because it should not; but we know that it will not stop. The Faith itself came into being through persecution of our Lord and Saviour Jesus; our God who gave us life allowed His to be taken, to free us from ourselves.

Whilst not the most accurate timeline, let us take a look at just some of the major periods of persecution that Christians have endured since the inception of the Faith. Jesus was killed, though not against His will. He allowed it to happen to bring us back into a relationship with God. But although He chose to go through it; that death was brutal and evil. And through that single selfless act of Love, Christianity was birthed. Then the Apostles took up the mantel and travelled far and wide preaching and teaching in the name of Jesus. They too were beaten mercilessly again and again and later killed. The various deaths included, being crucified upside down, being tied to a cross to prolong death, being killed by a sword, beheaded and so it continued. John being the only Apostle to live to an old age, but he was stilled imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos.

Christians were being hunted and killed by Saul who later became Paul; one of the greatest Apostles to walk the earth, literally. He preached and taught the Gospel across continents, and he too was beaten to within an inch of his life on several occasions, then later imprisoned and continued to write the majority of the books of the New Testament. Later, Christians were murdered and fed to animals for entertainment in the Roman Amphitheatres. Christianity went through many dark times across the globe. Many were martyred, burnt and brutalised for worshipping the one true God, Jehovah. Killed for proclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord and often forced to denounce their beliefs.

Today, in our civilised world, you could be forgiven for thinking that this situation has gotten better and this is no longer the case. But no; it has gotten worse. These few lines could not begin to accentuate the peril that many millions of Christians face today.

Open Doors has been serving persecuted Christians worldwide for the past 60 years and have profiled 50 countries; where Christians are being brutalised, and killed on a daily basis. Christianity is now identified as the most persecuted religious group in the world! That is indeed some title and not one that anyone would compete to have! Yet how often do we hear in the news bulletins about the atrocities that Christians all over the world are being faced with on a daily basis? This has been iterated by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who claimed that ‘Christianity is in peril, like no other religion.’ The extreme persecution of Christians is a global problem which some world leaders are now beginning to address. Basic human rights and the freedom to choose are not on the radar of the governments of the countries that persecute Christians.

We, more than any other body of believers are being targeted for our Faith!

These persecutions are not always undertaken by extremists; but by governments who have decided that the people should not have a choice to worship freely; but instead should worship who they are told to worship. But we know that as Jesus went through unjust persecution; so too must we. And He confirmed this to us in the following scripture.

John 15:20-21
Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

We know we must go through major persecutions; many have and many will. So; for our part; as a member of the Christian family, let us join in PRAYER for ALL our brothers and sisters, wherever they are in the world who cannot worship freely and are facing daily persecutions and even death.

Join me in prayer for the 50 countries where our brothers and sisters are suffering on a daily basis. We know prayer works, so let’s mobilise our Faith now. Follow me on Facebook for a list of which countries to pray for.

What we are praying for
We pray for strength, endurance, courage and for governments to pass laws to protect them and allow them to worship freely. And we pray that they will have peace in the midst of all the turmoil:

Philippians 4:7
And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Bless you!

Don’t force your beliefs on me!

Spreading the Gospel

No one can force you to accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, it cannot be done. You have to accept Salvation of your own free will.


If God wanted to force you to love Him He would have done it all by Himself and He didn’t, so no one else can do so.  If you are being forced, be weary make sure you accept the Lord because you believe in Him and not in the person trying to convince you, no matter how charismatic they seem to be. As a Christian you should preach and teach the gospel, be patient with the non-believer and do not get angry with them. Remember you were once in that same position, when you did not believe, thought you had all the answers and rejected anyone sharing the faith with you.

There is an urgency for us to preach the gospel today but this is not to be confused with pressuring someone into submission. The urgency lies in the fact that no one knows when it is their time to leave this world, today, tomorrow, next month, next year we have absolutely no idea. The following scripture tells us of a rich man who thought he had everything the world could offer and was pleased with his accomplishments. But:

Luke 12:16-21
And He spoke a parable unto them, saying, the ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
But God said unto him, you fool, this night your soul shall be required of you: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

Having accumulated great earthly wealth, with no concern for the things of God, the rich man was completely satisfied with himself and was set for life or so he thought.  At no point did he think that he would not be alive long enough to enjoy it, and he wasn’t, so there is an urgency for Christians to preach the gospel and for those hearing it not to delay in answering the call. Jesus did not force anyone to follow Him, He fed thousands, He walked on the sea, He preached the kingdom of heaven to them, He healed the sick, raised people from the dead, not in secret but in very public places surrounded by the same people who rejected Him.

When Jesus explained to them that He was the Bread from Heaven sent down by the Father to give us life and that this was a spiritual illustration of who He is, they thought it was too difficult to understand and complained. The following scripture tells us that many of Jesus’ disciples walked away from Him:

John 6:60
Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?

In that very moment in front of Jesus Himself, many disciples walked away from Him and never returned. They didn’t want to take up the challenge or try to understand something that was out of their comfort zone, remind you of anyone?

John 6:66-67
From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.  Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will you also go away?

Jesus never forced anyone to follow Him, you cannot force someone to want to be with you. This would be a good time to remind ourselves of the Fruit of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Kindness Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control. When these characteristics develop in you, you will have patience to go that extra distance, to keep preaching the gospel even if many walk away when they hear it, never thinking that there’s no point to it. Don’t try to drag anyone kicking and screaming; guide them, answer their questions, be gentle, do not anger and do not attempt to force them to get results. If they don’t want to hear anything you have to say and walk away, you must respect their wishes and leave them alone.

When a Christian attempts to share their faith with a non-believer it is to help them to find the Lord and to receive the gift of Salvation freely, not to force their beliefs on them. When Jesus sent His disciples to spread the gospel, He directed them saying, if people do not receive you, move on.

There are billions of people in the world who need to hear the Gospel, so we must keep moving on to get to as many people as possible, the urgency is in the second coming of our Lord Jesus and we have absolutely no idea when this will be. It is not for us to labour at trying to change someone’s mind; we leave the Holy Spirit to work with people’s hearts and minds when drawing them to the Lord. If someone hardens their heart and mind against the Lord, no amount of cajoling will change it, but don’t be discouraged. Someone out there needs to hear the Gospel.

Be encouraged and keep going in Christ!

Blessings!