Follow Christ and the Blessings will follow you!

 Above clouds

We spend a lot of time focused on obtaining blessings from God, begging for the signs and wonders; the miracles, great wealth and more! Many Christians when they come to the Lord, get carried away with what they see, the miracles, the preaching and teaching, the prophesying; and crave the ‘power’ of the Holy Spirit.  They want to raise the dead, they want to preach to thousands, they want to prophesy and have many followers. Leading these followers to the Lord however, comes in a distant second. The desire for worldly wealth becoming an obsession in this Christian generation. Whilst it is a good thing to have a desire for the Lord to use you, and work great things through you, and there is nothing wrong with being blessed with wealth; nothing can or will work if you do not have love in your heart.  Love for God and for each other. If your heart is not for God, everything you do will be in vain. 

We do not follow the signs and wonders or the wealth… we follow Christ and the blessings follow us!

In the following scriptures, Jesus tells His disciples that the signs and wonders will follow them who believe and go forth preaching and teaching the Gospel. Then the Lord Himself will work with them confirming the preaching with the signs wonders! 

Mark 16:17-20
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. 
 

Praying ceaselessly for God to give you the power to heal and raise the dead is not what the Lord taught us. God’s blessings come in many forms but first and foremost, He is a Spirit and requires us to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. We are called from the physical to the spiritual. His blessings will primarily be Spiritual and to a lesser extent material. He will not bless us with things that we are ill equip to deal with, don’t understand, and He certainly will not bless us with blessings which are not part of our purpose in Him.

Often Christians take scriptures out of context as in Malachi 3 below, and pay their tithes only for what they think they can get from God; and start asking for what they want. But God did not say, pay your tithes, then come to me with a list of your demands!  

Malachi 3:10
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 

God did not say the blessing will be great wealth, actually we do not know the what, where, when or how; so often if the blessings don’t fall in line with what people desire, they ignore it. We think if we say it long and hard enough, claim it and believe it; it will be so. Some start ‘sowing’ into huge global ministries buying miracle water, oil, prayer shawls, magic: if you sow into the ministry, thirty days later you will suddenly become rich. In all this people are relying on their ability and determination and forget the most import factor; God’s will! Often there is little or no love for God or the things of God. We don’t spend time with Him, refuse to praise Him; but we want to demand the blessings from Him.

There are so many books, teachings and advice in the world today on how to remind God of His promises to us, how to claim those promises, what processes we need to follow to obtain the blessings of God and a victorious life in Christ. There is little mention on nurturing your relationship with God, waiting on Him, letting Him work in your life according to His perfect will for you! If all these worldly doctrines are to be believed, we will all be rich in earthly wealth, we will never be sick, we will have be healed if we become sick, and we will not die because we can just ask the Lord for whatever we want, believe it and we will receive it?? Not so… many people who don’t know the Word of God for themselves believe and live according to these doctrines.

Christians will struggle, will go through trials and tribulations, will get sick; some will be rich and others won’t, and we certainly will die. The abundant life is not a life rich in material blessings; it is a life rich in Christ and the things of God. This is not defined by earthly possessions and financial status. Life itself is a blessing which we so often take for granted, or completely discard by the taking of a life. How often do we thank God for the life He gave us without worrying about the trappings?

If we love God, believe in Him, preach the Gospel, delight ourselves in Him, have a real relationship with Him, be faithful and obedient to Him; guess what? He will give us everything we need. The blessings really will follow us, above and beyond anything we could ask for! And the following scripture confirms this!

Matthew 6:33
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

The Apostles were never rich in earthly wealth, but they could not avoid the signs and wonders following them wherever they went, because Jesus was working with them through the Holy Spirit, simply because they were doing the work of God. They never once prayed and begged for the ability to work miracles. Let us go back to the doctrine of the Bible and stop getting carried away with the doctrines of charismatic men and women!

Be blessed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do I deal with betrayal?

silver

Matthew 26:2
 Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified


Where do I even start on the subject of betrayal? It’s such a huge topic and so many of us have experienced it. So, how did you deal with it, when the person(s) you loved, cared for and trusted; your friend and confidant betrayed you? Are you healed from the attack; because that’s what it is, an attack! For me when I am dealing with the aftermath of an attack of the enemy, my first port of call is the one person who can actually help me; Jesus! And in understanding the very debilitating condition of this attack we examine how Jesus dealt with it.  How did He deal with the aftermath of His betrayal, this attack direct from the enemy channelled through one of His closest confidant? 

Betrayal as defined by Meriam Webster is to give information about (a person, group, country, etc.) to an enemy; to hurt (someone who trusts you, such as a friend or relative) by not giving help or by doing something morally wrong; and we can all agree that this sums up Judas Iscariot perfectly. He was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples who handed Jesus over to His enemies for thirty pieces of silver; to be killed. 

Luke 22:3-6
Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude. 

The components of betrayal:

  • Satan
  • Close friend/confidant
  • An immoral plan
  • The reward
  • Unwavering determination to hurt someone who trusts and cares about you 

The devil is always in the detail. Judas made a pact with the enemies of Jesus who sought to kill Him and was waiting for the perfect time to accomplish his plan. There is no special DNA for this type of person who could betray a friend; it is determined by many variables. The circumstances, the type of relationship between the players, envy, selfishness, greed, their mind-set and beliefs; the list goes on. Who really knows why people do this… sin! 

What we need to do is learn how to deal with it, by understanding How the Lord Jesus Himself dealt with it. So, He knew what was going to happen long before it hit and did it hurt Him in His heart? Yes of course it did! Did He rant and curse, swear to get even, rile the other eleven disciples to take sides with Him and against Judas? No! He left Judas to his own devices, because He knew that He had to go through certain things to fulfil His destiny, and so do we. 

John 18:2-4
And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples. Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? 

Jesus remained CALM, trusted God to take Him through and waited patiently for someone He loved and trusted, to bring an army against Him, brandishing weapons and to take Him to His death. Never did He challenge the plan of God for His life. Never did He lash out at Judas or anyone else. He didn’t seek revenge, He didn’t even stop speaking to Judas. Matthew 26 tells us that Jesus made it known to the disciples that He would be betrayed by one of them and confirmed to Judas that it was Him. He then continued to keep the Passover with all of them, including Judas. He didn’t send him away and eat with the other eleven, He ate with them all.

When we come to the Lord we know we have to go through many trials to become spiritually mature. How we deal with these trials and tribulations are determined by our level of maturity.  We cannot avoid them if we are to fulfil our destiny in Christ.

What to do:

  • Never react as you would before you came to Christ.
  • You are a new creation in Him now so act the way He would.
  • Stay calm in all situations.
  • Assess the situation and take it with your wounded heart to the Lord.
  • Close your door and pour it all out to Him, as often as is necessary.
  • Exercise self-control when dealing with the betrayer.
  • Ask God to heal you and spend a lot of time with Him while He works in you.
  • Don’t rush it!
  • Never seek revenge.
  • Go through the process and come out the other side, stronger than before!

Stay blessed!

 

 

 

 

 

Understanding Resurrection

grave-2115941And He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
Luke 22:19 


We have just had an amazing weekend remembering the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ the one thing the Lord asked us to remember until He comes.  We know that there are many stories surrounding Jesus’ resurrection as the Roman government of the day and Jewish Religious leaders plotted together to fabricate stories that His disciples stole His body. But there are many, especially new converts who don’t fully understand and are just not sure what the Resurrection really signifies in the life of a Christian.

Resurrection is such a huge concept to understand that I couldn’t let this most important event pass for another year without writing a few lines about it, especially for our new converts or anyone struggling to understand it. I often read of three different types of resurrection; but for me there is a fourth.

  1. The raising of the dead such as Lazarus, Jairus’ daughter, and the young man from Nain; to mention a few
  2. Jesus’ resurrection
  3. The resurrection of those who die in Christ when Jesus comes again
  4. Resurrection from Sin into Christ

Definition: Resurrection put simply is the raising up of someone from the dead; bringing them back to life.

Jesus showed us that this was possible when He rose Lazarus from the dead and indeed throughout His ministry He raised may others from the dead; but as we know the vast majority of miracles He did could not all be contained in Bible. However, we have enough to gain a full understanding of this amazing act of God. The following scriptures tells us of some of the people who Jesus resurrected. These people were resurrected into their physical bodies and continued life as before and later died again just as we all must die one day: unless we are alive at Jesus’ second coming. But that’s topic for another time. 

Recommended Reading
Matthew 9 – Jairus’ daughter
Luke 7 – The young boy from Nain
John 11 – Lazarus

Then we have Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection as told to us in the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). Now this resurrection is the one that is extremely important to mankind! For it is this resurrection that gives us eternal life. The following scriptures tells us that Christ is the ‘firstfruits’ of the dead, so He is the first one to be raised from the dead. 

1 Corinthians 15:20
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

But we know many others were raised from the dead also and before Christ died because He was the one who raised many of them. So, what does this really mean for us? The scripture is referring to the first one to be raised from the dead into eternal life. Jesus was not raised into His earthly body to continue suffering pain or to die again. He was raised into His glorified spiritual body, never to be a man again, never to suffer pain and NEVER to die again. And He is the first one to experience this and through Him, we will later experience this also.

The third resurrection is the one that affects all those who die in Christ. When the Lord Jesus comes again, the dead in Christ will rise and not into our physical, sick dead bodies, but into our spiritual, glorified bodies; never to die again. We will be resurrected onto eternal life in Christ.

So where does the fourth resurrection come in? Well, for me it is in fact the first one, because before any of us can be resurrected into eternal life, we have to die to sin and be resurrected in Jesus Christ; we have to be saved. Kill the old sinful man and be born again into the new righteous man. And we do this by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and later receive water baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Be blessed!

 

Disbelief in the things of God

Dove

I understand when the world does not believe in the things of God, but I don’t understand when Christians, God’s babies… don’t truly believe in Him.


I have met many Christians from various denominations who categorically DO NOT believe in ‘tongues’ or the workings of the Holy Spirit: and I do not understand why! I do believe that there are many things in the Bible which are not easy to understand and without spending time with God studying the Bible, we will never truly understand them. This however, is not one of them. The New Testament teaches us about the gift of tongues and the gifts of the Spirit again and again. Christianity could only be birthed after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the arrival of the Holy Spirit in the earth. Jesus taught us about Him, why He had to come, what He would do, why the Apostles had to WAIT for Him to be empowered to go and preach and teach the Gospel. So, why do we have Christians saying that we are ‘pretending,’ or ‘acting,’ when we speak in tongues or ‘fall out in the Spirit?’  The following scriptures confirm the Holy Spirit and tongues are not a figment of our imagination.

Acts 1:8

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 

Acts 2:1-4

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

 So, in just a few verses of scripture we have confirmation that the Holy Spirit exists; empowered the Apostles and that they spoke in tongues: yet many Christians say they don’t believe in tongues! Throughout the New Testament we have Jesus and later the Apostles constantly casting out demons who were possessing human beings. Yet many Christians don’t believe this happens either? Are we saying as Christians we do not believe in what Jesus did? Or what the Apostles did in His name? Or that when the power of God comes on us; feeble physical human beings; we will continue to stand in His presence?

There seems to be so many things that Christians don’t believe in which is clearly stated in the Bible as truth that I have to wonder how this is possible? If we have been taught incorrectly or have grown up believing in something, God has given us direct access to Him so we can ask Him questions and He will teach us so that we are not lead astray. 

Both the New and Old Testament write often of men falling to the ground when in the presence of God. Saul who later became Paul, fell to the ground when He was in the presence of Jesus.

Acts 9:3-4

And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

He wasn’t acting, the glory of Jesus was around him. He was not a frightened or feeble man, he was going around killing Christians. But now, he was in God’s presence. When the Holy Spirit begins to work with your spirit to clean you up from the world, to fill you to overflow, to bless you with gifts, you will find that there are times when you cannot stand in His presence, His power is so great!  Our body and spirit are not used to this pure, holy power now residing in us.  You will experience many things that your mind will try to comprehend.  There are many scriptures in the bible that tells us when the power of God came upon someone they could not stand, they lost all the strength in their bodies.  We often refer to this as ‘falling out in the spirit.’  This is not something to fear, it is a good thing and we are not ‘slain out’ or hurt, actually we are more refreshed and alive following the experience. 

Daniel the prophet was praying to God to know what the fate of the Hebrew people would be in the future and God sent an angel with the answer.  The angels escort the glory of God so they come with great power.  When he came to Daniel, Daniel could not stand in his presence.  The scripture below give us some idea of what the angels look like and we get an insight into how Daniel felt when he was ‘on his face’ in his presence.

Daniel 10:4-9

And on the twenty fourth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel; then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.  And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.  Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness (attractiveness, charm) was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.  Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. 

Many Christians say we should never fall out when the power of the Holy Spirit comes upon us, I say you have not experienced the power of the Holy Spirit in your life.  The scripture above is very clear and there are more throughout the bible.  Daniel was in a ‘deep sleep on his face.’   

As Christians, how can we believe in some parts of the Bible and ignore, or deny others?


Recommended Reading
The Book of Acts

In Christ you are FREE!

When the Lord sets us FREE, takes us out of the bondage of SIN we are truly free in Him. So, why do we then put ourselves back into bondage by enforcing man-made laws, onto ourselves and spend our lives trying to live by them? This has always been a bone of contention for me and I refuse to let anyone force their beliefs and interpretations of the Christian Faith onto me. I strive every day to get into a closer and closer relationship with God so He and only He can truly reveal the things of God to me.

Many worldly interpretations of the Gospel have crept into the Faith through the centuries and its’ effects are felt from the moment we accept the Lord Jesus as our Saviour. One area most affected by this is the outward appearance. The world puts so much emphasis on looks and outward appearance and too many Christians are also putting great emphasis on the way people look.

“Your looks do not define your heart or your love for the Lord,” and no one should be able to convince you otherwise. God is not interested in Christians ‘looking the part.’  The Scribes and Pharisees in Jesus’ time looked the part but were completely corrupt inside and were very harmful to the people they should have been protecting and Jesus did not like it.  He was angry with them for leading people astray and adding to their suffering.  The following scripture tells us exactly what Jesus thought of the religious establishment of His time who ‘looked the part’ but were completely corrupt inside.

Matthew 23:27-28

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.  Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

They dressed right, looked the part but their hearts were unclean, cold and without love just like the bones of the dead, with no life in them.  Jesus was not in their hearts and they were definitely hypocrites.  While it is good to look right and dress appropriately, do not get too caught up with the outward appearance and don’t judge others because of how they look, actually don’t judge at all.  Don’t use the way you look to hide an unrighteous lifestyle because it cannot be hidden from God.        

The way Christians dress or look has been a topic of much discussion, debates and preachings through the ages.  The Bible does not say you should not take care of your appearance; or that you cannot wear jewellery or colour and style your hair.  It does not say women cannot wear trousers or must cover their hair. The following scripture says we should not concern ourselves only with the outward appearance, but it is the beauty of the inner heart that God loves.

1 Peter 3:3-4

Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

Many scriptures have been taken out of context with regards to the way Christians should dress especially women, but once you read and study the Bible and let the Holy Spirit guide you, you will know what is pleasing to the Lord and what isn’t.  When you first come to the Lord, just come as you are and don’t worry about what you look like, it is your heart and your desire to follow Him that He is concerned with.  If your dress sense is a little risqué, the Holy spirit will work with you (if you let Him) to assess yourself as you progress and you will be able to decide what to keep and what to shake off. 

Christians all over the world do not dress the same, you have the casual dresser, the smart dresser, the ‘I’m on the red carpet dresser,’ the cultural dresser.  The Lord will not take away your creativity or your desire to adorn yourself, He just asks that we keep it in moderation and concentrate more on our heart and not the outward appearance.  A good rule of thumb would be not to show flesh that we all know should not be on show and make sure you can move or bend in your clothes, your rib cage is not restricted and you can actually breathe.  This is worth noting for anyone and not just Christians, so this shouldn’t be an issue for the Christian.  If you come to the Lord with piercings and tattoos and anything else you adorned yourself with in the world, He will welcome you with open arms, let Him work with you as no one else can.      

When God looks at you, He sees the blood of His Son Jesus Christ, then He looks into your heart to see if love is dwelling there.  He does not see your latest designer shoes or your bright green coloured hair or your tattoos.  If, however He looks into your heart and sees self-worship, pride, vanity, hatred, idolising the materials things that you own, then that’s when you need to be concerned.  When you dress up your heart with love, forgiveness and tenderness, removing hate, greed and self-righteousness, then you are dressed well!

 

 

 

Trained by the BEST

prisonWhen we are called into the Kingdom of God, we have to be trained for our life ahead. If we truly listen to God, allow ourselves to be guided by Him and allow His perfect will to flourish in our lives; this will involve a lifetime of training. Jesus was born into mankind as a little baby boy. He too had to be prepared for His ministry. He went through a great deal of training with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit before He was ready to start His ministry at the age of thirty years.  This training did not happen in the foreground under constant glare of the masses. He was trained in the background in a natural way.

Jesus had to understand humanity, our feelings and emotions; He had to understand how to be a human being, a man as well as being God! He was representing a race, so He had to learn their ways and how they functioned and He did this through real life experiences, He lived it. He wasn’t told about it, He didn’t read about it, He didn’t do a seminar on it and He didn’t just appear on earth at the age of thirty in all His glory, because of who He is; the Son of God. He completed His training and when He was fully prepared and ready, He started His ministry. He did not bypass God’s process, was not given a privileged VIP pass and He waited on the Lord.

But how do we know when God is training us? How do we know when we are ready to start our ministry? The greater the calling, the more work God has to do with us; the harder the training will be, so don’t try to rush Him because He will not give you tasks that you are not ready or prepared to do. Without God’s training you will fail. God will use seemingly natural and unexpected tools to train us, people in our work places, family and friends, life experiences, leaders and members of our church, strangers, bad decisions, injustices, your strengths and weaknesses, you name it and He will use it.  And He will use His Holy Spirit to perfect us and bring us out of this time of training. Remember the Apostles were ‘unlearned’ fishermen. They had not studied at Universities or the equivalent establishments of their time; not that there is anything wrong with studying at Universities or other educational establishments!

Unfortunately, all too often in the life of a Christian they refuse to seek the Lord and wait on Him, refuse to be trained by Him and have little trust and real faith in Him.  If we refuse to do these things, we may never truly find out what we have been called to do.  We make life difficult for ourselves and make it impossible for God to work with us.  God never changes and no amount of tantrums, cursing, anger or pleading will convince the Lord to switch up His plans for your life or for mankind.   

Many will know the story of Joseph and his coat of many colours, but this man of God was the personification of ‘waiting on the Lord and allowing God to train him.’  And the truth of it is that Joseph didn’t really get a chance to enjoy his beautiful coat which was the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back;’ with the breakdown in the relationship with his brothers.  His brothers were so jealous when Israel, their father gave Joseph the coat, that they plotted to kill him but later sold him into slavery. 

Joseph started having dreams when he was seventeen, and he was the favourite child of his father because he was born when his father was old.  Joseph was excited with this dreams and shared them with his brothers and father.  His brothers became jealous and envious of him and his father was even annoyed with him at one point.  So Joseph’s journey began, a young man born free and happy in a family that was greatly blessed by the Lord, wanted for nothing, was suddenly thrown into slavery for doing absolutely nothing.  Christians will always suffer injustice and often from the hands of their own!

Joseph means ‘May God Add,’ and God certainly added to Joseph’s life.  He was the eleventh son of Jacob, who later became Israel when God changed his name.  Joseph was sold to the Ishmaelites also known as Midianite traders as a slave by his brothers and was later bought by Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officers in Egypt.  The Lord was with Joseph and blessed him in such a way that he became greatly successful in everything he did.  Potiphar acknowledged that God was with Joseph and gave him control over all his household because he too prospered as a result of this.

But there was so much more that Joseph had to endure and I don’t imagine that he thought life could get any worse, but it did.  Yet Joseph did not turn against the Lord.  Potiphar’s wife set her sights on him because he was good looking in stature and features.  She tried to sleep with him and when he refused again and again, she lied to her husband claiming that he had tried to force himself on her, another injustice in the life of Joseph.  So the comfort he was used to in Potiphar’s house came to an abrupt end as this was not God’s perfect will for his life.  His journey was to take yet another turn.

Joseph was sent to prison and there again he was extremely prosperous and prospered so much so that the prison governor allowed him to do anything he wanted.  One lesson to learn here is that when God blesses you, no one can curse you; God will counteract the curses making them ineffective.  While you continue to prosper they will not. God will intervene when necessary.

In prison, Joseph’s gift of interpreting dreams was in demanded.  First he interpreted the dreams of two of Pharaoh’s officers who were thrown into prison and later summoned to Pharaoh himself to interpret dreams which were troubling to him.  None of the palace advisers, astronomers or wise men could interpret the dreams.  Through it all Joseph gave all the glory and praise to God declaring to Pharaoh that it is God who gives him the interpretations.

God used real life experiences to train Joseph over a period of thirteen years. Through his experiences, he learned:

  • Patience to endure through any situation 
  • Praising through the pain and disappointments – always giving God the praise
  • Great Faith in God
  • Forgiveness for his brothers which can only come from love
  • Using his God given gifts to benefit others
  • Dealing with injustices without becoming bitter or losing hope
  • Developed the characteristics of a true leader
  • Wait on the Lord until He brought him out of the situation

I could list so many more things that Joseph learned on this journey that set Him up for life in his ministry.

Joseph was described by Pharaoh as ‘discerning’ and ‘wise.’  So Pharaoh made him leader over the nation of Egypt second only to Pharaoh himself, and Pharaoh trusted him with ALL things.  So you see Joseph’s journey was about so much more than his coat of many colours. Joseph was seventeen when he was sold into slavery and thirty when he became ruler over Egypt, this was thirteen years.  He served eleven years as a slave and the final two years as a slave in prison.  Let us consider for a moment how many of us could have had the patience to wait on the Lord for this long, praising him through all the injustices, the hurt and the pain and never seeing a way out of our situation. 

The seventeen year old Joseph was not ready to walk fully in his calling until God trained him in a very natural way through his experiences in life and yet in a completely spiritual way with His blessings, intervention and protection.  When he came out of his situation he was ready, stronger than before, older and wiser, experienced in life and in God.  The greater the calling the tougher the training.  If he had not stayed the course, he would not have fulfilled his true destiny.

What would have happened in Joseph’s life if he had given up, felt sorry for himself and the injustices of his life, cursed his situation and even worse, cursed God?  Suppose he was determined to ask God for something else?  What if he prayed and prayed after the first two years begging God to deliver him from his situation and God took him out of it.  The answer to these questions and suppositions is simple, Joseph would never have fulfilled his destiny. He would not have completed his training to become a Godly ruler over Egypt. He could not have learned all the things he needed to learn at home tending his fathers’ sheep. Yet we know that David was trained in this way (tending his father’s sheep) to become a Shepherd over the children of Israel. David too was trained in a natural way by God; but that is discussion for another time.


Recommended Reading
You can read more about Joseph in Genesis 37-50, the first book of the Old Testament. Please don’t hesitate to share and leave me comments on how you feel your spiritual training is going.

 

Offload your Burdens

Cross_BlogI have made so many wrong decisions in life that I desperately try not to remember many of them and do my best not to bring them into my present. Unfortunately, the ones you try to forget and avoid the most are the ones that keep coming back. Then I get frustrated and the harder I try the more they pop into my head and the challenge is on. It is at this point that I remember to take the Lord at His word, literally and to put all my burdens on Him. 


Matthew 11:28-30 

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

The Lord wants us to give Him our burdens because the burdens of life are great and He knows we cannot cope with them. He offers us a blessing in return and a life in Him is not as difficult to bear as the burdens we have already. In Christ, we will find rest. Who does that? Who says to someone, give me your stressed, problematic life and I will give you my easy privileged life so you can rest. The Lord loves to fight our battles for us, but we don’t let Him. He won’t force His help onto us but He has made it so easy for us to come to Him. 

Once I remember to call on the Lord, I don’t stop until I get an answer. We are an impatient lot and we tend to give up quickly. If it is worth having, it is worth waiting for! Don’t give up until the Lord answers you. This is a test of your Faith and your endurance, which will strengthen you spiritually. Talking to the Lord about your problems; all of them, asking Him to help you deal with them or release you from them should not be a one visit, one conversation request. The Lord will not spoil us and turn us into ungrateful intolerable children by giving us everything we want when we want it. You will need to nurture your relationship with God.  

When I go to the Lord about something specific, I go in earnest, full of expectations. I have proved the Lord so many times in my life that I know He will answer me, so I immediately have a joy in my spirit at the thought of it. I get rid of all distractions, find my private space and begin to worship, talk, cry in no particular order, sometimes all at the same time. Often when the burden is really heavy I just lay and think about Him, thinking over everything in my spirit without saying a word out aloud. He dwells in my Spirit, so He completely understands the problem. I don’t always receive the answer I am expecting but I always trust the answer I am given. I will petition the Lord daily, talk, reason, ask questions, laugh and cry. He is my Father and there is nothing He wouldn’t do for me so there is nothing I am afraid to discuss with Him.

When I am feeling sad, anxious, distracted with things happening around me, trying to find the right way to deal with a situation, I take absolutely anything and everything to Him and relieve myself of the burden of it. Many mornings after crying to the Lord at night, I wake up completely refreshed, and with clarity. A peace in my spirit. I go to the Lord with so many things now that sometimes I receive an immediate response, while other times it takes longer. It is not possible to find another person who understands you COMPLETELY and can help you out of your situations EVERY TIME who is capable of giving you REST from your burdens!

Be blessed!

The Emergence of Sin

Sin Decays

Now more than ever we are seeing the destructive nature of mankind in action. Inherited from the fall of Adam and Eve when they were unceremoniously thrown out of the Garden of Eden; the world has descended into chaos. With every generation living a life farther and farther away from God, we continue to think that we can govern this world better than Him. No country has the answer, as each fight through their own chaos, confusion and discontent.

The pervasive appeal of sin continues to be the dominant force in life. First conceived and entered into our lives through Lucifer. The original sin was born in Satan which means ‘adversary,’ who is the enemy and constant challenger of God. It is the personal name of the devil, often referred to as ‘the enemy,’ as many people seem better able to cope with the term ‘the enemy’ and not so much ‘the devil.’ The devil to many is seen as a fantasy figure, a fairy tale that’s not real. I have actually had people laugh in my face asking me if I really believe in all that fantasy stuff and telling me the devil isn’t real. It doesn’t make me angry, it makes me sad because one day we will all know the truth, but unfortunately for many it will be too late to do anything about it, so this is a time to help people to understand and not to get angry with them. Yes, the devil is real, he exists, you cannot in all honesty believe in God and not believe that there is a devil, please don’t believe in him, just know that he is real and very harmful.

Whilst we do not fear him as Christians, we do not dismiss the fact that he is alive and causing a great deal of damage. Satan was an archangel so he was the head of legions, multitudes of angels. The following scriptures describe who Satan was before he became evil and was thrown out of heaven.

Ezekiel 28:12-15 give us a good description of Lucifer. He was beautiful, he was perfect in all his ways from the day he was created, he was a ‘covering’ angel so he was given authority over other angels. His name was Lucifer meaning bearer of light or ‘morning star,’ he was an anointed angel and dwelt on the mountain of God, so was in God’s presence constantly. The timbrels and pipes tells us that he played music wherever he went, praising and worshipping God. Lucifer however started to believe in himself that he could compete with God and his heart became filled with sin, absolute evil and violence towards God, his Creator. There was a huge battle in heaven lead by the archangel Michael, head of the warrior angels and they threw Lucifer out along with a third of the angels of heaven. We have no idea when this happened, how long the battle lasted or how long after it we were created, but we do know that it was before God created us. Sin causes catastrophic consequences to all who give in to it. It is for this reason that God created hell; for Satan and his followers, not for humans.

The next significant emergence of sin was in the Garden of Eden when Lucifer tempted Eve to go against God’s will and she in turn enticed Adam who sealed the fate of mankind until Jesus came. As I studied these scriptures it was clear to me that Eve already had sin creeping into her heart before she openly went against God’s will. In the following scripture, tells us of the conversation between Lucifer and Eve:

Genesis 3:1-5

Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, has God said, you shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said to the serpent, we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, you shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest (in case) you die.

This response from Eve is particularly worrying because God did NOT say they could not touch the tree. That is a lie uttered from Eve’s lips even before she ate of the tree. We have to ask ourselves, why did Lucifer not go to Adam? Adam was alone tending the garden before Eve was created and was accessible to Lucifer just as Eve was. The consequences of this sin is the broken chaotic world that we live in today!

The next destructive rise of sin came in the form of Ananias and Sapphira, when they brought sin into the very first church that came into being, after Jesus ascended into heaven and we see the damaged that has developed in the body of Christ through the generations. They were struck down immediately because God will always deal very harshly with the root of sin  to minimise the effects further down the ages. Had the Lord not rooted out Ananias and Sapphira, their lies and deceit would have significantly weakened the first church before it was fully rooted.

Ananias and Sapphira were husband and wife and were a part of the first church.  They chose of their own free will to sell all their possessions and give it to the church or so they pretended to do.  They sold their land and told Peter that they were giving all the proceeds to the church but in fact kept back part of it.  The Holy Spirit revealed this lie and deception to Peter who confronted them and they still continued to lie and as a result they dropped dead and were taken out to be buried.  You may think this harsh but Peter explained in the following scriptures what they really did:

Acts 5:3-4

But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land?  While it remained, was it not your own? and after it was sold, was it not in your own power? why have you conceived this thing in your heart? you have not lied unto men, but unto God.

There was no need to lie, the land and the money belonged to them to do with as they pleased.  They were lying to God and deceiving their fellow Christians by pretending to give more than they did and this was the first entry of sin into the church of God and God took this very serious.  If the Holy Spirit had not revealed this to Peter they would have continued with their deceptions, lies and manipulations which would have wounded the first church greatly.  The people were already suffering at the hands of the Romans and in a perpetually fragile condition.  Ananias and Sapphira allowed Satan to speak to their hearts, so when everyone else was exercising God’s love they were in the midst counteracting it with Satan’s lies and deceit.

If we take our minds back to the heavens, when God created all things perfect, the angels were all perfect and through Lucifer, sin entered in and corrupt one third of them.  Then we have the perfect Garden of Eden, God created man, woman and all creatures of the earth, perfect and beautiful, then Lucifer entered in again and brought sin with him and it became corrupt.  God then created a perfect church and once again sin entered in through Ananias and Sapphira, by allowing Lucifer to corrupt; convincing them to lie to the Holy Spirit.

God does not tolerate sin and we shouldn’t! God turns away from Sin everytime.

 

 

What if?

 Rocks on the ShoreAnd Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is His name? What shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me to you.  Exodus 3:13-14 (KJV)


Many are adamant that there is no greater power than us, no creator of the universe, no God, nothing after death, we just die and then there is no more consciousness, nothing, it is as if we never existed.  I have a question for you!  What if you are wrong?  What if there really is a God and everything He has taught us is true and there really is a heaven and a hell and an eternal life after the physical death?   

The world invests a lot of time in trying to prove that God does not exist, a God they do not believe exist in the first place; so why so much effort in trying to prove there is no God.  Surely if someone believes there is no God that should be sufficient for them, but this is clearly not the case.  How many expensive and time consuming experiments have been attempted by very intelligent and learned experts to work out how Jesus performed miracles, that they don’t believe ever happened; or whether or not Noah’s Ark ever existed or whether Pharaoh and his army actually drowned in the Red Sea.  Why spend your life trying to prove something you don’t believe ever existed in the first place?  It doesn’t make sense to me, unless there is an element in there somewhere that is not sitting right with the person, that keeps tugging at their spirit or is challenging their disbelief.  It is my belief that many people who say they do not believe there is a God actually do believe to some extent that there is a God but chose to reject the truth because it is not what they want in their lives and it doesn’t sit well with their logic. 

To believe in God, let Him guide us and to give Him control in our lives is just too much for many people to accept.  People like to boast of their personal achievements and the self-gratifying feeling that they did it all by themselves.  They walked on the moon, conquered a race, discovered a planet, they are the greatest that ever lived and the thought of saying ‘I was able to do this through the strength and empowerment of Jesus Christ,’ is too much for them to accept.  I cannot imagine a more wasted existence than to believe that someone or something doesn’t exist but to then spend my entire life trying to prove that they really don’t exist. 

God does not ask us as Christians to prove His existence because we cannot.  Sometimes we get caught up with useless debates trying to prove who God is, when we really cannot and the message we are trying to get across is lost. Moses was most concerned with whether or not the Children of Israel would believe that he was sent by God, but God simply said, tell them my name is I AM. I AM sent you! No further explanation required. We must always testify from our personal relationship with God, by Faith.  How would you begin to prove such a thing?  When I tried to share this concept with a friend I was told that I was ‘disillusioned,’ and that my statement was ‘moronic,’ so in other words I was a ‘disillusioned moron.’  I know the truth and we all will one day!  As a Christian don’t get frustrated when you can’t get through to someone, ask the Lord to reveal the truth to them and move on to the next one.  Time is short and as I said in a previous blog, it is not our friend because it just keeps ticking on regardless of the state we are in. 

Jesus is definitely returning to us very soon, but many people either don’t believe or think it is still a long way away.  Remember Christ left us just over two days ago so by God’s time will it be another half day, a few more hours a week?  We don’t know.  We need to be alert and not ignore the signs of the times.  A broken world cannot produce hope and fruitfulness.  It produces earth quakes with the earth literally breaking apart creating havoc and mass loss of life, or it’s erupting from its’ core with vicious force destroying everything in its wake.  We have rivers which instead of watering the land and growing the crops, as they were created to do, is responsible for the deaths of millions of people each year.  We have cities sinking into oceans with every passing moment.  Tsunamis, floods, avalanches, aeroplanes disappearing in mid-flight, people willing not only to take their own lives, but to strap bombs to themselves and kill as many innocent people as possible.  Children killing parents, parents killing children, the deepest bond possible, giving birth to another human being and they reach a point in their lives where they are able to kill each other.  Countries at war.  Who can stop any of these horrific things from happening!  Who can fix this?

              There is no one on this earth who can fix this and God will not patch it up.  His Word is clear, this world will pass away and He will build us a new one.  It is our duty as Christians to get the message out there, simple and uncomplicated. We cannot force anyone to believe in God but we must continue to spread the Gospel regardless of whether people accept it or not.

 

 

 

 

Where are we going wrong?

Them Us_Web1 Peter 2:9

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; 


When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we are born into a new generation, headed by our King of Kings and Lord of Lords, we are called to be holy in Christ though seen as strange to others who are still in the world and for that we should thank God with our praises. This is the relationship between us and God and not between us and the world. But, this does not call for us as Christians to be exclusive, elitist or snobs. All too often this is how the world sees us and whilst we cannot solely be blamed for the breakdown in this extremely important relationship, unfortunately we do have to accept some of the blame. There seems to be an ever widening golf between Christians and non-Christians and Christians bruising and damaging other Christians.

No one could accuse Jesus of being exclusive, elusive, a snob, partial to the rich and those with influence in society whilst dismissive of the poor. Not at all! No one could accuse the Apostles of that either, although Peter was corrected by Paul on one occasion when he showed partiality. So although many did not believe In Jesus or the Apostles and levelled all sorts of accusations at them it was not this.  

Jesus was accessible to the people at all times, unless He was up in a mountain speaking to His Father. He ate and drank in the taverns with the sinners, the people who needed Him the most. He didn’t sit behind the walls of the temple waiting for the people to find Him. He travelled to cities preaching, teaching, performing miracles and so much more. He did NOT travel with body guards, expensive and elaborate entourages or anyone to protect Him from the people. When the Disciples tried to stop the crowd from getting to Him, He forbade them. And, the Apostles followed in their Masters’ footsteps. So where are WE going wrong? 

I have been around Christians in one form or another throughout my life and although not all Christians can be accused of this there is a greater number than I would care to admit who are very aloof and cliquey. They make no effort to share Jesus with anyone and will not invite non-Christians to their gatherings. I myself have not just seen this but experienced it in my life many times. While I was in the world and not a practicing Christian, but still had so much love and reverence for Christ; was not invited to my Christian friends’ birthday parties and social gatherings because I was not ‘one of them.’ I would be with a group of Christians and they would speak to each other and never to me some even refused to make eye contact with me! Having experienced both worlds in their fullness, I strive to be like Christ to be inclusive and to reject the cliquey groups. 

The great commission is given to us ALL when we become Christians to witness to the world, share our testimony of Christ and spread the Gospel to the corners of the earth. Yet you will find only a precious few willing to do this and it is so much easier now than when Christ was with us.

Mark 16:15

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

 God does not condone our behaviour and it is a misrepresentation of who Christ is in us when we act in this way. As Christians we need to get our Faith back on track and not to allow it to continuing sliding down this slippery slope. I have always noticed people’s reactions to each other and the way people treat each other. I think it is fair to say, that we warm to some people instantly, while we keep our distance from others and some grow on us over a period of time. Some we show favouritism to whilst ignoring others altogether. And all this is acceptable when we are in the world; but the moment we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour this behaviour has to change. It doesn’t happen over-night, but we need to actively put the Word of God into practice so it can shape our lives.