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7 ways how you can make you relationships more spiritual.

I believe our deepest desire for oneness and intimacy in relationships can only be met on a spiritual level. Although there is much to explore and discover on an emotional, and psychological level, the most neglected connection is a spiritual one. Our Spiritual connection is also our eternal bond, the permanency we all seek in intimate relationships.
God is a relational God, as revealed in the mystery of the Trinity. We do not worship three Gods, but one God. Yet He is revealed to us in three different distinct persons, Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Oneness or unity originates from the Triune Godhead: Jesus said: “I and My Father are one!” The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, and therefore He is in unison with God the Father and God the Son. The most profound prayer in the Bible is the one where God the Son, speak and pray to God the Father. It is God speaking His desire to Himself, that we would be one with Him as He is one with the Father and the Spirit. (Joh 17:21b) Unity brings peace and tranquillity into a group. Unity draws the presence of God onto the scene. The blessings of God include protection and prosperity to all who are part of that unit. The Greek word ‘homothumadon’ means to be ‘one mouthed’. The Hebrew word for unity is ‘yachad’ and it refers to a unit or a commando group.
God created two pathways for us to attain the unity and oneness that exists in the Godhead: Marriage and Church.
Today we see various models of ‘church,’ both historical and modern. What seems to be very rare is a spiritual expression of “church,” a manifestation thereof that goes beyond the church member cards and orientation programs; the superficial get-to-know-one-another-better functions and large crowds gathering to attend various special programs. These activities and program have its benefits, but we seek a deeper connection. Remember, the church is a spiritual entity! God is a Spirit and wants to be worshipped in Spirit and in Truth. The church should be more than just activities, programs, and buildings.
The Spirituality of church ultimately means: How spiritual are the members? A simple biblical definition of Christian maturity is to grow into the likeness of the character and life of Jesus Christ. The spiritual maturity of church members is thus determined by how much they do and act like Jesus. The same applies to the two partners in a Marriage Covenant relationship. The oneness we seek in marriage can be obstructed when one partner is not saved. If both are saved, often they attend different churches, making spiritual union difficult and strained. It is thus imperative for a spiritual union to take place that couples attend the same church, both take the same Bible courses together, to remain in spiritual sync else the one can Spiritually outgrow the other.
God commands His blessings where brothers dwell together in unity. Ps 139. Unity is one of the most important keys to create an atmosphere where God reveals His manifest Presence. Like in the book of Acts, powerful things happened to the church when they were together in unity, of one mind, heart and soul.
Acts 1:14 Early apostolic gathering – continued with one accord
Acts 2:1 they were all with one accord in one place
Acts 2:46 continuing daily with one accord in the temple
Acts 4:32 those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.
Acts 5:12 they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch
Acts 8:6 and the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Phillip

UNITY/ONENESS IS A GIFT

Being made righteous in Christ, we are made one with Him. (Rom 7:4; Rom 9:1; 1 Cor 15:22; Eph 3:6, 12, 21; Col 2:6, 10, 11-1; Rev 1:9) According to Eph 4:1-4 We cannot create, or work for unity, we can only preserve the Unity we received as a gift in Christ Jesus. We never want the unity of man. Man build Babel to their own glory, and God had to divide their languages. In the church and marriage, we should always operate and work from this point of unity, the Unity that God gives. Doing this is a fundamental point to consider and understand, especially when one does not feel or experience unity with your partner or friend. We are already one. “What God has joined, let man not separate.” Mat 19:6 Practically it is constructive when we are in disagreement on something, to take one step back, begin in unity, and that what we agree on, before discussing the issue causing the conflict. We do not allow our emotions and carnal mind deceive us into believing we are separate, distant, and isolated. Adam & Eve believed this lie, which when they eat of the fruit, they will be like God. They already were made in His image, had communion and free fellowship with Him, they were already one. They did not have to do anything to become more one.

ONE MIND COMES THROUGH DEVOTING TOGETHER TO STUDY THE WORD.

Dr. Roy M. Gray taught in Miracle Valley, Arizona that unity cannot be created it can only be preserved. He explained that unity comes through the preaching of the Word. The saints are a band of God that is inwardly transformed by the Word of God. Only when the focus is on Christ and His Word, will unity become the standard in the spirit. Dr. André Pelser
The early church devoted themselves daily to Apostolic Doctrine. (Acts 2:42) The Word is a discerner, and when you study the Word prayerfully, it will transform you. (Heb 4:12; 1 Tim 3:16) In this instance doctrine is important to achieve spiritual oneness because one is taught to think right, that will lead to believing right, that leads to right-living. This right-living enforces the bond of unity, whereas when people live as they like, they are carnal minded not spirit-minded making oneness impossible. Unity means to be in one accord or to agree. (Amos 2:3) In the Book of Amos, the prophet asks: “how can two people walk together, except they are in agreement as one?” How can there be a spiritual union, if there is a doctrinal disagreement of beliefs? Study all these NT scriptures referring to being of one mind. (Rom 12:6; 14:5; 15:6; 2 Cor 13:11; Phil 2:2; 1 Pet 3:8)

WE EXIST FOR THE SAKE OF ONE ANOTHER, COLLECTIVE MIND.

Paul explains the dynamics of the church using the metaphor of a human body. Remember that in a body there are no dead parts, no passive, inactive members! No spectators. “The kingdom of God come not with observation” Luk 17:20 In a body, every part exists for the sake of the other parts. The human body is a magnificent collective genius of parts functioning as one! Spiritual unity is thus not achieved until you become more conscious of the other than of self. We are not to seek our interests, but the interests of others. (Phil 2:1-11) Moreover, in our pursuit of deepening our spiritual connection, we should become aware of another’s needs as the Spirit reveals it, not because these private needs were made known in usual ways. Spirit-led actions strengthen the bond of unity, building confidence not only in God’s love but in the other person’s sensitivity to hear and obey. (Phil 1:9)
If one member suffers, even slightly, the whole body suffers. (1 Cor 12:26) This verse reveals a collective consciousness. Doubtlessly everyone immediately feels the weight and pressure if one ‘part’ malfunctions. For the body to operate efficiently, each person in the group must serve! In the body of Christ, we have equal care for the house of God. (1 Cor 12:25) Each one serves according to his/her level of faith, expertise, internal natural gifting, and grace. This spiritual union is proof of how God intended His body to function supernaturally. Look at this beautiful poetry as Paul define the operation of a church as a body. “Speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (Eph 4:14-16)

KNOW ANOTHER BY THE SPIRIT

For any deep relationship to develop, we need to know one another in the spirit. Judging people by their cover is a common problem in the world, but it ought not to be so in the True Church. When I grew up, our church had “get-to-know-one-another” events, usually after the Sunday evening service. I believe most people only came for the snacks and cake! Is it possible to get to know someone by casually chatting 10 minutes after the church service? Some suggest that you get to know a person by working with him or her; however, this is not altogether true either for many people portray a different persona in the workplace. Another suggestion is to undertake a hike or to experience a crisis together. There is truth in this, but does this mean that we all have to have some shared crisis before we get to know a person? Surely not! The way of the spirit is more accurate and also quicker! Jesus knew the heart of Nathaniel even before he had met him. (John 1:47) Similarly, the Lord revealed to Ananias not only the change in Saul (Paul) but also his destiny before he met him. (Acts 9:10) Jesus knew what was in the Pharisees’ hearts. Jesus knew the woman at the well in the spirit. (John 4) Imagine a church where people know each other in the spirit, where everyone knows their place and function, and naturally work together without complaining and strife because they do not feel threatened by one another.

FELLOWSHIP IN HIS SUFFERING

That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death. (Philippians 3:10) The word ‘know’ at the beginning of this verse means to know firsthand, to have proof of, to be entirely sure. Paul’s desire is to know God personally and intimately. But, in the same sentence, he explains that this knowledge of God is to have fellowship in His sufferings – note the word sufferings is in the plural! There is nothing that binds people together more than facing trouble together. Paul goes a step further; we should conform to His death. This word, “summorphos”, means: to take on the same form and likeness of someone. We should, therefore, live in the same manner as Jesus did, because He gave His life in obedience to the Father. We should too, daily and in every circumstance be willing to deny self and surrender, yielding in obedience completely to Him. This attitude and lifestyle of every person in the group become the adhesive that unites us on a higher level. In serving one another, we lay down our lives for each other. Joh 15:13
The understanding of Spiritual fellowship also gives us a whole new perspective on our personal suffering. Like Paul, we know that our suffering is to the benefit of the body, and therein we fulfill the sufferings of Christ. (Col 1:24) For example, being publically corrected is humiliating. Nevertheless, by receiving it positively personal growth is established, and everyone learns.

DIVINE CONNECTIONS

In the discussion of the first principle, I have used biblical examples of how people were brought together, not by circumstance, but by Divine guidance, e.g. Ananias and Paul. Another example is Peter and Cornelius. (Acts 10) Phillip was divinely led to meet the servant of the court of Ethiopia. (Acts 8:26) A spiritual church is also a spiritually connected church! It even goes beyond this. In Paul’s letter to Philemon (with whom he has a good relationship), Paul asked Philemon to accept Onesimus, his former slave as a brother. His relationship with Philemon was the stepping stone to introduce Onesimus. This example provides us with a powerful insight into the spiritual mechanisms of the church. For instance: I call on my friend Johan in Cape town, asking if he knows someone in the printing industry… one of his friends owns such a business. By linking us, Johan acts as the catalyst and originator of a new relationship. Without knowing each other, Johan’s friend, and I begin our relationship on a deeper level, due to our common friend, Johan.
We need much integrity concerning this methodology. Looking in the spirit is the way that the Spirit helps us to interact and relate on multiple levels.

MAKING YOURSELF PRESENT ALTHOUGH NOT PHYSICALLY PRESENT.

Although Paul was not present in the flesh, he was present in the spirit. (Col 2:5) This means church goes beyond the parameters of meetings and address lists. This is not an excuse for not meeting or attending church services. However, it does imply that if I have revealed my heart and is in unity with a group, I can physically be far away and still be one with that group. On the other hand, if I take offense and become bitter towards the group, and thus choose not to attend any further meetings, I’m not only cut off physically but spiritually as well. A while ago Chantál attended a Conference in America and was away for 21 days. She shared her notes with me every day, and she could follow what was happening at home base via our Church app. We experienced a wonderful spiritual union during this time, by making an effort of being present in one another’s lives. In this way, people who cannot attend meetings regularly can stay present by following and keeping tabs on Social Media. The opposite is also true, some people live in the same house, but they are not present in each other’s life. They have already turned their hearts away from the other, and will eventually separate and divorce.
Becoming more and more spiritually one is a wonderful gift and provision God has made for us, as revealed through Jesus. He often said and declared His oneness with the Father. It was this union that gave Him the power, authority and right to do what He has done, while on earth. God wants our churches and marriages to experience this same spiritual union, so that the World can believe in the Son, whom He has sent. Joh 17:21
 
 

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The Marriage Covenant

“The strength of a nation lies in the houses of its people” —Abraham Lincoln

The Hebrew word for covenant is beriyth, which means “a solemn agreement with binding force.” Though its etymology is uncertain, beriyth may come from a root word meaning “to cut.” The connotation is that of a cutting of the flesh causing blood to flow out; thus, the Hebrew expression speaks of “cutting covenant
Time after time, the Scriptures describe marriage as a covenant. In Proverbs 2:16-17 we read, “[Wisdom] will save you also from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words, who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God.” These verses indicate that the wife, in marriage, enters into a sacred covenant with God and her husband. In Malachi 2:14 we read that the husband, in marriage, also enters into a covenant with God and his wife: “She is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.”

FIRST WEDDING:

And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.  (Ge 2:23–25).
Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mt 19:6).

The oneness of covenant is beautifully illustrated in an old wedding tradition called the “covenant of salt.” Diane Warner, author of The Complete Book of Wedding Vows, explains that when a husband and wife pour individual bags of salt into a single, third bag, they are symbolizing the total mesh-ing of their two lives into one, to the point that separation is virtually impossible:

Dennis Rainey a well known Christian family life speaker writes that

“For the past two years I have had a growing concern that the Christian community has passively watched the “dumbing down” of the marriage covenant. Marriage has become little more than an upgraded social contract between two people—not a holy covenant between a man and a woman and their God for a lifetime. In the Old Testament days a covenant was solemn and binding. When two people entered into a covenant with one another, a goat or lamb would be slain and its carcass would be cut in half. With the two halves separated and lying on the ground, the two people who had formed the covenant would solemnize their promise by walking between the two halves (Ed note: see Covenant: A Walk into Death) saying, “May God do so to me [cut me in half] if I ever break this covenant with you and God!” You get the feeling that a covenant in those days had just a little more substance than today.” (from The Covenant of Marriage)

The security given to guarantee the fulfillment of a covenant was usually an oath. For men, it was an oath of such solemn character that it partook of the nature of I will or testament. The idea is that just as a testator cannot change his will when dead, so neither can a covenanter change his covenant. One way in which this was signified was by the slaying of an animal, dividing it into two parts, and then the passing of both parties between the halves (Gen 15:9).

“Divorce,” writes Jim Smoke in his book Growing Through Divorce, “is the death of a marriage and is usually surrounded by a cast of players that includes the husband and wife as combatants, the children as the mourners, and the lawyers as the funeral directors.” During the past fifty years, we have trivialized divorce, claiming that it’s no big deal; privatized divorce, saying that it’s no one else’s business; and glorified divorce, promising freedom and happiness. Lies. All lies! “Till death do us part” has been replaced by “as long as I’m happy.”

COVENANT WITH WHAT I ALLOW MY EYES TO SEE:

“I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman?” Job 31:1

KEEPS HIS OATH

The psalmist says this about a good man: He “keeps his oath even when it hurts” Psalm 15:4 Deut 23:23

COVENANT IS A PUBLIC CONFIMATION:

2 Kings 23:2-3 King Josiah made a public covenant before all the people.

COVENANT MUST COST YOU SOMETHING:

2 Sam 24:24 “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.”

ALL HUMAN COVENANTS ARE BILATERAL AND CONDITIONAL.

There are restrictions and obligations.  You give up friends, self-interests, even your own dreams by making a covenant of Marriage. But it has to be both parties that equally make sacrifices.

SIGN OF THE COVENANT

Gen 17:10–11 Circumcision. Why put the sign in one’s most private part?
The heart is secret, and it is in the heart where one first remain loyal!

BLESSING & CURSES

Promises of blessing when the covenant is kept, or warnings of punishment when the covenant is broken

WITNESSES

The Hittite treaties called a long list of deities to witness the document. In the Sinai and other biblical covenants pagan gods were obviously excluded. Instead, memorial stones could be a witness (Ex 24:4; cf. Josh 24:27); heaven and earth were called upon as witnesses (Deut 30:19; 31:28; 32:1; cf. 4:26); the scroll of the law was deposited by the side of the ark to be a witness (Deut 31:26); and Moses’ song itself would remind the people of their covenant vows (Deut 31:30–32:47). In the covenant renewal service at the end of Joshua’s life the people themselves acted as the witnesses (Josh 24:22).

RENEWING OUR COVENANT:

revival occurred in Israel after Athaliah, the idolatrous Judean queen, was dethroned. We read in 2 Kings 11:17 that Jehoiada, the priest, “then made a covenant between the LORD and the king and people that they would be the LORD’S people.”

SPIRITUAL UNITY

“A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). Covenant marriage, as divinely planned, is a binding together of three persons: a man, a woman, and Almighty God. As long as the couple stays in close contact with each other and with God, they have an unbreakable bond.

LEARNING AND MODELLING UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes” (Hosea 3:1). Isa 54:6-8; Ps 89:28-29; 33-34

CHRIST AS THE FULFILLMENT OF THE COVENANT:

Col 2:13-14; Gal 3:14; Heb 7:22; 9:15
To marry by contract is to say, “Now, that I’ve signed on the dotted line, what do I get? How are you going to meet my needs—and even my greeds?” The focus is on receiving. In contrast, to marry by covenant is to say, “I am giving myself to you unconditionally. What may I bring to this relationship? How may I serve you?” The focus is on giving. Be-cause of this difference in focus, covenant and contract bring entirely different attitudes to a marriage relationship, as the following chart shows:

CONTRASTING ATTITUDES

Contract Attitude Covenant Attitude
You had better do it! How may I serve you?
What do I get? What can I give?
What will it take? Whatever it takes!
It’s not my responsibility. I’m happy to do it!
It’s not my fault. I accept responsibility.
I’ll meet you halfway. I’ll give 100 percent.
I’ll be faithful for now. I’ll be faithful forever.
I am suspicious. I am trusting.
I have to. I want to.
It’s a deal. It’s a relationship

 
A few years ago, an Alabama couple won a “Happy Marriage” contest with this description of their marriage:
We gave…when we wanted to receive.
We served…when we wanted to feast.
We shared…when we wanted to keep.
We listened…when we wanted to talk.
We submitted…when we wanted to reign.
We forgave…when we wanted to remember.
We stayed…when we wanted to leave.¹⁵

COVENANT COMMITMENT

“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
17      Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.”
(Ru 1:16–17).
 

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God favours the not-good-enough

God favors the not-the-good-enough! David was not Samuel’s first choice. (1 Sam 16) Paul reminds the church in Corinth, “Not too many wise and noble” (1 Cor 1:26) The disciples Jesus chose did not make the mark of the Rabbi’s who would visit every town, searching for possible young candidates to follow in their footsteps. Jesus entrusted the disciples with the building of the doctrinal foundations of the early church, being His eternal witnesses! He did not choose the best theologians, Rabbis and Pharisees for this job, but fishermen, zealots, a doctor and a tax collector.

The OT Priests came from the tribe of Levy. When Jacobs blessed his sons, he did not speak a blessing over Levi. Let my soul come not into their council; O my glory, be not joined to their company.
For in their anger they killed men, and in their willfulness they hamstrung oxen. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce, and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel. (Gen 49:6)

A couple of generations later Moses blessed the tribe of Levi. And of Levi he said, “Give to Levi your Thummim, and your Urim to your godly one, whom you tested at Massah, with whom you quarreled at the waters of Meribah; who said of his father and mother, ‘I regard them not’; he disowned his brothers and ignored his children. For they observed your word and kept your covenant. They shall teach Jacob your rules and Israel your law; they shall put incense before you and whole burnt offerings on your altar. Bless, O Lord, his substance, and accept the work of his hands; crush the loins of his adversaries, of those who hate him, that they rise not again.” (Deut 33:8-11) The Tribe of Levi was not afraid to stand for God, against their fellowmen-men when they made a golden calve.

Sometimes because of failing too many times, we give up the hope and the likelihood of ever being holy again. We accept our stain, as part of our DNA. Paul explains that “Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.” Rom 7:20. I have heard so many people repent saying; “This is not who I am!”  God did not create us to be sinners; he created us in His image!

Sin is a distortion of that Godly image. While on the path of sin, We eventually believe in this distorted picture of sin (mistaken identity).

Seeking His righteousness, leads us on a different path, where we behold Him, and we are changed from Glory to glory. “and we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor 3:18) The devil reminds you of your sinfulness, Jesus reminds you of your destiny. (Rom 8:29)

David most likely wrote:

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! (Ps 139), long after his sin with Betsheba,

Does not have to be perfect to be wonderful.

Sometimes we want to lower God’s standards so that we can attain them instead of believing and receiving His righteousness that enables us to do the impossible. “But He said, What is impossible with men is possible with God” Luk 18:27 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” John 1:12 His gift of righteousness is the power you need to overcome weakness and destructive patterns in your life! (2 Cor 5:21)

Turn to God, and look into His eyes, you will not see judgment in His eyes. The woman who was caught in the act of adultery, had no defense, no justification, no excuses, she was ready to receive only punishment. Jesus said to her: “I do not condemn you either. Go on your way and from now on sin no more.” (John 8:11) No mistake you have made can prevent you from coming to the throne of Grace. “Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” Heb 4:16

He wants to enable and empower you through His grace to live a holy and pure life. “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Phil 2:13

God wants to use your mistake and failure to encourage and help others to also come to His throne of Grace. Your failure and triumph in Him become your testimony and your message!

Come today and turn away from you sin, and the path of destruction that you are on. Come and make peace with God, let Him put you on a new path of righteousness and holiness in HIM. Repent and see the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. He is here!

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Eternal Perspectives – Eternal Judgement

Eternal judgment is one of the basic doctrines of the church of God. Hebrews 6:1-2. Eternal judgment is equal in importance to repentance, faith, baptism, etc. Webster’s New World Dictionary defines judgment as “a legal decision, order or sentence given by a judge.” In eternal judgment, God decides a person’s reward or punishment for all eternity.

The word “judgement” occurs 293 times in the Bible, whereas “grace” appears 166 times and “love” 304 times. God is trying to warn us of the impending judgement. The word Judgement in Greek has something to do with a crisis. It denotes a separation which leads to a decision or bringing to trial (Gr: Krisis). A crisis happens when you’ve ignored something long enough that it demands immediate attention.

PAST JUDGEMENT

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” John 3:17-19

John 5:24 If you have Everlasting Life you shall not come into condemnation. The judgement was at the Cross. Satan was judged and his power was broken. The sins of the world were judged and put away as Christ became sin for us. When we believe what Christ did for you and accept it as a gift from God you no longer walk in condemnation. (Romans 8:1-2)

Christ purchased our freedom [redeeming us] from the curse (doom) of the Law [and its condemnation] by [Himself] becoming a curse for us, for it is written [in the Scriptures], Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree (is crucified) Gal 3:13 AMPLIFIED

True believers have no fear of judgement – A man once came to the famous evangelist, D. L. Moody, and said that he was worried because he didn’t feel saved. Moody asked him, “Was Noah safe in the ark?” “Certainly he was,” the man replied. “Well, what made him safe, his feeling or the ark?” Our salvation doesn’t rest on our feelings, but on Christ our Savior. If we’re in Him, we’re secure and protected from the storm of judgment that is coming on the world. Our feelings rest on the absolutely truthful promises of Jesus.

1 John 4:17-19 no fear for Judgement – LOVE

PRESENT JUDGEMENT

Athletes use exercise judgements to improve their performance.

David loved God’s Judgments!

Psalms 18:22 For all His judgments were before me, And I did not put away His statutes from me.

Psalms 19:9-10 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

Psalms 36:6 Your righteousness is like the great mountains; Your judgments are a great deep; O Lord, You preserve man and beast.

David sings a song on God’s Judgments, about how he loves it! Psalms 119:7, 13, 20, 30, 39, 52, 62, 66, 75, 102, 106, 108, 137, 156, 160, 164, 175

This is why we receive correction from mature believers to guide us in the truth.  Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness Heb 12:11

FUTURE JUDGEMENT

Judgment seat of Christ: Those judged here will be all true believers: …We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (Romans 14:10) …For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.(II Corinthians 5:10)

The Great White Throne judgment is recorded in Revelation 20:11-15. The unrighteous will be judged and because of their sin cast into a lake of fire along with Satan and his angels.

WHAT WILL BE JUDGED AT THE SEAT OF CHRIST?

Rom 2:6-8 “will render to each one according to his deeds”:

Rev 2:23 “give to each one of you according to your works.”

Mat 12:36 “Give account: for every idle word man speaks”

Heb 4:13 give account for my life

1 Pet 4:5 give account for my life

Mat 25 Parable of virgins, talents, judging between sheep and goats is all about giving account of our lives in the end. The account is the disciples we have made, that were destined to be drawn to God through our obedience.  (Mat 28:19) Ultimately judging between the sheep and the goats. “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ Mat 25:37-40

I AM the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser. Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit. John 15:1-2

God expects us to carry the fruit of Christ in our lives!! Being fruitful and mature in Christ is the ultimate goal and destiny God has with us. Christlikeness is the fruits of righteousness. Gal 5:22

“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Mat 7:19

But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” Mar 4:20

But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. Rom 6:22

AREAS OF JUDGEMENT AND REWARDS

FOR THE BELIEVER.

SCRIPTURE JUDGEMENT REWARD
James 1:12

Revelation 2:10

FAITHFULNESS (Even unto death)

Overcome Temptation

CROWN OF LIFE
1 Peter

5:2-4

SERVANTHOOD

(Head of the flock)

CROWN OF GLORy
2 Timothy 4:7-8

 

PURITY & RIGHTEOUSNESS

(Fight the good fight of faith)

CROWN OF RIGHT LIVING
1 Thessalonians 2:19 SOUL WINNING

(Our hope)

CROWN OF REJOICING
1 Corinthians 9:25

 

DISCIPLINE CROWN OF INCORRUPTIBLE NESS
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Sermons

Eternal Perspectives – Generations

ETERNAL GENERATIONAL MULTIPLICATION

God’s grace is always in the now. (Every day has its own trouble Mat 6:34 His mercies are new every morning Lam 3:22-23) The truth is a paradox where two opposing truths are equal in value and importance. The opposite truth to living in the now is focusing on eternity.  We are living in the now with our eye on eternity. This seems impossible and contradictory; how can you be in the now, and yet focused on eternity? Is eternity not in the future? No, eternity is now.

ETERNAL NOW

John 8:58 before Abraham was I am 

Rev 1:4 his who is, and who was, and who is to come 

Rev 1:8 Alpha & Omega, who is, who was, and who is to come 

2 Pet 3:8 with the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thought years like a day

Exo 3:14 I am what I am

God is past, present and future all at the same time. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.” Eccl 3;10-11

God declares the end from the beginning, Isa 46:10

THINK GENERATIONS

One of the practical ways of living in the now yet having your sight on eternity is making disciples.  Making disciples is the purest way of duplicating yourself, your life, your principles, and ways for generations.  Raising your children in the ways of the Lord.  Having children, and raising them is a form of discipleship.  God values family very highly.  The family is God’s way of maturing us into adulthood.  Physiologists and educators can list the adverse effects of a broken family, absent parents, child abuse due to bad parental role models and low-income family structures.  We can suppose that most of the social problems we experience today are because of a broken family unit.  This lack of being conscious of the following generation is clearly evident studying the Kings.  Not many leaders in the Bible succeeded to raise their kids in the fear of God.  Eli, the High Priest, became vile because he did not restrain them (1 Sam 3:13) Samuel’s children also did not serve God. They turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice. This speaks of a lack of godly character. (1 Sam 8:3)

Interesting that some of the righteous Kings in Judah did not follow their own father’s legacy but chose to go back and follow in David’s footsteps. And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or the left. (2 Kings 22:2) There were also Kings who did not consider the legacy they left for their Children, knowing that their children would suffer the consequences of their father’s doings. So Hezekiah showed off all the riches of Judah to the son of King of Babylon and consequently received the damnation by the Prophet Isaiah that this very Kingdom will come and carry all these riches away.  He was only so happy that the judgment will not happen in his lifetime. So Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the LORD which you have spoken is good!” For he said, “Will there not be peace and truth at least in my days?” (2 Kings 20:15)

GENERATIONAL CURSES

Numbers 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and — fourth generation of them that hate me;

GENERATIONAL BLESSINGS

Ps 12:7 Preserve the Word from generation to generation

Ps 78:3-8 Declaring and showing to the following generation the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.  — That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:

THE CULTURE WE INHABIT CREATES THE HABITAT FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS

While adults can switch religions, this is rare. The recent Pew Research study of the changes in world religions estimates that of the 8.1 billion believers in 2050, just 65 million (less than one percent) will have switched into their belief (chart).

People don’t pick their religion by throwing a dart at a grid of the hundreds or thousands of religions of history. They don’t even roll the dice and pick a religion based on its popularity at the moment (31% Christian, 23% Muslim, 15% Hindu, etc.). The religion of young adults is very strongly correlated with that of their culture.

In a groundbreaking study, Johns Hopkins University researchers followed nearly 800 Baltimore schoolchildren for a quarter of a century and discovered that their fates were substantially determined by the family they were born into.

“A family’s resources and the doors they open cast a long shadow over children’s life trajectories,” Johns Hopkins sociologist Karl Alexander says in a forthcoming book, The Long Shadow: Family Background, Disadvantaged Urban Youth, and the Transition to Adulthood.

http://hub.jhu.edu/2014/06/02/karl-alexander-long-shadow-research/

Only 33 children moved from birth families in the low-income bracket to the high-income bracket as young adults; if a family had no bearing on children’s mobility prospects, almost 70 would be expected. And of those who started out well off, only 19 dropped to the low-income bracket, a fourth of the number expected.

“The implication is where you start in life is where you end up in life,” Alexander said. “It’s very sobering to see how this all unfolds.”

CHURCH FAMILY GOD’s HABITAT

Fathers, Young Men and Children – 1 John 2:14-15

the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good thingsTit 2:3

In church we create an habitat of extended family, where all the adults demonstrate the same godly values and character to the children.  Together reinforcing godliness in the children. Everyone sees every child as their child. We take collective care of another’s children.

We therefor worship expressively as a family. Children models and follow the parents in worshipping God. Children grow up in an environment where worship is normal, spontaneous and engaging.  God is intimately close in our worship and children who are sensory focused experience God in various ways in the meeting. People telling emotional testimonies being vulnerable is a powerful sign to children. The power of the spirit manifesting in meetings through healing, miracles, and the gifts of the spirit effects them deeply.

DECLARING GOD’s WORKS

We are sometimes more concerned as parents to see our children succeed in the goals and accomplishments of secularism, materialism, individualism, and selfish ambition.

Bill Johnson shares on Ps 78 and the importance of children experiencing the works and deeds of God, so that they will have hope and keep on serving God. He then also reveals how he and his wife deliberately exposed their kids to:

–    Family Church Life

–    The Supernatural

–    Poverty

We are not only called to provide for our children financially, once they are earning their own income they abandon God and church.  We should provide our children with an eternal rooted lifestyle.  Children learn through their experiences not their ears.  Prepare them for eternity.

In our journey with God we are very conscious of those who walked before us, and also those who are following.  I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.John 4:38

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Sermons

Hou verhoudings heilig deur die Leiding vd Heilige Gees

Ek is met ’n man getroud wat regtig die 1 Kor 13 pad van die liefde stap. In ons bediening het ek dit al telkemale beleef (hy is geduldig, vriendelik en soms uiters lankmoedig)l. En dit het my tot die besef laat kom, ons stap nie graag weg van mense nie, maar hulle kan (vir watter rede ook al) van ons af wegstap.
Ek praat nou nie hier van wanneer ’n broer teenoor jou sondig nie, of die liggaam en God se koninkryk aanhoudelik skade doen deur sy lewe nie. Ek praat hier van ons daaglikse lewe en ritme met mense. Ons is in ’n huweliksverhouding, werksverhouding (werkgewer/werknemer verhouding), gemeente verhouding, daar is ouers en kinders verhoudings, vriendskapsverhouding. En so gaan die lys van verhoudings aan, en elke verhouding het ’n moeilikheidsgraad en ’n uitdaging of twee.
Verhoudings het uitdagings, ook omdat ons waardes soms verskil. Ek beleef onlangs hoe die Heilige Gees met my praat, behou die ‘heilig’ van verhoudings. Dit is eers ’n vreemde konsep. Ek verstaan iets van God die Vader se hart, ek ken Jesus deurdat ek Hom aangeneem het, en ’n lewende verhouding met Hom het, en ek word gelei deur die Heilige Gees. En skielik besef ek, die werk van die Heilige Gees is heilig. En dit is nou Hy wat in my werk. Ek moet mediteer op dit wat mooi is, wat heilig is.
“Verder, broeders, alles wat waar is, alles wat eerbaar is, alles wat regverdig is, alles wat rein is, alles wat lieflik is, alles wat loflik is – watter deug en watter lof daar ook mag wees, bedink dit.” Fil. 4:8
As ons Hom toelaat in ons verhoudings, sal Hy dit heilig. Behou die mooi van dit wat was, mediteer op die mooi, op die Christus wat jy in mense kan sien. Selfs mense van wie jy verskil. Dit sal jou hart vry hou van offence en bitterheid. En dan (as ek vry is) kan die Here Sy werk wat Hy in my begin het voltooi.
Ons is net verantwoordelik vir dit wat in ons eie harte aangaan. En ja, ons ken die skrif in Jeremia so goed wat lees bedrieglik is die hart bo alle dinge. Dit is so maklik wanneer ons ’n fout in iemand anders se lewe sien om te dink dat daardie persoon se hart bedrieglik is, maar weet vandag verseker, ons eie hart kan ons bedrieg. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is extremely sick; Who can understand it fully and know its secret motives?” Jer. 17:9
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Prov 4:23

Wanneer ons ons harte vry hou van offence, bitterheid en kwaad, kan die Here aanhou om ons te gebruik as Sy boodskappers van geloof, hoop en liefde. Beywer julle vir vrede met alle mense asook vir ‘n heilige lewe, waarsonder niemand die Here sal sien nie. Heb 12:14

Ek glo nie dat die meeste mense elke oggend wakker word en dink, wie kan ek vandag sleg behandel, of indoen nie. Daar is sekerlik enkele sulke mense, en ons vermy hulle waar ons kan, en wanneer hulle teenoor ons oortree het, leef ons in vergifnis met hulle (omdat dit God se plan is, al is hulle nie meer deel van my lewe nie). Ek glo die meerderheid mense se motief is goed, want ons is na God se beeld geskape, daar is iets moois en goeds in elkeen van ons. Ek kies om te leef met die verwagting dat mense goed is, amazing is, en dat hulle reg aan my sal doen. Ek leef ook ’n lewe gelei deur die Heilige Gees, en vertrou Hom om my te lei, in en deur elke verhouding wat oor my pad kom.
“Ten slotte : julle lewe moet altyd vol blydskap wees. Lewe presies net soos God vir jul se. Luister na alles wat ek vir julle gesê het. Wees eensgesind. En lewe asseblief in vrede met mekaar. Ons wonderlike God wat sy liefde oor ons almal uitgestort het en aan ons Sy vrede gee, sal altyd by julle wees.” 2 Kor 13:11 DB
Ons weet wanneer daar nie vrede in verhoudings is nie, is daar ook nie vreugde nie. Behou die heilig van verhoudings, sover as moontlik.
Soos die dissipels van ouds, wil ek ook amper bid, Here, gee my meer geloof 🙂

Categories
Sermons

What to do when God feels distant

We all regularly experience moments where God feels distant. There is a difference between sin and sins. Ultimately sin is our arrogance to break relationship and union with God, thinking we can live without Him. Sins are the things we do as a result of a broken relationship. But we have made peace with God through Christ Jesus. Rom 5:1

David knew about this feeling Psalm 27:8-9

IT IS ONLY A FEELING GOD IS OMNIPRESENT
the Bible instructs us when God feels absent, remember it is a feeling because God is omnipresent. omnipresent (i.e., God is everywhere present): 1 Ki 8:27; Job 26:5–6; Ps 139:7–12; Pr 15:3; Je 23:23–24; Ac 17:27 (cf. Ge 28:16; De 4:36; Isa 57:15; Jon 1:3–4; Mt 28:20; Ac 2:25; 17:24, 27–28; Eph 1:23; Heb 13:5; Jam 4:8

He is always with us. will never leave or forsake us. Jos 1:5; 1 Chron 28:20; Heb 13:5
So we are talking about His manifest presence: God making Himself visible to our senses.

THE BIBLE INSTRUCTS US TO WAIT ON GOD
general references: Ge 49:18; Job 35:14; Ps 25:5; 62:5; 119:74; 130:5; Isa 8:17; 25:9; Mk 15:43
♦ exhortation concerning: Job 35:14; Ps 27:14; 37:7; Hos 12:6; Zep 3:8
♦ results of: Ps 25:3; 37:9; 40:1; 147:11; Pr 20:22; Isa 40:31; 49:23; 64:4; La 3:25–26; Mi 7:7; Heb 6:15 (cf. Je 8:15) ♦ lack of: Ps 106:13

WHAT DOES BIBLICAL WAITING LOOKS LIKE?
Waiting is not passive, but an active waiting with earnest expectation. It is more clearly seen in setting up an ambush for the one who promised, “I will be found by you” (Jer. 29:14). Like fishing, i am actively waiting with expectation.

REST H1826. דָּמַם dāmam: A verb meaning to be silent, to be still; to stand still. It depicts the state of being motionless (1 Sam. 14:9; Jer. 47:6). It can be used to command something to be motionless, to stand still (Josh. 10:12, 13), such as the sun. It means to refrain from speech (Lev. 10:3) at an appropriate time (Amos 5:13). It refers to persons being traumatized, rigid, or frozen from fear and fright (Ex. 15:16) like a stone or the silencing of persons through war or other means (Jer. 8:14; 48:2; 49:26; 50:30). It indicates, on the other hand, the absence of emotional distress and churning and the ability to be quiet and relax (Job 30:27; Ps. 4:4; 30:12; 131:2), which Job could not accomplish.

WAITING PATIENTLY H2342. חוּל ḥûl, חִיל ḥiyl: A verb meaning to whirl, to shake, to fear, to dance, to writhe, to grieve. This word has many different meanings, most of which derive from two basic ideas: to whirl in motion and to writhe in pain. The first of these ideas may be seen in the shaking of the earth (Ps. 29:8); the stirring of the waters (Ps. 77:16[17]); or the trembling of the mountains (Hab. 3:10). At times, this word is used in a context of shaking with fear (Deut. 2:25; Jer. 5:22); worshiping in trembling awe (1 Chr. 16:30; Ps. 96:9); or anxiously waiting (Gen. 8:10; Ps. 37:7). It is also used to describe dancing women (Judg. 21:21, 23). The second idea of writhing in pain can be either physical, as when Saul was wounded in battle (1 Sam. 31:3), or emotional, as when Jeremiah grieved in anguish over Jerusalem’s refusal to grieve (Jer. 4:19). This word is often used to describe the labor pains of giving birth (Ps. 29:9; Isa. 26:17, 18; 51:2) but can also imply God’s creating work (Deut. 32:18; Job 15:7; Ps. 90:2; Prov. 8:24, 25).

OUR ACCESS TO GOD HAS BEEN OPENED
Through a new and living way: Heb 10:19
We have access through his righteousness Mat 6:33
Permanent Glory 2 Cor 3:9-18 His Glory is no longer periodic, we are the habitation of His presence. 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19

ABSOLUTE FOCUS:
I was once driving from Northern California to Southern California on Interstate 5. South of Bakersfield I found myself in a dust storm that almost completely blinded me. It covered the entire freeway. There were cars immediately behind me, so I knew stopping could be disastrous. As I got into this cloud of dust I could faintly see cars and trucks scattered all over both sides of the freeway with people waving frantically. Talking with friends, listening to music, and the like are acceptable activities while driving, but they could have been deadly in this moment. Absolute silence filled the car as I worked to maintain my speed and focus on the lane ahead of me. After a minute or two, we made it through that terrifying cloud of death by God’s grace alone. Intense focus restricts what you are willing and able to see. And while this approach will keep you from seeing many things, it will also open your eyes to see more of what you hunger for. Self-control is not the ability to say no to a thousand other voices. It’s the ability to say yes to the one thing so completely that there’s nothing left to give to the other options. Bill Johnson Hosting His presence Unveiling Heaven’s agenda

The major way to express God’s compassion in the Old Testament was to use the Hebrew word raham, “womb.”¹ Why in the world did the Hebrews pick the word “womb” to express God’s compas-sion? Most likely it came from a Hebrew husband’s observing the intense feelings his pregnant wife had for the unborn in-fant inside her womb. He knew she had feelings and a love for that child that he cculd not yet experience. Excerpt From: “Surprised by the Power of the Spirit: Discovering How God Speaks and Heals Today” by Jack S. Deere.

In die onlangse fliek ͞The Avengers͟ word dit uitgebeeld hoe een van die Agente Phil Coulson besig is om te sterf: In sy sterwens oomblik sê hy: Agent Phil Coulson: You’re gonna lose. Loki: Am I? Agent Phil Coulson: It’s in your nature. Loki: Your heroes are scattered, your floating fortress falls from the sky… where is my disadvantage? Agent Phil Coulson: You lack conviction. Loki: I don’t think I.. Coulson shoots Loki with his BFG, causing Loki to be blown through the wall behind him.

Heb 11:1 NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. For by [faith—trust and holy fervor born of faith] the men of old had divine testimony borne to them and obtained a good report. By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible.

Heb 10:22 Let us all come forward and draw near with true (honest and sincere) hearts in unqualified assurance and absolute conviction engendered by faith (by that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness),

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Social Relevance

WALK – Holiness, poverty, and relationship-reform

Caring for the Poor, Biblical Mandate: Summery of “When helping hurts” How to alleviate poverty without hurting the poor and yourself. 
Steve Corbett
What was the focus of Jesus’ Ministry?
Luke 4:17–21 
And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
When Jesus’ Ministry was tested and questioned by John the baptist:
Luke 7:22–23 
Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
Jesus Focussed on the poor: and wants us to focus on the poor:
Matthew 25:44–46 
“Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
This is the fulfillment of the OT plan God had for Isreal:
Isaiah 1:17 
Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Rebuke the oppressor;
Defend the fatherless,
Plead for the widow.
Deuteronomy 15:4 
except when there may be no poor among you; for the LORD will greatly bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance—
God gave Moses numerous commands in-  structing Israel to care for the poor. The Sabbath  guaranteed a day of rest for the slave and alien (Ex.  23:10–12). The Sabbath year canceled debts for Is-  raelites, allowed the poor to glean from the fields,  and set slaves free as well as equipping the slaves to  be productive (Deut. 15:1–18). The Jubilee year  emphasized liberty; it released slaves and returned  land to its original owners (Lev. 25:8–55). Other laws  about debt, tithing, and gleaning ensured that the  poor would be cared for each day of the year (Lev.  25:35–38; Deut. 14:28–29; Lev. 19:9–10). The com-  mands were so extensive that they were designed to  achieve the ultimate goal of eradicating poverty  among God’s people: “There should be no poor  among you,” God declared (Deut. 15:4). 
God judges our worship as fruitless and futile if we neglect the poor:
Personal piety and formal worship are essential to  the Christian life, but they must lead to lives that  “act justly and love mercy” (Mic. 6:8). 
Throughout the New  Testament, care of the poor is a vital concern of the  church (Matt. 25:31–46; Acts 6:1–7; Gal. 2:1–10; 6:10James 1:27). Perhaps no passage states it more suc-  cinctly than 1 John 3:16–18
God’s answer to the poverty question of mankind is His kingdom:
The kingdom is the renewal of the whole world through the entrance of supernatural forces. As things are brought back under Christ’s rule and authority, they are restored to health, beauty, and free- dom.
Jesus Ministry started preaching the Kingdom: Mat 4:17 instructing His disciples to do the same: Luke 9:2; Luke 10:9 and the first church did the same: Acts 4:34; 10:45
The way God shows His Kingdom to the World is by using the poor, the weak en simple to display His glory:
James 2:5 
Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?
1 Corinthians 1:26–29 
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.
Poor people typically talk in terms of shame, inferiority, powerlessness, humiliation, fear, hopelessness, depression, social isolation, and voicelessness.
God established four foundational relationships for each person: a relationship with God, with self, with others, and with the rest of creation (see figure 2.1).¹⁴ These relationships are  the building blocks for all of life. When they are  functioning properly, humans experience the full-  ness of life that God intended, because we are being  what God created us to be
Poverty is the result of relationships that do not work, that are not just, that are not for life, that are not harmonious or enjoyable. Poverty is the absence of shalom in all its meanings
Every human being is suffering from a poverty of spiritual intimacy, a poverty of being, a poverty of community, and a poverty of stewardship.
The materially poor are trapped by multiple, interconnected factors—insufficient assets, vulnerability, powerlessness, isolation, and physical weakness— that ensnare them like bugs caught in a spider’s web.¹⁷ Imagine being caught in such a web.
According to Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, it is this lack of freedom to be able to make meaningful choices—to have an ability to affect one’s situation—that is the distinguishing feature of poverty
Poverty alleviation is the ministry of reconciliation: moving people closer to glorifying God by living in right relationship with God, with self, with others, and with the rest of creation. Material poverty alleviation is working to reconcile the four foundational relationships so that people can fulfill their callings of glorifying God by working and supporting themselves and their families with the fruit of that work.
We are building people, leaders, community, an economic base, and capacity, not a product for profit.
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Sermons

STAND – Resurrected into a new Life in Christ

Elijah – stood for justice but most of all he was a prophet calling his people from backsliding to devotion and holiness unto God. Often he laments; “GOD I am standing alone”

When studying this passage it becomes clear that this wonderful miracle of God vindicating his faith was initiated by God. ‘Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.’ 1 King 18:37 The similar kind of prayer was prayed when Jesus raised Lazarus. Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they might believe that You sent Me.” Joh 11:42

Two of the greatest miracles in the Bible and it is done without much fanfare, pomp, elaboration and outward expressiveness. This simplicity is one of the reasons we believe the gospel writer’s account of what happened in Jesus’ life. Embellished and extravagant details are strong signs that a historical account has legendary elements. The Gospels give matter-of-fact, almost bland descriptions of the Resurrection. Excerpt From: “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (Foreword by David Limbaugh)” by Norman L. Geisler. Scribd.

And when I came to you, brothers and sisters, proclaiming to you the testimony of God [concerning salvation through Christ], I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom [no lofty words of eloquence or of philosophy as a Greek orator might do]; for I made the decision to know nothing [that is, to forego philosophical or theological discussions regarding inconsequential things and opinions while] among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified [and the meaning of His redemptive, substitutionary death and His resurrection]. And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom [using clever rhetoric], but [they were delivered] in demonstration of the [Holy] Spirit [operating through me] and of [His] power [stirring the minds of the listeners and persuading them], so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom and rhetoric of men, but on the power of God.
1 CORINTHIANS 2:1‭-‬2‭, ‬4‭-‬5 AMP

THIS SIGN WAS POINTING TO A GREAT REALITY

This wonderful sign did not change or move the heart of the people. Jezebel pursued him and tried to kill him. Because all signs and wonders points to a higher and greater reality, that of a lifestyle of obedience and holiness. We are the most healed and whole when we are the most like Jesus. A whole heart, free from iniquity, vile, or deceit.

The focus on healing, signs & wonders, prosperity, wealth, victory, miracles in the Pentecostal church in Africa will either testify against them of for them if it does not lead to holiness, reconciliation, repentance, humility, meekness, truth, and people reflecting Jesus to the World.

Prosperity without God at the center is materialism.
Work without God at the center is slavery – because of mistaken identity
Words without corresponding action as our testimony leads to atheism
Worship without a lifestyle of obedience is witchcraft.
Outward impressiveness without the inner reality of Godliness is religion

EAST AFRICAN REVIVAL

Joe Church stayed with friends on Namirembe Hill and on the Sunday morning walked up to the cathedral. Outside it was an African standing by his motor-bike. His name was Simeoni Nsibambi. ‘There is something missing in me and the Uganda church. Can you tell what it is?’ Simeoni asked Joe. The two men spent two days studying the Bible and praying together. In a subsequent letter home, Joe wrote. There can be nothing to stop a real outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Rwanda now except our own lack of sanctification.’ Both men were transformed and Joe went back to Gahini in Rwanda a new person. Immediately conversions began to take place, and Christians started to confess faults and resentments to one another. Forgiveness was experienced and broken relationships restored.

– public repentance and forgiveness
– no more schisms and divisions tolerated, reconciliation on all levels.
– restitution
– Bible Study & Prayer
– missions, evangelism, church plants
– high standard in work ethic, no more corruption

A true revival cannot have self-propelled vessels. Isa 33:21

ANSWERED PRAYER – SONSHIP:

God is calling the church in Uganda to maturity: children makes a lot of noise, not having substance. This speaks of a position in God, a standing in God. Before we can attempt to stand in this world for God, we have to lay down and surrender to God. Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:7-8

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. James 5:13-18

RIGHTEOUSNESS

The English word righteousness comes from the Anglo-Saxon word, rightwiseness, wise in that which is right. In the original Greek it is “Dikaiosune” meaning two parties finding a likeness in one another, to join, to be set at one again. We become wise when we realize our oneness with God in Christ.

This speaks of a position in God, a standing in God. Before we can attempt to stand in this world for God, we have to lay down and surrender to God. Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:7-8

Paul alloborates this clearly in Ephesus
Sit, stand, walk – This position is not attained through works or effort of man but through faith in His work. My complete trust is in His finished work. This is why we always start sitting. Sitting in heavenly places. Eph 2:6

Our first position of departure is always surrendered.

Elijah did not strive and performed rituals like the false prophets. He simply obeyed an instruction God gave him, and God did the rest.

The one thing the world has seen enough of, is man standing. Rebellion, entitlement, pride, arrogance, even for the right cause brings anarchy, pain and war. We instead learn to die to self, take up our cross, and follow His way. Mat 16:24

When Jesus is doing the standing in you, he works meekness, humility and gentleness in us that is much more powerful weapons. 2 cor 10:3-6 than the works of the flesh.

Once this is achieved Jesus will stand in you, all the time. His life, way, values and character becomes the weapons of our warfare

Meekness – (before God)
Gentleness – (before man)
Humility – (before myself)

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Learn to love and honor God’s Judgments

Love and honor God’s Judgments

We live in an age where the following statement has never been more accurate and relevant; “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” Judges 21:25 We have more information availible than ever yet people appear to be entirely ignorant of their lifestyle decisions, and it’s consequences. Our alienation from God and Truth has set us onto a course of deep darkness.

The sad truth though is that many Christians and believers are also just as ignorant of their behavior, habits, and incompetence in certain areas. This ignorance became very apparent to us in our recent encounters to Uganda. These are beautiful people, but they are totally ignorant of their incompetence in the workplace. Maybe in some way this is a good thing, for ignorance is bliss. Samuel Lwandasa, who have lived in the USA for more than 15 years relayed a little story to explain the problem with Africans. One man has five cows, he is very proud and feels like a wealthy man, because his neigbor only has two. Not realizing there are people who have more than thousand cows.

Against this backdrop of Earthly reality, I see in the scriptures an incredible hidden truth.

David loved God’s Judgments!

Psalms 18:22 For all His judgments were before me, And I did not put away His statutes from me.

Psalms 19:9-10 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

Psalms 36:6 Your righteousness is like the great mountains; Your judgments are a great deep; O Lord, You preserve man and beast.

David sings a song on God’s Judgments, about how he loves it! Psalms 119:7, 13, 20, 30, 39, 52, 62, 66, 75, 102, 106, 108, 137, 156, 160, 164, 175

Loving Judgements is a difficult concept to comprehend at first; most children writing exams surely cannot agree that they love it! We as adults are not far behind; we’re just happy that we do not have to write them anymore. An interesting read on the subject is the study done by Justin Kruger and David Dunning.

People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their abilities. 1

I also remember a most interesting TED talk, we reviewed in BibleSchool class on Being Wrong by Kathryn Schulz. https://youtu.be/QleRgTBMX88 She explained how like the Wolf in the Road Runner animation, we run over the edge believing we can walk on air, to then suddenly realize we’re dead wrong. We all have moments like this, and it is what makes us human. The problem is when decision makers are wrong and want others to believe their error. Not knowing I am wrong, is possible one of our biggest handicaps.

Seek criticism from friends and peers

Elon Musk explains in an interview about Starting up a new business on how important it is to seek Criticism. 2 He calls it “rigorous self-analysis.” Obviously, you should ignore the ignorance of people that do not understand your cause and is just sowing doubt and unbelief. Learn and attract criticism from your friends, invite them to speak into your life. Make yourself vulnerable. Prayerfully extract the gold from every criticism, reproof, rebuke, admonishment, exhortation that comes your way. Say thank you, the person correcting you is taking a significant risk, and a show of courage to point out a possible error.

Peer review analyses: Because it ‘s hard for most professionals to recognize and improve on their weaknesses on their own, aviation has developed structured mechanisms of check questions to a relative peer. Like flight attendants checking each other on door closing procedures, Pilots going through checklists with Co-pilot etc, and flight crew awareness of problems reported to the captain. This system was only introduced after the fatal crash of Trans World Airlines (TWA) Flight 514, a Boeing 727 inbound from Columbus, Ohio, that was scheduled to land at Washington National Airport. The crew had flown a normally functioning Boeing 727 aircraft into a hill at an altitude of 1669 feet, just short of the hill’s peak of 1764 feet. The 85 passengers and seven crew members died in a horrific fiery crash 29 miles northwest of Dulles International Airport. Human error and Pilot’s misunderstanding each other was the cause of this accident.

How many people have suffered terrible harm because of the absence of correction in the offender’s life?

Elite athletes, musicians, and other top performers understand that excellence occurs through extensive study and practice, with constant feedback, and by adopting techniques and tools that have led to others’ success. For elite performers, this extends well beyond the formal training period. (An entire scientific discipline is devoted to this topic, as detailed by Ericsson 34.)

 Maybe this is why Weigh-less is so successful in helping people loose weight, the weekly weigh-ins.  The AA has sponsors.  Covenant eyes provide a accountability software program for Internet Porn Addicts, where you share your online traffic with a partner.

Take regular tests, to evaluate your ability, performance, and development.

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified 2 Corinthians 13:5. Doing inward self-analysis is fruitless and futile. Paul says that he does not even judge himself. 1 Corinthians 4:3. Judgment has to be external. Our own hearts are too deceptive. Jeremiah 17:9.

The Word and the Spirit is the perfect Judge

Jesus learned His judgment from the Father. Do not trust your own judgment, seek His judgment. John 5:30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. John 7:24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” John 8:15-16 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me.

The more we Study the Word, the better we can judge. The Word is a discerner. Hebrews 4:12. Like not judging a matter by the first testimony, cross-examine and then make a conclusion. Proverbs 18:17.

David made several prayer requests to God to search Him, test Him and examine him. Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, Ps 139:23

The judgment of the Father

In recent times so many worship songs focus on loving God, and His amazing enduring love for us. Although this is important, yet the context of our relationship is always explained in terms of that of a disciple, a bond-slave, a child, a friend. Even our love is contextualized: if you love me you will obey my commandments. John 15:10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

We do not fear His judgment because of His perfect love. 1 John 4:17-19 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us. Love is made perfect through obedience. Hebrews 5:8.

Having God as our Father, does not only mean we are now protected, He will take care of everything. It means He will correct us, chastise, and rebuke us if nessasary.

And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Hebrews 12:5-7

See Prov 15:31-32 Today’s scripture reading…

  1. “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments” Justin Kruger and David Dunning Cornell University  ↩︎
  2. Elon Musk https://youtu.be/NU7W7qe2R0A “Constantly seek criticism” 11minutes into video 
  3. Ericsson KA. The influence of experience and deliberate practice on the development of superior expert performance. In: , Ericsson KA. ed. The Cambridge handbook of expertise and expert performance. New YorkNew York: Cambridge University Press, 2006; 683–704. CrossRef