Thursday, 22 March 2018

The Aaronic Blessing & Concrete Faith ~ Ganeida.

I am indebted for this mornings message especially to Jeff A. Benner, & Neihemiah Gordon, Hebrew scholars, for their insight & understanding of the Hebrew text. I referenced 2 other sources but as they only substantiated the 1st two I am fairly confident of a good understanding of our source text this morning.

Like many churches throughout the ages we often sing a version of  Numbers 6:24-26 [RSV]: The LORD bless you and keep you: The LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you: The LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. 

It is beautiful but it is a great deal more than pretty words.  When  I first looked at this teaching  I was enchanted but figured it was one of those esoteric things that was interesting but not really pertinent.  Then 2 things happened:
  • The 1st was completely unexpected.  For weeks this prayer began circulating in my thought life.  I woke @ night with the words running through my mind.  They were the first words that came into my mind in the morning.  I found this prayer becoming a constant, subconscious stream throughout my day.  Any time I stopped & paid attention the words The Lord bless you & keep you immediately rose to the surface.  I figured I was being asked to pay attention.

The second thing arose out of a conversation KGV & I were having about Faith. This is a Faith church.  We practice the Word by Faith.  We pray the Word in Faith. We lay hands on the sick by Faith ~ but I don't often preach about Faith & there is a good reason for that, one I have understood but not articulated: Faith comes by hearing, & hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17 

You see our Faith is in God but it is limited by what we know of God, who we understand Him to be, so the more we know Him as He desires to be known the greater our Faith will become.  While it may seem I teach on a wide variety of subjects, in reality I have only one goal in mind: that God be known, that we might make Him known.

When we come to Numbers 6:24 we come to one of the most amazing revelations in the entire bible. Here we find the only prayer that God Himself  prayed & taught.  We understand that what is known as The Lord's Prayer was not really a prayer.  Rather it is an outline based on the Jewish Amidah & meant to be personalised, not rattled off in rote form. 

But turn to Numbers 6:26. This is the Lord speaking: Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying "Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, 'Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them:

Everything that follows is what God desires for His people but we immediately run into a problem with our English translation, beautiful though it may be.  Many of the concepts expressed are abstract concepts in English: bless, keep, gracious, countenance, peace. Hebrew is a concrete language, rather than abstract, & so each of these words has a concrete meaning that would have been understood by the first hearers.  In Greek thinking a blessing is just words but in Hebrew a blessing is actions because what we do is more important than what we think.

Before we begin looking at these concepts I want to consider another aspect of this blessing in the Hebrew because it is fun & I think God gets great pleasure from hiding these little snippets in scripture for us to find.

Firstly there are 3 lines in the original Hebrew. That is the number of the Trinity but watch how God multiplies His blessing in the original.  There are 3 words in the 1st line in Hebrew, 6 in the second line, 9 in the 3rd line. There are 15  Hebrew letters in the 1st line, 20 in the 2nd, 25 in the 3rd. Each line begins with the Name of God, meaning, This God will do for you... Five is the number of Grace [God's unmerited favour].  Three & it's multiples represents completion, significance. We get 3 fives ...Grace multiplied... Keep that in mind.
As each line begins with the Name of God it then does something very specific.  Every time the word you is used, it is used in the singular sense, not the plural.  This is a very personal prayer.  It is addressed to each person individually, not to corporate masses. With no changing of textual meaning you could insert your own name: The Lord bless Ganeida & Keep her... etc It is that personal.  This is the Great I AM speaking very specific things into your life.  This is His known & revealed will for you.

So what is God actually saying?

The 1st thing is the name.  We have studied the Names of God so we should remember that name reveals character. In essence God is saying know my character, know who I am, take my character to the people & teach them.  This, in effect, is what Jesus said in Matthew 28:19~20: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." We cannot teach what we do not know so there is an onus on us to know God, know Him intimately, know Him not just as Lord & saviour but as a friend & a brother. We are not to falsely represent the Name of God.

Even today, when a Jewish priest blesses the people, he will lift his hands, palms downward, thumbs touching, the fingers of each hand split in two parts, to form the letter *shin*, an emblem for Shaddai ~ one of the names of God ~ & so His name rests over the people as they are blessed.  You will see this when we watch Jonathon Cahn chant the blessing in Hebrew.

The Hebrew word for bless is barakh which means to kneel down, as  in one who brings a gift.  That might seem a little strange, the God of the universe kneeling down to bring us gifts but remember Jesus taught us to address God as Abba, father... so you have a picture of a Father kneeling down to present a gift to His beloved child.  This does not turn God into some sort of puppet at our beck & call, rather it is a picture of James 1:17: Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

The desire of God's heart is that we approach Him as beloved children whom He can shower with good gifts.

The next word is keep: shamar.  It is derived from the root word for thorn & literally means to guard, to protect, & would have reminded the people of the thorn hedges shepherds erected to keep their flock safe @ night. Originally our English word *keep* would have had a similar meaning from the castle keeps.

Paniym is face, literally faces.  It can mean presence, or the wholeness of a person.  For us it invokes the idea of being completely filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit who reveals all of God to us.

Or, meaning to shine, conveys the idea of separating light from darkness & bringing order to chaos; enlightenment, illumination.

Hhanan, gracious. In Hebrew thinking it means *to provide protection*.  Think Proverbs 18:10: The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe.  We are back to the Name.

Nasa: lift up. If we keep the flow of ideas we have the righteous running to the Lord, their strong tower, like a child running into the arms of a loving  daddy & being scooped up & held safe.

Siym: to set something in place, to establish
& shalom, as we know, means to make whole or complete, nothing missing, nothing lost, nothing deficient, all that is needed.
And so we are actually praying very specifically that the God of the universe, the great I AM, cover us with His name as He kneels down to present us with the gifts of His protection, His presence, giving us illumination to bring order out of chaos & establish us so that we are whole & complete in Him.  That is a very wonderful prayer.  It is a very concrete thing to ask for. May it be so.

Friday, 9 March 2018

The Temple, Ourselves ~ Ganeida

In Romans 7, starting @ v 15, Paul makes this complaint:For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. And a bit further along in v 24 he expounds upon this thought:
Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Paul is expressing something we have all experienced.  We know what is right & good; we want to do what is right & good, but far too often we find ourselves, just like Paul, doing the very things we hate:  Things we know are wrong, not good for us & out of the will of God. As Professor Sumner Miller used to say:  Why is it so?

To answer that question we are going to relook @ the threefold nature of man. To do that I am going to start with a basic premise found in 1 Corinthians 6:19 : 
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

One of the things I love about God is that He is absolutely consistent & he carries His imagery right through the bible. We were created from the dust of the earth, just as the earthly temple was, & just like that temple we were created in three parts: We have a physical body ~ our outer court.  We have a soul: our will, our intellect, our emotions, which equates to the inner court. Lastly we have a spirit, our holy of holies which is where the Holy Spirit of God now resides.

Every single person operates out of one or other of these 3 places. We don't always operate out of the same place but the idea is that we grow so that we most often are operating out of the Spirit, reflecting Christ in Us to the world around us. 

We live in the physical realm so we need a physical body.  Brought into subjection to the spirit of God our bodies become a blessing to others.  It is through our physical bodies we express God's love: hands & feet to minister comfort, mouths to speak words of life & encouragement, eyes to see what needs to be done, ears to hear another's heart. However, when we don't bring our bodes into subjection we find our tongues gossiping, our bodies slothful, ourselves overeating, oversleeping, overanything & everything that satan can tempt us with for he is able to turn even good things into evil.  We need to eat for energy.  We don't need an excess of food.  We need to rest, but too much is harmful.  God designed sex but lust perverts that which was designed for our good.

Our body is designed to fit into this world, to connect with this world.  It is not designed to connect with the spiritual. Ever since the fall: For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. [1 John 2:16]For these were the 3  things satan used to bring about the fall of man. He's still using them.  Thus we are exhorted to crucify our flesh Romans 8:13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Galatians is very clear about what the deeds of the body are:Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. [Galatians 5:19~21]

All these things are within our control.  We choose whether we will follow our flesh or if we will get rid of these things out of our life.  Here, @ its simplest & most basic, is what the new birth, the baptism in the Spirit of God, is all about ~ & why we need it! Our bodies are designed to respond to the world but since the world is now corrupted, just as our bodies are corrupt, we have to learn to live according to the Spirit.

Now lots of people muddle up the soul & the spirit but scripture makes it clear they are 2 different things. Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

The soul is our mind; the intellectual realm where we think, reason & feel. In Romans 12:2 we are given a direct command regarding our minds: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.  In order to control ourbodies we need to renew our minds. Ephesians 5:26 instructs us that sanctification [renewal] comes through the washing of the word. See, I don't tell you to learn God's word for the sake of learning God's word even though it is useful in & of itself.  No!  I tell you to know the word because it not only protects & guides you; it renews your mind!

I will give you an example because we've all been here. Somebody does something to you.  They say things about you that are untrue. Defamatory. Hurtful ~ & our flesh screams.  Immediately we become defensive.  We want to protect ourselves & our good name, justify our actions, give back, with interest, the harm we've received.  That is a normal & natural reaction.  That is exactly how the world thinks & acts but what does Jesus say? "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:27~28 Note the bible doesn't say it is easy to do this, it simply says to do it. Why?  Because of the cross. Because we are crucified with Christ & if the world hated Him it will hate us also [John 15:18] but remember it was from the cross, naked, mocked, beaten & rejected God loved the world.

Don't be disheartened!  Remember Paul's opening confession:  I do what I don't want to do...Nor am I saying we are doormats for anyone who cares to stomp all over us for Jesus also cautioned: Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. Matthew 10:16 We don't need to go looking for trouble.  There is no need.  It will come.  Part of being shrewd is knowing when & how to respond to a situation we find ourselves in but the one thing we are NOT to do is respond as the world responds.

Lastly we have the Spirit.  Everyone has a spirit but believers have a different spirit because that is the only part of us that is completely renewed when we believe on Christ. The promise was: Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26 ~ & that is exactly what happened @ Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was released for the first time to all believers! It is what happens for every true believer.  Nicodemus struggled to understand this ~ but remember the Spirit had not yet been given. 2nd Corinthians 5:17 tells us that those who are in Christ are a new creation ~ & there are days when I sincerely wish the new creation included this body ~ but it doesn't.  It is referring to the renewing of our Spirit. It is the Spirit that enables the new life.

When we spoke about repentance we said it was a complete about face, a turning from following after the world to following after Christ. We can only truly do this if we have God's spirit within us because our bodies were made to fit into this world & that will always be our default position unless we consciously choose to listen to the Spirit.  Without God's Spirit we are like the Jews, adhering to rules & regulations but without life. We need the oil of the Spirit, His unction, His anointing or we merely have religion & no life.

John 4:24 says God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. That is an interesting statement.  We are the temple but the temple has 3 spaces.  The outer court, our flesh, our body,  is further-est from God.  Our body can go through the motions.  We can lift our hands & say the words, sing the songs but if our soul & spirit isn't engaged we are not truly worshipping God as He desires to be worshipped.  Our inner court, the realm of the mind, is where we understand the Truth & that is the point @ which we must begin.  But when The Holy Spirit leads from the Holy Of Holies we truly worship & our minds & bodies will follow His direction.  Here is Life Abundant. 

John 7:38 says 
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.[KJV] The NASB says:He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'

That Living Water will help us to crucify our flesh & renew our mind but we have to be in agreement as God will never go against our free will.  If we choose to be lazy or disobedient we will be allowed to be but when we choose the life of the Holy Spirit He will literally come alongside of us & stand against that which we stand against & undergird that which we agree with partnering with us to transform us into the likeness of Christ.   

Sunday, 4 March 2018

The Foundation of Faith. ~ Rabqa

John 1:1-3. In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was
God.2 He existed in the beginning with God. 3 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.

In the beginning is an allusion to Genes 1:1 with the intention of linking Jesus the Word with the God of creation. The event of Jesus incarnation, therefore, had cosmic significance. The Word is Jesus Christ, the eternal, ultimate expression of God. In the Old Testament God spoke the world into existence; in the gospel God spoke His final Word through the living Word, His Son. The phrase “The Word was God” attributes deity to the Word without defining all the Godhead as the Word.

In verse three John declares that Jesus was the divine agent who was responsible for the entire creation.

Luke 6:27-49 Verses 27 & 7 28 teach us how to deal with our enemies. Something is missing when we say we forgive those who have hurt or offended us & go no further.

Let me put it this way: People go to Church meetings & pray for the ability to forgive & yet in a short time they are right back having the same problem with bitterness, anger & hypersensitivity, asking for help.

These people are just not doing what the Word instructs.

God tells us in His Word to forgive others, but He does not stop there He goes on to instruct to bless them. In this context, the word bless means “to speak well of.” So one of our problems is though we pray & try to forgive those who offended us, we turn right round & curse them with our tongues or we rehash the offense again & again with others.

This will not work!

To work through the process of forgiveness & enjoy the peace we seek, we must do what God tells us to do, which is not only to forgive but also to bless.

One reason we find it so hard to pray for those who hurt us & mistreat us is that we tend to think we are asking God to bless them physically or materially. The truth is that we are not praying for them to make money or have more possessions; we are praying for them to be blessed spiritually. What we are doing is asking God to bring truth & revelation to them about their attitude & behaviour so the will be willing to repent & to be freed from their sins.

It is not enough to merely say we forgive others; we must be careful not to curse them or speak evil of them even if we think they deserve it. Instead we must do as Jesus did & pray for them, bless, them & speak well of them. Why? You may ask, because by doing so, we not only bless them but ourselves also. Hating those who hurt you is like taking poison hoping your enemy will die. Obviously, anyone who did would only be hurting themselves. Why spend your life angry at people who probably do not even know or care that you are angry? These people are thoroughly enjoying their lives while you are miserable. Release them, let the offense go, drop it & have the same attitude toward them that Jesus had toward His enemies. By doing this you will experience wonderful freedom & God will show Himself strong as your Vindicator.

We also learn in verses 29-36 to renounce all forms of retaliation. Leave all vengeance to God.

Love by choice not by circumstance. Let mistreatment by others remind you to overcome their evil through love.

Jesus has great deal to say about humility. & no wonder, since it was pride that first caused man to fall. As the New Adam, Jesus exemplified this aspect of righteous living. Man fell because he presumed his own way above God’s, but restored godliness requires that we do the opposite & humble ourselves before God’s will & way. Then true God-given exaltation & recognition will come to those who least expect it & who least seek it.

Verse 38 shows us to give & it will be given back to us. God expects you to receive a harvest from our giving. He wants us to expect a miracle.

Jesus opened up a whole new way of giving. He gave Himself totally to & for the needs of the people. We can no longer pay or sacrifice our way into God’s mercy. Jesus Christ has paid our debt before God, & the cross is a completed work in our eternal interest. Our giving, then a debt that we owe, but a seed that we sow! The life & power source is from Him. Ours is to simply act on the power potential in that seed life He has placed in us by His power & grace!

Notice when Jesus said “Give” He also said “& it will be given back to you” Giving & receiving belong together. Only when we give are we in a position to expect to reach out & receive a harvest will be “Good measure, pressed down. Shaken together, & running over.” (John 6:38)
We give as to God, & we receive as from God; but we should remain sensitive at all times to the different ways in which God may deliver our harvest. Orel Roberts said a miracle is either coming towards you or going past you all the time. Reach out & take it! Do not let it pass by (Matt 9:20-22). God’s miracles may be coming as an idea, an opportunity, an invitation or a previously unknown or unidentified association. Watch expectantly for the ways in which God may choose to deliver your miracle, for you.

Verse 43-45 teaches us that our actions reflect what is in our hearts. Dose any of our behaviour indicate a need for a change in your heart? Ask God to continue to transform you more & more into His image, so that your actions will reflect His work & His presence in your heart.

We see in verse 44 that Jesus said that every tree is known & identified by its fruit. Imagine looking at a fruit tree that depicts all the bad things produced in the sense of someone who is unhealthy emotionally. If you look at the roots of that person's life you will find things like rejection, abuse, guilt, negativism & shame.

If you have a problem with unhealthy attitudes in your life, they are the bitter fruit of what has been rooted into your thinking. You maybe the product of improper mirroring & imaging of your parents & others. You may suffer from bad examples you were exposed to in your earlier years.

If parents teachers, or other authority figures told you to over & over in your youth that you were no good, that there was something wrong with you, that you could not do anything right, that you are worthless & would never amount to anything, you may actually believe it. Satan reinforces that message by repeating in your mind again & again until it becomes part of yourself image that you actually become on the outside the way you see yourself on the inside.

It has been proved that if people believe something about themselves strongly enough they will actually behave the way they perceive themselves to be. But there is good news your mind can be renewed by the Word of God (Romans 12:2) This I know from experience does not happen instantly, but with the help of the Holy Spirit you become the person God created you to be; to bear good fruit, & He will help you to do so by replacing bad roots with good as you meditate on His Word. Jesus invites us to be rooted & grounded in Him & in His love (Eph 3:17 Col2:7)

In verses 46-49 we see the most important part of a house is its foundation, we learn that without a firm foundation a house is constantly in danger of collapsing. The same is true in your life as a Christian, knowing God’s Word & obeying is the foundation of the Christian life. Ask God to teach you His Word & to help you obey Him in every area of your life, so that you can be strong in all circumstances.

If we are ever going to make any progress in the divine life, we will have to have a real foundation. There is any foundation except the foundation of faith for all of us. All our actions & all that will ever come to us that is of any importance will be because we have a Rock. If you are on the Rock no power can move you in any area or principal of your faith, you must have something established in you to bring it forth. There is no establishment outside God’s Word. Everything else is sand. Everything else will break apart. If you build on anything else but the Word of God~on imaginations, sentimentality, or feelings it will mean nothing without the foundation & the foundation will have to be in the Word of God.

Smith Wigglesworth tells that he was once on a train going to Blackpool (a sea side resort in England). It is a fashionable resort, & many people go there because of the high tides & the wonderful sights they see as the ocean surges up in a large, massive mountains of sea. As he travelled he looked over & said to a builder, “Those men are building houses upon the sand.”

“Oh”, he said, “you don’t know. You are not a builder. You don’t know that we can pound the sand until it becomes like rock.”

Smith told them that it was nonsense, & saw that the argument was not going to profit, so he dropped it. By the time they reached Blackpool, where the mountainous waves come over. He saw a row of houses that had fallen flat, & drawing the attention to this man, he said, “Oh look at those houses. See how flat they are.” He had forgotten their previous conversation & said, “You know here we have very large tides, & theses houses being on the sand when the floods came they fell.

Our foundation must be something better than sand & everything is sand except the Word. There isn’t anything that will remain. We are told that heaven & earth will be melted with fervent heat (2Peter 3:10). But the Word of God Will be forever,& not one jot or tittle of the Word of God will fail (Matthew 5:18)If there is anything that satisfies me is that knowing that Your Word is settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89). Another passage in psalm 138:2 says You have magnified Your Word above all your name). The very establishment for me is the Word of God.

Here we have the foundation of all things, which is the Word. It is a substance; it is power. It is more than relationship; it is a divine injunction to be born of this Word. What it means for us will be very important. Remember that it is “substance;” it is an “evidence of things not seen” Hebrews 11:1).

God took the Word & made the world. We live in the world that was made by the Word of God, & it is inhabited by millions of people. You say it is a substance Jesus, the Word of God, made it with the things that did not appear. & nothing has been made that has not been made by the Word (John 1:3). When we come to the truth of what that Word means, we will be able not only to build, but also to know; not only to know, but also to have. Live & operate in the fact of the Word; rest in the knowledge of the principal of the Most High.

Luke 4:4 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.’

In Luke 4:1-12 Jesus answered every temptation the devil used against Him with God’s Word. We
read that He repeatedly said, “It is written...”& then quoted the Scriptures that directly addressed the enemy’s lies & tempting schemes.

We may start to fight the devil with the Word, but when we do not see a quick result, many times we stop speaking the Word & begin talking about our own feelings or circumstances.

Let me encourage you to be persistent as you wage war against the enemy by speaking the Word. A stonecutter may strike a rock ninety nine times without even making a crack in the rock. But the hundredth strike may split the rock in two. Each blow weakened the rock, even though there were no outward signs of it.

Persistence is vital to victory in our lives just as it is in the stonecutters work. Do not relent in speaking the Word against the devil. The next time you do, it might deal him a death blow.

Mark 11:22. Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God.

The Greek word for faith is pistis meaning conviction, confidence, trust, belief, reliance, trustworthiness & persuasion. In the New Testament setting pistis is the divinely implanted principal of inward confidence, assurance, trust & reliance in God & all that He says. The word sometimes denotes the object of content of belief (Acts 6:7; 14:22; Gal 1:23).

Psalm 9:10 Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O LORD, do not abandon those who search for you.

The word name is a poetic symbol for the total person & personality it represents. Here it stands for the reliable character of God.

Choose to believe that the Lord will never forsake you when you trust Him.

God’s people must be actively, consciously trust that God’s Word is true & that He always acts in accordance with it. Every situation we encounter is an opportunity to choose to trust God rather than our own inclinations. Faith involves an element of risk, but always yields to the richest dividends.

There is a great difference between our faith & the faith of Jesus. Our faith comes to an end. Most people have come to the place where they have said, “Lord, I have gone so far; now I can go no further. I have used all the faith I have, & I just have to stop now & pray for more faith.”

Thank God that we do have faith we, but there is another faith. Again I turn to one of Smith Wigglesworth visits, he was asked to go to a house where a young woman was laying in bed. Her reason had gone, & many times things were manifested there were satanic, & he knew it.

Smith says she was only a young woman, a beautiful child. Then the husband, a young man, came in with a baby, & he leaned over to kiss his wife. The moment he did she threw herself over to the other side of the bed, just as lunatic would do, with no consciousness of presence of her husband. Then he took the baby & pressed the baby’s lips to the mother. Again, she responded wildly. He said to a sister who was attending her, If she had anyone to help?

“Oh” she said, “we have had everything”
Smith replied, “Have you no spiritual help?”
Her husband stormed out & said, “Help? You think that we believe God after we have had seven weeks of no sleep & of maniac conditions? You are mistaken. You have come to the wrong house.”

That brought Smith to a place of compassion that had something had to be done for this woman. Then with faith, he began to penetrate the heavens with his prayers. He had never seen anyone get anything from God who prayed with an earthly focus. If you receive anything from God you will have to pray into heaven, for the answers are there.

Then Smith saw in the presence of God the limitations of his faith, there came another faith, a faith that could not be denied, a faith that took the promise, a faith that believed God’s Word. & he came from that presence back to earth, but he was not same man under the same conditions that had confronted him before. In the name of Jesus he was a man with faith that could shake hell.

He told the evil spirit to come out of her in the name of Jesus. She rolled over fell asleep, & woke up fourteen hours later, perfectly sane & perfectly whole. Oh there is faith, but Jesus wants to bring all into a place in line with God where we cease to be, & His faith takes over. God must have the right of way, of thought & of purpose, God must have control.

You cannot know God by nature; you get to know him by an open door of grace. The way to God is the way of faith; there isn’t any other way.

John 14:6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

Jesus said “I am the way.”It is important for us to see that Jesus has a certain way of doing things, & if we will submit to His everything will work out. But so often we wrestle & struggle with Him, trying to get Him to do things our way. It doesn’t work. Let Jesus be the way in your life.

Have you ever been in a car with someone who does not know where he is going & refuses to ask for directions? Many people think there are many ways to God, & they search for the truth in different places, ignoring the directions that God gave us. However, the reality is there is only one way to God & that is through Jesus Christ. As you follow Him, Who is the Way, He will lead you in truth & you will experience fullness of life.

Recognise that Jesus is the only way to God. Know Jesus to know God.

The key word in John’s gospel is “believe.” Faith unlocks our understanding of Scripture & releases the Spirit’s activity in our lives. Faith like love evidences itself in obedience. Finally faith approaches God boldly to receive from Him the things it needs

Pray for those who do not know Jesus, that they too will find life & truth in Him.


The message of Esther for Christians: For if you altogether hold your peace at this time, then shall relief and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but you and your father's house shall be destroyed: and who knows whether you are come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Esther 4:14

Readings: Esther 2  

             : Esther 7 

Noisemakers, booing, hissing etc at every mention of Haman, that his name be blotted out forever.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Rules of Engagement. ~ Ganeida


What I want to begin studying with you is what I am going to refer to as the Rules of Engagement.

You understand what I mean in purely secular terms. They are the military directives that govern the circumstances under which ground, naval & air forces will engage in warfare, including the treatment of civilians & the taking of prisoners. That various armies & governments do not abide by these common agreements does not negate them, which is why people can be tried & punished for *war crimes* even though they may have committed such crimes while engaged in battle & acting under orders. 

Unfortunately far too many Christians fail to grasp that when we were transferred from the Kingdom of Darkness into the Kingdom of Light, we actually changed armies. In any warfare this is considered an act of treason. Many fail to grasp that they were in anyone's army at any time at all so they are poorly prepared when they find themselves thrown into the midst of a battlefield. Some of us understand the armour of Ephesians 6 is not metaphorical but expend our energy engaging in battles that deplete our strength.  We may fail to maintain our armour or our equipment & far too often, despite our prayers, despite our faith, despite doing everything we can & then taking our stand against the enemy, nothing changes.  We do not get breakthrough. We do not see that which we prayed for come to pass.

Paul, instructing Timothy, makes it abundantly clear that like it or lump it we are soldiers: 

 Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. [2 Timothy 2:3~5] 

The soldiers Paul had in mind were Roman soldiers: men who could march 20 miles a day with full packs, then at the end of a days march build a bridge & set up camp complete with ditch & a spiked wall; soldiers who spent most of their time in training.  This training not only taught a soldier how to use the equipment provided, it taught a soldier how to engage the enemy & fight as part of a well disciplined team. So you can see that the first things required of us are training & discipline because Paul has already pointed out we have been enlisted & there will be hardship.

We covered a lot of this when we looked @ Ephesians 6 & I do not want to go over old ground but we have talked before about how the bible works on multiple levels: we can read it as a straightforward account of history; we can read it metaphorically; we can read it prophetically. For the next little while I want us to study it as a legal document.

Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.  

When man first fell from his glorious estate God issued a declaration of war against the enemy. Peace has never been declared, & as in any war, although the victory may have been won, there are last minute skirmishes. This is where we are. ... thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ [1 Cor. 15:57] & 2 Corinthians 2:14 talks about Christ's triumphal procession. The tense indicates it is an ongoing, continual state of things.  In Roman times the Victorious Commander led his army through the streets with all his defeated foes put on display.  It was a celebration. So we know the victory is already ours.  Why then are we often so defeated?

I would suggest to you that satan brings the charge of treason against us & his accusations are based on legalities within scripture.  We know from Job 2:1~6 that satan has access to God in heaven.  We also know that he is the accuser. In Zechariah 3:1~2 we are given the picture of the high priest, Joshua, standing before the angel of the Lord & on his right hand, satan, to accuse him.  In Revelation 12:10 he is called the accuser of the brethren & he operates day & night. Understand that satan doesn't like losing people & so he fights tooth & nail to ensure we never become the warriors God intends for us to be, for then he would be defeated a 2nd time ~ & at the hands of mortal men.

Now, we know we are not to come into agreement with satan.  We are not to be the accuser of our brethren; that is satan's job.  We are to agree with the word of God for that word is Truth & Life [John 17:17 & Proverbs 4:22] 

We also understand that there are times when we can operate in Christ's authority because he has given us that authority: over demons [Luke 9:1], all the power of the enemy [Luke 10:19], healing [Luke 9:1], authority to announce the forgiveness of sins through Jesus [John 20:23] & to move mountains [Matt. 17:20]. We have authority over our families, over our businesses, our communities BUT... we do not have authority over other people!  Each person of the age of accountability is responsible for themselves. If we try to exert authority over other people we are operating in witchcraft for we are attempting to over~ride their God~given free will. So when we go to pray for our loved ones who do not know Christ, don't want to know Christ & are in active rebellion against Christ we run up against this conflict.  We cannot over~ride their free will.  We need to understand they are actually standing in agreement with satan about themselves & their lives & satan has the legal right to hold them in bondage because they have, in fact, given him the legal right to do so! The only person with the legal authority to break this legal stranglehold is Christ.

The first thing I want to examine in how we break this dead lock is 3 different dimensions to prayer.  Again, depending on the subject under discussion prayer can be looked @ in different ways so understand that I do not believe these are the only aspects of prayer but we are looking at breaking a legal hold so we are looking @ prayer from that viewpoint. See if we try & engage the enemy & assert our authority when we have no legal right to do so we will fail.

When we approach God for our own needs & fellowship we approach Him as Father [Luke 11:12].  In the Lord's prayer we come into agreement with what God has already declared.  In Luke 11:5~6 we have the story of a man waking a friend late @ night to meet the needs of another friend.  This is intercession & in intersession we approach God as a friend who can help when we can do nothing ourselves.  When we pray for our communities, the bereaved, the hurting we pray as to a friend who can help. But in Luke 18:1~8 we have the story of the unjust judge which teaches us to persist in prayer to get verdicts in our favour & on our behalf.  In this third type of prayer we operate within a judicial system.

1 Peter 5:8 talks about the devil, our adversary, in the Greek antidikos, which according to Strong's means: properly, a prosecuting attorney arguing a case-at-law; an "opponent at law" .  In other words satan prowls around looking for those against whom he can bring a legal case. In Revelation12:10 the word for accuser is katēgōr, a non standard Greek word, used just this once & also meaning accuser.  In context I would also understand this as a legal position.

In Revelation 12:11 we are given 3 keys for dealing with these accusations:
The blood of the Lamb
The word of our testimony
not loving our lives until death.

We will consider these 3 things in the coming weeks & how we are meant to apply them to our lives in order to see satan's strongholds cast down & broken legally so that we can stand in a legal position & take hold of that which has been promised.