How to be Wise

How To Be Wise
How To Be Wise

It is a good question to ask – How to be Wise? We are very prone to seeking wisdom from church leaders, from charismatic speakers and from noted authors; but there is a major fallacy in that because the wisdom that we need is specific, not general. We need wisdom that pertains to our present needs and to our present questions, and the proper way to get that is from the “true source”, that is, directly from God.

  • Is It Right For You?

What others discovered is right for them, but not necessarily right for you. You can pick a “hero” and model your behavior on them, but you will NOT succeed as they did, because your circumstances and your needs and your abilities are different. It would be too simple to succeed in life if all we had to do was choose some successful person, and copy what they did!

  • Success From Hard Work

We look at others and think; “Wow, I want to be like that, and I can do that too,” but the truth is that what looks like success, actually includes a lot of struggle and stress and striving that had to happen before the success came! The published record of other peoples deeds and adventures skips over the difficulties, and usually tells only the high points. We read all about the exciting bits, but the unexciting daily grind of the average weekday is not mentioned.

  • God’s Plan For You

You may not have realized this, but God has an individual and unique plan just for you, and for every one of his children; and the only way that plan can happen is if you seek his will, are obedient, and go forward in faith. We need to open our minds and our hearts every morning when we awake, and say; “O.K. God, what are we going to do today?” To be wise in God’s kingdom, we need to be led by the Holy Spirit of God, and to be obedient to that leading. If we do that we will be using real wisdom in our lives, we will be operating in obedience, and because obedience is always blessed, we will succeed and others will see the wisdom at work.

How Do You Know God is Here?


  • Know God is Here
    Know God is Here

    How Do You Know God is Here?

Well God doesn’t break his promises, and if He has said it, then it is so! After the last supper when Jesus was reassuring the disciples, he said; “My father and I will come and make our home in you”. Therefore, as long as you have taken Jesus into your heart, then you have got the whole lot, the trinity, right inside you. So it follows that whenever two or more Christians meet, God is THERE!

  •  The Still, Small Voice

I believe that the Holy Spirit of God is manifest in that “still, small voice” that is mentioned in scripture. That is exactly what happens for me, if I seek the will of God. I sometimes get the answer to my prayer as a, “still, small voice”. It works just like my conscience used to work before I took Jesus in to my heart. It is not so much as a loud audible voice, but a conviction that grows inside me, until it takes on the form of words. I need to shut out the world, and concentrate really hard to hear Him.

  •  Listen to Him

The important thing in any meeting of Christians, is to take the time to listen to whatever God needs to say to those present. The most effective way to do this is to go into a time of silence, and let God speak to each individual as He wills. If those present then share their feelings, then the collective outpouring will be the voice of God! This process is known as, “being led by the spirit of God”; and is the only real way for Christians to govern themselves.

  • Let God Run the Meeting!

It is most important to make a point of allowing the Spirit of God to lead us. It is a great temptation to set an agenda, and to go on and discuss the items on the agenda as though it were a conventional business meeting. Do not allow this to happen. To discuss ‘business‘ without praying about it, is to deny God’s will, and impose the worldly standards that govern the rest of society. WE need to cultivate the ‘mind set’ that imposes prayer on every decision.

  •  How Much Do We LET Him Do?

God himself is present at every occasion, and how much He is allowed to do is a function of: “How much do we LET Him do?” God will move in your church if He is invited to, and if the request is made in 100% sincerity. Be careful what you ask for. It is better to let God decide how to answer a problem, than to ask for a specific outcome. Remember, “He is able to do more than we can ask or think”. The answer He provides may well be better than any solution you might have thought about. Only God knows all the circumstances, so it is better to leave the nature of the answer to Him.

  •  It Is Written!

What God has written will never be contradicted, unless God Himself changes it, so this is how we know that God is here: because it is written [John 14:23] in His Word. He said; “MY Father and I will come and live in you”. Jesus also promised that the Holy Spirit, the comforter, would; “come and teach you all things”; and would come and; “Lead you into all truth”. This is how you really know that God is here!

A Sermon In A Sentence

  • A Sermon In A Sentence …..

Alice wrote this comment recently, and it struck me as being a sermon in a sentence; “In Genesis God gave man dominion over earth. His intention was to not bring man to Heaven per se, but to bring the culture of heaven to earth. The Kingdom of Heaven, God as the King. He was intending to colonize earth with man and man to dominate using heavens culture. Adam messed that up and allowed sin to enter , but God never goes back on his word once spoken and man was still sent to dominate the earth. He still had a mission of living and acting in a Heavenly manner. Man was to influence man to live a righteous life. To seek the Kingdom here on earth.”

  •  Your Mission!

I see the punch line as the red type; “He still had a mission of living and acting in a Heavenly manner“. Is this not the key to bringing the Kingdom of Heaven right here on earth? If we do that, we become what the apostle Paul called in 2 Corinthians, 3:3, “Living Letters from Christ”. We don’t have to sermonize the rest of the world into the Kingdom, we just act out the Kingdom in our daily lives.

  •  God’s Game Plan

As Alice wrote, “man was [still] sent to dominate the earth”. – and this is exactly how it is to happen – we are to influence others by “living and acting in a Heavenly manner“. Dead simple really, just like most of what God wants from us. I.E., KEYWORDS = Simple Obedience. The answer to the question; “How to be Christ in the World?” is contained in Alice’s comment above, live and act in a heavenly manner. We do these two very simple things; we practice what we preach, and we “Shine our Light [the light of God’s love]”.

  •  Blame the Snake!
     Blame the Snake
    Blame the Snake


Adam and Eve blew it, they said it was the snake’s fault, and the snake didn’t have a leg to stand on, but whatever happened to prevent God’s harmonic plan of man in dominion over all the earth, the only way to restore that direction and let the plan happen, is if we do what Alice says, and honestly take up the mission of living and acting in a Heavenly manner. Read the first Paragraph again and discover the Sermon in a Sentence!

 

Worship in Spirit and in Truth

  • Praise and Worship

    Praise and Worship
    Praise and Worship

 

What does that mean, to Worship in Spirit and in Truth? What’s the difference? Does it Matter? We can get a clue for this from when Jesus was discussing theology with the smart Alecs in the temple, and they asked him which the greatest commandment was. Jesus Replied; “You shall worship with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind……” Again there are shades of meaning here that are not immediately obvious.

  • Obey The Great Commandment.

When we worship with all our heart, it is a physical thing. We are into praise mode, so we sing, or clap, or dance with an excess of enthusiasm. The mode of worship where we show our love from within our spirit is pure worship. Our souls are moved with passion and we pray or even sing our prayers in a much quieter and more reverent way. To love God with our minds, is to love from pure conviction, from our intellect; which tells us that God is real, that He loves us and answers our prayers. We show our love in worshiping with our minds when we engage in preaching, or testifying, or listening to such things. A common type of church service consists in praise, followed by worship, followed by a sermon or discussion – the three elements in the greatest commandment. [I.E., to love God with our hearts, our souls, and our minds]; so when we meet to worship in this way we are obedient to that commandment.

  • Worship in spirit and in truth

So then, praise is equal to worshiping with our hearts, sung or spoken prayer is worshiping with our spirit, and listening or giving a sermon or discussion is worshiping with our minds. To take this understanding and apply it to the expression “Worship in spirit and in truth”; then can mean that we move past simple praise when we worship. WE need to engage our spirits, and the conviction within our minds that recognising God’s truth will bring. Jesus told the woman at the well in Samaria that, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” It is not enough to only attend church and sing the hymns, we need to take an active part in the prayers of worship, and interactively listen to the message.

Does God Attend Meetings

Does God Attend Meetings?

Does God attend meetings in your church?  We quite reasonably expect God’s presence in our worship services, and rightly so. We are actually having dialog with Him at those times, whether it be prayers of thanks or petition, worship, or praise. But the real question here is; “Does God attend your business, planning, and administration meetings? Is He even invited?  Do you constitute such meetings with prayer, and invite His guidance and participation in every part of the process?”

  • Putting God in a Box

    God in a Box
    God in a Box

 

I hope you answered YES to all of the above and haven’t been putting God in a box!  We have a really bad habit of putting God into various boxes, and keeping Him out of others.  It is very easy to percieve God as a component of prayer or praise, but it is very much harder to vizualise Him as a part of a decision about hiring a contracter to keep the grounds clipped and tidy.  We do not habitually see Him in the really mundane parts of the process, but HE IS THERE just as much as in any other part of our church life.  Think about it – HE OWNS the land and the buildings and the grass that grows on it.  In fact He designed the grass and makes it grow!

  • Involving God in Church Business

It goes against our instincts to put God into the business part of running a Church, but that should be both our expectation and our understanding, to have God involved in every part of our lives.  As a new Christian, I thought it was my business to deal with paying the bills and running my business, and I was happy just to thank Him for “Giving Me my Daily Bread”.  I soon found out that business went a lot more smoothly when I involved Him in every part of the process.  I found that if I genuinely involved God in every part of my day, and sought to just be obedient, then business not only took care of itself; but was more successful  than when I personally made the decisions!

  • A Blue Print for Church Business

There is a blue-print here for conducting church business.  It consists in firstly seeking God’s will for ALL activity, and THEN putting that in place.  The how, where, and when of it will all fall into place with no fuss or effort.  God only asks us to do things that we are already equipped to do, and He will ALWAYS provide the means to do it.  If you believe this and do it, then nearly all church ‘planning’, and ‘ways and means’ meetings are redundant.  If you ensure that God attends meetings, then the only ‘planning meeting’ needed is the regular prayer meeting!

Can You Feel The Presence Of The Holy Spirit?

Can You Feel The Presence Of The Holy Spirit?

Can you feel the presence of the Holy Spirit when you join with other Christians?  Are you conscious that the Holy Spirit of God is there in the room with you when you are praying and worshipping, and sharing the Word?  I like to think that the strength of the presence of the Holy Spirit of God is in direct proportion to the intensity of the prayer being offered at the moment.

  • Miracles and Spiritual Healing

I went many times to the healing/revival meetings of Bill Subritsky, a well known  New Zealand/South Pacific evangelist. It was his practice to spend many hours in prayer before the meeting, and to have a team of strong pray-ers working in a room behind the stage while the meeting was in progress. Many dramatic healings and conversions, and miracles resulted from those meetings. (My wife, Mary, was cured of a BONE DEFORMITY!**) I am convinced of the direct connection between the praying and the miraculous results.

  • Need For Caution

There is a powerful need for caution here in gauging the presence or absence of the Holy Spirit. There exists in some charismatic circles the belief that if those present all start making moo-ing and high pitched humming noises then the collective euphoria will induce the presence of the Holy Spirit of God.  THIS IS FALLACY!  It is NOT POSSIBLE to manipulate God. True collective singing in the spirit consists in simultaneous individual singing, pitched in musical harmonics, that sounds truly heavenly to those present.  It sounds like angels voices and acts very powerfully on the emotions of those participating.  A normal response to this experience is to feel totally uplifted, and to be in a mild, strong or even a total state of euphoria.

  • Singing in The Spirit

    Singing in The Spirit
    Singing in The Spirit

I would caution all worship leaders here to avoid attempting to induce singing in the spirit as a regular response to group worship. I believe that singing in the spirit is an unusual response, not a regular response, and must be indulged only when led by the Holy Spirit of God.  The suggestion that certain techniques of praise and worship will always lead to singing in the spirit is false, and is a totally unrealistic expectation* for the worshippers.  It happens naturally when the collective worship has been going on for some time and spiritual feeling is very intense.  This is a response to fervent prayer, and powerful worship, not to be attempted as an effect by worship leaders. True singing in the spirit will most likely start as a spontaneous individual response from among those present, not from the worship leader.  It is characterized by those singularly pure musical notes which are the true harmonics of normal music. Individual singing in the spirit is often in natural language, not tongues, and may be either prophetic or inspirational in content.
*(An exception might be in the case of a totally committed group, meeting often)

  • How to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit

My conclusion is that the absence or visible presence  of the Holy Spirit of God is directly related to the sincerity and power of the prayer and worship being offered.  It is worth considering here, that the recorded instances of revival have been preceded by intense and more or less continuous group prayer.  Therefore, to collectively  feel the presence of the Holy Spirit of God, you need to spent time in prayer and worship.

**Cured Bone Deformity. Please note there were “before” and “after” x rays of the bone, and also a subsequent video of this event, made by Dove Ministries”

What is The Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Have you asked this,

Gospel of Jesus Christ
Gospel of Jesus Christ

“What IS the Gospel of Jesus Christ, exactly?”  And if you did, what did you answer? The short answer is that “Gospel” is a short form of “Good News” (The word gospel derives from the Old English gōd-spell , meaning “good news” or “glad tidings”); and the good news referred to is the news that Jesus Christ died for our sins, that our sins are forgiven, and therefore we are in line for eternal life. That is really good news!

  • Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and John.

In the wider sense, The “Gospel” can be the first four books of the New Testamant [Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and John], of the Bible, wherein the life, revelations, and teachings of Jesus Christ are proclaimed. These four books are often referred to as the “Gospels”. Most of the rest of the New Testament is books of “Epistles” (meaning letters), written to various congregations and persons in the first churches.

  • The Gospel of Salvation

If you want to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, [The Gospel of Salvation], therefore, you must proclaim the basic facts of salvation, and as many expanded parts of “the Jesus story” as are relevant to your subject. Failure to include the fundamentals is laying yourself open to error. Whenever we preach we ought to remember this and, if possible, reinforce the message of salvation.  The fundamentqal scripture for this is John 3:16-17 (“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”).  A more detailed scripture refereence to the whole process of salvation can be found in Romans 10:9-13. 9 If you confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from death, you will be saved.10 For it is by our faith that we are put right with God; it is by our confession that we are saved.11 The scripture says, Whoever believes in him will not be disappointed.12 This includes everyone, because there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles; God is the same Lord of all and richly blesses all who call to him.13 As the scripture says, Everyone who calls out to the Lord for help will be saved.

  • The Gospel of Jesus Christ

The “Gospel”, therefore, is the wonderful news that we do not have to make sacrifices for our sins to be forgiven, that we do have eternal life, and that we can be living right now in the kingdom of heaven – here on earth. God loves you –  in proof of which, He sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to come to earth to bring us this wonderful gospel of love, and then to die on the cross that all our sins might be forgiven.

 

The Priest Hood of All Believers

  • The Priest Hood of all Believers

     PPriest Hood of all Believers
    Priest Hood of all Believers

The Priest Hood of all Believers is a Christian expression which needs explaining to most people.  1 Peter 2 Verse 9 says But you are the chosen race, the King’s priests, the holy nation, God’s own people, chosen to proclaim the wonderful acts of God, who called you out of darkness into his own marvelous light”. And verse 5 says; Come as living stones, and let yourselves be used in building the spiritual temple, where you will serve as holy priests to offer spiritual and acceptable sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ.”

  • No Seminaries for the Early Church

How can we all be priests if we are not sent  to a seminary for training and ordained, and so on?  I believe that the common perception of the priesthood where the person so ordained is highly trained in theology and wears an embroidered dress and a pill-box hat is quite flawed.  There were no theological colleges in the Holy Land to train priests for the early church; they were ordinary men who were anointed by God to so serve.  The present perception of priests is based on man-made law and tradition and has almost nothing to do with God’s anointing.  As it says in Hebrews 5; “And no one takes this honor on himself, but he receives it when called by God”.

  • Anointed , not  Appointed

My wife remarked that priests are “Anointed”, not “Appointed, and that is exactly the point here.  We are all called to a personal priesthood that has nothing to do with seminaries and theology, but has everything to do with ministering to your fellow man.  We are all blessed with God-given talents, [see the passage in Romans 12  here4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. about parts of the body], and that defines our ministry, our priesthood, where we exercise whatever our personal talent is in ministry to our neighbours and our fellows. Teachers, prophets, servers, givers, organizers, mercy persons and encouragers: are the 7 prime giftings and we are only able to lead fulfilled lives when we accept our given role and are obedient to Gods will within that role. We are part of a team, where everyone plays a part in ministry.

  • We are All Priests

The scripture above, that goes; “.….let yourselves be used in building the spiritual temple, where you will serve as holy priests”, is the Biblical expression of the paragraph above. We are truly  becoming “living stones”, being used to build God’s temple here on earth, when we are obedient to Him and serve our friends and neighbours in Christian service.  That Christian service is simply using your God-given talent as He wills.  That is how we “offer spiritual and acceptable sacrifices to God”; that is how we are priests; that is the “Priest Hood of All Believers

Why do Christians Choose to Believe in Jesus

Why do Christians CHOOSE to believe one ancient myth as truth vs. another as fiction; Why do you choose to believe the Jesus story and NOT the Mithras, Horus, et al. stories?  This question, asked this week, is based on a false premise.  Christians do not “Choose” to believe Jesus over Mithras, et al; what they actually do is “Choose” to place their trust in Jesus, because He offers forgiveness of sins, everlasting life, and freedom from want.  It is not a ‘selective’ choice, it is decision to commit [to Jesus].

  • Objectivity Vs Subjectivity

You can’t objectively defend your decision to follow Jesus, by logic, because it is an emotional decision.  You are seeking to partake in the love of God and Jesus our Saviour, and this is almost always in response to some deep felt spiritual need.  It is certainly not a coldly logical  decision.  You do this because you want to, not because you logically thought it out and decided Jesus is more credible than some other prophet. See here for another explanation of this.

  • Love, Not Logic
Love, Not Logic
Love, Not Logic

My grand-daughter is addicted to pit bull terriers.  For me they are hateful animals, because I was personally involved with a shocking experience with three young pit bull dogs that went feral and had to be shot to stop them killing others.  To Sophie, they appear to be a beautiful dog, and I pray she never, ever has occasion to defend my great-grandson from it’s fearsome jaws.  I have lots of “logical” and “objective” reasons why she should never expose my great-grand-son to her pit bull pup, but it would be a total waste of breath for me to offer her those opinions, because her attraction to pit bulls is emotional, rather than logical.  I found years ago that you can’t argue reason against emotion because we use love, not logic!.

  • Full-scale Commitment

What we  are discussing here is full-scale Christian committment; not just “going to church;” but total commitment to the Lord Jesus.  It’s like going out with someone is not the same as marriage; because marriage too demands total commitment.  When you are married, it is ” for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, and ’til death do us part” – ie, total commitment. This is the same level of commitment as when you give your heart to God!

  • It’s a Love Affair, Not Reason, or Logic

Just as my wife loves me for myself, and not for logical reasons, so we love Jesus and we don’t have to justify that with logic.  For Christians it is a fact, and we are entirely happy to live within the framework of His love, secure in the knowledge that He will take care of us, and bring us eventually to eternal life. Thank you, oh Lord, for your amazing, unconditional love for us.

 

 

When To Preach The Gospel

The short answer to the question of when to preach the Gospel is : ALWAYS.  Whenever you get the opportunity! There is no shortage of fresh material on this subject, because this Gospel of Jesus compasses the whole teachings of Jesus.

  • Gospel Means Good News
    Gospel Means Good News

    Gospel Means Good News

We know the “Gospel means Good News; so the entire gamut of Christian teaching falls under this banner.  It is “Good News” that Christ died for us, to save us from our sins; it is “Good News” that Christ rose again in the “Ressurection” that we might be redeemed from sin to everlasting life; it is “Good News” that Christ lives in the world today to continue the work begun 2000 years ago; and it is “Good News” that Christ loves you and me and wants to share His grace and gory with each and every sinful one of us on this planet!

  • So what exactly is this “Good News”?

So what exactly is this “Good News”?  What does it mean in practical terms to you and me?  For my part, it means that the whole care and worry of living in today’s fraught society is shifted off my shoulders and laid at the foot of the cross.  My foundational scripture is the “sermon on the mount”[Matt 5,6,7], where Jesus teaches that we don’t need to worry[Matt 6:31-34]31 So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.[about ANYTHING]; but if we pay attention to His will, He will take care of us and supply ALL OUR NEEDS!  I understand this to mean that if I am always attentive to His will, then He will supply ALL my needs.

  • We Lack Nothing!

It is my testimony, that since I understood this and put it in place in my life, that God has richly blessed me and Mary; and in the 20 odd years since I made this committment, we have never lacked anything. Praise the Lord. So I say that this in every way, is Good News.

  • Salvation and Everlasting Life

I find it tremendously comforting too, to know that my sins have been forgiven, and that I am a living working part of the Kingdom of Heaven here, now, and in this place. When Christ rose [the ressurection] from the grave, He took my sin, and God has promised that He will remember it no more. The covenant I have with my God is this: That I will love the Lord my God with all my heart and with all my strength and with all my heart and my neighbour as myself – or I am to Love God, love my fellows, love my neighbour, and tell the Good News.  This is not too hard to do. In return, God has covenanted that he has forgiven my sins, that I am born again through His Grace in to everlasting life, and that He will supply all my needs. What more could I want?

  • Good News for Everyone in Need

Given the very foundational nature of the Good News, then we need to preach it at every opportunity, whenever we have an opportunity.  It is fundamental to Christianity, it can never be preached too often.  It is vital news for anyone carrying any kind of load of care, or worry, or sickness, or oppression, or need, or is suffering any form of depression