Unforgiveness

Unforgiveness as a sin is sometimes worse than murder. I do not say that it is worse than all murders.

Murder can be a done in the heat of passion but not forgiving someone is done in the heart of the person. One has to make a decision in the heart to not forgive someone. It is a conscious decision in one’s heart.

The truth is, is one can also make a decision in one’s heart to forgive as well. God wants to deal with our heart, to clean out that sin of unforgiveness that would kill us.  Unforgiveness does not harm the one we do not want to forgive but harms us. It is like a cancer slowly taking over our hearts and minds and replaces everything that is good in us.

If one looks at the greatness of the debt that God has forgiven you and me; that we rejected Him, that we fought against Him in our hearts, that we denied Him and his love for us may times; one cannot help but ask God to give one the ability to forgive the one who has hurt or harmed you. The Holy Spirit will strengthen you when you make that decision to forgive. The Holy Spirit wants to show you Christ Jesus, Him Crucified for your sin; risen from the dead and glorified as God’s life-giving Spirit so that you may live in Him. This revelation of you in Christ, His life, living though you will enable you to forgive. 

With forgiveness comes the freedom to also love that person.

  Ephesians 4:32;  2 Corinthians 2:7

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Thoughts on the Kingdom of God

The kingdom of God is NOT of another sphere (like mars), but rather that it does not share, at its heart, competitive, authority and power driven commonalities with other kingdoms.

Jesus said his kingdom was not of this world. It still isn’t.”
When the language we speak consists of power and control replacing the words of compassion and justice; then we may have mixed up our kingdoms.

Differences between Kingdoms

Kingdom of this world

  1. Rule with power and authority.
  2. Great men and woman: are Noblemen, Lords, knights that are served by others. People are always juggling to see if they can get higher in the hierarchy and are competitive in nature.
  3. Conquer in the name of the king, BUT using the Lords and knights skill at strategy and the fighter’s own skill at swordsmanship.

Kingdom of God

  1. Rule by love, mercy and grace (the one who rules has all power and authority in Heaven and on earth but chooses to rule by love)
  2. Great men and women: To be the greatest in the kingdom one must become a servant of all. It is the trust of a child that God is good and always wants the best for us irrespective of our circumstances. We must learn to understand the things (power, position and money) of the world in the light of God’s love and eternity.
  3. Conquer in the name of the king (not people) but principalities and powers (e.g. idolatry, pride, envy, lust, etc.) Jesus has already overcome all sin therefore He gives you the power to overcome. It is not your skill but it is by His grace, power and authority. It is all Jesus; He has conquered sin and death.

The only way to enter into the kingdom is to enter into God (Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life no one comes to the Father but through Me) or in other words to allow God to come a dwell in us.  The Love of God (Gods love in us) is the key to living in the kingdom of God. It is US (me following Jesus or better put Jesus and I walking down the road of life together) that allows the Kingdom of God to be revealed to people around us. The kingdom is not a once off thing it is a lifetime of submitting to the love, mercy and grace of a living God, one who always wants the best for you.

One just has to read the new testament to start to understand the Kingdom of God.   Jesus spoke about His Father and the kingdom of God many times.  To try and simplify it, If God is omnipresent and Jesus Said “the kingdom of God is at hand” does it not mean that God is already everywhere and just waiting for us to practice His kingdom (His love, mercy, grace and servant hood) in order that the power and authority of God may be demonstrated so that others may see it and give Him the glory.  The kingdom of God brings the desires and intentions of God to bear in the real world, deflating the power of evil and death. The kingdom of God may not be of this world, but it is at hand.

If you allow God to show His love to you and accept that love and allow Jesus to come and dwell in you, then God can change your life and bring you into the Kingdom of God.  Just let Him do it for you.

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Trust

We often hear about the sin of man. “Thou shall go to hell because you have committed this or that”. The sins we have committed against God. The terrible deed we have done that will not let us into the presence of a Holy God.

BUT we do not hear about much the one thing that God mentions in His word many times when it comes to what separates us from God.  What separated us from God’s presence.

We have to go back to the beginning of the Book to see how man moved out of Gods presence. We have to look at the garden of Eden to see what happened to man. In Genesis 3:1-10 we read:
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. ”When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.
They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”

Three things that we must notice in these versus:

  1. Man did not sin by shaking his fist to God or doing something bad. He sinned by trying to be like god BUT without trusting in God. His lack of trust in God and what God said to him that “he could eat any tree (even the tree of life – It was not off limit’s) except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”.
  2. The devil convinced them that they could be like God without trusting in God and His word. He convinced them they would be like god once they knew the difference between good and evil.  They could then do the “good thing”.  This sounds like many religions today.
  3. What was God first reaction to man’s sin. God looked for man and called to man “where are you?”. Do we not realise that God is still looking for man and women and is calling to them today “where are you?”. God wants to fellowship with people and want them to love and trust Him.

Before man sinned, he was functioning perfectly in the garden of Eden. He was in perfect harmony with God, with the Earth and with each other. Then sin entered into the world and man became dis-functional and lost the fellowship with God, with the Earth and with each other.

We hear many people talk about the sin of this or the sin of that, but the sin at the root of it all is the sin of “lack of trust” that God loves us and wants the best for us. We trust in the “I” and become self interested (selfish) and look after only ourselves.

As Christian most agree that the Holy Spirit has come into this world as a helper. In John16:8-11 Jesus says “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgement; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgement, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”

Interesting to note that in verse 9 the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin because that do not believe in Jesus (they do not trust in Him)  Not because they have done something else wrong but because they do not trust in Jesus.

The Gospel of God is Him looking for us. It is Him coming to save a fallen people. He has done it all for us so that we can come back to Him by sending Jesus His Son to earth to redeem us from our sins.

God wants us to become functional people again connected to Him
God wants us to eat from the tree of life (Jesus)
God is still looking for you because He want to fellowship with you.
What we need to do is put our trust in Jesus and what he has done for us when He died on the cross and rose again from the dead.

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Prayer

I wonder how much “Prayer” God actually hears? I do know that God knows all things therefore hears all things; that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about God’s definition of what prayer should be.

I say this because I have heard a number of prayers and even spoken a number of prayers that were complete drivel, complete nonsense, completely useless and in some cases not truthful. This we would do before a all knowing God because, like the Pharisee in Luke 18:11 we often payer with ourselves (not God), but our words sound good and sometimes elegant before people.

I have started to read William Stringfellow and the one challenge that I have accepted after reading some of his writing is to be totally and brutally honest with myself and with God in my prayer life. I have come to realise that we are only fooling ourselves when we are not truthful with God because He know all things about our lives and He still loves us.

In John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (NASB). We say we walk in the way (we follow Him); We have the life of God flowing through us, therefore let us walk in the truth……..

In John 16:13 it says “”But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” (NASB).  The main purpose of the Holy Spirit is to guide us (to point us) to Jesus Christ (the truth)

Practical issues

I am finding myself saying prayers (like we all do) without thinking about what I am saying. I will give you an example “Thank you Lord for the food and the hands that prepared it”. A reasonable prayer but not the truth. the truth would be more like this: “Thank you Lord for Estelle’s (my wife) hard work in preparing this food”. Let me use a better example: “Lord I am sorry for what I did yesterday”. Is that total honesty before the Lord or is that “church speak”. We need to get more specific and more in more detail before the Lord if we want to be totally truthful. The more correct prayer would be: “Lord I am sorry for my selfishness when I say Joe Smith in need, Needing food for his family for last night. I know I had some money on me but I was selfish and did not want to just give it away. Lord forgive me”. This type of prayer would remind you to go and make right with your brother and then come and prayer to the Lord again. Matt 5:24 “leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering”. We tend to say the words without thinking about what we are saying or making an effort of thinking about what we are praying.  Would we do that to our earthly father or mother when we want something or would we think about what we are gong to say to them, so much more our Heavenly father who loves us so much more.

Next time you are  frustrated, tell your Heavenly Father how you really feel.  Tell Him how upset you really are with your sister, brother, husband or wife. Tell Him how hurt you really are, by what somebody said. Tell him how frustrated you are when you sin and make the same mistake you made yesterday and maybe the day before. He already knows and wants us to start trusting Him that He loves us and wants the best for our lives. When we do this God can start to break-up the hardened ground of our heart and expose the real you to Himself. Only then can true healing take place in our lives. Only when we completely expose the hardened places of our lives and hearts that God can start the healing process.

Our truthfulness in prayer allows the Holy Spirit to start working in our lives and lead us into a place of healing found in Jesus Christ.

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Marriage

What does marriage mean to an individual either a husband or a wife?

I have heard wives and husband say some things about cleaning, cooking, mowing lawn or fixing something for the other, BUT;

Marriage is not cleaning the house; you can get someone to do that for you or a service that will come in and clean. It is not washing or ironing your clothes; you can get the laundry to do that. It is not cooking food (good or bad); you can get catering service to do that for you.

Marriage is not bringing home the money; you can go out and earn the money yourself. It is not about cutting the lawn; you can get gardening services to do that. It is not about fixing the leaking tap; you can get a plumber to do that.

Marriage is about two people becoming one flesh. It is about a joining together of two people so that they become one. Still individual’s but with a common vision, a common goal, a common set of moral standards, that they have worked out together. It is about knowing and trusting your partner intimately. Remember that getting to really know someone intimately takes a lifetime, a lifetime of sharing (talking to one another) Ones thoughts, joys, fears and secrets. It is about knowing the worse thing that your husband or wife has done (and maybe will do) and still loving them. Marriage is about this intimacy that come through sharing with each other that makes one’s love and trust in your partner grow stronger and larger each day. It is about wanting to spend the rest of ones life getting to know this person, every detail, it is about growing up and growing old together. I am not talking about only intimacy of the soul, mental or spiritual nature but also physically nature (yes I am talking about sex). Getting naked physically in front of your partner is sometimes easier that getting naked in other area’s of your life in front of your partner. It is the trust that is built up over time that allows one to become naked in front of ones partner. It is not a once off thing during the honeymoon phase, but one need to continue to take time out to be intimate with ones partner. This intimacy is the main focus of marriage, but it does not distract from the everyday things we do for our home; the cooking, cleaning, mowing the lawn, fixing the tap etc. The most important thing in marriage is the intimacy. The other things will take care of themselves if we get the intimacy right.

Too many times we focus on the thing we do in the home that we forget the intimacy we should have with our loved one. Because we lose that intimacy, we then start to complain, or we become resentful. We start to compare who is doing the most in this marriage and complain that the other is not doing enough or we become resentful that they are not pulling their weight, whereas we are doing it all (you can look at your partner and smile; I think that we have all done this).

We need to return to that intimacy, we start to revive the love that we felt when we first met. As a new dating couple deeply in love, one tends to spend many hours together just staring into each other eye’s or talking about love, life and the future. Taking a walk along the beach, hand in hand, and seeing the world in a new light; a viewpoint that comes from spending time with someone that you love.

And that is only a shadow, the reality is found in Christ

I am not only talking about marriage to your physical partner, but also our relationship with Jesus Christ. Too many times we make it about going to “church”,  Sunday morning worship, the Tuesday/Wednesday bible study, daily reading and daily praying. Besides our normal work days, the social life, the girl/boyfriend, wife/husband/kids that we have to think about. We have lost our focus on what is important in our relationship with Jesus Christ.

We are the Bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2Revelation 19:7-9), His partner in this adventure called life. We need to spend time talking, sharing our thoughts, joys and fears with Him. Do we realize that He know the worst thing we have done or are going to do, yet He still loves us so much that He laid down his life for us. That is why we worship Him. That is why we want to get to know this Christ. That is why we want to get to know Him intimately. The more we see this beautiful Christ, this marvelous Jesus the more we will fall in love with Him.

Jesus Christ knows our very thoughts and intent of our heart,  but he requires us to want to share our thoughts, feeling, fears and secrets with Him (He know them already, he just wants us to trust Him enough to tell Him). We need to make a conscious decision to share our lives, our fear, our secrets, our innermost thoughts with Him.

In Watchman Nee’s sermon on “MINISTRY TO THE HOUSE OR TO THE LORD” (found here; please read it) he asked this question “Have you been seeking to meet the need around you, or have you been seeking to serve the Lord?“ The question is are you in the holy of holies behind the veil that God tore from top to bottom and where the presence of the Lord is or are you in the outer court doing things, which is not the most important thing in this relationship; that is of intimacy with Jesus Christ.

The more time we spend time with Him the easier it is to follow Him and hear His voice and to share the common vision, the common goal, of the will of God in our lives.

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A Man

In Luke 10:25-37 we read about the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

“30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’”

Jesus start by saying “A man was going……”

What do we know about this Man:

  •  we do not know what religion he was
  • we do not know his political view
  • we do not know how rich or poor he was
  • he could be the drunk that lives around the corner
  • he could be the guy from “the other religion”
  • he could be the guy who murdered someone

The only thing we know is that he was a man; part of the human race;

And Jesus goes on to say that this man was robbed and beaten; (basically He was in need) and then some people came past took one look at him and went wooh! and walked on the other side of the road but a Samaritan (one who was despised by the audience of the time) and he had compassion on the man.

Jesus asked the question “who was this man’s neighbour?”

They replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Irrespective of his religious view, Irrespective of his political view, Irrespective if he could pay him back or not.

This is the kind of love that is expected of us to have to “a Man” (any man; every man; everyone that is part of the human race) because

Jesus said to them (and to us) “Go and do Likewise.”

One cannot do have this love if one does not know the love that God has for us. The love that would have mercy on us; sinners, defiant to God, yet Jesus was willing to lay down his life for us that we may know this God of love.

We can “go and do likewise” once we have the God of love living in us and flowing His love through us.

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Mission statement

My mission statement is to take things SLOW

  • Serve God and each other
  • Love God and each other
  • Obey God, no matter the consequences
  • Worship God at all times

 

Micah 6:8: “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?”

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