Monday, 26 August 2019

A number of years ago, I had the privilege of teaching at a school of ministry. My students were hungry for God, and I was constantly searching for ways to challenge them to fall more in love with Jesus and to become voices for revival in the Church. I came across a quote attributed most often to Rev. Sam Pascoe. It is a short version of the history of Christianity, and it goes like this:

“Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise.”

Some of the students were only 18 or 19 years old–barely out of diapers–and I wanted them to understand and appreciate the import of the last line, so I clarified it by adding, “An enterprise. That’s a business.”

After a few moments Martha, the youngest student in the class, raised her hand. I could not imagine what her question might be. I thought the little vignette was self-explanatory, and that I had performed it brilliantly. Nevertheless, I acknowledged Martha’s raised hand, “Yes, Martha.”

She asked such a simple question, “A business? But isn’t it supposed to be a body?” I could not envision where this line of questioning was going, and the only response I could think of was, “Yes.” She continued, “But when a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?”

The room went dead silent. For several seconds no one moved or spoke. We were stunned, afraid to make a sound because the presence of God had flooded into the room, and we knew we were on holy ground. All I could think in those sacred moments was, “Wow, I wish I’d thought of that.” I didn’t dare express that thought aloud. God had taken over the class.

Martha’s question changed my life. For six months, I thought about her question at least once every day. “When a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?” There is only one answer to her question. The answer is “Yes.” The American Church, tragically, is heavily populated by people who do not love God. How can we love Him? We don’t even know Him; and I mean really know Him.

… I stand by my statement that most American Christians do not know God–much less love Him. The root of this condition originates in how we came to God. Most of us came to Him because of what we were told He would do for us. We were promised that He would bless us in life and take us to heaven after death. We married Him for His money, and we don’t care if He lives or dies as long as we can get His stuff. We have made the Kingdom of God into a business, merchandising His anointing. This should not be. We are commanded to love God, and are called to be the Bride of Christ–that’s pretty intimate stuff. We are supposed to be His lovers. How can we love someone we don’t even know? And even if we do know someone, is that a guarantee that we truly love them? Are we lovers or prostitutes?

I was pondering Martha’s question again one day, and considered the question, “What’s the difference between a lover and a prostitute?” I realized that both do many of the same things, but a lover does what she does because she loves. A prostitute pretends to love, but only as long as you pay. Then I asked the question, “What would happen if God stopped paying me?”

For the next several months, I allowed God to search me to uncover my motives for loving and serving Him. Was I really a true lover of God? What would happen if He stopped blessing me? What if He never did another thing for me? Would I still love Him? Please understand, I believe in the promises and blessings of God. The issue here is not whether God blesses His children; the issue is the condition of my heart. Why do I serve Him? Are His blessings in my life the gifts of a loving Father, or are they a wage that I have earned or a bribe/payment to love Him? Do I love God without any conditions? It took several months to work through these questions. Even now I wonder if my desire to love God is always matched by my attitude and behavior. I still catch myself being disappointed with God and angry that He has not met some perceived need in my life. I suspect this is something which is never fully resolved, but I want more than anything else to be a true lover of God.

So what is it going to be? Which are we, lover or prostitute? There are no prostitutes in heaven, or in the Kingdom of God for that matter, but there are plenty of former prostitutes in both
places. Take it from a recovering prostitute when I say there is no substitute or unconditional, intimate relationship with God. And I mean there is no palatable substitute available to us (take another look at Matthew 7:21-23 sometime). We must choose.

-Dr. David Ryser.

Friday, 26 July 2019

We Don't Know How to Pray

 About 30 years ago when I was in YWAM; I remember being asked to talk to a group about intercessory prayer. I was pretty proud that I had been asked. I spent days searching the Bible for everything about prayer and wrote a long essay, incorporating information about the Hebrew and Greek, different biblical situations - I can't remember much now - and I'm sure that those who were subjected to the 3 hour lecture can remember nothing but how theoretical, lifeless and boring it was. Afterwards when I asked how it had come across, the person who had asked me to speak was too nice to tell me the truth. It was an indication of how knowledge puffs up, and how little I really prayed.

Although I have seen God answering prayer,  I've mostly experienced how God doesn't answer - at least, not in the way I think He will.

Recently I read something - a fictional account of how believers prayed in a certain situation. The author wrote as if demonstrating how 'people who know their God and do exploits,' should pray. The characters were experienced, passionate, committed believers. The way the story was written implied that this is how everyone should pray. I'm not necessarily knocking this, but my experience has been the opposite.

Very often, I come face to face with the reality that I don't know how or what to pray. A few nights ago the temperature was too hot to make sleeping easy, and I lay awake, thinking ... Thinking about my children, various different situations, people in my life ... I felt as if I ought to know how to pray, but I didn't.

Practically speaking, how can I possibly know how to pray? I am earthly, weak, limited, clueless.
So I sat in the dark, at the end of the bed, and prayed silently in tongues. Nothing. I heard nothing. I had no clue how to pray. For a moment I felt bad about it, but then the scripture came to my mind, 'for we do not know how to pray as we ought,' (Romans 8:27). I thought - 'Well! And here are so many of us, myself included, who think we know how to pray, when we don't. Then we're in good company. Paul didn't know how to pray either.'
I just had these few words. So I hung on to them, and continued to pray in tongues for about 30 minutes.

After a while,  something began to lift ... I began to see who Jesus is again, saw that He is able to save and cleanse and deliver. Everything is based on His work. His blood covers me. He is my righteousness. Praise started to well up, and I was simply able, without lots of words, to bring all the people and situations to Him and leave them with Him, sure that He knew better than I did what to do. Peace and quiet returned.

The only prayer which is effective is that which comes via the Holy Spirit, from Jesus, because He is the Son of the Father, at the right hand of the Father,  who only does what the Father tells Him; the High Priest, who knows how to make intercession for us. This is no theological theory - it's practical reality.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

The ARK and the BLOOD The Discovery of the Ark of the Covenant

Please click on the linked heading.

This seems to me to be a helpful summary of Ron Wyatt's discovery of the Ark of the Covenant. The only thing I would mention is that because of Ron's background as a Seventh Day Adventist, the video presentation seems to emphasise the necessity of keeping the Law of YHWH, which is supposed to endow upon the believer the 'seal of God' - ie. His approval. 

It cannot be said strongly enough that no man can keep the Law of God, and the blood of Yeshua ha Meshiach (Jesus the Messiah) was and is the only thing which can atone for sin, past, present and future. Yeshua is the only Son of Man Who ever had the approval of God, and all those who are in Messiah are therefore automatically sealed with the seal of God. Trying to keep the Law by man's own effort is impossible, and brings death. Yeshua, however, kept the Law perfectly, and it is because of His perfect righteousness that those who put their faith in Him receive, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the free gift of righteousness, and His approval, APART from the Law, by GRACE alone.

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Where was our Lord Jesus born? Not where the masses think.

 For all those who detest the hype about the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and the way it has been, as always happens with religion, hijacked for political purposes. Jesus was not born where everyone think He was, just as He wasn't born WHEN everyone thinks He was. He has never had anything to do with the way the World thinks and never will. Jeremiah 10:2: 'This is what the LORD says: Do not learn the way of the nations.'

This is a wonderful post about the probable location of Yeshua/Jesus's birth.

Alfred Edersheim wrote 'The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah', in 1883.

In his book, he quotes the prophet Micah:
Micah 4:8.  “And thou, O tower of the flock  the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.”
showing that the 'tower of the flock',  (Hebrew, 'Migdal Eder') near Bethlehem, was the place where Messiah would first be revealed to Israel and the world.

Its location today has been competently demonstrated here. 

It is wonderful to me that the Tower of the Flock was the place, supervised by the Temple shepherds, to which the newborn lambs were brought, for inspection, before being permitted for Temple sacrifice. 

Sunday, 4 November 2018

This is almost exactly like my story.

I could never have imagined that I would hear a story with so many similarities to my own. Thank God for the courage of these women to speak out, despite the fear, shame and guilt. May the Lord bring us all healing, even though the 'churches' we belonged to, shun us and believe our abusers. 
'God knows the truth, but waits.' (Tolstoy)

Only the individual heart knows its own pain, suffering, sorrow and joy - no other can truly understand it (Proverbs 14:10), and we have to bring everything to Jesus,
because He alone is here, has infinite time, and patience, and love.

The eternal God is your refuge,
    and underneath are the everlasting arms.
He will drive out your enemies before you,
    saying, ‘Destroy them!’ (Deuteronomy 33:27)

Saturday, 20 August 2016

What's in a (Christian) Name?

A comment to a journalist by Pope Francis on the murder of Fr Jacques Hamel: The Pope (Jorge Mario Bergoglio) is reported to have said that "he doesn't like speaking about Islamic violence because there is plenty of Christian violence as well...[He] said that every day when he browses the newspapers, he sees violence in Italy perpetrated by Christians: 'this one who has murdered his girlfriend, another who has murdered the mother-in-law...and these are baptized Catholics! There are violent Catholics! If I speak of Islamic violence, I must speak of Catholic violence. And no, not all Muslims are violent, not all Catholics are violent. It is like a fruit salad; there's everything'."1

When will people understand that being a person who is a member of a 'religious' group does not mean that there is divine LIFE in them? 

Being called a 'Christian' means nothing. If you become a member of an athletics club and give money and even go regularly to it, does it make you a world class athlete? 

Tragically, even the man who heads up the organisation called the Roman Catholic Church thinks that being baptised as a baby automatically makes a person a Christian. A lot of people who are members of protestant religious groups think the same thing. Some even think that a person who is baptised as an adult is automatically a Christian. 

The problem here stems from the fact that many people use the word ignorantly, with no understanding of where the word came from in the first place. 

Originally, people simply said that they were followers of the Way.  Jesus had told them, (John 14:6) "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no-one comes to the Father but through Me." So they were simply followers of Jesus. 
Later, (Acts 11:26) it says, '.....and for an entire year they (Paul and Barnabas) met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.' 

It doesn't say that the disciples of Yeshua ha Meshiach called themselves Christians; it says that they were called Christians  - by implication, by others. The important thing to understand is that they were called Christians, because of the evidence that they had 'turned to the Lord', or had 'come to the Lord.' (Acts 11:21-25).
In other words, they had turned from their own selfish ways, and had joined Yeshua,  who called Himself, 'the WAY' and were transformed by His TRUTH and have His LIFE in them.

Someone who turns to Jesus with all their heart has become a new creation ...'Therefore if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.' (2 Corinthians 5:17) and the evidence is there for all to see in their life. 

So the early disciples in Antioch were called 'Christians', meaning 'Messiah's ones'. They now belonged to Jesus and had joined the Way of Truth and Life. So it is meaningless and completely misleading to speak of 'Christians' as the Pope does...  "violence in Italy perpetrated by Christians: 'this one who has murdered his girlfriend, another who has murdered the mother-in-law....'"  

Such people cannot be called Christians because by definition, a Christian is one who belongs to Jesus and has had his heart transformed by Him. As Jesus is not the instigator of evil actions, this one therefore does not act in this way. A follower of Messiah is filled with the love of God, and someone who loves does not do such things.

Now, some people, ignorant of this, perhaps because of the traditional things they have been taught, (people from the Middle East, for example) believe that the murderous knights, authorised by the Roman Catholic Church, to go to the Middle East on Crusades, were Christians, and therefore, all who call themselves 'Christian' are like those people. 
Members of my own (Western) family, baptised in a protestant denomination when they were children, think that they are Christians, because they see themselves as members of a certain church group, just as the Pope does. 
But they're wrong, nonetheless. They have never turned to the Lord, do not belong to Him and do not have His transforming TRUTH and LIFE in them. And as long as this misconception continues, people will call 'Christian' those who do not belong to the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE, Who is Jesus. 

Another misconception is illustrated by the following:

The other day, my husband gave an Iraqi Aramaic Baptist pastor and his family a lift in his car. He asked the pastor what name he used for God, and he said, 'Allah'. My husband asked him how this could be. So the pastor said that even my husband would use the name 'God' when speaking of the Lord, to which my husband replied that this is a generic name, and not a personal one.

He asked if the pastor would call the gods of the Hindus, 'Allah' too, and the man protested strongly against it, saying that he would never call those gods by the name of 'Allah' - he would give those gods another name - something akin to 'elí-ha,' or (singular) 'él-a'.My husband then said that he supposed that 'elí-ha' or 'él-a' would be the Arabic generic name for God, and the pastor agreed, realising therefore, that 'Allah' is a personal name.
My husband said that he would never call the Father of our Lord Jesus/Yeshua ha Meshiach by the name of 'Allah', because the character of our Father in heaven is so diametrically opposed to the character of Allah as shown in the Quran and demonstrated by those who call themselves his followers. (Muslim terrorists). He said that Allah is a demon.

The Baptist pastor thought about it and then had to say that the man had got him thinking. He said that he had the practise of calling YHWH, 'Allah' from his protestant translation of the Bible, the Van Dyck Version.
Clearly the translator, Cornelius Van Dyck, from whom the Bible translation's name comes, no doubt following the cultural practice of Christians, nominal or otherwise, known to him in the region, decided to use the name of 'Allah' for 'God' in his translation.

Most Middle Eastern Christians have probably never really thought through the ramifications of what they're doing, much as most Western Christians have never thought through the ramifications of many of the man-made, empty, traditional church practices of what they do.

Names mean different things to different people, depending on their background and what they have been taught by man's traditions. No wonder there is so much confusion.

God is not the author of confusion, but sent His Word and Spirit, so that He can lead us into all truth. May He lead us to know Him so that the Truth and Life are more and more revealed to us.

1 Quoted from Ibrahim, R. Pope Francis Equates Muslim and Christian Violence. FrontPage Magazine, 2 August 2016, re-published on the Middle East Forum.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

'Do not Pray for this People.'

  “Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you.' (Jeremiah 7:16)

It is probably only unusual to our minds that a prophet would receive such a command because we are conditioned to think according to man's thinking and not to obeying the voice of the Lord. It isn't only nations for whom God might tell one not to pray, but individuals too. This might seem shocking for those who think that faith implies a one fits all method, and who use the Bible as a rule book - convenient to them, because they unconsciously think that if it says something in the Bible, they don't need to listen to the Spirit. There are times in the Bible where the word of the Holy Spirit in one place appears to contradict another word in another place. And while people may harden their hearts, there also comes a time when the Lord Himself hardens people's hearts, so that He may judge them, for purposes best known to Himself. Our self-righteous thinking is only a hindrance here. May we seek Him for Who He is and not what we think He ought to do. That way we won't find ourselves at loggerheads with Him.