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The Master’s Vessel

The Master’s Vessel

The Master was searching for a vessel to use; On the shelf there were many – which one would He choose? “Take me”, cried the gold one, “I’m shiny and bright, I’m of great value and I do things just right. My beauty and luster will outshine the rest And for someone like You, Master, gold would be the best!”

The Master passed on with no word at all; He looked at a silver urn, narrow and tall; “I’ll serve You, dear Master, I’ll pour out Your drink, and I’ll be at Your table whenever You dine, My lines are so graceful, my carvings so true, And my silver will always compliment You.”

Unheeding the Master passed on to the brass, It was wide mouthed and shallow, and polished like glass. “Here! Here!” cried the vessel, “I know I will do, Place me on Your table for all men to view.”

“Look at me”, called the goblet of crystal so clear, “My transparency shows my contents so dear, Though fragile am I, I will serve You with pride, And I’m sure I’ll be happy in Your house to abide.”

The Master came next to a vessel of wood, Polished and carved, it solidly stood. “You may use me, dear Master”, the wooden bowl said, “But I’d rather You used me for fruit, not for Bread!”

Then the Master looked down and saw a vessel of clay. Empty and broken it helplessly lay. No hope had the vessel that the Master might choose, To cleanse and make whole, to fill and to use.

“Ah! This is the vessel I’ve been hoping to find, I will mend and use it and make it all Mine.” “I need not the vessel with pride of its self; Nor the one who is narrow to sit on the shelf; Nor the one who is big mouthed and shallow and loud; Nor one who displays his contents so proud; Not the one who thinks he can do all things just right; But this plain earthy vessel filled with My power and might.”

Then gently He lifted the vessel of clay. Mended and cleansed it and filled it that day. Spoke to it kindly. “There’s work you must do, Just pour out to others as I pour into you.”

Avoiding The Web of Deception

I don’t particularly like spiders; but have you ever watched one getting ready to eat? Using just the right number of sticky threads, he carefully prepares his web and positions himself to wait for an unsuspecting victim. When one comes along and is caught, the spider feels its vibrations and immediately runs to devour his meal.

Like a spider seeking his prey, the enemy of your soul is hoping to have you for a snack. The Bible says you should “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). One of the ways Satan devours Christians is through false ministries. He strategically sets up his web of deception and waits for you; but he can only devour you if you let him.

As God pours out His Holy Spirit in these last days, you can expect to see more and more legitimate signs and wonders. But, whenever God begins to move, the devil always tries to distract people with a counterfeit move. Jesus said, “For there shall arise false Christ’s, and false prophets, and they shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive even the very elect”  (Matthew 24:24). This prophecy has been in the fulfillment stage for about 2000 years but never more so than at the present time. Satan knows his time is short, and he is doing all he can to deceive God’s people. Therefore, you need to be spiritually sharp so you can avoid the devil’s web of deception.

Seeing is not Believing

Many people unwittingly get caught in the devil’s web of deception because of their eagerness for supernatural experiences. Even some Christians think that just because an occurrence is supernatural, it must be from God. They couldn’t be more wrong! The Apostle John wrote, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, to see if they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” We’re told not to blindly believe every spirit, prophet or prophecy, but to test the spirits and judge the prophecy. In other words, don’t just look for supernatural experiences. Instead, look for those things you are certain come from God.

When the Holy Spirit was being poured out in the book of Acts, something very tangible occurred. In fact, the devout Jews criticized what was taking place and tried to explain it away as drunkenness. Peter gave us some good criteria for judging supernatural manifestations when he said, “For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy” (Acts 2:15-18). Notice he said, “This is that.” If you cannot look at an experience and find it in scripture, you don’t want it as part of your theology!

Recognizing False Ministries

False ministers point to themselves and not to Jesus. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves” (Acts 20:28-30). False ministers draw disciples to themselves, claiming to have spiritual insight local pastors and church leaders do not have. They have a “special” revelation from God. True ministers are messengers who always point to Jesus, not themselves.

False ministers are usually critical of local church leadership. Jude referred to ungodly men who deny the Lord as “grumblers and faultfinders who follow their own evil desires.” They were recognized as those who boasted about themselves and flattered others for their own advantage. That is what deceivers do — they attack and criticize the leadership of your local church while exalting themselves

False prophets usually bring a negative message, especially for those who resist their “ministry.” Their theme is doom, gloom, and destruction. The first time I went to Russia, someone prophesied I was going to die in a plane crash. I prayed about it and didn’t feel the prophecy was right. So, I went as planned and, in just one meeting, over a thousand people were saved. Five hundred churches were planted as a result of that trip. If I were the devil, I would have tried to stop it, too!

The Bible says we are to be led by the Spirit of God, not by prophetic words. If I had I allowed myself to be directed by prophecy alone, I’d never have gone to Russia. Just remember, prophecy should be used to confirm what God is already speaking to you.

False ministers will let you know they are “special” messengers from God. They want to make you believe God speaks to them in a way He does not speak to you. Many people have regrettably poured their hearts, their finances, and their lives into the hands of false ministers just because they were told, “God sent me to you.” Remember, a person is not necessarily on a divine mission from God just because they say so.

One of the easiest ways to spot a false ministry is by discerning the spirit of the minister. A true representative of God is teachable and humble. False ministers are rebellious and un-teachable. They feel no one but God has the right to tell them what to do. Be careful not to get involved with such a minister. If they have a know-it-all attitude, they have already opened the door to the devil’s deception. You don’t want to walk through the door with them!

False ministers display “gifts,” but their fruit is bad. Jesus warned, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit” (Mat 7:15-17). He did not say you would know the good from the bad by signs, miracles, or gifts, but by their fruit. Learn to look beyond the supernatural display to examine the fruit of the ministry.

Finally, false ministers are often “drifters” who have no real roots. If you could do a background check on them, you would probably find that false ministers have gone from church to church, leaving a long trail of confusion, division, deception, and destruction. The Bible says we are to know those who labor among us. In other words, don’t blindly receive the ministry of someone who is not known or recognized by your local leadership.

Knowing the Truth

The most important thing you can do to discern a false ministry is to know what a true ministry looks like. The better you know someone, the less likely you are to be fooled by someone disguised as that person. The better you know the Lord, the less likely you are to be fooled by someone falsely representing him.

I challenge you to stay full of the Holy Spirit and to stay in the Word of God. Hold your local church leadership in high regard, recognizing that they may see things you do not see. Finally, take a bold stand against false ministries and help those who are deceived.

Signs of False Ministries

1. They point to themselves, not to Jesus.
2. They are critical of local church leadership.
3. They bring a negative message.
4. They say they are “special” messengers sent from God.
5. They’re usually rebellious and un-teachable.
6. They display “gifts” but have bad fruit.
7. They’re “drifters” who have no verifiable roots.

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**By Duane Vander Klok at walkingbyfaith.tv / Photo by Pixabay

The Parable of the Mexican Fisherman

An American investment banker was taking a much-needed vacation in a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. The boat had several large, fresh fish in it.

The investment banker was impressed by the quality of the fish and asked the Mexican how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied, “Only a little while.” The banker then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish?

The Mexican fisherman replied he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

The American then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman replied, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos: I have a full and busy life, señor.”

The investment banker scoffed, “I am an Ivy League MBA, and I could help you. You could spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats until eventually, you would have a whole fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to the middleman you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You could control the product, processing and distribution.”

Then he added, “Of course, you would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City where you would run your growing enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But señor, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15–20 years.”

“But what then?” asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You could make millions.”

“Millions, señor? Then what?”

To which the investment banker replied, “Then you would retire. You could move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

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** Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh at pexels

Learn to Desire the Best for Others

Our passion should be to know God better and better, because this is eternal life. We are going to spend all eternity getting to know God more and more. This is why eternity will not be boring for anyone whose passion is to know God. Our earthly life too will then not be boring any more. Let us learn something of God’s life and of His ways from Genesis 2, in the way He dealt with Adam. There we see that it was God Who saw Adam’s need for a wife and Who met that need and made a wife for him. There we see what God’s nature is like. God is always alert to the needs of people and does all that He can to meet those needs. When we partake of this Divine nature, we too will become like that – always alert to the needs and problems of those around us and doing everything we can in order to meet those needs! This will involve a great deal of sacrifice on our part often. We need therefore to ask ourselves whether we are willing to pay this price for partaking of the Divine nature.

Our Adamic nature is the exact opposite of this Divine nature. The life of Adam is thoroughly selfish and makes us alert only to our own needs and to the needs of our own family members. In fact it is so full of selfishness and jealousy that it does not want the needs of others to be met even by another. On the contrary. it enjoys seeing people suffer.

When man sinned, God placed cherubs in front of the tree of life with a sword that turned in every direction to guard the way to that tree. The tree of life symbolises eternal life – knowing God. Through this sword placed in front of the tree of life, God was symbolically showing Adam that if anyone now wanted to partake of the tree of life, he had to first experience the sword falling on his own selfish life. We read in Genesis 3:21 that as soon as Adam and Eve sinned, God killed an animal in Eden and clothed them with coats of the skin of that animal. There too God was teaching them the same lesson – that the only way for them to be clothed now was through the way of sacrifice and death. Adam and Eve had tried to clothe themselves at first without any “death” – with just fig leaves. But God threw those leaves away and showed them the right way to be clothed. So we see right from the beginning God emphasising sacrifice as the way for man to fellowship with Him and to be clothed with His nature.

God told Cain that his fundamental problem was that he “did not intend well” towards his brother Abel (Genesis 4:7). Jude speaks of those who walk in “the way of Cain” (Jude 11). Who are they? They are those who do not intend well towards their brothers. It is good for all of us to have a spiritual check-up in this matter. Can you honestly say that you desire the very best for all the brothers and sisters in your local church and for their families? Can you also say that you desire the very best for other believers whom you know in other denominations? Then widen the circle still further and ask yourself if you desire the very best for all the people whom you know, including your relatives, your enemies and those who have harmed you in any way. If you find a disturbance in your heart (instead of a rejoicing) when something good happens to another person or to his children, or if you sense a rejoicing in your heart (instead of a grief) when something evil happens to him or his family, what do such attitudes indicate? Just this that the life of Adam is alive and active in you.

If you are honest with yourself, you will soon discover whether you are walking the way of Cain or not. You must be quick when you see that evil Adamic life within you to put it to death, if you want the fire and the anointing of God to rest upon you constantly.

It is when the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies TOTALLY, that there will be much fruit. One who dies totally to himself will never get offended, no matter what others do or don’t do. He will always intend well towards all. He will never get angry in any matter that concerns himself and he will never quarrel with anyone. He will never shed a single tear for himself in self-pity – for, surely, dead people don’t weep in their graves!!

Cain’s face was sullen and dark when he did not intend well towards his brother (Gen.4:6). We may not realise it, but the attitude we have in our hearts is often reflected on our faces. If you intend well towards all, your face will always beam with the joy of the Lord. Many believers are walking in the way of Cain. Beneath their weak smiles and the “Praise the Lord”s that come from their lips, are found wrong attitudes towards their fellow-believers. When people turn against you and do evil to you, God uses them to give you a scan of your real heart condition. If you cannot love them, your heart-scan will show that you have NOT partaken of God’s nature, for God’s nature is one that loves even His enemies. Jesus intended well even towards Judas Iscariot.

God desires the very best for all people. The gospel message is that we too can partake of this nature. Those who haven’t understood the gospel thus haven’t understood the gospel at all.

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**Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author.

The Dream

THE DREAM

“When I, Lori McPherson, first became a Christian, I had a glorious dream that was so real. I was standing on the wayside watching all these people busy preparing for something. They all had their own tasks to do, and it seemed they only had a limited time to prepare. Then I realized it was a wedding, an extravagant wedding fit for a king. I wondered to myself whose wedding it was, and how glorious it would be. Then I saw the bridegroom in all his magnificent splendour, so handsome! And I wondered what lucky bride was going to get this handsome and majestic man. And it’s as if all the people there could read my thoughts, and one of them turned to me puzzled as to why I was querying this and said “you!” I was shocked that I could be seen and heard, and tried to shrink away out of sight. At that moment I was afraid and all these thoughts went through my mind, ‘does he know who I am?’ for I knew I was not worthy of him. ‘Does he know my past?’ because I could tell he was so righteous, just and pure, and I wasn’t. He was way out of my league, and “has there been some mistake?!” all these thoughts crossed my mind because I was dirty, blemished and defiled. But the bridegroom came to me and smiled warmly, it was the Lord Jesus Himself. I couldn’t look at Him, I was ashamed. As He stood there, I could feel His love for me, so kind and accepting. He then held up a large picture frame with a blank white canvas and portrayed to me that this was to be part of the wedding decoration once finished, as before it could be put up, the blank canvas had to be filled with fruit that I had placed on it. This fruit was the fruits of the Spirit, the work I had allowed the Holy Spirit to do in me and through me during my earthly lifetime. This would be like a decoration of honour to Him, a wedding gift.”

**This wonderful dream represented the marriage supper of the lamb in Revelation 19:6-9. In an article by Christianity.com the wedding feast that John referred to in revelation is explained below, which leads up to the Big Day. John saw and heard the multitudes in heaven praising the Lord God at the wedding feast of the Lamb. The wedding feast of the Lamb is the marriage supper which was about to begin. To understand what the marriage supper of the Lamb is, let’s consider the three significant wedding customs in the time of Christ.

Three Major Parts of a Wedding Feast

1. A Marriage Contract. Wedding customs in the time of Christ were signed by the parents of the bride and the bridegroom. Additionally, this contract was signed by the parents of the bridegroom, and the bridegroom himself would pay a dowry (down payment) to the bride or her parents. Such a process began the betrothal period, which today would be called the engagement. One example of this was the one Joseph and Mary were in when Mary was found to be with baby Jesus in the womb (Matthew 1:18; Luke 2:5).

2. A Torchlight Parade Through the Streets. The bridegroom accompanied by his male friends went to the house of the bride at midnight, creating a torchlight parade through the streets. Such a parade would not be a surprise to the bride as she knew well in advance such an event was taking place so she would be ready with her maidens. They would then all join the parade and end up at the bridegroom’s home. Such a custom is the basis of the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25:1-13.

3. The Marriage Supper Itself. During the time of Jesus, the marriage supper itself would go on for days as illustrated by the wedding at Cana in John 2:1-2. The events described by John in Revelation 19:7-10 describe the third phase of the wedding feast the marriage supper of the Lamb. John isn’t meaning to skip the first two phases of the wedding feast customs but is communicating they already have happened.

The first phase was completed on earth when each individual Christian placed his or her faith in Jesus Christ. The dowry, in this case, was paid by the bridegroom’s parent (God the Father) because of the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the Bride’s behalf. The Church is betrothed to Christ much the same way as the wise virgin in the parable. All Christians should be watching and waiting for the appearance of the Bridegroom the Lord Jesus (2 Timothy 4:8). The second phase picture, when Christ comes to claim His bride and take the Church to the Father’s house. The Marriage Supper follows as the third and final step and is a glorious celebration of all who are in Christ Jesus.

Delight in the Lord and the Final Day

The Christian will one day find their ultimate delight at the time when He consummates all things (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10). Revelation 19 describes the day where we will become like Jesus. On that day, we will wear the most beautiful wedding gown made up of our righteous deeds (Revelation 19:6-8). As glorified Christians, the people of God will finally fulfil the purpose for which we’ve been created, which is complete, unbroken fellowship with God. Such joy we will experience on that day is beyond description as we will see Christ face-to-face (Revelation 19:9). Every born again, Christian will experience this day because they have been declared righteous in the Lord’s courtroom.

The Lord’s Supper and the Wedding Feast

The Lord’s Supper on the Lord’s Day is a foretaste of such a day as the Wedding Feast. Every time we eat of the Lord’s Supper, we should long all the more for the day when the feast will never end. Whether or not you are partaking of the Lord’s Supper this Lord’s Day, focus your heart on the great wedding feast with the Lord Jesus.

** Dream by Lori McPherson © Copyright – Lori McPherson. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author / Article by Christianity.com / Photo by Edward Eyer at pexels

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My personal testimony

10 Things You Should Know About The Welsh Revival of 1904 – 06

On Sunday, Christmas Day, 1904, Dr. G. Campbell Morgan, pastor of Westminster Chapel in downtown London, England, delivered a somewhat unusual sermon. Contrary to his normal practice of expounding a passage of Scripture, he proceeded to tell his people about the remarkable things that the Holy Spirit was doing at that very time in Wales.

G. Campbell Morgan was a perceptive man, a conservative, sane, balanced, and highly respected pastor. Having heard that revival had broken out in Wales, and unwilling to accept anything on hearsay, he personally travelled to Wales to observe firsthand for himself, what, if anything, God was doing. Upon returning, he said this on that Christmas Day in 1904,

“I say to you today, beloved, without any hesitation, that this whole thing is of God, that it is a visitation in which He is making men conscious of Himself, without any human agency” (quoted in S. B. Shaw, The Great Revival in Wales, 78).

Here are ten things we should know about what happened in Wales.

(1) The principal human agent used by God in the Welsh revival was Evan Roberts. Roberts was born on June 8, 1878, and died in 1951. He began working in the coal mines when he was 12, but soon felt the call to study for the ministry. He immersed himself in the study of the Bible. Roberts was 26 years old when revival broke out. He had been praying for it every day for 13 years. Let me mention three things about Roberts.

He had a remarkable encounter with God that served to prepare him for what God was about to do.

“One Friday night last spring, when praying by my bedside before retiring, I was taken up to a great expanse – without time and space. It was communion with God. Before this I had a far-off God. I was frightened that night but never since. So great was my shivering that I rocked the bed, and my brother, being awakened, took hold of me, thinking I was ill. After that experience I was awakened every night, a little after one o’clock. This was most strange, for through the years I slept like a rock, and no disturbance in my room would awaken me. From that hour I was taken up into the divine fellowship for about four hours. What it was I cannot tell you, except that it was divine. About five o’clock I was again allowed to sleep on till about nine. At this time I was again taken up into the same experience as in the earlier hours of the morning until about twelve or one o’clock. . . . This went on for three months” (Shaw, 49).

Roberts was not a brilliant speaker or preacher, yet his audiences were captivated by his words. “What is the secret of the spell he wields over that audience? Is it learning or eloquence . . .? Nothing of the kind. The secret of his power is that he is ‘full of faith and love and zeal and the Holy Spirit’” (Shaw, 117). He was simple, plain, and unimpressive so that God might get all the credit and glory for what happened. Roberts dreaded publicity, newspaper reporters, and shunned praise and adulation. If he ever sensed that the people had come to see or hear him only, he would withdraw and refuse to preach. He refused to be photographed. He was convinced that if people focused on him and not Christ that the Holy Spirit would immediately withdraw his presence.

He was filled with joy! Someone remarked that the most striking feature of the revival “is the joyousness and radiant happiness of the evangelist. It has been remarked that the very essence of his campaign is mirth. To the rank and file of the church ministers this is his most incomprehensible phase. They have always regarded religion as something iron-bound, severe, even terrible. Evan Roberts (on the other hand) smiles when he prays, laughs when preaches. ‘Ah, it is a grand life,’ he cries. ‘I am happy, so happy that I could walk on the air’” (Shaw, 11).

(2) Some point to the beginning of the revival at New Quay, Cardiganshire, on Sunday morning in February of 1904. It was during a prayer meeting being led by pastor Joseph Jenkins. Jenkins asked for personal testimonies. Some tried to speak on other issues, but Jenkins redirected their focus to the Lord. There was prolonged silence. Then suddenly a young girl named Florrie Evans rose to her feet and spoke softly, with a trembling voice: “I love the Lord Jesus with all my heart!” A journalist named W. T. Stead who was present that day wrote this:

“The pathos and the passion of the avowal (of that young girl) acted like an electric shock upon the congregation. One after another rose and made the full surrender, and the news spread like wildfire from place to place that the Revival had broken out, and that souls were being ingathered to the Lord.”

(3) What was the cause of it all? While there are many answers, most believed it was the result of earnest, agonizing prayer, couple with heart-broken humility. Evan Roberts had prayed daily for 13 years. There were numerous prayer groups in Wales that had prayed for the previous 1 ½ years. One observer said:

“If it be asked why the fire of God fell on Wales, the answer is simple: Fire falls where it is likely to catch and spread. As one has said, ‘Wales provided the necessary tinder.’ Here were thousands of believers unknown to each other, in small towns and villages and great cities, crying to God day after day for the fire of God to fall. This was not merely a ‘little talk with Jesus,’ but daily, agonizing intercession.”

G. Campbell Morgan put it this way:

“If you and I could stand above Wales, looking at it, you would see fire breaking out here, and there, and yonder, and somewhere else, without any collusion or prearrangement. It is a Divine visitation in which God – let me say this reverently – in which God is saying to us: See what I can do without the things you are depending on; see what I can do in answer to a praying people; see what I can do through the simplest, who are ready to fall in line, and depend wholly and absolutely upon Me” (Shaw, 76).

One thing is clear: the revival was not the product of someone’s personality or of another person’s preaching or of anyone’s planning, but of God’s gracious response to the prayers of his people!

(4) The revival broke out and spread without any advertisement or commercials or posters telling of the meetings that were being held. There was no publicity to speak of; no fanfare. What then brought the people to the meetings? The Holy Spirit! One researcher said: “I have scanned newspapers of Wales which came out in 1904-05 and found no paid advertisements there announcing the meetings.” Not one dollar was spent promoting the revival.

(5) People were saved! Approximately 70,000 came to faith in Christ in the first two months and over 100,000 during the course of the revival. There are countless stories of salvation. Here is one.

During one meeting a well-known skeptic in the town interrupted Evan Roberts as he preached. “I want to ask a question,” he shouted. Roberts ignored him. “I want to ask a question,” he yelled angrily again. “If you do not answer me, I will come to pulpit to ask my question.” Everyone ignored him, so he began to make his way to the pulpit to confront Roberts. An eyewitness to the event described what happened next:

“As in the case of Saul of Tarsus, on the Damascus Road, the Holy Spirit overpowered this man – he would have collapsed on the stairs had not the people upheld him – constraining him to cry out for mercy and pardon. What a scene followed! When the people realized the full import of what had happened, the shout went up, ‘He has been saved! He has been saved!”

(6) There was a noticeable absence of preaching during the revival, not because it was devalued but because great preaching had preceded and precipitated the move of the Spirit. As one man said, “These people, all the people in a land like ours, are taught to death, preached to insensibility” (Shaw, 29). The time had come for response!

(7) There was an intense passion for Jesus. On several occasions during a meeting people could be heard crying out: “No more, Lord Jesus, or I die!” The point is that you want revival when you pray for more of Christ. You are in revival when you’ve got so much of him that you feel compelled to say, “No more, lest I die.”

(8) There was a remarkable, widespread passion for singing. When one man was asked if he thought the revival could spread to other countries, he replied: “Can the people sing? That is the question to be answered before you can decide that. Hitherto the revival has not strayed beyond the track of the singing people. It has followed the line of song, not of preaching” (Shaw, 28).

G. Campbell Morgan was stunned by the energy of their worship. “No books, but, oh my, I nearly wept tonight over the singing of our last hymn. . . . When these Welshmen sing, they sing the words like men who believe them. They abandon themselves to their singing. We sing as though we thought it would not be respectable to be heard by the man next to us. No choir, did I say? It was all choir! And hymns! I stood and listened in wonder and amazement as that congregation on that night sang hymn after hymn, long hymns, sung through without hymn-books” (Shaw, 75).

Another described it this way:

“The fact is, unless heard, it is unimaginable and when heard [it is] indescribable. There was no hymnbook. . . . Just anybody started the singing, and very rarely did it happen that the hymn started – no one knew by whom – was out of harmony with the mood at that moment. Once started, as if moved by a simultaneous impulse, the hymn was caught up by the whole congregation almost as if what was about to be sung had been announced and all were responding to the baton of a visible human leader. I have seen nothing like it. You felt that the thousand or fifteen hundred persons before you had become merged into one myriad-headed, but simple-souled, personality. Such as the perfect blending of the mood and purpose that it bore eloquent testimony to a unity created only by the Spirit of God” (JS, 17).

Often while many were praying, others broke into quiet song: “Oh, send the Holy Spirt, Lord!” “The effect of this soft musical accompaniment to the prayers of several voices cannot be described. It is deeply impressive, and often leads the soul into a quiet ecstasy that is truly of Heaven” (Shaw, 24).

(9) Another feature was the overwhelming sense of God’s presence. One pastor said: “If one were asked to describe in a word the outstanding feature of those days, one would unhesitatingly reply that it was a universal, inescapable sense of the presence of God. The Lord had come down! A sense of the Lord’s presence was everywhere. It pervaded, nay, it created the spiritual atmosphere.”

Said another: “Eternal issues were discussed freely and unashamedly, and above all, a sense of the presence and holiness of God pervaded every area of human experience, at home, at work in shops and public houses. Eternity seemed inescapably near and real.”

The pervasive sense of God’s manifest presence awakened great emotional intensity. F. B. Meyers describes a typical service:

“They who merely read such descriptions as this may think that the meetings are characterized by emotional excitement. But that is not the case. There are undoubtedly strong excitement and deep emotion, but these are well under control; and beneath all that can be accounted for by the influence of highly exalted moods of soul on other minds, it is undeniable that the power of God is working after the fashion of those wonderful scenes of which our fathers have told us in 1859” (Shaw, 66-7).

Yet another described it this way:

“Let it not be suspected that we are afraid of all stir and excitement. The greatest and best actions have [always] been performed in stages of excited feeling and high personal exaltation. Nothing was ever achieved in the way of great and radical changes in men or communities without some degree of excitement; and if anyone expects to carry on the cause of salvation by a steady rolling on the same dead level, and fears continually lest the axles wax hot and kindle into a flame, he is too [fainthearted] to hold the reins in the Lord’s chariot” (Shaw, 56).

Another pastor describes the emotional impact of the revival:

“I have no more doubt of its being a work of God than I have of my own existence. As to describing the revival and estimating its results, can you put in words those deep and hallowed experiences of life realized when God meets you almost palpably and sways your whole being cross-ward, heavenward, and the atmosphere trembles with light, life, love, joy, praise, reverence, [and] awe?” (Shaw, 92).

Again:

“No wonder the people could not sleep and could not stay away from the meetings. No wonder the services carried on till two and three o’clock in the morning and then resulted in a march through the streets with the people singing the praises of The Lamb!

Many at the time and since then criticized the emotionalism displayed in the meetings. Yes, when thousands of people are convicted of their sins and are gloriously saved by the grace of God, how can they contain their joy? When believers are elevated to a new heavenly position in Christ and at the same time see the answer to years of agonizing prayer in the salvation of their loved ones, surely there must be shouts of joy and songs of adoration.”

(10) There were prolonged meetings of prayer and praise. One newspaper reported who attended wrote this:

“The scene was almost indescribable. Tier upon tier of men and women filled every inch of space. Those who could not gain admittance stood outside and listened at the doors. Others rushed to the windows, where almost every word was audible. When, at seven o’clock, the service began, quite 2,000 people must have been present. The enthusiasm was unbounded. Women sang and shouted till the perspiration ran down their faces, and men jumped up one after the other to testify. One told in quivering accents the story of a drunken life. A working [man] spoke like a practiced orator: and one can imagine what a note the testimony of a converted gypsy woman struck when, dressed in her best, she told of her reformation and repentance. At ten o’clock the meeting had lost none of its ardor. Prayer after prayer went up from these Welsh hearts with almost dreary persistence. Time and again the four ministers who stood in the pulpit attempted to start a hymn, but it was all in vain. The revival had taken hold of the people, and even Mr. Roberts cannot hold it in check. His latest convert is a policeman, who, after complaining that people had gone mad after religion, so that there was nothing to do, went to see for himself, and bursting into tears, confessed the error of his ways, and repented” (Shaw, 10).

One lady reported on the meetings:

“There was no opening of the meeting; the hearts were full, and burst with prayer and praise to a God felt to be in our midst. One gentleman who had come from Oxford to see the work, said: ‘These men are not praying to be heard of man; it doesn’t matter to them what people think of them; they are thinking about the answer, not about the hearers.’ At times a wave of power, without any human instrumentality, or anything external to cause it, would sweep over the mass of the people, and spontaneously almost the whole company would pray aloud, no one heeding the other, and without the slightest confusion. Everyone was absorbed with God; but in the midst of it, no one dealing with them, a man here, a woman there, would yield to God, and in a few minutes stand up and give praise that they had found the Lord. Sometimes singing and prayer would go on together, but there was no real confusion – the praying was not to man, and the singing was not to man. But such singing is rarely to be heard. It was perfect time and perfect harmony; often the same hymn (never given out, but started spontaneously), sung in English and in Welsh at the same time, and sung over and over, until it penetrated” (Shaw, 12-13).

Yet another described the meetings this way:

“An indefinable influence pervades the country, and awakes to action in the services through the mere reading of a passage, or the singing of a well-known hymn, or the inelegant prayer of a [coal miner] or a country maiden. The ministers, even when in sympathy, take little part; . . . the meetings, often prolonged through the whole night, seem to conduct themselves. . . . From all accounts it is clear that there is a controlling spiritual power that dominates and directs in all. Everywhere stress is laid upon the personality and operation of the Holy Ghost – ‘the Pure Spirit,’ as the name reads in Welsh” (Shaw, 52).

And another:

“Three-fourths of the meeting consists of singing. No one uses a hymn book. No one gives out a hymn. The last person to control the meetings is in any way Mr. Evan Roberts. People pray and sing, give testimony, [and] exhort as the Spirit moves them” (Shaw, 53).

Once again, G. Campbell Morgan describes his experience in a meeting he attended:

“I can tell you no more, save that I personally stood for three solid hours wedged so that I could not lift my hands at all. . . If you could but once have seen the men, evidently [coal miners], with the blue seam that told of their work on their faces, clean and beautiful. Beautiful, did I say? Many of them lit with heaven’s own light, radiant with the light that never was on sea and land. . . Today it is awakened, and I look on many a face, and I knew that men did not see men, did not see Evan Roberts, but they saw the face of God and the eternities. I left that evening, after having been in the meeting three hours, at 10:30, and it swept on, packed as it was, until an early hour next morning, song and prayer and testimony and conversion and confession of sin by leading church members publicly, and the putting of it away, and all the while no human leader, no one indicating the next thing to do, no one checking the spontaneous movement” (Shaw, 73).

What were the results of this awakening? During the time of revival the police were left with virtually nothing to do and the courts were empty. Saloons and bars shut down for lack of business. Public drunkenness was almost non-existent. Old debts, many long forgotten, were paid off in full. Traveling theatrical agencies canceled their engagements, as everyone was in church! Profanity disappeared. It was said that horses everywhere were in complete confusion. They had become accustomed to responding to their master’s profane shouts and kicks and cursing, virtually of all of which had disappeared.

At one rugby match, a pastor said he heard only one man cursing, who thereupon repented. Of the 40,000 present, 10,000 began singing hymns. Relationships were healed and marriages restored. This last description of the revival perhaps sums it up best:

“It was plainly evident now to everybody that God had answered the agonizing prayers of His people and had sent a mighty spiritual upheaval. A sense of the Lord’s presence was everywhere. His presence was felt in the homes, on the streets, in the mines, factories and schools and even in the drinking saloons. So great was His Presence felt that even the places of amusement and carousal became places of holy awe. Many were the instances of men entering taverns, ordering drinks and then turning on their heels and leaving them untouched. Wales up to this time was in the grip of football fever when tens of thousands of working-class men thought and talked only of one thing. They gambled also on the result of the games. Now the famous football players themselves got converted and joined the open-air street meetings to testify what glorious things the Lord had done for them. Many of the teams were disbanded as the players got converted and the stadiums were empty.”

On that Christmas Sunday in 1904, G. Campbell Morgan closed his sermon by saying this. Let no man hear of what happened in Wales and try to start it in his own land. Why? Because no man started it in Wales! We cannot produce revival. We can only pray that God would be gracious to us and send it in abundance!

** By Sam Storms at samstorms.org / Photo by UCKG

Invisible Barriers to Healing

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds”
– 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

God provides healing as part of the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. But what do you do when you don’t see the healing manifest in the physical realm? Derek Prince discloses six common barriers to healing—and how to overcome them. The notes below are from the sermon here: Invisible Barriers to Healing

Common Barriers To Receiving Healing

A. Ignorance (Isaiah 5:13; Hosea 4:6)

B. Unbelief (Hebrews 3:12–13)

Prayer: “Oh, God, I come to You in Jesus’ Name, and I confess my sin of unbelief. I do not try to excuse it. I am responsible for it. I am sorry for it. I ask You to forgive me and to deliver me from it and impart to me Your faith. I want to declare: I believe in God the Father, I believe in Jesus Christ His Son, I believe in God the Holy Spirit, and I believe in the Bible—the true, authoritative Word of God. I believe, Lord Jesus, what you said, “God’s Word is the truth.” Amen.”

C. Unconfessed sin (Proverbs 28:13) [Ask God to reveal any areas of unconfessed sin]

Prayer: “Oh, God, I acknowledge I am sorry. Forgive me, cleanse me in the blood of Jesus. Thank you for forgiving me, God. I receive your forgiveness. Now, God, because You have forgiven me, I forgive myself.”

D. Resentment and unforgiveness toward others (Mark 11:25)

Prayer: “Holy Spirit, I ask You now in Jesus’ Name to speak to my heart and show me areas of bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness and make me willing to forgive. If there has been any resentment in my heart—any unforgiveness, any bitterness— I renounce it now. I lay it down. If anyone has ever harmed me or wronged me, I forgive them now, as I would have God forgive me. Lord, I forgive them in Your Name, and I believe You forgive me. Thank you, Lord, in Jesus’ Name.”

E. Occult involvement (Exodus 23:24–26):

1. Fortune-telling

2. Ouija board

3. Horoscopes

4. Superstition

5. Rock music

6. Drugs, etc.

Prayer: “Lord, if I have ever been involved in the occult, even ignorantly, whatever it was, I confess it as a sin and I renounce it. I ask You to forgive me and I commit myself now that never again will I be involved in those things. Forgive me, Lord, and release me from their influence. Right now. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.”

F. Freemasonry (Exodus 23:32):

1. False religious system

2. Royal Arch Degree – The god Jabulon (Ja = Jehovah, bul = Baal, on = Osiris). This is an abomination in the sight of the Lord.

3. One example: Woman with baby, six weeks old, that would not take nourishment (girl’s father was a Freemason). Baby took three full bottles after curse broken.

Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, I want to serve You and love You. If there is in my life (or in my family) a curse of Freemasonry or any other cult, I ask You to release me and forgive me and break its power over me right now. In Jesus’ Name.”

G. Effects of a curse over a family:

1. Mental and emotional breakdown

2. Repeated and chronic sicknesses (especially hereditary)

3. Repeated miscarriages or female problems, barrenness, etc.

4. Breakdown of marriage and family alienation

5. Continuing financial insufficiency

6. Accident prone

7. Suicides or unnatural deaths

Prayer: “Thank you, Lord Jesus, that on the cross You were made a curse that I might be redeemed from the curse and enter into the blessing. And because of what You did, Lord Jesus, in Your precious Name I release myself from every curse over me and my family and I claim the blessing that You purchased for me with Your blood. Thank you, Lord Jesus.”

H. Evil spirits associated with sickness (Luke 4:40–41).

Direct cause of sickness:

1. Spirits of infirmity, crippling, pain

2. Curvature of the spine

3. Spirit of death (Look on dark side of things, morbidity, dressing darkly)

Prayer: “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.” (Ps. 118:17) I. Ministry to the sick (Mark 16:18) After prayer, keep your plug in.

————

**Courtesy of Derek Prince Ministries

** The spiritual warfare prayer

7 Ways To Tell If You Are In A God Ordained Relationship

Why God ordained? Because if your relationship is NOT God approved, you will surely experience unnecessary heartache and years of drama and turmoil. Who would dare enter into a relationship that isn’t approved by God? Many do… And many stumble and regret not utilizing Godly insight and wisdom when picking their mates. Who you date/court and eventually marry is the most important decision in your life, second only to your decision to follow Jesus Christ. This shouldn’t be left to chance or worldly wisdom such as choosing based on physical attraction and emotional connection. “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30)

Physical and emotional attraction is great, but come only secondary when it comes to picking “The One” who God has chosen for you. Depending primarily on these factors cause many Christian marriages to fail in the end, because they are not based on Biblical principles nor are they the main part of God’s blueprint for marriage.  

1 – You are Equally Yoked Christians

The operative word here is equally yoked.  By this I mean you are both Christians for starters and are both in a similar place in your walk with Jesus.  If one of you walks closely with Him and the other barely knows Him, you are not Equally Yoked.  You must have a strong Spiritual connection with one another.  You must view and worship God in a similar fashion. You can talk openly about God and can spur each other on in your faith and walk with Christ.  You should be able to pray together as a couple and pray for one another when you are apart. This prayer should come naturally and without hesitation. I cannot emphasize enough how critical this point is. It’s not enough that both of you believe in Jesus Christ. If you are not equally yoked spiritually, your relationship will unravel quickly.

Ephesians 5:25-26 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word…

If you are not Equally Yoked because one of you is not a Christian, your relationship is not ordained by God, because this is blatant disobedience to God’s Word.  If you are not equally yoked because you don’t connect spiritually or one of you is more grown than the other, particularly the woman, you should prayerfully consider taking a break and seeing if time apart will bring the other person to a closer and deeper relationship with God.  If not, then it is not a match.  MOVE ON…  Regeneration and transformation is evidence of a Spirit led life yielded to Him.

“There is no exception to this rule; if a man loves not God, neither is he born of God. Show me a fire without heat, then show me regeneration that does not produce love to God.” — Charles Spurgeon

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

Physical attraction is not enough glue to keep a marriage alive. Look at all the celebrity marriages that are based on looks and attraction. Jesus is the Superglue in any marriage! If you don’t see Jesus in that person’s character, action, or spirit, you are fooling yourself and setting yourself up for a world of frustration and hurt.

Deuteronomy 22 tells us not to sow a vineyard with different kinds of seed or plow with an ox and a donkey together.  God wanted to separate His children’s practices from pagan practices. In the same way, a Spiritual connection is achieved by equally yoking, sanctified believers planted at the same level, walking along the same path, direction, and speed.  

Can two walk together, unless they are agreed? Amos 3:3

This is critical in the context of marriage according to God’s Word.  He doesn’t want us to struggle by either being weighed down by someone’s lack of knowledge or overwhelmed by someone’s drive to push to the next spiritual level.  God’s sovereignty is greater than our fleshly point of view. This spiritual connection becomes apparent during the dating/courting stage. Don’t think marriage will suddenly cause a spiritual connection to magically appear between two different levels of believers. Not to say that God cannot raise up and sanctify a once flailing believer for His glory, I am merely suggesting that we should obey His commands and precepts to receive His full blessings according to His promises instead of pushing the envelope and walk along the perimeters of what is acceptable in His eyes.     

2 – You are both Marriage Minded

You both share similar goals about marriage; you are both ready for it. The time frame should be within one to two years at the most. If neither of you are ready for marriage, why are you dating? Recreational Dating is not advisable for Born Again Bible Believing Christians; it only leads to sin, which dishonors God, then God doesn’t bless the union. This ends up causing long term issues in the marriage by blurring the lines between lust and love. 

Once lust and the physical aspect has already been introduced in the relationship, the waters are muddied and both parties cannot see or think clearly. This is also a warning sign that the relationship is not God ordained.

If only one of you is ready to get married, then you are incompatible and shouldn’t date.  This also turns into recreational dating for the one who isn’t ready to marry and a big waste of time for the one who is ready to marry. When an individual is ready for marriage after spending quality time with God in worship, sanctification, and service, nothing pleases Him more than to bring a suitable mate for that individual in the covenant of Marriage.

In Genesis 24:1-23, Abraham sent his servant to seek a wife for his son Isaac.  He was very choosy by sending his servant back to his country to find a suitable mate for his one and only son. Before meeting Rebekah, the servant said a prayer to God asking for wisdom.  Rebekah proved herself worthy when she served water to this servant and his camels. She unknowingly showed her diligence and work ethic which was the sign he was looking for in finding “The One.” 

3 – You have Complete Peace

When your relationship is God ordained, it will be simple, uncomplicated, and should run smoothly. It won’t be perfect, but will seem effortless. Your schedules don’t collide. You both have time to go to church, serve God, and enjoy time together. Your lives converge easily without too much effort. Both your friends and families approve. There is no drama, fighting, or constant bickering. Peace will permeate your spirit when God ordains your relationship.   When you think about that person, you smile and thank God for bringing you a perfect and wonderful gift. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father…”  (James 1:17)

Genesis 24:40 But he said to me, ‘The Lord, before whom I walk, will send His angel with you and prosper your way; and you shall take a wife for my son from my family and from my father’s house.

God will send his angels to ensure you prosper in your ordained relationship. This brings perfect peace. But when you are constantly arguing and chaos/drama is a consistent theme, something is wrong. When your lives are on opposite schedules and you can’t get time together, much less go to church or serve God together, this is a warning sign. When close family members or trusted friends have issues with your mate, take heed. If most arguments are not getting resolved and get swept under the rug; when you think about that person and get upset or stress out, it’s time to get out of that relationship.  Most people don’t see these issues as road blocks and think getting married will solve these problems.  It doesn’t. Permanently chaining yourself to someone who doesn’t get along with you, will not miraculously make them get along with you better. God is a God of order, not confusion. He is trying to warn you.  “Get Out!” 

2 Chronicles 8:16 Now all the work of Solomon was well-ordered from the day of the foundation of the house of the LORD until it was finished. So the house of the LORD was completed.

If God has ordained our days, He will also ordain the placement of our mate in our lives in the proper order and time; according to His will. If you are investing emotionally, mentally, and physically before getting a green light from God, you are not only being disobedient, but you are also hurting yourself and your future relationship in many ways.  Repent, part ways, and let Jesus mend your heart. If you have a hard time letting go after knowing you are in the wrong relationship, you have other underlying issues like co-dependency. Partnership with a co-dependent person is not advisable. You are not yoking yourself to a healthy partner or relationship.

4 – You Enjoy Being with that Person

Take away the iPhone, Facebook, Cable TV, games, and all media. If you were stranded on a deserted island with this person with only a Bible, would you have the adventure of a lifetime or does getting a root canal seem more appealing?  This is the true test of compatibility. When you can sit with this person without distractions and physical intimacy and can laugh, communicate, connect, and enjoy yourself, you are on the right track, because you have the foundation of a Godly Friendship in place.

The thought of this person gets you excited spiritually and emotionally. Out of all the people you know, this person is the first person you want to share your victories and trials with. Their presence and their input is what you look forward to at the end of your day. You see Jesus in their countenance and demeanor.

Proverbs 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

But if sitting alone with this person for two hours without media distractions makes you uncomfortable, you need to reevaluate your relationship. If your communication often goes awry and ends in an argument or frustration, this is a red flag. You have communication issues. Again, marriage doesn’t cause two incompatible people with communication barriers to suddenly have a strong connection. It’s either there or it’s not.

Proverbs 17:1 Better is a dry morsel with quietness, than a house full of feasting with strife.

5 – Communication, Communication, Communication!

When it comes to Real Estate it’s Location, Location, Location!  But in a relationship, it’s Communication to the third power! You must be able to speak freely both ways.  The best communicators are active listeners. They are also great at articulating their thoughts and feelings through speaking and writing. It’s best to find someone who can communicate at your level and listens intently to your every word. After all, we have two ears and one mouth. The bible tells us it’s better to listen before speaking.

Ezekiel 3:10 Moreover He said to me: “Son of man, receive into your heart all My words that I speak to you, and hear with your ears.

James 1:19-20 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

After being spiritually connected, communication is the next critical item on the list. You must be able to communicate with one another frequently, with ease, openness, and pleasure. If there is a lot of miscommunication, arguments, and difficulty, it’s a Red Flag! Again, this is another item that either exists naturally or not at all. It’s understandable that communication is a skill that can be learned and improved on, but when there are difficulties in a dating/courting relationship, beware! Proceed with caution. Don’t date/court someone to fix them. This is God’s job, not yours!

6 – Majority Approves

Most if not all your friends and family must approve of your mate. These are people who know you, love you, and want what’s best for you. Sometimes we can get emotionally and physically caught up in someone and not see the “Big Picture.” This is where our friends and family come in. Their opinions and insights count. Obviously, be cautious of those who are not basing their opinions on Biblical virtues. But otherwise, trust them! If a majority of them disapprove of your choice, God is trying to tell you something. Don’t ignore their opinions. They are God’s messengers for your protection. Your relationship will not thrive in a bubble or a vacuum. God did not intend that for any marriage. If anything, your relationship is meant to be an illustration to the world of God’s goodness, faithfulness, and love.

Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

In biblical times and some cultures today, parents often chose spouses for their children. This is not such a bad idea. Who do you think would make a better judgment call, an emotionally inexperienced and hormonally driven 22-year old or a mature parent who has both Godly and Worldly wisdom and insights? If you ignore the Majority Approves rule, you are guilty of disobedience and idolatry.

Before Rebekah agreed to leave with the servant, she needed her family’s wisdom and approval as a sign that God ordained it. I’m sure if they didn’t approve, she wouldn’t have agreed to go. “Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, “The thing comes from the Lord; we cannot speak to you either bad or good.Here is Rebekah before you; take her and go, and let her be your master’s son’s wife, as the Lord has spoken.”(Genesis 24:50-51)

Genesis 24:57-61 So they said, “We will call the young woman and ask her personally.” Then they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” And she said, “I will go.” So they sent away Rebekah their sister and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant and his men. And they blessed Rebekah and said to her: “Our sister, may you become the mother of thousands of ten thousands;
And may your descendants possess the gates of those who hate them.” Then Rebekah and her maids arose, and they rode on the camels and followed the man. So the servant took Rebekah and departed.

Here we see that Rebekah heeded her family’s approval before deciding to leave with Abraham’s servant. She also proved her faith, readiness, and willingness by leaving her family at a moment’s notice and setting out for a new life in a far away land to marry a man she never met! This took courage, faith, and preparedness; the kind that manifests after spending alone time with God.

On A Personal Note

I would have to get to know him in an unconventional manner because I don’t believe in dating. We would have to communicate and get to know each other without a lot of physical contact and/or be around groups of people. I honestly believe that too much physical contact blurs the lines and injects romance prematurely. Romance happens after the wedding, not before. This is where the world system gets it wrong … I won’t fall for him emotionally until he decides to be my husband. This way, he can catch me when I fall.

Too many women fall for a man who hasn’t even professed their love much less have the intention of marriage. And this is why they fall flat on their face and end up broken and wounded. Don’t fall for a man or invest emotionally until you know he is God’s match for you!

7 – God Gives you a Supernatural Love for this person

When God ordains a relationship, He gives you supernatural examples to confirm His approval of your union. It won’t take years or months. Sometimes it’s a matter of hours or weeks to know you are in the presence of “The One.” Now granted, if you met in high school, then it will take years, but when you are at an appropriate age, it doesn’t take long to figure it out if God is in the centre of your relationship. A man will be overcome with the desire to see the woman more often, while the woman won’t have time to fret over his intentions or feelings.  

Ladies, if you are sitting around fretting over some guy who isn’t calling you or wanting to spend more time with you, give it to God. You could be wasting your precious time and energy on the wrong guy. Instead of being fixated on Mr. Wrong, focus on what you should be doing, which is serving God. 

1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”

Those who have met the right person will be given an extra helping of love for this person that will seem unconditional.You can’t imagine your life without this person in it. Your love for this person becomes more Christ-like and pure. This love is not driven by selfishness or lust. If it is, beware! Lust doesn’t last. It is only lighter fluid that dissipates over time. The flame dies out quickly if Christ-like love is not the center or foundation of your relationship. God doesn’t bless such a union. Be Warned: the enemy will have a field day wreaking havoc on your relationship, instilling fits of jealousy, rage, and tumultuousness.When deciding on a future mate, these seven factors should be the criteria in your decision making. Emotions and physical attraction shouldn’t override these factors. Otherwise, you will be on a slippery slope compromising in a relationship that God did not ordain. God’s blessings were bestowed on Rebekah as she faithfully waited and readied herself for her future mate.

Genesis 24:67 Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent; and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her.

The Takeaways:

1 – A Spiritual Connection centered on Christ and set apart by His precepts is a requirement in a God Ordained Relationship.

2 – Physical attraction and emotional connection doesn’t last and is not God’s main criteria in selecting a mate for you. 

3 – God wants to bless you with a mate who will bring you closer to Him, not farther from Him. He will present the person who will bring you to a more intimate relationship with Him so He will be glorified through your union.

4 – Recreational Dating: leads to sin, doesn’t honor God, and prepares you more for divorce, than marriage.

5 – Communication either flows freely or it just doesn’t.  A communication blockage is a Red Flag!

6 – Majority Approval is a must! God reveals His truth through our family and friends when we no longer listen to Him.

7 – Wait on God’s choice for you! When God ordains it, it will be exceedingly and abundantly more than you could ask or think!

There is HOPE …  
I just want to clarify that if you are already married and both of you are in Christ, you are in the right place regardless of your struggles. Like I mentioned above, Jesus is the superglue. Allow Him to work by giving him control instead of handling everything on your own strength. Both of you MUST submit to Him and obey His statutes for marriage. He wants to be the Hero in your love story and the solution to all your issues. No problem is bigger than Him, including infidelity. Divorce is not the answer, He is. He can make all things beautiful if you submit to Him. Redemption, reconciliation, renewal, and revelation is just around the corner!

Read Ephesians 5:22-33. I believe this is the blueprint of God’s construct of marriage. Most people don’t follow this and wonder why their marriage is suffering or falling apart. If both people love each other and want the marriage to thrive, then they must submit to God and follow His instructions.

Ephesians 5:22-33 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Saviour of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. ”This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

If you notice, the husband has his work cut out for him. This is why it’s very important for a woman to choose wisely in a future husband. I can’t tell you how many women suffer because of their choice in a self-righteous husband … myself included. The man is the leader and head of the home as Christ is of the church. If a man is not walking right with God, this leads to the erosion of the marriage and family. Fervent Prayer is the first step if this is the case. First pray for your husband, next pray for strength and patience. Godly counsel is next if nothing changes.

The wife must submit to her husband, even if he is not in Christ. She shouldn’t sin, but rather submit to his wishes as long as they are not opposed to God. Too many women are strong-minded and imprudent in their ways … myself included in the the past. The culture predicates this and makes women think it’s empowering. This doesn’t work in a marriage ordained by God. It only brings strife and conflict. Allow God to soften your heart and learn to submit to Him as you submit to your husband. When he sees the change, he will soften and his love for you will grow. This allows Jesus to pour His Spirit to further strengthen your bond.

If you have lost hope and are at the end of your rope, I will pray for you. I have walked in your shoes and have counseled and prayed for many on that dark and lonely road. Remember that the enemy is hard at work destroying families with his wicked agenda predicated on the media. His biggest target is husbands. Many are spiritually castrated and have abdicated their roles as Godly men to their wives. 

I pray your relationships get refocused and become centred in Christ Jesus. They affect every facet of our lives and determine how we walk with the Lord. God Bless you and yours!

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**By Nina Andres, author of “God Ordained Relationship”

God Needs Men Today

GOD NEEDS MEN TODAY…

*** men who will stand before His face and hear His voice daily,
*** men who have no desire in their heart for anyone or anything other than God Himself,
*** men who fear Him so greatly that they hate sin in every form and love righteousness and truth in all their ways,
*** men who have overcome anger and sexually sinful thoughts, and who would rather die than sin even in thought or attitude,
*** men whose daily lifestyle is one of taking up the cross and pressing on to perfection, and who are constantly working out their own salvation with fear and trembling,
*** men, full of the Holy Spirit, who are so rooted and grounded in love that nothing can ever move them into an unloving attitude towards another human being however great the provocation,
*** men who are so rooted and grounded in humility that neither human praise nor spiritual growth, neither a divinely endorsed ministry nor anything else will be able to make them lose the awareness of their being less than the least of all the saints,
*** men who have an understanding of God’s nature and purpose through His word, and who tremble at that word so that they will not disobey even the smallest commandment or neglect to teach it to others,
*** men who will proclaim the whole counsel of God and expose religious harlotry and unscriptural human traditions,
*** men who have the revelation of the Holy Spirit on the secret of godliness, on Christ having come in the flesh and opened a new and living way through the flesh,
*** men who are diligent and hard-working, but who also have a sense of humour, and know how to relax and play with children and enjoy God’s good gifts in nature,
*** men who are not ascetics, but who at the same time live a disciplined life and who are not afraid of hardships,
*** men who have no interest in expensive clothing or sight seeing and who will not waste their time in unprofitable activities or their money in unnecessary purchases,
*** men who have mastered their desire for fancy foods and who are not enslaved to music or sport or any other legitimate activity,
*** men who have been disciplined successfully by God in the fires of affliction, abuse, tribulations, false accusation, physical sickness, financial hardships and opposition from relatives and religious leaders,
*** men full of mercy, who can sympathise with the worst of sinners and the worst of believers, and have hope for them, because they consider themselves to be the chiefest among sinners,
*** men who are so deeply rooted in the security of the love of their Heavenly Father that they are never anxious about anything, or afraid of Satan or evil men or difficult situations or anything,
*** men who have entered into God’s rest, believing in the sovereign working of God in all matters for their best and who therefore give thanks always for all men, for all things and in all circumstances,
*** men who find their joy in God alone and who are therefore full of the joy of the Lord, having overcome all bad moods,
*** men of living faith, who have no confidence in themselves or their natural abilities, but complete confidence in God as their unfailing Helper in all situations,
*** men who live, not by the promptings of their own reason, but by the leading of the Holy Spirit,
*** men who have been genuinely baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire by Christ Himself (and not just thrilled by some emotional counterfeit or convinced by some theological argument),
*** men who live constantly under the anointing of the Spirit, endowed with the supernatural gifts that He has given them,
*** men who have revelation of the church as the body of Christ (and not a congregation or a denomination), and who give all their energies, their material wealth and spiritual gifts to build that church,
*** men who have learnt to bridle their tongues through the help of the Holy Spirit and whose tongues are now aflame with the divine Word,
*** men who have forsaken all, who are not attracted any more to money or material things, and who desire no gifts from others,
*** men who can trust God for all their earthly needs and who never hint about their material needs or boast about their labours, either in their conversation or through letters and reports,
*** men who are not stubborn, but gentle, and open to criticism and eager for correction from older and wiser brothers,
*** men who have no desire to dominate or advise others (although ready to give advice, when asked for), and who have no longing to be considered as ‘elder’ brothers, or leaders, but who only desire to be ordinary brothers and servants of all,
*** men who are easy to get along with, and who are willing to be inconvenienced and taken advantage of by others,
*** men who will make no distinction between the millionaire and the beggar, the white-skinned and the dark-skinned, the intellectual and the idiot, and the cultured and the barbarian, but who will treat them all alike,
*** men who will never be influenced by their wife, children, relatives, friends or other believers to cool off even slightly in their devotion to Christ or their obedience to God’s commandments,
*** men who can never be bribed to compromise by any reward that Satan may offer (whether honour or money or whatever),
*** men who are fearless witnesses for Christ, fearing neither religious heads nor secular heads,
*** men who desire to please no human being on the face of the earth, and who are willing to offend all men, if necessary, in order to please God alone,
*** men for whom God’s glory, God’s will and God’s kingdom always take priority over mere human need and their own comfort,
*** men who cannot be pressurised either by others or by their own reason into doing ‘dead works’ for God, but who are eager and content to do the revealed will of God for their lives alone,
*** men who have the discernment of the Spirit to distinguish between the soulish and the spiritual in Christian work,
*** men who look at things from a heavenly view point and not an earthly one,
*** men who will refuse all earthly honours and titles offered them for their labours for God,
*** men who know how to pray without ceasing, and also how to fast and pray when needed,
*** men who have learned to give generously, cheerfully, secretly and with wisdom,
*** men who are willing to be all things for all men, so that by all means they might save some,
*** men who have a longing to see others not only saved but also made disciples of Christ, and brought to the knowledge of the truth and to obedience to all of God’s commandments,
*** men who have a longing to see a pure testimony established for God in every place,
*** men who have a burning passion to see Christ glorified in the church,
*** men who do not seek their own in any matter,
*** men with spiritual authority and spiritual dignity,
*** men who will stand alone for God in the world, if need be,
*** totally uncompromising men, like the apostles and prophets of old.

God’s work in the world suffers today, because such men are few in number. Determine with all your heart that you will be such a man for God, in the midst of a sinful and adulterous generation and a compromising Christendom. Since there is no partiality with God, it is possible for you too to be such a man, provided you yourself earnestly desire to be one. Since God demands commitment and obedience only in the conscious area of one’s life, it is possible for you to be such a man, even though the conscious area of your life may be limited. (That area will keep increasing as you walk in the light and press on to perfection). There is no excuse then why you cannot be such a man. Since nothing good dwells in the flesh, we have to seek for grace from God to have the virtues listed above. Cry out to God daily then, that He will give you grace to be such a man as this, in the closing days of the age.

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*Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author: cfcindia.com

A Politician’s Testimony

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, but lose his soul?” -Mark 8:36

For those of us who are Christian it is important to stop and reflect on what being Christian really means. Today two billion people classify themselves as Christians but do most of us really dedicate ourselves to living Christian lives? The answer is clearly no. The world that we live in is full of distractions and pleasures that pull us away from a spiritual life. Even our jobs which are a very necessary and important part of our lives can end up being the altar at which we pray. They consume most of our waking hours and provide the income on which we are dependent in order to take care of our families.

We spend more time at cinemas, theaters, art galleries and theme parks than we do at churches, and they have become our new cathedrals. We can spend hours at any of these places of entertainment but if church service goes on too long we get impatient. We love to listen to music and to dance the night away much more often than singing hymns to our Lord. We pay more to watch a football, basketball or baseball game than we leave in the tray as it is passed through the pews.

We care more about money, honors, fame, glory, recognition, entertainment, physical gratification and a myriad of other things than we do about enlightenment, spirituality and peace in our lives. Yet even when we are satiated with the good things in life we often find ourselves feeling empty. Something seems to be missing.

Many people turn to yoga, gurus, “feel-good” seminars legitimately looking for ways to fill the empty void it their lives. Others turn to alcohol, drugs, or prostitutes in their search for ways to either deaden the pain or find a source of intimacy that is missing.

Yet none of the above will provide the sense of peace for which we are all searching. Only a connection to God can provide that ultimate peace. And for Christians our path to God is through Jesus Christ, the son of God. Through His resurrection we have been given the hope of salvation.

It is important for those of us who are Christian to remember that our physical lives don’t last forever. Our souls will last an eternity, and thus we should place even more emphasis on the health of our souls than the health of our bodies. The later is important to nourish but our souls also need nourishment, and that nourishment is love. We need to love and be loved by others. And since God is love He is the ultimate source of nourishment for our souls.

A hundred years from now very few of us will be remembered by anybody living at that time. So if we focus all our attention on the successes of this world what will it have gained for us. When we die our money, fame, and honors will be meaningless. We own nothing in this world. Everything we think we own is in reality only being loaned to us until we die. And on our deathbed at the moment of death, no one but God can save our souls.

The happiest people I have ever seen are often times those individuals who have very little in the way of material comforts or public recognition. They were people I met in trailer parks when running for public office, or nuns and monks who had given up everything in order to follow Christ. They had a sense of community and fellowship.

On the other end of the spectrum were the billionaires, famous actors, and elected officials that I met throughout the years. They clearly loved their work and excelled at it. They had achieved the spoils of this world but yet most of them were not at peace.

I lived much of my life in the world of business and politics gaining wealth and a modicum of fame. Was it exciting? Yes, of course, for a short period of time. But when I lost my last political race that world came to an end and at the time I considered it a tragedy. However, the good news was that out of that loss came a rebirth.

An inscription on a church wall changed my life forever. It said: “For what profits a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul”. If I had won that Senate race I might well have gone on to “gain the whole world” and lost my own soul. Looking back that would have been the real tragedy. My prayer tonight is that we will all find love and peace in our own lives so that we can focus our attention on helping others rather than just ourselves.

**By a politician

What Real Love Looks Like

As a parent, one thing I’ve come to learn is that true love for someone does not mean you give them whatever they want. For example, my children would like to eat donuts every night for dinner. In this situation, my love for them is the very reason that I deny them what they want. When I deny them, they may be tempted to think I don’t love them. But real love desires the person’s long-term good, over giving them what they want all the time.

It’s very helpful to me to remember that God loves me with such a perfect love, that He will deny many of my earthly desires. To someone who doesn’t know God, this may look like God doesn’t care for or love them. But whoever knows God as their loving Father, they will no doubt be thankful for the many prayers and desires He didn’t answer, knowing that when they come into eternity they will look back and say “I’m glad He did things exactly the way He did.”

So if real love for my children doesn’t look like ‘giving them whatever they want’, what does it look like? The Bible – our foundation of truth tells us what real love is and what it looks like. I’d like to list out many practical examples of love the Lord has burdened my heart with, that illustrate the principles of real love as defined by the Bible. This isn’t meant to be a complete exhaustive list, but a list of examples God has put on my heart as practical goals I can have as I try love others, and God better.

CHILDREN

Real love toward my children should look like:

• Asking God for wisdom to raise them (James 1:5)

• Praying for them consistently

• Taking their sin and disobedience very seriously, and not brushing it off

• Carefully disciplining them and rebuking them when it will build them up, not too severely and not too lightly, and never out of anger (Prov 3:11-12, Col 3:21, Heb 12:5-8)

• Teaching them that God loves them and is always with them, so they never have to be scared, and they can talk to Him any time (Heb 13:6)

• Teaching them the Bible, giving them foundational godly wisdom for life and godliness (Prov 4:5)

• Being patient with them (Eph 4:2)

• Not ignoring them

• Spending quality time with them

• Encouraging them (1 Thess 5:11)

• • Not losing my temper and snapping in anger at them (responding verbally or physically in a harsh way that is driven not by desire for their good but anger)

• Playing with them and laughing with them

SPOUSE

Real love toward my wife should look like:

• Praying for and encouraging her (Heb 3:13)

• Plain and simple kindness (Eph 4:32)

• Considering what burdens she’s had throughout the day when I’ve been away at work

• Holding my tongue and keeping quiet when I am tempted to be angry or frustrated (James 1:19)

• Working hard at my job to provide for her what she needs (food, shelter, etc) without getting in to debt and making our family a slave to others outside our home (1 Tim 5:8)

• Being faithful to her – not committing adultery in the heart by looking lustfully at another woman (Matt 5:28)

• Being a servant, sacrificing time and energy to make things easier for her (John 13:12-14)

• Helping with household chores

• Not leaving messes around the house

• Sharing little words that God has spoken to me – ‘salting the conversation’ (Col 4:6) with the things of God, and ‘washing her in the Word’ (Ephesians 5:26)

• Expressing appreciation for her

• Laboring to present her as a spotless bride to Jesus (Ephesians 5:27)

• Rooting for her to grow in the Lord

• Playfully joking with her to make her smile, and to let her know that I enjoy her (Prov 5:18-19)

THE CHURCH

Real love toward my church should look like:

• Being quick and eager to forgive others (Eph 4:32, Prov 19:11, Luke 17:3)

• Encouraging them – letting them know how special to God they are and loved, and how necessary to the church body they are (Heb 3:13)

• Encouraging them to seek for an intimate life with the Lord, desiring that they would be enraptured with Him and not anything else in this life (2 Cor 11:2-3)

• Challenging them to become Christ-like (Heb 6)

• Praying for them in secret (Php 2:3-4, Matt 6:6)

• Not gossiping or speaking negatively about others (Psalm 41:7)

• Doing what I can to help them if I become aware of some need they have (James 2:15-16)

• Thinking of them throughout the week and bearing burdens of others, praying with real meaning for them and pouring my heart out to God (Gal 6:2, Matt 6:7)

• Never comparing myself with anybody in the church (2 Cor 10:12)

• Being real, not a fake hypocrite – “Let love be without hypocrisy” – being open about my own weaknesses and not trying to hide them so people think I’m godly (Rom 12:9), and thereby discouraging them making them think they are ungodly because they still have struggles

• Getting ‘under’ people by serving them and doing things quietly in the background, instead of trying to climb my way above everyone by seeking honor (Php 2:5-8)

• Weeping with those who are going through a hard time, not saying “I’m glad it’s not me” (Rom 12:15)

• Not being envious, but rejoicing with them when something good happens for them, cheering for them

• Exhorting them always to keep pressing into Jesus – to be persistent and consistent, to keep going even when things are tough (Matt 24:13)

• Gently rebuking them when necessary, so they can become aware and repent of their sin (Gal 6:1)

GOD

Real love toward the Lord should look like:

• Seeking Him alone and not His gifts (Psalm 73:25)

• Obedience, both inwardly and outwardly – “For this is love the love of God: that we keep His commandments” (1 John 5:3)

• Presenting my body as a living sacrifice to Him, and my body parts as His instruments of righteousness (Rom 12:1, Rom 6:13)

• Considering everything else on this earth besides Him as worthless, and living like that (not chasing after money, comfort, success or the pleasure of this world, but only chasing after Christ) – (Php 3:8)

• Laboring to build up His church (not in numbers but in Christ-likeness) “Do you love me? Tend my lambs” (John 21:15-17)

• Seeking for gifts that can build up the church in Christ, and eagerly desiring those gifts not to feel good about myself or significant, but desiring them for the sake of others (1 Cor 14:1-12)

• Being eager to spend time with Him and having a desire to always be in His presence, regardless of wherever I am or whatever I’m doing (1 John 1:7)

• Leaving anything He asks me to give up (even if not sinful) because I always want to be close to Him (Psalm 73:25, 28)

• Going to Him when I am struggling with some issue, and not trying to solve my problems myself without Him (1 Peter 5:6-7)

• Hating sin because it grieves Him (Eph 4:30). Not wanting to hurt the One I love the most

• Not complaining when something goes wrong or doesn’t turn out as I’d have hoped, but surrendering myself to it as God’s will, and praising Him in spite of the outcome (2 Cor 12:8-9)

• Being faithful to work hard at doing the mundane day to day tasks, because I’m doing it for Him (1 Cor 10:31, 1 Thess 4:11)

• Seeking eternal life – which is to know Him intimately (John 17:3)

• Cleansing myself because I want to be like Him (1 John 3:2-3) – (by cleansing, not just outwardly but cleansing all the evil that’s inside – things like anger, selfishness, greed, loving money and material things, a gossiping tongue, laziness, lukewarmness toward seeking God)

Up to this point I’ve only tried to illustrate what I believe real human love looks and doesn’t look like. But I’ve also been blessed to meditate on and see in God’s Word what His perfect love for me does and doesn’t look like.

God’s love for me doesn’t look like:

• Answering every prayer and giving me whatever I ask, no matter the consequences (2 Cor 12:8-9)

• Withholding all sickness, physical issues, job or family problems

• Withholding every temptation from me (1 Cor 10:13)

• Making me very wealthy (Matt 19:23)

• Giving me only easy relationships (at work, in my family, in the church, etc)

God’s love for me looks like:

• Giving me many precious promises in His Word so I can partake of His nature (2 Peter 1:4)

• Justifying me through Christ and now seeing me as righteous, just as if I’ve never sinned (2 Cor 5:21)

• Filling me with His Spirit so I can live in righteousness, peace and joy in the Spirit (Romans 14:17)

• Always being with me (Heb 13:5)

• Not just changing my location forever (from Earth to Heaven), but changing what I am forever (2 Cor 5:17)

• Putting boundaries around me that will guide me to seek for Him (Acts 17:26-27)

• Willingness to subject me to hardship for my eternal good (Romans 8:28)

• Willingness to discipline me (Hebrews 12:6)

• Always providing my needs, both physical and spiritual (Luke 12:29-32)

• Always thinking of my eternal good over the temporary earthly gain I could have (Mark 8:36)

• A fervent desire and joy to fellowship with me and be close to me (Zeph 3:17)

• A fervent desire to see me grow in the image of Christ, and working all of my circumstances to achieve this goal (Rom 8:28-29)

And the most special illustration to me of what God’s love for me looks like is:

Not holding back what was most precious to Him – sending His Son to earth to become a man forever, and as a man to die for me so I can have an intimate relationship with Him, knowing Him as my loving Father:

John 3:16, John 17:3

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life – And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent

Luke 15:24

“For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”

**By Bobby MacDonald at NCCF Church

Three Trees

Once there were three trees on a hill in a wood. They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said “Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver, and precious gems. I could be decorated with intricate carving and everyone would see the beauty.”

Then the second tree said “Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull.”

Finally the third tree said, “I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me.”

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the first tree, he said, “This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter,” and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.

At the second tree a woodsman said, “This looks like a strong tree, I should be able to sell it to a shipyard.” The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.

When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the woodsmen said, “I don’t need anything special from my tree, so I’ll take this one,” and he cut it down.

When the first tree arrived at the carpenter’s, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for.

The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end.

The third tree was cut into large pieces and left alone in the dark. The years went by and the trees forgot about their dreams. Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn where she gave birth and placed the baby in the hay in the feedbox that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it held the greatest Treasure of all time.

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water a great storm arose and the tree didn’t think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man and He stood and said, “Peace,” and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of all King’s in it’s boat.

Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of the hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible.

The moral of this story is that when things don’t seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, He will give you great gifts. Each of the trees got what they had prayed for, just not in the way they had imagined.

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** source unknown / photo Mali Maeder at pexels

Overcoming Sexual Passions

In Ezekiel 16:49-50, God describes the real sins of Sodom that led to the destruction of that city (in Genesis 19). Most of us have always associated Sodom with sodomy (homosexuality) and other sexual sins. But sexual sin was the ultimate result of a way of life. What was it that led them into such depths of evil? Here we are told that Sodom’s sins were actually:

1.Pride

2. Laziness

3. Gluttony (love of good food)

4. Neglecting the poor and needy

These were the reasons why God wiped out that city. It is interesting to note that God does not even mention their sexual sin. Sexual sin in Sodom was the result of their lazy, comfortable life-style. What can we learn from this? That there is a close connection between:

  • Pride and sexual sin.
  • Laziness and sexual sin.
  • Gluttony and sexual sin.
  • A lack of concern for other people and sexual sin.

Consider just these four areas. Many of you who are young have to admit that you are finding it very difficult to overcome your sexual passions. That is an extremely difficult area. But why not begin by overcoming in these four easier areas? You may, then, find it easier to overcome in the sexual area.

Begin first of all, by humbling yourself in all situations. Avoid all arrogance.

Then begin to be hard-working and diligent in whatever you do.

Then try fasting – avoiding food – once in a while.

And fourthly, begin to think a little more about the needs of people around you and see how you can help them.

Try this prescription for one year and you may discover that overcoming your sexual passions becomes easier. We cannot overcome any sin without grace from God – but He gives His grace only to the humble; and He helps only those who are kind and helpful to others.


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**By Zac Poonen © Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author. https://www.cfcindia.com/ 

**Videos on overcoming addictions and sexual sin can be found HERE!

Dowry

The Dowry System in India

It is unfortunately, normal among Christians of all denominations in India, for a boy’s father to ask for a dowry from the girl’s father before a marriage is finalised. This has reduced marriage to a business deal. Among unbelievers, such a practice is understandable because, being spiritually blind, they allow covetousness to rule their lives. But what shall we say when most believers also indulge in this practice – even those who claim to be Spirit-filled? Surely the Devil has blinded them too.

Many a marriage arrangement has failed because the parents of the girl could not meet the exorbitant demand for dowry made by the parents of the boy. Many girls in our land have been emotionally disturbed and brought to frustration because of this – and some have even committed suicide. Every day in India, some wife somewhere burns herself to death because of her husband harassing her to get more dowry from her father.

God will severely judge all those who make marriage a matter of striking a financial deal. This judgment will begin at the house of God, among those who claim to be born again. It is because many believers have not spoken out against the evil practice of dowry that it is still so widely prevalent in Christendom in India today. It is a sad thing indeed when those who should be standing upright for God in a warped and crooked world, become warped and crooked themselves. No Christian who wants to please God should ever ask for, or receive a dowry.

Some brothers hide under the excuse that it is their parents who ask for dowry and not they themselves. But if they have any convictions at all, why don’t they speak up and tell their parents that they don’t want any dowry? The reason must be that they too secretly desire the money. If they are convinced that the dowry system is wrong, they should speak up for the truth. It is surprising that many brothers who are strong-willed when it comes to other matters, act like spineless jelly-fish when it comes to expressing their convictions on dowry to their parents!

Some brothers say that it is only reasonable that their parents who have spent so much money on their education should now receive some money as dowry from the girl’s parents. But the girl’s parents have also spent money on educating her! Why doesn’t the boy give money to her father for giving him an educated girl??

Others justify their asking for dowry by saying that their parents will need money to give as dowry for their sisters when the latter get married. But we can be certain that God will not let anyone down, who seeks to honour Him in this matter. If you honour Him, He will honour you and give good husbands to your sisters (or daughters) without your having to pay any dowry (1 Samuel 2:30). If you say you don’t have faith for that, then I have nothing more to say to you, for I am writing now only for wholehearted Christians. The commandments of Jesus are meant only for wholehearted Christians.

Others may ask, “What is wrong in receiving money which the father of a girl gives gladly to her as a gift?” There is certainly nothing wrong with that. But before any brother uses this as an excuse for his covetousness, let him answer these three questions first:

(a) Was money any factor at all (even if the least important) in deciding the marriage?

(b) Did you or your representative (whether father or relatives) ever ask for the money, (or try to find out how much money the girl’s parents had) before or after the marriage had been settled?

(c) Did you secretly hope that money would be given by the girl’s parents (either to the girl or to you)?

If the answer is “Yes” to any of these questions, then you have certainly fallen a prey to covetousness, however well it may have been covered up by different excuses.

It is in such situations that the contradiction between a believer’s preaching and his practice becomes evident to all. No wonder infidels are prompted to say, “Whatever Christians may preach, when it comes to money, they have the same religion as everyone else”.

In some places, I have heard that the dowry system is the reverse of what is found in most parts of India. There the boy has to give a dowry to the girl’s father in order to marry her. But whichever dowry system it be, the practice is an abomination to God.

Many may resent such a strong denunciation of the dowry system. But we must remember that the system is a product of man’s covetousness, which the Bible calls idolatry (Colossians 3:5). One has only to read the severe denunciation of idolatry in the Old Testament to realize how God detests it. The prophets of old were fiery in their preaching against it. They did not mince words when speaking against that which God hated.

We have preached against and stood against dowry consistently in CFC ever since the Lord established our church in 1975.

Personally, I have practised exactly what I have written above, in my own life. I refused to allow any discussion of dowry at the time of my wedding. I took the same stand against dowry when my four sons were getting married. In addition, I never sought to find out whether the parents of the girls (whom my sons were marrying) were rich or whether the girls themselves had good educational qualifications that would enable them to work and earn money. Unfortunately, these are the matters that most believers today are keen on finding out when getting their sons married. I was only keen to find out if the girls themselves loved the Lord and were disciples of the Lord Jesus. And I thank God that He honoured my desire by giving each of my four sons God-fearing wives who would help them in their ministry for the Lord and also help them to raise God-fearing children.

Whenever I conduct a wedding, I always take a signed declaration from both the bride and the bridegroom stating that no dowry has been exchanged between them or their parents. I do this so that both parties see the seriousness of this evil. If any dowry was given or received, then I refuse to conduct the wedding. If they deceive me they are answerable to God.

To expect dowry, or to accept dowry are both just as bad as asking for dowry. Those who accept or expect a dowry are both covetous. Such “Christians” should be honest and call themselves “heathen“. They are certainly NOT followers of Jesus Christ.

Can you picture your asking Jesus to negotiate with a girl’s father about the amount of dowry he should pay you before you agree to give your son in marriage to his daughter? You know very well that Jesus would never be willing to negotiate in such a matter. That itself should show you that expecting or receiving a dowry is wrong.

Receiving dowry or giving dowry or helping someone receive a dowry are all offences according to the law in India. The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 states:

“If anyone gives or takes or abets the giving or taking of dowry, he/she shall be punishable with imprisonment for not less than five years and with fine not less than Rs.15,000 or the amount of value of dowry, whichever is more.”

Leaders of churches should be the foremost to obey the country’s laws and to honour God in this matter. Any church-leader who is unwilling to take a stand against this evil dowry system has no right to remain in leadership in any church. Some leaders may secretly take a dowry without anyone knowing it. But God will deal with such hypocrites in His own time.

At a wedding, money may be given for the actual expenses of the wedding and the reception. But even this should ideally be equally shared by both parties. Thus both the boy and the girl are given equal dignity before God. But we cannot make a rule in this matter, because some are able to afford an expensive wedding and reception, while others are not.

It is perfectly in order for a bride’s parents to give money to their daughter. But this is best done by putting the money in a bank account in her name. This is not a rule but only a guideline so that believers can preserve their testimony and not be accused of having received a dowry after the wedding.

There is another equally great evil in India – and that is the way daughters are treated by their parents when it comes to an inheritance. Many parents do not give an equal share of their wealth and assets to their daughters as they do to their sons. If it is evil to give or ask for dowry, it is an equally great evil for a parent not to give their daughters an equal share of their wealth as they give their sons. In God’s eyes, sons and daughters have equal rights to their parents’ assets. Any father who shows partiality to his sons over his daughters is an ungodly father, unfit to be called a Christian. Whether the father writes this in his will to be distributed after his death or whether he gives it to his children earlier is immaterial. But he must treat his daughters exactly like he treats his sons. And a daughter has every right to ask to be treated equally. Jesus taught that it is proper for children to ask their fathers for good gifts (Matthew 7:9-11).

If Jesus were in India today, He would denounce the dowry system ruthlessly. Unfortunately, church-leaders who claim to represent Him, do not denounce this practice – because they love money themselves, or are eager not to offend the rich, or hope to get a commission themselves in the process!

Even a non-Christian film-actor in India has spoken out against dowry recently. Aamir Khan writes:

“I am totally opposed to dowry. It is not only a retrograde practice but also an illegal one. Think about it – can a relationship, built on the foundation of money and greed, be meaningful or beautiful? We should make our daughter so accomplished and independent that she is capable of crafting her own future and becoming the master of her own happiness. Then she won’t need a greedy, useless groom to complete her life. Let her marry a person who respects her. Let her marry a man who she believes is worthy of her; whom she is happy to spend the rest of her life with.” 
http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/article3439626.ece]

Such non-Christian film-stars are now putting to shame so-called “Spirit-filled, tongue-speaking” believers, in this matter! Those film-stars will rise up in the day of judgment and condemn all hypocritical believers.

This is one reason why the Lord has placed CFC and related churches (and I hope, some other churches too) as lighthouses in India, to stand for the truth and to proclaim His will in this matter. The Bible commands us to speak up for the rights of the needy (Proverbs 31:8, 9). We must stand totally against this evil dowry system that has destroyed the lives of so many helpless girls in our land. We must also urge all parents to give an equal share of their wealth to their daughters as they give to their sons.

Daniel took a stand for the Lord in Babylon in a very small matter – not eating certain foods that God had forbidden in Leviticus 11. That was a very small commandment – but it was a small commandment given by a great God. Because Daniel honoured God, God honoured him. God is testing us now in little matters, to see whether we qualify to be a voice for Him.

May the Lord preserve us as a prophetic voice for Him in our land.

By Zac Poonen

**Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author. cfcindia.com / Picture by pexels

The Habit of Rising To The Occasion

That ye may know what is the hope of His calling…. ~ Ephesians 1:18

Remember what you are saved for — that the Son of God might be manifested in your mortal flesh. Bend the whole energy of your powers to realize your election as a child of God; rise to the occasion every time.

You cannot do anything for your salvation, but you must do something to manifest it, you must work out what God has worked in. Are you working it out with your tongue, and your brain and your nerves? If you are still the same miserable crosspatch, set on your own way, then it is a lie to say that God has saved and sanctified you.

God is the Master Engineer, He allows the difficulties to come in order to see if you can vault over them properly — “By my God have I leaped over a wall.” God will never shield you from any of the requirements of a son or daughter of His. Peter says — “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you.” Rise to the occasion; do the thing. It does not matter how it hurts as long as it gives God the chance to manifest Himself in your mortal flesh.

May God not find the whine in us any more, but may He find us full of spiritual pluck and athleticism, ready to face anything He brings. We have to exercise ourselves in order that the Son of God may be manifested in our mortal flesh. God never has museums. The only aim of the life is that the Son of God may be manifested, and all dictation to God vanishes. Our Lord never dictated to His Father, and we are not here to dictate to God; we are here to submit to His will so that He may work through us what He wants. When we realise this, He will make us broken bread and poured-out wine to feed and nourish others.

~ By Oswald Chambers

The Tortoise

In life, some may walk, others may run, but remember the Lord gave the tortoise and the hare the same day to reach Noah’s ark.

The Bible tells the story of Joseph. Jacob looked at Joseph and saw a good son. The ten brothers looked at Joseph and saw a useless dreamer. The travellers looked at Joseph and saw a slave. Potiphar looked at Joseph and saw a fine servant. Potiphar’s wife looked at Joseph and saw a potential boyfriend. The prison officers saw in Joseph a prisoner. How wrong they all were! God looked at Joseph and saw a Prime Minister of Egypt in waiting. Don’t be discouraged by what people see in you, be encouraged by what God sees in you! His is the only opinion that counts. Remember, one plus God is the majority!

Never underrate the person next to you because you never know what the Lord has deposited in that person. Your maid may be a Chief Executive Officer in waiting for a company which shall employ your child. Your gardener may be a president in waiting. (Remember David got the anointing of becoming a King while he was a simple child herding sheep. Esther was a simple orphaned girl yet she was a Queen in waiting).

IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW PEOPLE SEE YOU, IT MATTERS HOW GOD SEES YOU:

  • He doesn’t care about age, no wonder he blessed Abraham.
  • He doesn’t care about experience, no wonder he chose David.
  • He doesn’t care about gender, no wonder he lifted Esther.
  • He doesn’t care about your past, no wonder he called Paul.
  • He doesn’t care about your physical appearance, no wonder he chose Zacchaeus, the shortest one.
  • He doesn’t care about fluency in speech, no wonder he chose Moses.
  • He doesn’t care about your career, no wonder he choose Mary Magdalene; a prostitute.
  • All I know is that my God never changes
  • He never made a promise he wouldn’t keep
  • He never saw a person he wouldn’t help
  • He never heard a prayer he wouldn’t answer
  • He never found a soul he wouldn’t love
  • He never found a sinner he wouldn’t forgive

This is the kind of God I like to commune with every day the moment I wake up. I strongly recommend Him to you!

A King’s Testimony

Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony:

King Nebuchadnezzar’s message to all the peoples, nations, and languages inhabiting the entire earth: “I wish you much peace. I’m delighted to share the signs and miracles that the Most High God has worked in my life.

His signs are superb!
His miracles so powerful!
His kingdom is everlasting.
His rule is for all time.
“While I, Nebuchadnezzar, was safe in my house, content in my palace, I had a terrifying dream. My thoughts while I was lying in bed and the vision in my mind overwhelmed me. I ordered all Babylon’s sages to come before me, so they might tell me the dream’s meaning. So the dream interpreters, enchanters, Chaldeans, and diviners came. I told them the dream, but they couldn’t interpret it for me. Daniel, who is called Belteshazzar after the name of my god, was the last to come before me. In him is the breath of the holy gods! I told Daniel the dream:

Nebuchadnezzar’s dream
“Belteshazzar, chief of the dream interpreters, I know the breath of the holy gods is in you, and no mystery is too difficult for you. Tell me the meaning of the visions I had in my dream. In my mind, as I lay in bed, I saw a vision:

At the center of the earth was a towering tree.
The tree grew in size and strength;
it was as high as the sky;
it could be seen from every corner of the earth.
Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant;
it had enough food for everyone.
Wild animals took shade under it;
birds nested in its branches.
All living things lived off that tree.
“In my mind, as I lay in bed, I saw another vision: A holy watcher came down from heaven. He proclaimed loudly:

‘Cut down the tree and shear off its branches!
Strip its leaves and scatter its fruit!
The creatures should flee from its shelter;
the birds should take flight from its branches.
But leave its deepest root in the earth,
bound with iron and bronze in the field grass.
Dew from heaven is to wash it,
and it must live with the animals in the earth’s vegetation.
Its human mind is to be changed:
it will be given the mind of an animal.
Seven periods of time will pass over it.
This sentence is by the watchers’ decree;
this decision is the holy ones’ word
so that all who live might know
that the Most High dominates human kingship.
The Most High gives kingship to anyone he wants
and sets over it the lowest of people.’
“This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. So now Belteshazzar, tell me the meaning because all the sages in my kingdom were unable to interpret it for me. But you are able to do it because the breath of the holy gods is in you.”

Daniel interprets the visions
Daniel, who was called Belteshazzar, was shocked for a bit. What he thought about frightened him.

The king declared, “Don’t let the dream and its meaning scare you, Belteshazzar.”

Then Belteshazzar answered, “Sir, I wish the dream to be for those who hate you and its meaning to be for your enemies! The tree you saw that grew in size and strength, that was as high as the sky, that could be seen from every corner of the earth, with its beautiful leaves and its abundant fruit, and that had enough food for everyone, with wild animals living under it and birds nesting in its branches— Your Majesty, that tree is you! You have grown large and become powerful. Your greatness is as high as the sky; your rule extends to the edge of the earth!

“Your Majesty, the holy watcher you saw coming down from heaven, who said, ‘Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave its deepest root in the earth, bound with iron and bronze in the field grass, dew from heaven is to wash it, and it must live with the wild animals until seven periods of time pass over it’— Your Majesty, this is the dream’s meaning: It is the sentence of the Most High, delivered to my master the king. You will be driven away from other humans and will live with the wild animals. You will eat grass like cattle and will be washed by dew from heaven. Seven periods of time will pass over you, until you acknowledge that the Most High dominates human kingship, giving it to anyone he wants. And when he said to leave the deepest root of the tree—that means your kingship will again be yours, once you acknowledge that heaven rules all. Therefore, Your Majesty, please accept my advice: remove your sins by doing what is right; remove your wrongdoing by showing mercy to the poor. Then your safety will be long lasting.”

Visions come true
All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. Twelve months later, he was walking on the roof of the royal palace in Babylon. The king declared, “Isn’t this Babylon, the magnificent city that I built as the royal house by my own mighty strength and for my own majestic glory?”

These words hadn’t even left the king’s mouth when a voice came from heaven: “You, King Nebuchadnezzar, are now informed: Kingship is taken away from you. You will be driven away from other humans and will live with the wild animals. You will eat grass like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you acknowledge that the Most High dominates human kingship, giving it to anyone he wants.”

Nebuchadnezzar’s sentence was immediately carried out. He was driven away from other humans and ate grass like cattle. Dew from heaven washed his body until he grew hair like eagles’ feathers and claws like a bird.

Nebuchadnezzar is restored
“At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes to heaven. My reason returned to me, and I praised the Most High. I worshipped and glorified the one who lives forever because his rule is everlasting; his kingdom is for all time. All of earth’s inhabitants are nothing in comparison. The Most High does whatever he wants with heaven’s forces and with earth’s inhabitants. No one can contain his power or say to him, ‘What do you think you are doing?’ So at that moment my reason returned to me. My honor and splendor came back to me for the glory of my kingdom. My associates and my princes wanted to be with me again. Not only was I reinstated over my kingdom, I received more power than ever before.

“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, worship, magnify, and glorify the king of heaven. All his works are truth, all his paths are justice, and he is able to humble all who walk in pride.”

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~ Daniel 4 Common English Bible (CEB) / Picture by Magda Ehlers

I Wish I Had Given Him More

By and by when I look on His face,
Beautiful face, thorn-shadowed face;
By and by when I look on His face,
I’ll wish I had given Him more
More, so much more —
More of my love than I e’er gave before.
By and by when I look on His face,
I’ll wish I had given Him more.

By and by when He holds out His hands,
Welcoming hands, nail riven hands;
By and by when He holds out His hands,
I’ll wish I had given Him more.
More, so much more,
More of my love than I e’er gave before,
By and by when He holds out His hands,
I’ll wish I had given Him more.

In the light of that heavenly place,
Light from His face, beautiful face;
In the light of that heavenly place,
I’ll wish I had given Him more.
More, so much more,
Treasures unbounded for Him I adore,
By and by when I look on His face,
I’ll wish I had given Him more.

“I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” John 9:4

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~ By Grace Reese Adkins / Photo by Sebastian Voortman at Pexels

Prisoner of His Appetite

During the fourteenth century Raynald III, was a duke in what is now Belgium. As the result of a violent quarrel, Raynald’s younger brother Edward successfully revolted against him. When Edward captured Raynald he built a room around him featuring windows and a door and promised him that the day he left the room his title and property would be returned to him.

This would not have been difficult for most people since the room had several windows and a door of near-normal size, and none was locked or barred. The problem was Raynald’s size, he was seriously overweight.

In order to regain his freedom, Raynald needed to lose weight. But Edward knew his older brother, and each day he sent a variety of delicious foods. Instead of dieting his way out of prison, Raynald grew fatter.

Anytime someone accused Duke Edward of treating Raynald cruelly he said: “My brother is not a prisoner. He may leave when he so wills.”

Raynald stayed in that room for ten years and wasn’t released until after Edward died in battle. By then his health was so ruined he died within a year… He was a prisoner of his own appetite.

Just as Raynald was enslaved by his appetite, sin will enslave all those who yield to it. What enslaves you? The things you are struggling with today could be avoided if you stopped giving in to them. Pray and ask the Lord to help you be an overcomer in areas that you’re struggling with. Fasting is a great way to discipline one self and exercise self control, in buffeting the body.

1 John 2:16 ~ For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.

Hebrews 12:1~ Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

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** The three Edwards by Thomas B Costain / Picture by Jimmy Chan at Pexels

A Sower of Discord

”Anyone who is not with me is against me, and anyone who does not gather with me scatters…” ~ Matthew 12:30

Satan is called the accuser of the brethren who accuses them to God night and day. Jesus on the other hand, is at the right hand of the Father forever making intercession for them. When we cover the sins of others by praying for them instead of talking ill of them, you’re in fellowship with the Lord, but when you talk ill of others and point out their sins to others, your in fellowship with Satan and do his work for him.

To sow discord is to say and do things which cause distrust, anger and bitterness, which results in arguments, fights and ill-feeling towards others, which the sower has planted into the ground of people’s hearts.

Usually the ‘sower’ is acting as if he/she is not trying to cause arguments. Sowing discord is something done in secret, done by deceit authored by the father of deceit. We have come to think that it is a harmless thing to sow discord in the office, home or church, but the Bible says God not only hates the sowing of discord but God says, that it is an abomination to Him. God hates discord and strongly denounce those who sows strife. Sowers of discord disrupts unity and causes great division which in many cases could be irreparable.

Sowers of discord are usually driven to serve their own interests. Discord Sowers exploit the passion/emotion of others, and, more often than not, derive pleasure from conflict. Sometimes they are aware of what they are doing but sometimes they just play into the hands of spiritual forces that are intent upon destroying the mission of the church.

They regularly nourish these feelings that drive their behavior by brooding on, real or perceived: past injuries, present suspicions and future insecurities. They are often propelled by inner turmoil. The sower of discord probes the vulnerabilities of other’s; seeking for weak points to expose and exploit. Psalm 133:1 reminds us, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.”

Zechariah 3:1-5

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”
Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.” Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by.

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** By Christ centred church of God + Lori McPherson / Photo by Skitteroo at pixels