Monthly Archives: November 2013

Real Deal

I have posted a quite a few posts since I started this blog, some articles have been quite bold and made me sound quite confident. I have been fortunate that my blog has been read in over 20 countries, all over the world. 20 years ago, if you wanted to minister to people all over the world, it would take months of travelling, but now you can do it from your sofa! I have the benefit of editing my blogs so that you only see what I want you to see, and often I write them in hindsight. It is always easier in hindsight. So today I have decided to let you in on the real deal. Not that the other posts are a lie, they are not, but this is happening here and now.

I believe that God wants what is best for us. I believe that John 10:10 should be read as it is written, and God wants to see us blessed. I believe that good things come from God, and bad things don’t. You may say that that is a fairly simple view and there is more to it than that. Possibly, but that is what I believe, that is my view.

The issue is that when we realise what God has got planned for us, but we are not there yet, it takes a while to get to that place. This is the time when the devil has a go and tries to stop us. It sounds simple to overcome as if God has promised it, why would it not happen? Would God give up on us? No, He wouldn’t, and if He said it will happen – it will happen! That doesn’t stop the devil from trying to convince us otherwise. This is the place where I am at the moment. Yes, I write these blog posts, and yes I believe what I write. That doesn’t make it easy though. I also have doubts, I also fight on a daily basis to follow God and to chose His ways, I also come under attack and have to deal with it. It is not easy, but I believe that it will be worth it. John 10:10 and other similar verses that we love to quote to keep us motivated, but the Bible is full of promises to God’s people, and they all apply to me. I hold onto that.

So what have I told you this? Do I want support and prayer? Well yes, I will never say no to prayer, but the main reason is to help you if you are struggling too. If you read these blogs and say, “Wow, I wish I could have everything sorted out like this guy” You are not alone. I think the same. In fact sometimes when I am doubting, my wife (and friends) will refer me to my own blog! Cheeky, but true. I know the answers, as most of us probably do, but we tend to forget when we are under attack. What I have learned from the military (I wasn’t in it, but I watch movies) is that they train so much, so when they are in battle they don’t think, they just do what they are trained to do. I was challenged today to do the same. Spend time with God, pray in tongues, every day, as much as you can. This way, when the attack comes, you are prepared. Jesus didn’t pray when something happened, He went up the mountain and prayed so that when something happened, He was ready. He just took action as He was already prepared.

This is now what I am doing. I will receive the blessings that God has promised to me, the devil will not defeat me. I may be struggling a bit at the moment, but I know that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength and I will succeed. I believe in this God that I serve. I believe in His Word. I would like to encourage anyone else who is struggling to walk in the life that they are called to. Believe whole heartedly. Join me in having faith in an amazing God, let’s lift each other up in prayer and stand together! And remember, we are not called to defend against the devil, we are here to take ground. We are winning this battle, not him.

Amen.

Richard

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Work in Faith v Faith in Works

Here is a common question that Christians like to ask each other to try and establish what their theology is. “Do you believe in faith or works?” My answer is usually “Yes”. I know there is a general trend out there that there is a ‘faith-based theology’ and a ‘works-based theology’, and then other Christians who say that you need both (a bit of a cliché). I do believe that you need both, but it isn’t as simple as that. Let me explain.

Faith-based theology says that we are saved by believing in Jesus and not by what we do. Some people take it too far and say that works are not necessary at all. Works-based theology says that we need to do good deeds. Some people take it too far by saying that if we don’t do these deeds we are not saved. I think the Bible is pretty clear. John 3:16 doesn’t say anything about works, and James 2:26 shows that our faith without works is useless. What does this mean? It means that they are both just as important as the other, but I would like to look at the relationship between the two. I know there is more to this, but we can look at the rest at a later stage.

Let’s look at the first part of the title. Work in faith. What does that mean? Whatever work that you do, do it in faith. The widow who gave the coins to the church (Mark 12:41-44) gave the coins (works) but believed that God would honour that (faith). If she didn’t believe that God would look after her, she probably wouldn’t have done it. That is what I mean by work in faith – when you do the work, have the faith that the work will be fruitful. The lack of faith will hinder us from doing the works. Look at the rich man who was asked by Jesus to give up his riches – he couldn’t do it. Why? Because he didn’t have faith. Yes, he loved money, but if he had given it up for Jesus, would he not have made it all back again? Very possibly. People love to misquote the passage of Job to try and show that God does put us through hardship (by allowing the devil a free run), but what they often leave out is how Job got it all back again. I don’t know for a fact that the rich man would have received it back again, but his faith was in money and not in Jesus. This is not too difficult for us to get our heads around, and most of us would say that this makes sense, however the next bit is what almost caught me out.

The second part of the title. Faith in works. This is one that can sneak up on you. I have done some exciting things like prophesy, deliverance, healing and discernment. All essentially works, but done in faith. The problem is these things can actually become a crutch. I get so used to these things, that when the going gets tough, I get going with ministry. I start to put my faith in the works, rather than the other way around. I start to trust in my gifts rather that trusting in Christ. This is when I have to think about things, and get back to basics. This is not a huge issue if you realise it and sort it out but, if you don’t, it could become a huge issue.

So, to sum up, we need to do works and we need faith to do them. Just be careful not to put your faith in the work that you do, keep your faith in Christ.

Keep working on your faith.

Richard

Sinful Excuses

The devil made me do it.. My sinful nature got the better of me.. It takes time to sort out your life after you become a Christian.. I am weak.. It is an old habit that needs to be broken.. These are all excuses for sinning. They are all excuses that I have heard, and I have used most of them too. That is all they are though, excuses, nothing more. They are also lies, told to us so that we have a ‘reason’ to sin and not change.

Read Romans 6. This is pretty clear. Once we have been born again, our old sinful self is dead. We are now a new creation. Romans 6 (and later chapters) explain that we are a slave to our sinful nature before we are saved, but afterwards we are a ‘slave’ to the Holy Spirit. We no longer have to sin, we can (and must) choose to follow God’s way and not our sinful desires. People often refer to themselves as free because they can do whatever they want, and they say that I am not free as I have to follow God. I see it as the other way around. People who do not follow God, and are not saved, are slaves to sin – they have no option but to sin. I can walk away from sin and say, “No thanks”.

Let’s have a look at those comments. The devil made me do it. He can try and get us to do things, he can’t make us. Why don’t you just say “no”? My sinful nature got the better of me. Why? Why are you giving into it? You are a new creation, no longer a slave to sin, choose a better way. It takes time to sort out your life after you become a Christian. Romans 6 doesn’t seem to think so, it draws a clear line between the two. Yes, old habits may die hard, but as soon as you accept Jesus, you have the power to stop sinning. Use it. I am weak. That is not what Philippians 4:13 says. It is an old habit that needs to be broken. It has been broken, let it go.

Is this easy? No, but with help from Holy Spirit ,it is possible. As soon as you become a Christian, you are no longer a slave to sin, but you can turn away from it. That is repentance. Being sorry for what you have done is one thing, but God calls for repentance. Repentance is changing your ways, turning away from sin. You can and must do this. Your salvation is secure, but living in sin will drag you away from God and you will be ineffective as a Christian. Salt that has lost its saltiness.

The reason why I write this blog is because I want to see everyone achieve what they are capable of achieving. I want everyone to experience the life with God that they desire and for which they were created. This is one of those steps that will help you achieve that. Living a sinless life may have been stuffed down our throats by ‘religious’ groups, but it is vital to our relationship with God. Yes, I do believe in the grace of God, but sin does nothing but build barriers between you and God, so best get rid of it all!

Richard

Blushing Bride

Today I would like to discuss a topic which there seem to be two separate camps which both have very different views, so I thought I’d address it. I would like to make it clear that I am not taking sides, nor am I putting anyone down, I just want to try and look at this from both sides.

You’ve probably heard the following phrase, “The church is Jesus’ bride, so how can you love Jesus and not His bride?” Unfortunately, this is often quoted when someone has an issue with a church organisation, but what we have to remember is that the building is not the church, we are. This means that the phrase can be read as, “Christians are Jesus’ bride, so how can you love Jesus and not His bride?” This makes more sense.

I bet we all know someone that has married someone that we don’t like. It is a problem. It doesn’t even have to be someone that we don’t like, even if they marry someone that we don’t like as much as we like our friend, we still may not see them as much as we would have if they were single. Now I know that this is not the same as Jesus’ bride, but we as Christians do have a responsibility not to put people off of God because of our actions. So many people have used this phrase to me whenever I say anything remotely against a church body, and it may be right. It is also right to bear in mind that we are Jesus’ bride, so we need to encourage people to meet with Him, and not put people off by what we do. We have a responsibility. We are in a relationship. People don’t always hear what Jesus says, but they do see what we do. Jesus is judged by what we do.

So what am I saying here? Am I supporting those hurt by churches, or the churches that hurt them? Which group am I in? As I said before I am not here to take sides, besides, I have been in both groups, and I agree with both groups, and I disagree with both groups. Let me explain. If you have been hurt by a church, join the club. Most of us have been. I know this is easier said than done, and it took me a while to get, but I’m going to tell you what to do. Ready? Get over it. You have been hurt, you are upset, your feelings have not been taken into consideration. I know. But how is sitting around feeling sorry for yourself going to help? It isn’t. Find another church, get involved and move on. “But I may get hurt again.” Yes you may, but if you don’t open up to people, you will lose out on more than you do by getting hurt. Trust me. Now, when you are in a church, settled and ‘part of the furniture’, you now have the same responsibility as those who previously hurt you. Make sure you get it right. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. You didn’t like being in that situation, so don’t put others through it. If you have an issue with the church (like I did), be the church (as you are) and make sure that others don’t get hurt.

Let’s all just remember that the church is made up of humans, and we all make mistakes. This is not an excuse to get it wrong, but it does mean that from time to time we may well get it wrong. If God can forgive us, surely we can forgive each other.

So I would like to encourage all Christians who have been hurt by a church, to find another one (if you can’t reconcile with the old church) and get involved. Be the Christian who you accused the others of not being. Be what God called us to be. And those of us that have not been hurt, remember that we are Christ’s bride, lets bring people towards Him, and not scare them off.

To God be the glory!

Richard

I Believe in Angels?

I got a notification from my Twitter account to inform me that various people that I follow have followed another woman who has a very interesting, yet disturbing website. Being a curious person, I clicked on it to have a look at what the 81 606 Twitter followers were so interested in, and I was shocked.

I am not going to mention the name of the website here, but it was all about angels and ‘angel readings’. Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe in angels, but not in the context of what people here were saying. They follow, worship and rely on angels instead of God. They have angel tarot cards, and believe that the angels lead and guide people, and the only way to success is to follow your angel. The person claims to have had a ‘Christian upbringing’ but they are now not as they have realised that they are more interested in the angels. They did however give credit to God for sending the angels.

Now first of all let’s get things into perspective, God does want to communicate with us, but that is one of the reasons why we have Holy Spirit here (they also referred to Him in the first person). God may well send an angel to come and give us a message, and they may well protect us, but they get all of their orders from God. They can’t do anything without Him saying so. Holy Spirit is God, so we can go straight to the top and talk to the boss, why put your faith in the servants? Yes, angels are God’s servants, in fact they are lower down the command chain than we are, the Bible says that we are joint heirs to the throne (Romans 8:17) and angels are only servants (Hebrews 1:14)! I have no issue with them at all, and I am not showing them in a bad light at all, but they are not worthy to be praised. If an angel did speak to the person who heads this website, they would tell them to believe in God and not them,so if the angels don’t say this then are they really angels?

When asked about demons or fallen angels, this person said that they are only a figment of our imagination created by fear and that we needn’t worry about them. That is the devil’s best trick, to try and convince us that he doesn’t exist. They gave credit for all good things to angels, and if so, where does all of the evil come from if not demons?

The other issue I would like to raise here is the phrase ‘Christian upbringing’. May I be so bold to say that there is no such thing. Yes, you read right, no such thing. Let me explain. I was brought up by Christian parents, in a house where we learned about Jesus, we were dragged off to Sunday School and encouraged to take part in church activities. I later accepted Jesus as my saviour and was saved. I was then a Christian. Before I was not. I may have had a suitable upbringing where I was more free (or even somewhat encouraged) to accept Christ, but I was not a Christian until I accepted what He did for me.

Now once again, I don’t blame these people, like I said in a previous post (Difference between prophets and fortune-tellers). They are doing what they feel is correct and right, even though they have got it totally messed up. We as Christians need to find out what our gifts are and get cracking using them, only this way will people see what God is all about and believe. Two reasons that this person gave for following angels was that you saw miraculous results and not just boring teaching, and that the people who hear the angels have real abilities. Miraculous and real abilities. That is exactly what we as Christians have but never seem to use. We know the truth, we have the power, we have Holy Spirit on our side and in us, yet the ‘angel followers’ have more of an effect than we do. How sad is that?

So after that mini-rant and on that upsetting note, let me encourage all of us to get moving. Find out what it is that God has gifted us with and use it. Let’s get out there and make a difference, whether it be with prophecy, healing, teaching, discernment or any other gift, just do it! If we all did this, we’d have 80 606 (if not many more) people following Jesus instead of angels.

In His strength.

Richard

You Gotta Have Faith!

Romans 4 v 13-25 says: Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith. If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless. For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!)

So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.”This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.

Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!”And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb.

Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God

Yes, I have shown this scripture because I really want people to understand that it is all about faith in God. Does that mean that we don’t need to do works? No definitely not! The purpose of this article is to show the importance of believing on God and what He has promised. We can do all of the works we can handle, but if we do not have faith in God, it is useless. This passage shows clearly that we need to find out what God has done for us and promised us, and we need to hold onto those promises, however long they take to happen!

There are words from God for individuals, and there are also general words in The Bible that God promises all believers. We need to be clear about both of these categories. Once we know what God has promised us, we need to believe (and keep believing) that God will be faithful and provide. There are sometimes occasions where we are required to do works in order to receive God’s blessings, but the point that I am trying to make is to believe God for them, don’t try and force the issue with works. It is our human nature to try and earn blessings, but God says that He has already provided, we just need to trust Him! I heard a sermon today saying that miracles can be found in the mundane. Jesus sent Peter to catch a fish (as a fisherman) in order to get the coin to pay the temple tax. Back to the mundane to see the miracle.

What has God promised you? Do you believe that He will provide? Do you trust Him? If you can (honestly) answer yes to all of these questions, get your actions in line with what you believe and watch God work!

Keep the faith!

Richard

Don’t Worry, Be Happy..

Don’t worry, be happy.. Whimsical tune of an irritating song, or words to live by? Don’t worry (Matthew 6:30-33), be happy (John 16:33) is actually a Biblical principal, but is it a passive comment or an active one?

What do I mean by that? Does it mean don’t worry, be happy in the sense that we shouldn’t really worry as it does not help, or is it a command in a sense? Don’t worry, be happy! Both I think. The best way to explain it is to make it personal and tell you how it has influenced me and is influencing me.

I have recently started my own business and I can tell you, that has its share of issues that can easily make people worry. At first I was stressed about starting it. Doing a website, getting on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ etc. Then getting all of my internal systems up and running. Then making contacts and getting business in. It is all difficult and there are loads of reasons to worry. And that is exactly what I did. Looking back at the time so far I have realised that even though I worried, nothing positive came from that, only negatives. I got eczema on my thumb knuckles (for some reason I get it there when I stress). I constantly put pressure on myself and I was never really happy, although I was doing what I wanted to do. So what was the point of worrying?

I then realised that worrying was a choice. I may have felt forced into it, but I had the choice as to whether I would worry or be happy, it was my decision. Now the main stress with starting my own business was the fact that there was no money coming in from it, and it needed to generate an income. Phillipians 4:19 says, And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.I chose to believe that, I chose not to worry, I chose to be happy. Did my circumstances change straight away? Well not straight away, but I was a much happier person and that came across to clients. That enabled me to start this blog, it enabled me to write work articles and make appointments to meet people. I look at the situation now, and although sales are still thin, I have so many potential sales that if they all came in I would be overworked! I trust that these (and others) will all come in soon!

Now if I look back at the last month or so, I could have used that time worrying, or being happy. Being happy seemed to have had a positive result, but even if worrying would have produced the same result (which I doubt), it would have been time ‘lost’ as I would not have enjoyed it at all.

When you wake up tomorrow and issues start to arise, do you trust God and be happy, or do you worry about them?

Be happy!

Richard

Hallowhy?

So we had Halloween a few days ago, and now life is back to normal, forgotten as if it never happened. Going about my evening as I heard a few groups of children walk past, I got to thinking, with a few questions about Halloween rattling around in my head. Why do we celebrate it? Is it OK for Christians to celebrate it? Why are we trying to push this holiday in the UK, when it is more a US or Canadian holiday?

I think the first two questions are linked, in order to answer if it is OK for Christians to celebrate, we need to know why we celebrate it. I’m not going to go into details here, if you want to know why we celebrate it, google it and see. Bottom line is that it celebrates evil. I have seen so many articles (by Christians) saying that there is no big deal, it is what you make of it and there is nothing wrong with celebrating it. I don’t agree, but I do sympathise. Let me explain. When you think of Halloween there are things that come to mind – witches, magic, horrors, ghosts, haunted houses, darkness. Generally evil things. People try and avoid those things by dressing their kid up as a princess or something not associated with evil, but the reason for the day is still there, however you choose to celebrate it.

I do sympathise with parents though, as the media shoves Halloween down your throat for weeks beforehand, and the kids get all excited, so it is difficult not to do anything about it. This leads some parents to try and take part, without directly ‘celebrating evil’, and going for a more neutral approach with the princess outfits. I don’t have kids (yet), so I don’t know difficult it is not to partake in this holiday, and so I won’t pass judgement on parents that do get involved. The fact of the matter is that it is a day to ‘celebrate’ evil and, as far as I am concerned, I’d rather not get involved.

So why the big push to get it off the ground here in the UK? Is it because we want to ‘celebrate evil’? No. Most people don’t even think that it is evil, they think it is harmless (which it does appear to be). Stores want to sell products and they will do whatever they can to do that. If Tesco or ASDA have a Halloween advert on TV and have all of the products up in the store as moms with kids walk past, junior is almost certainly going to ask mom for a pumpkin or mask of sorts, and mom will probably get it to keep junior entertained while she does the shopping. The stores know this, and they bank on it, literally. That is why we are having it shoved down our throats. Is it really worth the hours getting the kids ready, just to walk around to find the 3 houses in the neighbourhood who actually have candy for the kids? You may as well have just bought them some snacks and let them scoff them at home. It is not a tradition here, but give the shops a chance and it will be – it is all about money.

I expect that people will read this and disagree with me, that’s fine, we are all entitled to our opinions and this is mine. I have cast out demons; I have an idea of what they are capable of, and the Bible says that we are here to fight powers and principalities (evil). I know that Halloween is not taken seriously by most people, and I know that 99% of people are not actively celebrating evil, but that is why the holiday was started. I for one would not like to even be part of something that celebrates the very thing that I am called to oppose, this is why I don’t want to celebrate Halloween. One day when we have kids, we may have to do something, maybe a dress up party of sorts with a different theme with all of the same ‘treats’. I don’t know yet, I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. Are there any parents out there who do alternative activities in order to avoid Halloween and not disappoint the kids?

I don’t mean to upset people with this, I just want to make my point, please read it as it was intended.

God bless,

Richard