Monthly Archives: January 2016

Hebrews & Us – Part 13

Here is the final part of my series on Hebrews, I hope that you have been blessed by it. As always, if you have any suggestions for future series, please let me know. Now, the final chapter is entitled ‘concluding words’, so here are my concluding words (italics shows what is taken straight from the scripture).

1. Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters – This may sound obvious, but it is very hard to do all of the time. Sometimes I get the most abuse from believers, over these posts

2. Remember also those being mistreated – There are plenty of people being persecuted for their faith now days, and it is only going to get worse. We need to remember these people.

3. Give honour to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage – We all know how high the divorce rate is, we need to start taking marriages more seriously. If you need help in yours, then get help, but fight for it. Not in it.

4. Don’t love money – It says don’t LOVE money, not don’t have it. We need money, and there is no problem having it, just don’t love it. Use it to bless others, and count on God to provide. Easier said than done.

5. Don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need – Good works, they may not get us saved, but they do please God.

6. Obey your spiritual leaders – If they are Godly leaders, follow them and don’t give them hassles. If they are not Godly leaders, find some Godly ones. I am not a leader, so I know what this is like. Not always easy.

Thanks again for reading this post, and possibly the rest of the series. I have some exciting posts planned, so take a look next week for an interesting 3 post series. New week I start a series showing you what I believe to be the number 1 reason why we don’t see so many miracles today (at least some of us). There is one thing that prevented even Jesus from doing miracles. Could it be? Could we do something that can prevent healing and miracles? Yes. Come back next week to find out what it is, and how we can overcome it.

Once you have overcome this, don’t forget about your testimonies! When you have a testimony, I’d love it if you can share it in the comment section of 2016 – Year of Testimonies. I have a few that are developing, so I will share them soon!

May God’s grace be with you all.

Richard

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Hebrews & Us – Part 12

After a passage that I liked, I now have to write about one which I’m afraid I don’t have all the answers for. I will try and explain this passage as best as I understand it, but I don’t fully understand, not do I think do any of us. In any event, this is probably not a passage that we will naturally gravitate to, especially those (like myself) who see God as a good, loving God. OK, here we go.

Discipline. Ouch, we don’t like that. Have you noticed how the word disciple, is similar to discipline? I don’t think that is a coincidence. The first half of chapter 12 talks about God disciplining us. What do you think this means? Well, let’s take a look at earthly discipline first. My parents disciplined me, in fact by today’s standards, they may have been in trouble. Fortunately back then, people understood just how important it was to be disciplined, not like today where we just do what we like. I am so glad that my parents disciplined me, and I don’t regret it at all. Having said this, regardless of what governments and ‘experts’ have to say, there is a difference between DISCIPLINE and ABUSE. My parents disciplined me, they did not abuse me. Why did they discipline me? To put me on the right track. They knew what results sin would bring, so they did their best to keep me from it. They disciplined in love, not to hurt me. They had a ‘this hurts me more than it hurts you’ mentality (although on occasions I would disagree with them).

This is like God’s discipline. It is because He loves us, He wants to keep us from sin, because He knows where sin will lead us. He does not abuse us. Illness is not a punishment from God. I just wanted to make that clear, as I have heard that taught. Yes it may be as a result of sin, and maybe we need to repent of a sin (give it up and change our ways), but we still have authority over that illness. Let’s look at a simple example, if you smoke and you get lung cancer, you can still come and ask me to minister healing. If you do though, don’t be surprised if I tell you to quit smoking. If you refuse, I may too. Now there is something that I am not sure of, I won’t say that God GIVES you lung cancer if you smoke, rather God tells you not to smoke because He doesn’t want you to get lung cancer. If you do get it from smoking, God may USE that to get you to stop. Now I realise that smoking is the least of our worries, but I wanted to make it clear that God doesn’t abuse us, His punishment is good. Personally I think that God’s ‘punishment’ is nudging us in the right direction, not making us suffer, but I don’t want to limit God to what I think. I also don’t want to attribute anything bad as ‘punishment from God’, as that is just not true. The bottom line. Stay away from sin. Root it out of your life. It can only result in ‘Godly discipline’ or the devil having inroads into our lives, and quite honestly, I would like to avoid them both. Especially the second.

The second half of this passage is about listening to God. I think that this is a given, as we need to listen to God, as a child should listen to their parents. If God is who He says He is, why would we not listen to Him? Do you read the Word of God? Do you change your life to fall in line with the Word? Do you root out sin? Do you follow the lead of the Holy Spirit? If not, I seriously suggest that you do. I think if we completely understood what sin does to us, and we completely understand what Jesus went through to save us, we would hate sin just as much as God does.

What are your views on God’s discipline? I’m still trying to get my head around how He would discipline. What are your thoughts? Please leave any comments below.

Until next time.

Richard

Hebrews & Us – Part 11

Hebrews 11 is one of my favourite chapters of the Bible, I usually copy and paste a few verses to focus on, but this time I would have had to copy and paste the whole chapter. Please read it. What is it all about? What was the catalyst to see all of the great things that these people of God have achieved? FAITH. Yes, faith. I have heard people say that faith merely a fruit of following God, but it is more that that. We have a choice, and we need to choose to have faith. What is faith? Here is what it says in verse 1. Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

God used this to create the earth, Noah used this to build the arc, Abraham and Sarah used this to be able to have a child. The list goes on, even the Bible says that there are too many accounts to list. Faith. Having confidence what what we hope for will actually happen, assurance about things we can’t see. What do you need to have faith for? I have required faith over the last few year, immigrating from South Africa to the UK, starting a business, a few health issues. There have been times when my faith has been swaying in the wind, but I am always learning, and I am become more determined to have faith by the day. It is a choice. If you know what the Word of God says, but you also have expectations of what ‘could happen’ based on previous experiences, which one do you believe? Faith, is stubbornly believing what the Bible says, over what everything else may be telling you. It is a choice, and it is as simple as that. Simple to understand, not necessarily to do.

The other thing about faith, is that it doesn’t always produce fruit immediately. We often associate faith with healing, if you believe, someone will get healed there and then. What about Abraham? How long did he and Sarah have to have faith before they had a child? What if that happened to you today? We now have scans and technology to tell us ‘what is wrong’, but do we then believe that over the Word of God? I personally refuse to believe what Doctors tell me when it comes to my health. Yes if they say that I have an illness, I don’t ignore them, but when they say that my blood pressure will ‘never come down’ because it is hereditary. This I ignore. They told me this, and it did come down. It took months, but I refused to stop believing in the Word of God, even when it went against the conclusion of doctors. Now we need to be responsible, I continued to take my medication, but each day I spoke healing over myself. I continued to believe that my blood pressure would come down. I only came off the medication when the nurse said that I should. I’m not talking about being irresponsible, I am merely saying that I will continue to believe God’s Word over what people say.

As for my business, I have been advised not to do what I do as some say that there is ‘no money in it’. When I started it, it appeared that they were right, but what does God say? The Bible says that we need to give (tithes and offerings) and then we will see an overflow returned to us. We need to be generous. It is not easy when you have a very limited income, I can tell you. My wife and I decided to press on in faith. We chose to believe what God was saying, and not what our bank balance and ‘logic’ would suggest. We are only now seeing a breakthrough on this front, after almost 3 years! And let me tell you, this is only the beginning, it is going to get SO much better. Why? It it because of my superior business skills? Despite what I may often suggest, no it isn’t. It is because I continue to believe God’s Word over my circumstances.

I’ll leave you with this. The disciples on the boat when the storm picked up, forgot that Jesus said that they would go to the other side. They focussed on the storm instead, they combined their ‘logic’ with their surroundings and made the choice to panic. Would any of us have been any different? Jesus rebuked them for this lack of faith. We need to make an effort to know, believe, and then expect to see the Word of God fulfilled in our lives.

Make the choice, one step at a time.

Richard

Hebrews & Us – Part 10

After taking a break last week, to share a word that I believe was from God (2016 – Year of Testimonies), I am now returning to Hebrews. Today was a rather difficult post to write, as there are some challenging things to write about. Let’s get straight into it.

Read the first 18 verses. What do you get from that? I find it really interesting, the difference between the Old Covenant sacrifices and Jesus’ sacrifice. The thing that I find interesting is how the Old Covenant sacrifice description, is probably closer to how most of us see ourselves today. This is rather upsetting to me. What do I mean by this? It says that the sacrifices reminded them of their sins, offering the same sacrifices day after day. Does this sound familiar? Are we constantly reminded about our sins and do we feel that we have to keep offering the same sins up to God? This is not how we should be. Let’s take a look at what Jesus’ sacrifice means for us. Our feelings of guilt would disappear, we have once and for all been made holy, our sins have been forgiven for all time, we have been made perfect and there is no need to offer any more sacrifices. Does this sound like you? If we’re honest, we probably live closer to the first description, than the second. This is wrong. I went to a more traditional church for a Christmas Eve service, and it was very focused on our sin and how we need forgiveness. We already have forgiveness. Let’s live like we do. Is this something that you need to change your attitude about? I’ll leave that with you to decide.

The next thing that I want to discuss is verse 19. And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. Really, can we really enter boldly? That doesn’t sound right. Most churches teach that we are sinners, and we should grovel and beg God to do something because we don’t really deserve it. The Bible teaches that we are a new creation, made holy, and can boldly approach heaven’s Most Holy Place. Who’s right? With all due respect, I’m believing what the Bible says. What do you believe? Now don’t get all upset with me, I know that the Bible teaches on humility, but being humble does not mean putting ourselves down. It also does not mean underestimating what Jesus has done for us. It is there so that we do not boast in our ability. Let’s move on. The passage then goes on to show us how we need to have faith in God’s promises and believe. This is again something that most people will say, but do we always do it? I’m not sure. I don’t think we do it nearly enough. This is the journey that I am on, stepping out on the water, further and further from the boat. It is scary, but well worth it!

It then goes on to give us a warning, which I would like to clarify. Depending on the version of Bible that you are reading, it may appear that any sins which you make after being saved can not be forgiven. This is not true. The truth of this passage is about people who deliberately chose a life of sin, and reject Jesus’ sacrifice. Once you have been saved, all of your sins (future ones included) have been forgiven. Please don’t misunderstand this passage, it is not there to heap guilt on you, that is the devil’s job, and he does not need any help. This is to give us a sense of urgency to preach the gospel, and to make sure that we accept it in its entirety. There is no other way to be forgiven, there is no other way into heaven, other than accepting Jesus as your saviour. That is what this passage is talking about.

So does this mean we can go on sinning? They asked Paul the same question, and this is what he said, “Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.”

Don’t let sin hold you back, just turn away from it. Approach God with boldness and step out in faith.

Until next time.

Richard

2016 – Year of Testimonies

Welcome to 2016, and may I take this opportunity to wish you a very happy new year. I have decided to take a break from my current series, to bring you a word for 2016, so without further ado, let’s get started.

The word for 2016 is ‘the year of testimonies’. This is what I believe God has said to me, so I wanted to share it with all of you too. Now there are 2 sides to a testimony, so please let me explain.

The first thing that jumps to mind is that God is going to do some miracles in 2016, which is not entirely true, the truth is that WE will do some miracles. Now, before you get all annoyed and start calling me a heretic, WE will do the miracles, using the power and authority given to us by God. Not in our strength, but in His. The only ‘catch’ is that we have to do them, we can’t just sit and wait for God to do it, He has asked us. So this is the first thing, we’re going to have to step out in faith. This may take us out of our comfort zone, but that is when the miracles flow. Be encouraged, be expectant, exercise your faith.

The second thing is that we actually need to share the testimonies. I know of people who have experienced miracles in their lives, yet they don’t share it with others. We need to share testimonies, not only to encourage others, but to strengthen our own faith. Standing up in front of others, sharing what God has done in your life, will really fire you up. When God does something in your life, share it with others.

On that note, I want to give you an opportunity. I want to ask you to bookmark this blog post, and share it with your friends. I would like to give you the opportunity to write your testimonies in the comment section of this post. I will try and share this throughout the year to remind you, but please do bookmark this and be sure to write your testimonies in the comment section as and when they happen. I am looking forward to seeing some of the testimonies, and I’m sure that we will all be encouraged by what you have to say.

So what are you praying for in 2016, what are you believing for, what are you expecting? Let’s step out in faith, strive to see God’s will on earth as it is in heaven. Let’s be expectant this year. Let’s not stop there, we should be like this every year, but let’s start now.

2016 is going to be a good year!

Richard