Category Archives: Theology

Has it Already Been Done?

So I hope that you all read my last post, which was our testimony, if you haven’t done so you may want to check it out. Now I move on to the next phase, and in order to get my mind around this, I would like to explain it to you. I hope that this will help to strengthen my faith, and help you to do the same with yours.

So my wife and I are pregnant, now it is time to start believing for the financial provision. I have been running my own business for a few years now, but it is not quite at the stage where it can support both of us. I have asked God if I should quit it and get a full time job, and He has told me in no uncertain terms to keep the business. Now my spirit is telling me to do that, but my brain is throwing a wobbly, because logically it is a very risky move. I have been a Christian for long enough to know to listen to my spirit, but how do I have that peace, when my brain is disagreeing? One way I find that helps, is to understand why I can expect it to happen. Understanding scripture helps to build faith. If we understand God’s promises, it is easier to believe them.

One of the main issues which I have come across of late, are 3 generally accepted statements, which we as Christians tend to believe and say. I’m not sure if they are true though, here they are:

  1. It will happen in God’s time.
  2. Pray until God gives it to you.
  3. If it is God’s will, it will happen.

Now I don’t want to be rude, as I have heard all of these comments by people that I love and respect, but they are misleading at best. They are often said to encourage, but they do not encourage me, let me explain. Let’s start with number 3, if it is God’s will. Yes, it is God’s will that I prosper. How do I know this? Simple, the Bible says so. Yes, you may know someone who loves Jesus who is not prospering, but that does not change what the Bible says. So if the Bible says that God wants us to prosper, and we are not prospering (yet), then what is the problem? The problem is that we have not yet received what God has given. This brings number 2 into play, if God has already given it, why do we need to pray? Well in short, we shouldn’t pray only for things, praying is just communicating within a relationship. If you have a best friend, and you only ever talk to them when you want something, what do you think would happen? I pray because I love God, I try and pray mostly just for the sake of it. Do I sometimes get sucked into praying only for things, yes, but that shouldn’t be the case. So where does that leave me? I don’t need to wonder if it is God’s will, I know it is, so 3 is irrelevant. God has already provided for me, so I don’t need to hassle Him in prayer. Still not sure of this? Let me ask you a simple question. When did Jesus save you? If you’re thinking about when you became a Christian, then you’re wrong. Jesus saved you 2000 years ago on the cross, you ACCEPTED it when you confessed with your mouth that you believed that Jesus is Lord. Now you may thing that I am splitting hairs, but I am not, I believe this is true for most things. Jesus did what He needed to on the cross, we just haven’t received it all yet, which brings me to number 1. If things always happen in God’s timing, then why did the Israelites spend 40 years doing a 2 week journey? Was that God’s plan, or their disobedience?

So here is where I am now. I believe that it is God’s will that my business prospers, I also believe that He has already provided me with all that I need in order to see this happen. I know that I need faith, and I know that I need to be obedient to what I believe that God is telling me. There is a fine line between knowing that God has done it, believing that we will receive it, and taking any action required on our part. Doing all of this without worrying, is what I am trying to get right.

Any thoughts? Do you agree with me on this? Do you understand it differently? How do you get this balance right? I would be interested in your views on this, it is not something that I have accomplished, but more a current walk of mine. I know what I believe to be the truth, but walking in that is a whole other story.

Richard

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Testimony Time

At the beginning of this year, on the 3rd January to be exact, I wrote a prophetic post about 2016 being the year of the testimonies. I encouraged people to bring their testimonies and share them. No one has shared any on the post, but now I have one to share, and it is a rather big one.

Here it is, I decided to do a video for this one.

To God be all the glory!

Richard & Wendy.

The Danger of ‘God’s Timing’

Let me make it clear what I am saying here, before I get angry comments. I am not saying that God does not have a plan, I am merely saying that often breakthroughs take longer than they should, not because of ‘God’s timing’, but because of us. Do we need to feel guilty or condemned? No. But we can often do things to help. I often hear Christians say things like, “It will happen in God’s timing”, which is supposed to make me feel better. It doesn’t. I will attempt to show you why people say this, why it doesn’t help me, and why it isn’t completely Biblical. Here goes.

Let’s first start on the Biblical aspect. Do you know of any scripture which says that God has a perfect timing for the events in our lives, and that each event will happen at the right time, regardless of our actions? I couldn’t find one. I even googled this to find posts written about God’s perfect timing, and I have to say that none came close to changing my mind. The scripture they used was taken completely out of context. If I have missed something, please let me know, but I can’t find scripture to back up the above question. Take a look at the Israelites. They spent 40 years in the desert, a journey which should have taken a few weeks. Why? Was it God’s perfect timing, or the fact that they kept messing it up? Now the reason why we often think it was God’s perfect timing, is that God still comes through. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them”. We see this happen, and then we assume that it was God’s timing from the beginning. It is often God cleaning up our mess. Now please don’t misunderstand, it is not always through our sin that we get ourselves into trouble. I have been in the situation before where I have prayed for a breakthrough, and for God to reveal to me if there was a generational curse over my life. After He confirmed, I broke the curse, and then saw a breakthrough. It was the curse that delayed things. I had the authority to break it, but I didn’t know about it. Now God was involved, as He revealed it to me, but it wasn’t delayed due to ‘His timing’. If I hadn’t prayed and asked for a revelation, or if I hadn’t broken the curse, I wouldn’t have seen a breakthrough.

Having said that, why doesn’t it help me when people tell me that it is down to God’s timing? Simple. I don’t believe that it is true. The other reason why it doesn’t help, is that it gives me the wrong impression of God. When I am going through heartbreak, or when I am enduring a really tough time, someone tries to help. They tell me that it is God’s timing. This tells me that God knows what I am going through (which He does), but it is not His time, so I must just suffer for a while until He is good and ready. If your child was in pain, and you could fix it, would you wait until the time was right for you, or would you fix it straight away? Are you a better parent than God? Something to think about. The other problem with God’s timing, is that it says to me I am doing everything right and it is just down to God that I haven’t had a breakthrough. I shouldn’t pray, I shouldn’t ask for wisdom, I shouldn’t do anything, I should just sit on my butt and wait for God’s perfect time. This is not what the scriptures teach. What about resisting the devil? What about the spiritual battle going on? Bad things are caused by the enemy. God wants to help us. That is the bottom line.

So why do people say this? There are 3 reasons that I can come up with. 1. It sounds right and comforts people. If people think that God has a plan for, or even be the cause of, their pain and suffering, then they are more inclined to endure it. It also take the responsibility off of us. Don’t worry about doing anything, God will do it all when He is ready. 2. It clears us of responsibility. If you say this to someone, then you don’t have to minister to them, you don’t have to help. God will help when He is ready. 3. It fits in nicely with the reformed theology. God does everything when He is ready, and everything that happens is the will of God. Don’t get me started on this, as I can go on for a while as to why this is not right. I think that this has come largely from this theology, again, which takes any responsibility away from us.

So what can you take from this. When things are not going as they should, there is something that you can do about it. Ask God for wisdom (James 1:5), resist the devil (James 4:7) and have faith. And remember, that if you trust in God, He will work all things (even your mistakes) for your good. It is not God causing you pain, it is the enemy. Will God sometimes call us into difficult situations? Yes. But remember John 10:10. We need God to play a part in our lives, we need Him to play the biggest part of all. I am not disputing that. I am merely saying that when things are not going well, we can fight the enemy (in the name of Jesus) and not just sit back and wait for God to do it.

Be blessed.

Richard

Who’s Bigger?

Today I would like to lead on from last week’s post, with a simple change of actions. We always talk about repentance, but what we don’t mention is that repentance is a change of actions, not just being sorry. Here is a change of actions that I believe that I need to do, so I thought that I would share it with you. Following on from last week, where we looked some more at faith and unbelief. Today’s challenge will help to remove some unbelief, and exercise your faith. This phrase is not new to me, but it is something that I need to put into practice. Are you ready for it?

We need to stop telling our God how big our problems are, but tell our problems how big our God is.

What does this mean? When you are praying, do you go on telling God how big the issue is that you need to overcome? Do you feel that doing that makes God more aware of your situation? He knows, He doesn’t need you to explain. My mission is to spend more time praising God (in prayer) for who He is and what He has done. Let my problems know how big God is, instead of the other way around.

I have seen some miracles in my life of late (I’ll share the testimony at some point), but now I need to have faith for even bigger things. Exciting, but rather scary. I have been guilty of telling God just how big this next step is, but I am now making the effort to tell my ‘mountain’ how big God is, and that it is going to move.

What would happen if you joined me in this?

Until next week.

Richard

How Would You Answer Jesus?

I heard a very refreshing sermon today, so I thought that I would share the key points with you. It was about the lame man, who was waiting at the pool, trying to get healed. Here is the passage, take a look.

John 5 v 6-8. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”

“I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”

Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”

Here we have a classic response to Jesus, which sadly most of us have today. It is a dangerous response because it shows unbelief, which we find in other scripture caused Jesus not to be able to do miracles. Why do we do this? Put yourself in this man’s place. You have been sitting there for years, you have seen people get healed, but only those who get into the pool first when the water is stirred. You can’t get into the pool because you are paralysed. That is the only way you know to get healed, and it is unobtainable.

Then Jesus comes along. He asks a simple question. “Would you like to get well?” You reply to Jesus in the natural, the only way you understand. You start telling Him why you cant achieve it, you start telling him your problems. He is not asking about your problems, He’s asking you if you want the solution. In this case, Jesus heals the man. What about your case? When you read scripture about healing, what is your response? When someone approaches you and wants to minister to you, what is your response?

I have actually had people come up to me and ask for prayer, and then they go on to tell me why my prayer won’t work. They ask for healing, then they tell my why they won’t actually get healed. They tell me what the doctors said, how they feel, what they have read on the internet, and what others have said. I am not concerned about that, I believe that God wants them healed, and I believe they can receive that healing. They often don’t think that though, sometimes I have to convince them.

So I am not going to drag this out any longer, I just want to ask you some questions. What is your response to Jesus’ question? Do you believe that you will receive your healing, or are you giving God all of the excuses as to why you won’t?

Think about it and make the change if you need to.

Richard

Great Examples of Faith

I have recently been thinking about faith, and the affect that it has on our lives, and I have come to realise that it is much bigger than I thought. I used to read scripture like where Jesus tells the disciples that they can use faith to move a mountain, and I used to think, “Yes, in theory it can”. No, it does. This is what I am trying to get my head around, because we know faith is important, but if we don’t ACTUALLY believe, then we don’t have faith. I need to build my faith and eliminate any unbelief, so I can see my faith move some mountains. This passage is just as much for me as it is for you.

Read Hebrews 11. Don’t just continue reading this post, actually go and read Hebrews 11. The Bible mentions 18 different people or people groups, who use faith. This excludes the very first, God, when He created the world. This whole chapter is showing us how important faith is, but do we really get it? I don’t think so, because if we did, we would see more mountains move. Let’s take a look at some key points.

Verse 3. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen. What does this mean? Simply, you couldn’t see the universe, God commanded it to be formed through faith, and it was formed. Wow. Now obviously evolutionists will counter this, but I believe the Bible, and I believe that God spoke the universe into being. God spoke it, He believed it, and it happened. Where have I heard that before? Oh yes, Jesus told us to speak to the mountain, believe that it will move, and it will move. Simple. Speak it, believe it, see it.

The chapter them goes on to list story after story of people in the Bible who had faith, and what they managed to achieve by putting it into practice. I am not going to list them here, because you have just read about them. How many times does the Bible use so many examples to make a point? I can’t think of any like this, so it must be important. So what is faith? Verse 1. Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. I need to get my head around this. I need to start seeing what I believe for as a reality. This is the hard part. We all believe that miracles happen, and we all believe that God CAN do things. We don’t always believe that something WILL happen, or even HAS happened and just needs to manifest in the physical. What I mean by that is that it has already happened in the spiritual, it just needs to happen in the physical. We are lead to believe that what we hope for is a possibility, but do we believe that it is a reality? Can you believe that before you see it as a reality? Can you see something in your mind and believe it to be real, before you see it with your eyes? That is faith. That is what I need to get my head around. That is what I need to start doing. How about you?

After reading about all of the people who had faith, you may be thinking that this is something of the past and no longer applies today. This is not the case, in fact, I think it applies even more today. Take a look at verses 39 and 40. All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us. We have the Holy Spirit helping us, we have a new, pure, righteous, born-again, spirit. We should be doing even more than the people mentioned. If we can get our heads around this passage of scripture, and actually start doing it, the sky is no limit. We need to use our faith, eliminate unbelief, and start to see what we believe as reality. Is this easy? No. If it were I would be doing it. I need to do it. I need to make what I believe, what scripture teaches me, a reality. If you are not seeing what scripture teaches in your life, then maybe you don’t believe it as a reality? Maybe you need to join me in getting serious about this.

Let’s move some mountains.

Richard

Being Supportive Doesn’t Always Mean Agreeing

Let me paint you a picture, to illustrate today’s topic. You have a good friend who is completely tone deaf, they can’t hold a tune, but they really love to sing. Yes, we all know such a person, and if you don’t, then you may actually be that person. Let’s say that person comes to you and tells you that they’re going to go on X-Factor, or American Idol, or whatever other show you know of. What do you say? You see we are taught that if you agree with someone, you are being supportive. If you disagree, then you ‘don’t believe in the person’. This is complete nonsense, but we have somewhat come to believe this. How many times do we see people with massive dreams of becoming a singer, who have complete ‘support’ from their friends and family, get humiliated by some ruthless judge in front of the entire nation on TV? My question is simple, “Why hasn’t anyone stopped them before this?”.

Now let me be clear here, I am not talking about speaking negatively into someone’s life. I know that the Bible says that we are more than conquerors in Jesus, and we should have faith. I am not talking about people who try and scare you into not taking a chance. I am merely saying that just because someone disagrees with you, doesn’t mean that they don’t support you. So what am I talking about? I am talking about the times when we live our lives in a way that goes against scripture. Let me use an extreme example. If I were cheating on my wife, and one of my friends found out, what would they do? I would hope that they would call me out in no uncertain terms and tell me to stop. In fact, if one of them actually punched me in the face, I wouldn’t see it as an over-reaction. Now I am not condoning violence, but my point is simple, in supporting people sometimes we may have to disagree with them. People are sometimes going to do the wrong things, and a true friend will stop them. If you really love someone, sometimes you need to stand against their actions. Sometimes, supporting someone means stopping them from doing something stupid. As per the singing example, you stop them from the humiliation of being told the truth on live TV. With other more serious actions, sometimes the consequences could be 100 times worse, so we need to step in and tell people when they are making a bad choice.

I grew up in South Africa, but live in the UK, and I think that it is safe to say that English people often disagree with someone but very seldom tell them. The general ‘socially acceptable’ way here is to have a good moan about the fact that someone is doing something wrong, but don’t actually tell them because you don’t want to upset them. Now before you get upset, this is a gross generalisation, but the generalisation for South Africans is different. We are very quick to go and tell the person that they are wrong and that they should sort themselves out. This is also not the best way, as it is often not done in love, but more from a point of condemnation. I don’t know what the general trend is in the US, as I have never been there, but the bulk of people that read this blog are from the US so maybe you can comment and let me know.

Here is the bottom line. If we truly love and support our friends, we will tell them when they are doing something wrong and encourage them to do it right. We will not condemn, but we will not ignore their actions (or worse, encourage the wrong actions). We are called to hold each other accountable, that is not condemning. We hold each other accountable in order to build them up, the devil condemns in order to tear us down, there is a massive difference between the two. Encouraging people to stop doing what is wrong, is part of encouraging people to do what is right. We are called to do both of those things. So next time your friend opposes you in love, next time they challenge you on something that you are doing, don’t jump down their throat. Ask yourself, is there something that you need to change? Are they right? If they are, then maybe you need to listen to them. If they are not, they are still only trying to help, so go easy on them. Don’t accept negativity over your life, but don’t just disregard anyone who disagrees with you, there may be an important lesson lost.

Until next week.

Richard

Who Does What?

Today I would like to discuss something rather simple, yet something which will no doubt rock many people’s understanding of the Bible. Who does what? Yes, what is God’s job to do, what is our job, and what has God already set in place (like natural or spiritual laws)? I know that there is much to discuss here, so I will try and let you know my thoughts as quickly and as thoroughly as I can.

One of the biggest issues amongst Believers now days (in my opinion) is that we think that God can do what He wants, when He wants. Dare I say a ‘reformed’ view that God’s sovereignty means that He can do anything. Truth is, He can’t. (Shock!). Before you get all angry and start sending me emails, can God lie? Can God forsake us? No. Now I know what you’re thinking. It is not that God CAN’T do it, it is that He said He WOULDN’T do it. That is my point. God can do anything, but there are certain things that He won’t do, because He said He wouldn’t. Those are the bad things though (lying and forsaking). What about some ‘good’ things? Healing the sick, preaching the Gospel, casting out demons. You see God told us to do this, so He won’t. You may say that this doesn’t make a difference, but it does. Why do we pray to God and ask Him to heal? Why do we pray and ask God to get the demons away from us? Why do we pray and ask God to bring people to Him? This is what He told us to do.

If you’re a director of a company, and you delegate some responsibilities to your managers, would you then go and do the exact thing you asked them to do? No, not if you were any good at being a director. Once you delegate, you let them do it. Yes, you may help. Yes, you may want to be part of the plan. Yes, it is your authority that carries weight. Yes, they couldn’t do it without your backing and permission. But you don’t do it. This is the same with God. We need to do what He has called us to to. Yes, the power comes from Him. Yes, we couldn’t do it without God. Yes, we do it in the name of Jesus. But we have to do it.

Stop praying for Jesus to heal the sick. Jesus told us to talk to the mountain, and He gave us authority over sickness. Talk to the sickness and tell the person to be healed in the name of Jesus. Now I know that there is more to healing than the way we say it, but this will change our attitude. It is relatively easy to have faith, when we know we have the authority, and Jesus has already done the healing (by His stripes we are healed). The healing is done, we have the authority to administer it. If you believe this, it is easier to have faith than if we think that we’re trying to ‘twist God’s arm’ to heal someone. Like we care about them more than God. Are you praying for God to give you release from the demonic? Why? God told us to resist the devil, and he will flee. Do you pray that God will lead people to Himself? He told us to preach the Gospel. It is our job to tell people about Jesus. Yes, the Holy Spirit plays a part in calling people, but we have a responsibility.

Does this mean that God won’t help? No, obviously He does. We can pray that God helps us, that is what the Holy Spirit does. We can pray that God gives us the opportunity, or the wisdom, but we still need to do what He has told us to. The things that God has told us to do is in line with His spiritual laws, things that He has set into place. One that we all accept is salvation. If you believe in your heart, and confess with your mouth, you will be saved. That is the law, and if we do it as God has instructed, we will be saved. There is no other way. It is similar with other things too, although our default is to ask God to do everything.

Have a think about this. Do you ask God to do things that He has told you to do? Do you know how to do what God has called you to? Maybe this is the time to rethink how you do things, maybe it is time for change. Stop asking God to do what He has asked you to do, learn how He wants you to do it, and then get out and do it in faith. When we do what God has asked us to do, in the name of Jesus, just see what happens!

Richard

Make Your Mark – Part 16

Today is the last post in my series on Mark, I really hope that it has been a blessing to you. I trust that you have read along with me, and that God has revealed many things to you. I had planned to discuss a few topics in the next few posts, and then reading through this chapter, I realised that it was the perfect introduction.

Let’s take a look at 2 excerpts from Mark 16, which will set the scene for the next few posts. Still later he appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead. I know that I often speak about faith and unbelief, but of late I have been confronted with some interesting questions, which show that people still don’t actually understand what I have been teaching, so I will address some new ‘angles’ on the topic of faith.

And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptised will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.

This is what Jesus told the disciples, and therefore us, to do after He left. Do we do this? Do you do this? You see we so often ask God to do stuff for us, without really thinking about who’s responsibility it is. Someone asked me if I thought that God could do anything that He wanted, and my answer was no. The person was shocked to hear my response, but I am fully prepared to explain why I make that statement. In fact when I do, I believe that it may fundamentally change the way that you minister to people.

So in preparation for the weeks to come, ask yourself these questions. Do you believe that God can do anything He wants? How do you balance faith and your circumstances? What is God’s responsibility, and what is ours?

You are probably going to find some of what I say controversial, but please have an open mind. As usual, I welcome other opinions, as long as you provide a scriptural argument, and not just ‘because I said so’. I look forward to the next few posts.

Until next week.

Richard

Make Your Mark – Part 15

Today I may need to eat a little humble pie, but many of you may also have to, as we take a look at Jesus’ crucifixion. We have probably heard this story many times, so I am not going to look at the obvious, but rather something that we don’t often consider. Jesus’ death and resurrection is probably the most important event ever, and there is so much to talk about, but I would like to talk about Jesus’ attitude. Let’s see if it matches ours.

Jesus is going through something really traumatic and scary. If you have ever seen The Passion movie, you will have an idea of what Jesus went through, although even that was not as gruesome as what actually happened. This chapter is rather condensed, showing all the way through from Jesus’ trial to His death, so it is easier to see how Jesus approached it. When He was accused, He didn’t defend Himself. Verse 5. Why do you think He did that? I’m not sure, but I would venture a guess that it was because He didn’t need to. Jesus had said everything that He needed to, that is why they were trying to kill Him in the first place, so He didn’t need to defend himself. The next thing that is quite evident throughout this passage is that most people seemed to mock Jesus. The priests wanted Him dead, Pilate didn’t take Him seriously, the soldiers mocked Him, the crowds mocked Him, even the others being crucified mocked Him. Jesus never defended Himself, he never answered or rebuked any of them. How would we have responded?

How do we respond? What happens when someone puts something on facebook that you disagree with? What happens if someone says something bad about you? Are you a people pleaser, or a God pleaser? People have said some really horrible things about me, and just about everyone posts and says things that are just not true biblically, and I often have to bite my tongue. I don’t always get it right, I often get sucked into arguments. Why? If I am honest, it is probably because I want to defend myself and my views. Jesus didn’t do it when they were killing Him, yet I feel the need to do it on social media. That is something I need to address. Now don’t get me wrong. There is a time to address theology, there is a time to speak the truth, and there is a time to ‘set people straight’. Jesus did all of that, so I am not knocking it. This is not an excuse to sit back and not speak the truth. I am talking about when people attack you for speaking the truth. I often get that, and I used to deal with each and every attack. I don’t any more. If people genuinely don’t understand, or they have misunderstood what I have said, then I will address it. There are those who understand, but just refuse to believe it. There are also those who are openly supporting the ‘opposition’. Entering a debate with them is going to go nowhere, so I don’t even bother.

There is a time to teach, a time to ‘set straight’ and a time to keep quiet. Do we know the difference? Do we know when to do what? I pray for wisdom to deal with these in the future, so that I can improve in this area. What about you? Do you have any words of wisdom? How do you deal with this, especially on social media? In the past years, we may not have known everyone’s opinion or what they think of us, where as we now have it right in our face. We need to have wisdom in dealing with these issues.

Until next week.

Richard