Monday, October 28, 2013

A story of Hope...


I have been so excited to write about this since yesterday when it all came to a conclusion. It is a personal story about 2 great people that I have known for the last few weeks. It’s a story of love and healing and how the Holy Spirit wrapped it all up. It was also a story of hope and I was personally there to witness this whole thing unfold and due to the love of Jesus, it worked out just perfect.

I am in awe at the work of Jesus Christ, our Lord who does great things.

Two people whom I had met a few weeks ago at the alpha course that we run at our church, Lets name them Jared and Sally for confidentiality sake , seemed very apprehensive and quiet from the beginning. Whilst Sally has often said a word or two to the rest of the small group, Jared would be very shy and quiet. Jared said at the beginning that he is looking for something more. He believed that God has somehow let go and that He was alone. Why would God want a relationship and Jared was looking for more and a way to get back into the Christian life.

Jared and Sally or both divorced, each with their own children, and they are now together and seem very happy and good for each other. But for me, there was just something not right. It seemed that Jared was anxious or had a lot of hurt from previous situations in his life, as a lot of us do. It seemed that Jared was carrying these hurts with him, but we didn’t know.

As weeks went by, we all got to know each other much better and everyone started opening up a little about their lives.

We all went on the alpha camp this past weekend. The camp is in a beautiful part of the countryside.

We learn a lot about the Holy Spirit on this weekend, Who He is, What He does and How the Holy Spirit can fill us. When a group of people go away together, you tend to find out a lot more about them.

Jared and Sally came on the weekend and brought there kids as well. Jared was still very quiet on the weekend. We came to a time of ministry on Saturday where people can be ministered to, prayed for and spend time with God in a peaceful and relaxed environment. In this time, often people break down, cry, are slain in the Spirit or just sit in the peace of the Holy Spirit. Jared started with tears but very quiet. When asked if He wanted prayer, He opted for it and it came out that He blames himself for a lot of past hurts and how they have effected the relationship between him and his daughter. He blamed himself for what he has possibly done to his daughter emotionally. He came to a time where he wanted to take his life because the past hurts were eating at him. They were stuck inside his heart, blocked in and being used by satan as a tool to keep on blaming himself. He couldn’t release the hurt. There was sever pain there and He didn’t how to deal with it. In this session, He sat and cried a little, closed his eyes and prayed.

We don’t know what happened. Jared didn’t tell anyone. It was personal stuff after all and it was between him and God.

We prayed for Jared and Sally. We prayed for their blockages and hurts to be pulled down and that God would remove them.

Ministry time over, Saturday night came…We all had a bunch of fun together, Jared was laughing and enjoying himself with the others and all seemed well.

Sunday morning we got together in groups again, asking how everything was going, what anyone thought and how they managed in the ministry session the previous day. Some of the people said it was great, some said nothing, Jared and Sally said they enjoyed it but nothing changed for them. It was then that I saw the pain in Jared’s face. It was a look that I have never seen before in a anyone. It was like you could see so much pain in his eyes and that it was getting the better of him. Pain was winning!

A few of us went aside and prayed again for our group, but specifically for Jared and Sally. We prayed that Jared could somehow release all the pain and hurt he was experiencing and that God would remove the blockages and walls that satan was building up in his heart.

After our group session, we had another time of ministry. We again went to Jared and asked him if he wanted to pray or talk. We prayed together, Jared started crying a lot. Him and Sally were hugging, crying together and just really praying to God for help….. But nothing!

We were asking questions in our minds….Why God? What are we doing wrong?  We have been praying for Jared so much in the last few days and nothing had changed. Jared was not feeling different, he still felt pain, he still felt the pain of a broken relationship with his daughter. We told him that God will work in his life, but I wanted to know why nothing had changed yet??? Why God, Why?

We just couldn’t get a breakthough….

As the weekend drew to a closure, we had a time of feedback where people that experienced the love of God through His Spirit, poured into their hearts and felt a renewing of their minds. A few people came up, spoke about their experiences and it brought many to tears.

Right at the end, a young girl walked up to the stage, just as some people were started to get up and leave…it was Jared's daughter. We were all so shocked because we had hardly seen her that weekend. Her and her dad hadn’t got on too well on the weekend and this also difficult for Jared to handle.

She started off saying how angry she was, how she didn’t want to come on the weekend and she was forced by her dad and we were getting a little scared how this was going to end up because everyone was in good spirits from hearing all the good stories from others.

And then the bomb dropped. She just started crying. She sobbed ad while she was sobbing she was trying to talk on the microphone. She apologized to her dad for everything, she told how she loved him so much and how she regretted all the ugly things that she had said. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I just lost my emotions and cried and half the hall was in tears. No-one out of the 186 people in the hall knew Jared and his hurt except for a few in our group. At that stage I just turned around and grabbed Jared's hand, He was beside himself. He and Sally were crying so much. He had never heard those words from his daughter, He couldn’t believe it…..It couldn’t have come at a better time!

We all jumped out of our seats and got into a group hug with Jared, Sally, His daughter and the rest of our group. What an ending! Praise God! Praise God! Praise God! Everyone was crying tears of happiness!

As I write this, I feel a tear fall from my eye because its one of those stories that just brings so much thought into my mind. Tears of pain, sadness and hurt were changed into tears of ecstatic happiness, tears of love and tears of a beautiful re-beginning of a relationship between a father and daughter.

Who are we to expect God to act in our time. Here we were questioning God about why He was doing anything, and it was all planned already. It happens in Gods time.

God loves us, He wants everything good for us. He made us. All we need to do is love and trust Him as our dad and nothing will be impossible.

Praise God for His love, Praise God for what He did yesterday and Praise God for being a faithful God and a Dad to look up to.

Amen to a renewed relationship.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

On top of the world

I have just had the privilege of chatting to 2 of my beautiful family members in Christ, Avril and Shane tonight. This after having the privilege of being apart of the alpha course and sitting in a group of 9 other people who are so eager to have a closer relationship with our Lord and Saviour.
This was all after hearing a one hour message in my car today from Andrew Wommack, a man whom I admire and have great respect for, in a message of his called "Its up to you!"

Now we are also going away for the weekend to a beautiful part of our country South Africa, where God is going to meet people where they are in life and His spirit will flood the camp.

I must say, the last 2 days and the days to come this week are so exciting. Exciting because the Spirit of God is everywhere around us. We don't know what to expect on the weekend because every weekend we go on is different and The Spirit of God manifests in a different way, We just know that He will be there!

Anyway, back to my chat I had right at the beginning with Avril and Shane. It was nice to catch up but what they told me turned a 5 minutes catch up conversation to a 40 minute in-depth, exciting, adrenalin pumping session :)
These guys, with a group of about 20 other people, go every Saturday and some nights of the week and pray for healing in some of our most poorest and unsafe communities.
Now, if any of you understand when I say poor and unsafe, these are people who live in poverty, filth, sewerage and sickness.
Going to a place like this would strike fear in me because of the situation. But you know what, where God is, Peace is!
The stories that they can tell about healing that they have seen with their own eyes, with their own hands, physical healing, mental healing and emotional healing.
They pray for drug Lords, child traffickers, rapists, murderers etc. They have seen many really terrible sights of blood and pain, but this has not turned them away.
When you have God on your side, you can do anything. God works through us.
I could listen to stories like this all night. Stories that inspire, Good news stories - instead of listening to the bad, mundane stories about corruption, crime and stuff in the newspaper.

When even one person comes to Christ - This is something to celebrate. The Angels in heaven scream and shout in happiness. Healing is real, it happens. I have also personally seen it on many occasions.
We don't have to be special people to pray healing over others. We need God!
We don't need some special relationship and power in order to heal others, We need God!
God does the work through us.
What we need to do is believe 100% that it will indeed happen - and it does.
Through God we can do anything!

When I was chatting to them, they grew so excited about what they were saying. They truly believed in what they were doing. I think "passionate" is the best word here.
When we are passionate about God, he uses us more and more.
Its all up to us to decide where we put God in our lives!

I am feeling on top of the world right now spiritually. I know God loves me, I know He is with me, He accepts my many faults, but He still loves me.
To hear stories like these from close friends in Christ whom I love dearly, To see people coming to an alpha course and wanting to know more about who God is and to hear a man preach on How we can make a difference has just made it all come together and I think one conclusion is drawn here, and that is that through God, nothing is impossible.
He brings excitement in your life that nothing else can offer eternally.
He brings a hope.
He brings togetherness, friendship and love.
And he heals.

I thank God for how He has spoken to me in the last few days, I thank God for my family in Christ and I thank God for what He has done and is going to do for me.

Amen

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Holy Spirit & Our Spirit

Our Spirit, something that we spend little time concentrating on and trying to grow.
Its the part of us that the Lord desires the most and that Satan wants mostly to control.
Its the battle of our Spirit....and we spend the least time on it.

Our Spirit is like our control room. The way we act towards each other, they way we think about ourselves, others and situations. How we relate to anything and everything is all governed by our inner Spirit.
Our Spirit also then becomes a place where we throw our emotions if we cant deal with them. If you are an angry person and anger seems to get the better of you in many instances - its because anger has taken control of your Spirit and is manifesting there and growing stronger and stronger and you are trying to deal with the  results instead of dealing with the problem.
The Spirit can be a repository of good and bad emotions/feelings and if it is not concentrated on and fixed at "Spirit" level, anything else you try to do to walk away from issues in your life are NOT going to work.
We have to concentrate on our Spirits, fix what is in there, throw away the bad effects in our Spirit so that our outer actions towards others are completely changed.

The only way we can "fix" our Spirits, is to let the Holy Spirit come into our Spirits and let Him take control. The Holy Spirit is a "Him" because it is 'God...in us'.
We have things in our Spirit which attract bas spirits to come into our Spirit and reign there, hence our actions are effected and our thoughts patterns our changed to reflect these bad spirits controlling our Spirit.
We are all desperate and needing Christ's Spirit in us, in our Spirit and this is why Paul, in Ephesians, prayed for the Holy Spirit to control our Spirits "at all times".

What we do, especially as children as well, when bad things are said to us, we don't how to deal with them and get on with life, so we push these bad things into our spirit so that it doesn't effect us and it feels like we have pushed it away.
When in fact, we have just push the bad feeling/emotion deeper into us and it will grow within us, show its ugly head and get stronger and start moulding your thoughts, feelings, relationships and overall attitude.
Rejection is another things which gets dumped into the human Spirit. We don't want feel rejected sin the short term so we push rejection away into our Spirits....Problem is that it comes back much stronger at a later stage and effects us even worse than before.
Hatred and anger are exactly the same. And this is the part that I am seeming to catch a wake up. I have a lot of anger in my spirit which had been pushed there from years and years ago as a child and growing up and this anger now shows its head, not every now and then, but everyday!
Its because I am trying to ignore my Spirit and run away from it and not trying to tackle my Spirit head-on.
Resentment and insecurity also love sitting in your Spirit. they grow there. Things that may have happened at any stage of your life, instead of dealing with the situation, we ignore it and that's the start of an ugly growth in our Spirits.

But Yes, there is a solution to this. The Holy Spirit!
Its very common to see physically disabled people who seem peaceful with their situation. people like this, one could say that they have an excuse to be angry/resentful, but instead they are peaceful and have accepted their situation.
This is because they have been healed internally. Although externally they still are disabled, internally they are at peace and this is because the Spirit of the Lord has healed them!
Often there is so much hurt that has been caused in a marriage from fighting and arguing an that hurt is stored in your Spirit. We get over fights but the hurt remains and this causes a breeding ground for ugliness and resentment towards each other.
Outwardly we seem fine but inwardly we are crying.
The Spirit of God comes when we pray for one another. Asking God's Spirit to come into ourselves and our partners and openly laying out our lives to God (Laying our spirit bare) will allow Gods Spirit to heal us, break those old bad emotion strongholds in our Spirits and allow us to be free!

Isn't this awesome. Some of us have so much to confess to the Lord. Do it today!
Some of us are "crying inside", Ask God into your life...TODAY! Do it now!

I pray that this bit of writing will bless you as you read it, as much as it blessed me while writing it. I pray that this finds your Spirit and kicks off a renewed call for Gods Spirit in your life!

Amen.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A gentle reminder...

I went to church on Sunday. I don't go as much as I used to for some reason. I write about this particular Sunday because it just right at a time in my life when there is so much going on around me so quickly and I am thinking that I am alone in everything.
But then the stubborn part of me says "Oh boohoo, get over yourself!"
So its round and round in a big circle and I get more saddened at it all.

Anyway, I sat in my normal seat in the service, greeted the normal people that normally sit around me and then the service started.
I feel lonely! I wish I had my family around me!
I prayed to God to help me get out of this ridiculous thought pattern.
It was a communion service and the way that the communion runs in my church is the that the first rows go down to the front 'pulpit' to receive the Body and blood of Christ (bread and wine) and then filter back to their chairs and then the next rows go and so on until they reach the back of the church and every person has been to the front.
Now I sit on the center isle, always, and so all the people coming down to the pulpit to participate in communion walk right past me.
After I had been down to the front, I came back to me chair and sat and started praying, for general stuff.
I cant tell you what it was but I felt probably about 20 hands on my shoulders all the different times from different people, just saying 'Hi'.
When I stopped praying, I must have shaken hands and hugged with another 10 people.

There is a point to this!
It was like this is Gods way of saying "You're not alone, I am with you".
When I say alone, I mean alone in my Christian thoughts and ideas and that there is no-one to share them with. Not physically alone.
Is this what it is going to be like in heaven?
Everyone is happy, peaceful, enjoying the sacrament of Christ, greeting eachother, hugging eachother because they really mean it?
YES! Why? Because the Bible tells us so.
To see love between people, all sharing in the blood shed by Jesus and all sharing in His body is something that every Christian should know,
God reminded me that day that we are not alone in our thoughts about Him, but rather we all share a common theme.......that God is Love!
People that I haven't seen for years came up to me to say Hi, People from when I was at school and people that I cant even remember their names (I just smiled at those :))
I only realized today the whole situation. On Sunday I thought it was really strange, but today it hit home!

Look for God in the small things. They are probably under your nose. Something we do is look at why God is not changing us lie we want Him to or why isn't He listening.....
But maybe....just maybe....we are looking in the wrong place!

Let me leave you with a verse from Gods Word.
Romans 10:17 - So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Is your door been knocked on?

We all have a door in us....
Its is the entrance to our heart....
It is the guard we use to stop anything hurting us, bringing us down or letting evil take control....
With most of us, our door stays shut. Its never been opened, In fact it has weeds growing over it, thistles growing between the cracks and hinges that have never worked....
This door is usually stays shut because we don't people to know us too well or to know what we think and the way we work.
We are so used to having our door shut, that we don't allow any influence into us because we are scared and proud and we try to protect the little that we have....

What's inside your door?
What are you keeping hidden away?

But there's someone who is always knocking on your door, always standing waiting for you to open it, wanting to come inside, wanting to know you.
You can chase Him away.....But He'll come back, every time!
He is known as the light of the world!
He is known as the King of Kings!
He is Jesus Christ!

Our doors do not have handles on the outside which means that no-one can enter without our permission. We have to open the door from our side.
Jesus will always knock on our door, but the handle is on the inside and only we can decide whether to open for Him. He will never force Himself into our lives.

He invites us to sit with Him. He invites to eat with Him and be His friend.
Revelation 3:20 - Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

Jesus offers a personal invitation to each of us, because salvation is for each of us individually. In The days when Jesus was on this earth in flesh, it was customary to sit and eat together. this was a form of friendship and love. This is why 'eating' is referred to in the above verse.
We are often hesitant to let Jesus in or anyone else for that matter because we are scared to show others how "dirty" our inside is.
But remember, Jesus is the only one that clean up the inside. We are not strong enough to do it ourselves. We need Him, We need His redemptive Spirit and His blood shed for us will be poured into our hearts and clean all the "dirt" out.

BUT.....The decision is yours!
Do you hear Jesus knocking on your door?

I think the picture below is a perfect illustration of this story. Painted by Holman Hunt.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sin and guilt

Someone mentioned this psalm to me tonight, so I went and read it thoroughly and I just love the words that David uses here.
He wrote this after he committed adultery with Bathsheba and organized for her husband to be killed.
This psalm is so true of my life and possibly for many others.

It is so easy to ask God for forgiveness and then carry on with life - but that leads us nowhere. In fact it leads into destructive guilt that we cannot override,
Remember, sin can only be removed by God. We cannot do it ourselves, we are weak and we need God here. Asking for forgiveness is useless without confessing our sin and genuinely trying to repent from it. We can't just carry on doing what we have always been doing.
Eventually it catches up on you. You become burdened with guilt, you develop a hard shell around your heart and your soul and then you doubt yourself with everything that comes your way. You tell yourself that evil is taking over and start asking God why you are in such awkward/difficult/ugly situations.
He graciously grants us forgiveness when we confess and repent. God requires true heartfelt repentance rather than rituals or words.
He wants us to take responsibility for our sins. There is so much hope for us if we want to help ourselves. If we cant be true to ourselves, how can we be true to our creator.
There is always hope for us, no matter how our pasts look.....we just need to be genuine with ourselves and God.

Read the psalm 51 below and tell me what you think. To me, it's a beautiful representation of asking for Gods forgiveness.
Bless you

Psalm 51- New living translation


Have mercy on me, O God,
    because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
    blot out the stain of my sins.


Wash me clean from my guilt.
    Purify me from my sin.

For I recognize my rebellion;
    it haunts me day and night.

Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
    I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
    and your judgment against me is just.


For I was born a sinner—
    yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.

But you desire honesty from the womb,
    teaching me wisdom even there.

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Oh, give me back my joy again;
    you have broken me—
    now let me rejoice.


Don’t keep looking at my sins.
    Remove the stain of my guilt.

Create in me a clean heart, O God.
    Renew a loyal spirit within me.

Do not banish me from your presence,
    and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and make me willing to obey you.

Then I will teach your ways to rebels,
    and they will return to you.

Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves;
    then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.

Unseal my lips, O Lord,
    that my mouth may praise you.

You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
    You do not want a burnt offering.

The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
    You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

Look with favor on Zion and help her;
    rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit—
    with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings.
    Then bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar.