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Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Peace & War: Choosing our state of mind

“Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion!

When the LORD brings back the captivity of His people,

Let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.” (Psalm 14:7)

These are words to pray over, especially these days. If you’re like me, you’ve been praying and thinking a lot about peace and war lately.

Peace

Peace is a state of mind, rather than based upon circumstance. 

Peace & War Choosing our state of mind is up to us.

In these days of tension and threat, where we see anarchy and fury in protestors toward others who don’t see Truth in the same way they do, and where we are experiencing cultural earthquakes where diversity and inclusion seems to exclude traditional values and Christianity in particular, we can find rest in the word of GOD and grow in our attitude of peace.

We can remain in peace, without stress or fear. We can choose what we dwell upon and we can decide where we focus our attention.

If fear is growing, robbing you of peace, turn off the notifications or the television/radio and tune into GOD.

I’m certainly saturated with news and updates. Today I’m focusing in prayer, worship and thoughtful contemplation. I choose to find peace.

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)

Take time to dwell on GOD. Put on prayerful music (DappyTKeys on YouTube is one artist I listen to a lot and can highly recommend). Read the Word. Rest your mind. 

War

War is bitter, miserable, catastrophic for all involved. We in the West seem to be on the brink of war…. Some nations are in the middle of it.

War is a great money-maker. War is a physical attack of the enemy. The real enemy is Satan. War, some war, needs to be fought against that enemy, Satan.

But remember, 

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

Prayer

We may choose a side. GOD is always on our side, and is always on the side of Israel His beloved, even if He allows temporary defeat or pain… Always He seeks to grow us and turn us towards Himself.

We are praying spiritual warfare. Let’s remember we are not praying against man but agains spiritual wickedness.

And always, we pray for the Peace of Jerusalem,

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:

“May they prosper who love you.

Peace be within your walls,

Prosperity within your palaces.”

For the sake of my brethren and companions,

I will now say, “Peace be within you.”

Because of the house of the Lord our God

I will seek your good.” (Psalm 122:6-9)

Amen

I’m praying. One of the items on my prayer list is the salvation of many, many souls in these times.

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Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Love: keeping short accounts

“…But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 12)

Why is love so vital? A look at 1 Corinthians 13 and 1 John 4 describes love and its outworking. 

I want to touch very briefly on ONE ASPECT OF LOVE: that is keeping short accounts.

Short accounts

‘Do not let the sun go down on your anger’ wrote Solomon. If we go to bed having made peace with whomever we might have “had words” with in the day, we — and they — will sleep better. 

Keeping alive conversation, relationship in spite of sore feelings or disappointments means we have shalom, GOD’s peace, and between ourselves and another person, his is such a huge expression of respect and love. 

Forgiveness

We can’t force ourselves to forgive, but we can ask for GOD’s help. Even if we aren’t ready to forgive another person whom we feel has wronged us (sometimes our emotions are stronger than our spirit within us and the emotions trump what we know spiritually we need to do), it is important that we still keep the relationship, the conversation going. How many of us have felt shut down by someone who doesn’t even tell us why they are angry? Time Out is valuable, but after a time of a breather, we do need to come back together to work out how to move forward.

Festering and Offence

It’s too easy to judge another person’s behaviour without knowing the facts. And in today’s climate, it’s far too easy to get offended as the mood of society seems to encourage it. But stewing rather than communicating is the stuff of ulcers; and negative emotion robs us of joy. Instead, let us work out our own way to forge ahead, recognising hurt and disappointment but not living in it indefinitely. “GOD has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) That means when we focus on hurt and disappointment, then fear creeps in to tell us we must protect and defend ourselves, rather than allowing GOD’s love and protection over us. Instead, let us give way to love and the power of GOD, and experience a calm mind rather than one full of agitation. This will bring us into a deeper revelation of GOD, of ourselves in Him, and even of the other person with whom we have had a clash.

Conclusion

I’d like to leave you with this one particular scripture on which to meditate, to contemplate, and to pray:

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:7-11)

Bless you beloved.

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Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Joy

“I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart… down in my heart to stay!” (George William Cooke, Doncaster England)

Joy

“For the joy of the LORD is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10)

This verse comes from Nehemiah whilst he and the Jewish people were rebuilding the walls in Jerusalem, working 24/7 shifts with a rotation to allow for sleep.

“In His is presence is fullness of joy.” (Psalm 16:11b)

Even the very word “joy” evokes in me hope, excitement, enthusiasm, happiness.

GOD gives us Joy

He gives us a reason to be. He gives us opportunity to express that reason. He brings us into families so we’re not alone in our expression. 

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), it is straight from GOD. We who know and experience joy are truly blessed indeed.

Let’s be grateful

No matter what is thrown at us, let us remember GOD enables us to get through adversity. Sometimes He puts us into difficulties but always He provides us with the ability to overcome. Adversity always helps us to grow. And He promises that He will, “never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

Overcome

Let us remember to “rejoice in the LORD always.” (Philippians 4:4) Joy is a fruit of the Spirit which is expressed through our attitude of endurance and thanksgiving.

Praise helps us to overcome. May we never underestimate the power of praise to GOD.

Remember one of many promises, “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his GOD and he shall be My son.” (Revelation 21:7)

Joy is a significant help in our overcoming process. Truly, the joy of the LORD is our strength! 

Hallelujah and Amen

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GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: pt 35 Water

“Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads.” (Genesis 2:10) 

Water! 

Gardens need water. Life forms need water. Water quenches the thirst and gives life!

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective. 

Why did GOD create a river?

How is it that we need water for life? And air for breath?

In Genesis 2, GOD is revealed as having created a river to quench the thirst of the garden. Then the river is split into four and runs beyond Eden.

We know that mankind also needs water for survival. The animals in Eden needed water; all life needs water. But water is more than H2O…

Holy Spirit

For life to be sustained, it needs fresh water. That is a known scientific fact.

Do you recall what is equated to water as the Godly thirst-quencher? Surely this is the Holy Spirit.

The Creator provides spiritual quenching, an anointing of the Holy Spirit upon us who are spirit-filled followers of Jesus. After the fall of man, that life force from the Spirit left us, or became dormant, and our spirit could no longer be quenched. But now it is possible and we are encouraged to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4) just as Jesus was after His baptism (Luke 4:1).

Do not quench the Holy Spirit!

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17). We must allow the Spirit to work in us, to teach, help, guide, lead, change us into the likeness of Jesus. “Do not quench the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19) we are warned.

John 7:37 says, “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”” And when he was with the woman at the well, He said, “… whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14) This is the Helper He refers to when He explains He must go in order to send “the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in [His] name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (John 14:26)

Find your source of Refreshment

The Creator has given us all we need for life. He provided immortality in the beginning and gives us everlasting life through faith in His son, Jesus. That life source is through the Holy Spirit. He is our refreshment. He and only He quenches our spiritual thirst.

Then we may allow Him to work in and through us as we follow Jesus and seek to be like Him.

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GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY pt 36 Rivers!

Water Water Water flows…

Genesis 2:11-12 says, “The name of the first [river] is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there.”

I’ve just been listening to this song: Let it Rain and if you believe the LORD sets up our circumstances to speak to us, then He’s talking to me about rain, waterfall, rivers…. I become thirsty and joyful just thinking about this!

Next, I think of the verse from Psalm 119:136,

“Rivers of water run down from my eyes, because men do not keep Your law.” This is so tragic.

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective. 

Water, Rivers, Oceans…

I believe the LORD loves water which offers refreshing: it is purity and clarity, it sustains life and washes away death. 

I believe the LORD knew where man would wander before He even created him. And yet, He created him nevertheless. 

I believe the LORD knew we would need refreshing and cleansing. So He built in the system physically and morally even before our immortality was established and then lost.

I believe the LORD knew He would rescue us: we would need it and He would offer it. The water is symbolic of this rescue just as much as it is symbolic of the Holy Spirit.

The River Water in Eden

Rivers are fresh water which flow naturally, unhindered, offering life wherever they flow.

The Pishon River went round the whole land, even where there was gold and jewels. How beautiful the scene must have been!

GOD’s Creation is Beautiful

There was and is perfection in everything GOD has created. The beauty and life of Creation are beyond words to share adequately. The detail is profound. We can only imagine… I am overwhelmed in the imagining of it!

He provides in His word enough detail to enable us to imagine it all. He provides guidance through this Word: to keep the Law and then to walk in His fulfilment of it through Jesus. And throughout Biblical history there are those who mourn the weaknesses of humanity, calling us back to our centre: to our Creator. All of this is through the leadership of our GOD of love.

Today’s text

There will be theologians and Biblical historians who are much more learned and sophisticated than am I. They would guide as to the significance of this first of four rivers, the River Pishon. They would be able to illuminate for us the significance of Havilah, of the gold, the bdellium and the onyx stone. And praise GOD for these people.

However, I simply want to take in (and to share with you) the splendour, the detail, and the life-quenching power of this river and its surrounding environment. This says to me profoundly, GOD is our Provider and He will always provide for our needs: sustenance, beauty, and peace. He shares this truth with us through the poetry of Creation itself. In turn, this even encourages us to be poetic, to express our thanksgiving fully, freely, creatively.

Hallelujah! Let it Rain! GOD is with us and will never leave us nor forsake us.

Shalom and GOD Bless…

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Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Family

What is family?

In the Kingdom of GOD we are a family of believers, as Matthew 12:50 says, “For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

In the world, we have blood relatives which is the traditional definition of “family”.

In our hearts, we have close friends, special colleagues, neighbours whom we may call “family”.

Family is so valuable and important to the human being. We are made for relationship and family. “And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” (Genesis 2:18)

Family, I will define as those with whom there is a special bond: be it spiritual, physical, or interpersonal. Whichever way you define it, family is vital to our happiness and to our quality of life.

What of Evangelism 

In our sphere of influence, we will consider our family as those closest to us and therefore most important to us. If they know Jesus we want them to grow, right? And if they do not, don’t we want them to discover Jesus for themselves?

So, why is it so important and yet often so difficult to speak of our Lord casually and naturally to our family members? Why is it difficult to discuss the “elephant in the room” with blood relatives who know what we believe but show no interest?

We need to practise balance in our witness

I am not an evangelist by calling, but like all of us who know Jesus, am called to “And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.” (Mark 16:10)

Can we season our conversation with salt: not too much or it loses its natural flavour, and not too little for the food we offer will not be preserved.

A Prayer

Father, we pray for our families, that those on our hearts will grow, discovering more and more about the truth of Jesus: of who He is and His love, power and might, and that those who do not yet know Him personally, that you will draw them to you until they surrender and discover the peace, love, joy, contentment and truth of the only salvation available.

In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.

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GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY pt 33 Eden (part 2)

A Garden

The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:8-9)

The essence of this garden?

Every fibre in my being suggests, when I read reference here to Eden, that it is a quiet and peaceful place, full of trees, full of sunlight, full. It is eastward — but in relation to what that is westward? And why is it full of trees? Not flowers or waterfalls or animals are mentioned, all possible aspects of an idyllic world.

Why did GOD create Eden?

How spontaneous is GOD? Did He have a plan for man and Eden? Or did things just happen?

It is likely that Eden was special if not completely unique. The whole earth may have been damaged by the fall of Satan, which was “like lightning from heaven.” (Luke 10:18) Perhaps Eden was a part of the earth that had not been damaged or…. less likely, perhaps the LORD reestablished it to its Creation state at some point before creating Adam. In either case, Eden was unique: guarded by angels, full of trees bearing luscious fruit. And therein were two particular trees: one of Life, the other of Knowledge of good and evil.

In that beautiful garden was complete freedom, total bliss for every living creature therein. Eden is peace, Eden is rest, Sabbath Rest, daily today and for eternity. An Eden existence is what was intended for mankind; that is what we are drawn back to when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.

“Be anxious for nothing…” (Philippians 4:6)

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective. 

In Eden lies the future of mankind

Eden represents the opportunity for a peaceful mental state. In Eden is our spiritual place of rest. In Eden is our life — abundant life without strife, without antagonism, with harmony and grace, love, joy… and peace.

Eden was a real garden. It is also a symbol and a destination of the heart and of the mind. We are in a tug-of-war between our will and GOD’s, between our residence and Eden.

A friend recently said when she prays, she “meets Jesus in the garden.” That garden is the garden of our hearts! When our hearts are pure, we are as though we are in Eden.

Where Adam fits in

GOD created beauty. He created life. He created opportunity: eternal life or knowledge of good and evil; a walk with GOD or a walk without Him. Adam didn’t know the detail, he wasn’t given the detail. 

Adam was presented a choice: to remain in his current state, or to discover knowledge to be “as GOD” — he chose the latter and that, we shall unpack in the third and final part of our look at Eden

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Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Jesus: Son of Man

Who is the Son of Man?

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me… (Ezekiel 3:17)

There are two people to whom Son of Man is referred. Ezekiel and Jesus. Ezekiel was a prophet and lived a prophet’s life: intimate with GOD; a challenged and painful existence; one given great authority from GOD to the Hebrew people. He did not call himself son of man, but GOD did, repeatedly.

Jesus: Son of Man

But what did Jesus mean when He called Himself son of man?

“Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” (Matthew 12:32)

Jesus did not elevate Himself above others any more than Ezekiel did. Certainly He recognised the authority of GOD and the Holy Spirit.

“I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” (John 5:30)

Jesus’ lifestyle

“And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.””(Matthew 8:20)

“But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” —then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” (Matthew 9:6)


“”For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.”” (Matthew 18:11)

Lest anyone wonder if Jesus is speaking of Himself when He refers to Son of Man, He also said,

“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40)

And so, what did He mean? I think He meant simply as He refers when He washed the disciples’ feet: He is the servant of man.

This is why He instructed the disciples, “So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13:12-17)

And He instructs us to do likewise.

Jesus is a servant to the people

‘A servant is not greater than his master’. As His master is GOD, Creator, Yehovah, so too GOD is our master.

We model ourselves from Jesus; therefore, we are servants to others just as He is a servant to others. 

But what do we do to serve? We are not doormats. We love and serve… but how?

Washing of Others’ Feet

To serve is to suffer for others. To serve is to humble oneself. It is a tall order.

We follow Jesus