Sunday, 22 October 2017

The Mind, Our Control Tower. ~ Rabqa

Have you ever been to an international airport? The crowds
jostle, suitcase are piled high, long queues snake away from the check-in counters. Maybe you have stood on a viewing deck & watched the activity outside on the tarmac; planes being fueled, food being loaded, bib trailers ferrying luggage to & off & landing, one after the other another all day & most of the night.

It has been estimated that at any given moment up to 13,000 planes are in the air around the world! & all of them have to land & take off safely & not only that but on time.

This all works so efficiently by the control centre which I may add is the most important part of an international airport. It is where the air traffic controllers work. They track hundreds of plane flights, giving them take off & landing instructions, & they also coordinate their movements on the ground. The control center synchronizes planes coming in going out. If it didn’t do its job, there would be chaos.

Your mind is the air traffic control centre of your life, & you are the air traffic controller. You have to control what comes in to your life & what goes out. Whatever you allow into your mind gets down into your heart & shapes your life.

God wants you to take control of what comes in & what goes out of your life. Nobody else can do it for you. Only you can decide what you are going to think on (what goes in) & what you are going to speak & do (what goes out).

Pro 23:7 NKJ) For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, But his heart is not with you

This verse teaches us that we become what we think, & I certainly learned this truth over the years. “Where the mind goes the man follows”. One of the first principals believers must learn if we intend to walk in real victory is that our mind must be renewed according to the Word of God. We must learn to think like God.

Sadly, we believe many things that simply are not true. For example, some people believe they have no worth & value because people have said they do not or have treated them in a way that made them feel worthless & devalued.

However the Bible makes it clear that we are so valuable to God that He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die & suffer in our place in order that we may redeemed from our sins & have an intimate relationship with God.

As we learn to think as God thinks, we exchange depression & hopelessness for joyful expectation. We believe God has a wonderful future planed for us, no matter what our past has been like. We believe God wants to bless us.

When we have negative thoughts, we end up with negative results. But positive thoughts open the door for God to work in our lives. If we think we are unable to do certain things, we will be rendered unable even though God’s Word says that we can do anything God asks us to do because of His
ability in us (Phil 4:13)

Our thoughts are that powerful.

We must all change our way of thinking before our lives will change Rom 12:2 says we are not to conform to the world & its ways, but we are to completely renew our minds by the Word of God, so we can prove for ourselves the good & perfect will of God.

In other words God has good plans for us, but we will not experience them if we cling to our old way of thinking.

We must cast down wrong thinking & replace it with thinking that God approves of. The mind is a battlefield on which our war with satan is won or lost. Satan is a liar & a deceiver. His lies become our reality only when we believe them. Stop allowing your mind to be a garbage dump for satan’s trash & instead, make it available for God’s ideas. Then you will enjoy a life worth living & have the testimony of being good fruit for God’s glory.

The mind is the gateway to the heart. What goes into your heart gets into your mind & what is in your heart determines the kind of person you are.

God looks at the heart & we see this in 1Samuel 16:7 NL But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Know that God looks at the heart. Not the outward appearance. Do not judge based upon what you see. Wisdom is in large measure understanding the principals by which God governs the moral universe. To gain wisdom means to learn to God’s thoughts after Him, esteeming the things He esteems & despising the things He despises. Learning wisdom is gaining the perspective that results from adopting God’s values & rejecting the values of the world.

We learn from Jesus that our hearts are like trees & our outward behaviour is like fruit. The quality of the tree determines the quality of the fruit. Matt 7:17-18 NLT) A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit

If the tree in your heart is good, then the fruit in your life will be good. On the other hand if the tree of your heart is evil, the fruit of your life will be rotten. What determines the condition of your is what you put into your mind~what you allow to land at your airport. The things you take in & speak about & meditate on are what shape your heart.

It can be said that your heart is like a T.V screen. What shows on the screen depends on the signal coming in. What are you turning on in your life? What are you giving attention to? What are you think about? What are you speaking about?

If it is what God says to tune into~what is good & pure & true & life-giving then that’s what will show on your screen. But if you are tuning in to negative signals like fear, resentment, anxiety & sin, then that’s what will show on your screen.

Pro 4:23 NLT) Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

Guard your heart means to value & protect your mind, emotions & will with all vigilance,. Practically, that means that we need to examine our attitudes & our thoughts on a regular basis & make adjustments as needed.

Many people are deceived into believing that they cannot help what they think, but we can choose our thoughts. We need to think about what we have been thinking about. When we do that, It doesn’t take very long to discover the root cause of a bad attitude.

Satan will always try & fill our minds with wrong thinking, but we do not have to receive anything he tries to give us. Let me put it this way: I would not take a spoonful of poison just because someone gave it to me, & neither would you. If we are smart enough not to swallow poison, we should also be smart enough not to allow satan to poison our minds, attitudes & ultimately our lives.

Guard your heart aggressively. Let your thoughts be good thoughts. Think about things that are honourable & true (Phil 4:8) & watch your heart & attitude change.

The more you speak about something the more you will embrace it. & the more you embrace it the more it will affect your emotions & reactions. The state of your mind will affect the condition of your body. What you allow into your heart through your mind, good or bad, will overtake your life.

Many things want to gain entry to our minds. Some come from outside us~what influence us such as what we listen to, what we watch on T.V & what we access on the internet. While others come from ourselves come from the choices we make & the words we speak, which profoundly shape what we think & believe.

Words are particularly important. The Bible says (Pro 18:21.(NLT) The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.

A person’s life largely reflects the fruit of the tongue. To speak life is to speak God’s perspective on any issue of life; to speak death is to declare life’s negatives, to declare defeat or complain constantly.

We cannot overestimate the importance of our words, because they truly can make a difference between life & death. Determine today to use the power of your words to speak life everywhere you go!

This verse I have known for years & am very familiar with it, But I am blessed every time I read it. I do not think we can read to often, know it too well or apply it to much. As you can tell by reading this verse, it teaches us that death & life are in the power of tongue, & those who indulge in it eat its fruit, either life or death.

Basically, the writer is saying every time you open your mouth, you a ministering life or death, & whatever you dish out is what you are going to eat.

We have all heard the phrase” you are going to eat your words” & proverbs 18:21 confirms this truth. The words we speak are going to influence our lives. In fact right now you may be eating your words & that may why you are not happy with your life. Your mouth maybe getting you into trouble with yourself.

This verse teaches us that words are containers for power; they either carry a life-giving force or a destructive force.

If you are desperately looking for an answer to what is happening in your life. Do you believe that it is even remotely possible that your answer could be found in changing the way you talk? Go ahead & try it I know the truth of Proverbs 18:21 & have experienced it many times in my own life. I believe if you will begin to speak positive, encouraging words of life & blessing, you will see blessing in your life!

The Bible tells us in Romans 21:2 NLT)

Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Let God's Word & His Holy Spirit radically transform your way of thinking. Renew your mind to know & do the will of God. giving your body a living sacrifice. This verse informs us that God has a plan for us. His will towards us is good, acceptable & perfect, before we will ever experience the good things that God has planned, we need to renew our minds & get new attitudes& ideas by studying God's Word. Because His Word is truth (John 17:17).

Ezekiel 36:26 tells us that our soul, which is our mind, will & emotions, is not yet new. God has to start a new process to bring it into line with our new spirits. It is a process & we must cooperate with His Spirit who will work to reshape us but we have to do our part. Eph 6:12 NLT) For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

This verse gives us insight into the spiritual war that all believers are in. Our enemies are not natural, but spiritual. We can never win our battles if we fight against the wrong source in a wrong way. We tend to think that people or circumstances are our problem, but the source of many of our troubles is satan & his demons. We cannot fight him with carnal (natural) weapons, but only with supernatural ones that God gives us for the destruction of satan's strongholds. We are in a spiritual war. God is Spirit (John 4:24), there are other spirits as well both
good & evil. Angels are good spirits who are God's servants. BUT there are also "rulers of the darkness of this age... spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places" that are intent on waging war on the human race. Spiritual forces are at work behind every war in the world today. All human beings have a common enemy & it is not each other.

If you look at any nation where war is raging, on the surface you will see people fighting. But behind every conflict there are dark spirits that is what Paul calls "principalities & powers. The real war in the world is not natural warfare (terrible as that is) it is spiritual warfare. These dark forces work through men & women, including those in high places of authority. when people in high places make unrighteous decisions, nations start to slide. We see not only conflicts but collapsing moral standards & rise of social evils such as abortion & pornography.

This spiritual warfare isn't only raging in nations & societies, however, it rages around every human being, especially those who follow Jesus. Christians often discover they are in war when they first come into God's kingdom. It is like all hell breaks loose against them. This happened to me, I often found myself without money for food (I was on a pension because I did not want my children to come home with no one there). But those initial troubles are just the start. Over time we learn that there is an on going battle inside us, a tug of war between good & evil. Most people would rather not say about the spiritual side of their struggles, it's not fashionable, it seems a bit fanatical. In fact many Christians do not even acknowledge we have an enemy. But if we think about it, there's no spiritual war, we've already lost.

The fact is we do have an enemy. He has & his cohorts want nothing more then to ruin our lives in any way they can. He is intent on rendering us defeat & ineffective in our relationship with God. 1Peter 5:8 NLT) Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

A hungry lion is one of the most fearsome sights in nature. It prowls around, angry & agitated, with only one thing on it's mind~finding food. The Bible compares satan to a hungry lion. Maintaining a balance in all things is so important we do not want to open the door to satan, who roams a round like a roaring lion. Ferocious & desperate, he continually stalking after prey with the goal of seizing it & devouring it.

The Amplified Bible translates 1Peter 5:8 graphically: Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.

I want to share some thoughts with you that will help you stay balanced in one particular area of your life~your self esteem. Of course, there are many other aspects of life that need to be kept in balance as well, but I want to focus first on self image because it is such a foundational issue.

Satan is "roaring in fierce hunger", & his chosen prey is us. The devil wants your mind, your body & your very life. When Jesus described Himself as the good shepherd who was safe & a welcoming door for the sheep, He also spoke about the thief who breaks into the sheepfold: The thief does not come expect to steal & to kill & to destroy (John 10:10 a). That is a good description of satan. He only comes to steal, to kill & to destroy. Satan's goal is to create havoc in our life as children of God, he cannot touch our identity in Christ because nothing can separate us from God's love (Rom 8:38-39). But he can stop us walking in that identity. He fights to blind us from our inheritance in Jesus. He fights so that we won't live in victory over sin. He fights so that we won't prosper or walk in health. He fights to make us useless as ambassadors of God. Basically, he wants to take us out.

 In contrast, Jesus says He has come that they may have life, & that they may have more abundantly (John 10:10b). God wants us to have a rich & satisfying life~a joyous life. A faith-filled life. The word abundant means above the ordinary~a life of excellence. The enemy sets himself against all this. He comes to steal your divine possession, your joy & your faith. He will try to steal your assurance, your peace, your emotional well-being, your health, your marriage, your family, your business, & your finances.

In order to develop a balanced, healthy God~centred self image, incorporate these thoughts into the way you think about yourself.
1 I know God created me & He loves me.
2 I have faults & weaknesses, & I want to change. I believe God is working in me, in my life. He is changing me bit by bit, day by day. while He is working on me I can still enjoy my life & my self.
3 Everyone one has faults, so I am not a failure just because I am not perfect.
4 I am going to work with God to overcome my weaknesses, but I realise that I will always have something to deal with; therefore, I will not become discouraged when God convicts me of areas of my life that need improvement,.
5 I want to make people happy & have them like me, but my sense of worth is not dependent upon what others think of me. Jesus has already affirmed my value by His willingness to die for me.
6 I will not be controlled by what other people think, say or do, Even if they totally reject me. I will survive. God has promised never to reject or condemn me as long as I keep believing (John 6:29).
7 No matter how often I fail, I will not give up because God is with me to strengthen & sustain me. He has promised never to leave or forsake me Heb 13:5).
 8 I like myself. I do not like everything I do, & I want to change~but I refuse to reject
9 I am right with God through Jesus Christ.
10 God has a good plan for my life. I am going to fulfill my destiny & be all I can be for His glory. I have God given gifts & talents, & I intend to use them to help others.
11 I am nothing, & yet I am everything! in myself I am nothing, & yet in Jesus I am everything I need to be.
12 I can do all things God calls me to do, through his Son Jesus Christ Phil 4:13).

As I mentioned there are other areas where we should strive for balance. We should maintain balance of work & rest, eat a balanced diet, never spend more then we earn & enjoy people but also have solitude. Although we want to please people & have approval we must put God & His will first in our lives at all times. If we do not maintain balance in our lives, satan will take advantage of the door we have opened. Check your life & if you areas out of balance, ask God to help you make whatever adjustments are necessary.

Acknowledgements Dr. Margaret Court.

Friday, 20 October 2017

The God of Choices. ~ Ganeida

Mark 8:36~37And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?

We have been looking @  2 things recently.  We have been looking @ how we are to bring every thought captive to Christ & we have been looking @ how we are to fight our spiritual battles.  We have discovered we need to align our thoughts & our actions with the Word of God that when we think, we think as God thinks, when we speak, we speak as God speaks & our actions are Christ within us, the hope of glory.

What I want to look @ today is something that I hope will help you with both these things.  Far too often we know with our minds that God is good ~ & we even believe that God is good but what comes out of our mouths & our actions deny the Truth because we have believed a lie.
Everybody say: Satan is a liar.  Everybody say Jesus is the way, the Truth & the Life.  What did Jesus do on the cross?  He crushed satan’s head.  Who’s authority do we carry?  Jesus’! So we are also meant to crush satan’s head ~ but what happens? Satan gets us in a muddle & we fall for a lie!

Now I am going to give you a spiritual principle that is found in Deuteronomy 30:19

"Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!

If you read through the account in Genesis 1& 2 you will find this principle laid down in the very foundation. God creates this garden in the east of Eden & He makes Adam the custodian of the garden. Adam has the legal authority to rule & govern this territory.  That’s what the Hebrew says.  Shomer is a legal term for someone who cares for another’s possession & that’s what Adam was to do. However ~ & you will see this principle again & again in scripture~ God is a God of choices.
You will hear people who are confused about who God is say things like: If God is good, why does He allow bad things to happen to good people?  If God is good why didn’t He stop the pedophile? The murderer? The earthquake?

The answer is in Genesis.  God gave Adam a choice ~ just as He gives every single human being the same choices!  Choose today: Life~Death; Blessing~Curses.
We are not automatons.  We are not robots.  We are free to choose the sort of world we live in & the conditions under which we operate.  The choice is ours.

Oh, you say!  That’s just not truePeople do things to me all the time that I have no control over! Yep ~ & they will continue to do things over which you have no control because they too have free will & are free to make their own choices.  However…your response is in your control.
This is how it works: I tell you God is good.  The Bible tells you God is good. Something happens in your life.  If it’s a good thing you say: God is good.  But what if it’s a bad thing? Is God still good?
Numbers 23:19

God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?

God doesn’t change.  He is the same yesterday, today & forever [Hebrews 13:8]  If He is good, then He is always good.  It is His very nature to be good.  It is man who is fickle.  It is man who changes.  We may get up in the morning & go: Whoa!  Soo good to be alive.  It’s going to be a great day.  Let us rejoice in the Lord! Or we may get up going: Ugh…another dreary day doing stuff I hate… Has God changed? Nope!

You see every moment of every day you are faced with a choice.  It is always the same choice but it will either bless you or curse you depending on how you decide.  Every moment you choose whether you believe & declare God is good & be blessed ~ or you believe the lies of the devil & bring a curse upon yourself. Every time you open your mouth you either declare God is good or you call him a liar.

Let’s look @ a recent example because you need to understand how this works practically.  We needed a mainland car.  We put in motion everything we needed to do to achieve that goal & God blessed us beyond our wildest expectations.   Within 2 weeks we had bought a car under budget but in better condition than expected & paid cash for it. How easy it was to say:  God is good.  He is indeed our provider! However our island car also needs replacing. Badly! We put in motion everything we needed to do ~ & watched as all our savings promptly walked out the door again as one emergency after another struck. Is God still good?  Is He still our provider?  YES!!!   

It’s important we don’t allow satan to get in there & whisper poisoned little lies~ drip, drip, drip~ into our ears. Why didn’t God… Why couldn’t He…I wish He’d done…
Now God doesn’t need any of us to be running round saying:  God is good; God is good all the time ~ but we need to be doing it for ourselves. 

Firstly it affirms our belief & trust in a good God but secondly it calls satan out as the liar he is.  We don’t ever want to be aligning ourselves with satan & coming into agreement with him!

It can be easier when it’s things because things can’t make choices ~ but what about when it’s people?   People can be a real problem.  People can really hurt us.  They let us down.  They say terrible things to us ~ or about us.  They are hurtful & vindictive & unfair & sometimes they are just plain nasty. They choose to make those choices ~ & they have that right.  We get to choose how we respond ~ & that’s where it can get icky.  Do we respond as Jesus?

The first choice all of us make is who is in control of us.  Is the Holy Spirit leading & guiding us or are we operating out of our own flesh. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us: For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. It can be hard to remember because it is the people we see, & not what is controlling them, but it is never people we are @ war with.  If we believe God is good then we understand we get the choice to choose to respond out of the Holy Spirit within us or we can respond out of our flesh. Proverbs 3:5Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

The problem with relying on our own understanding is we see other people as the problem & so people become our enemy.  This leads to us allowing what other people say or do affecting how we feel about them & how we respond.  Our perception is off.

Our perception is off because we are meant to rule & reign in this life.  I say stuff like this & some people immediately think it’s all about them: what they can get out of God; the people they can control or money, work, a nice house ~ whatever but that is not it @ all.  God is good.  He wants good stuff for us.  He wants to bless us but we have to choose .  The ruling & reigning starts with ourselves, For what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?   It starts with us. Matthew 6:33 instructs us: Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

God is absolutely consistent.  Him first.  His righteousness.  As we walk in obedience, following the lead of the Holy Spirit, lining up our words & actions with the scriptures, we fulfil the requirement for having everything we need provided.  As Bill Johnson says, according to our level of righteousness, so our ability to rule & reign.

What holds us back, more often than not, is ourselves.  We can’t ditch our past; our guilt; our shame; our fear ~ none of which I have time to preach on this morning!  However I want to give you one picture.  When you believed in your heart & confessed with your mouth something happened.  God chose to make His home in you.  The King of Kings & Lord of Lords dwells in you ~ & He did not choose some shabby, run down hovel to dwell in.  He chose the New Creation.  He sees you as glorious.  As His Temple.  As Spirit filled, the marvellous work of His hands, fully equipped to do those good works He prepared beforehand for us to do.

Moment by moment as we move through this life Christ is empowering us & enabling us to make choices of Life, not death, choices that will bless us, not curse us, Choices that will give us a future & a hope ~ Jeremiah 29:11 so choose well. 

Thursday, 5 October 2017

The Believers right & Privileges. ~ Rabqa

We are blessed in Australia, We have right to free speech, the right against unlawful search & seizure & the right to trial by jury. We have the right to vote & the right to worship.

Those rights were purchased by the blood of men who fought & died for them. Most Australians not only claim those rights, but demand them.

Yet so often the same people who claim their Australian rights haven't even bothered to find out what rights accompany the citizenship in the kingdom of God. If you are one of those people, let me tell you God will not be outdone by the Australian government.

Everything our earthly government offers us, God will provide more & more. The Bible says that the government is on Jesus' shoulders. As Christians, we should never be caught wallowing in our circumstances because our scriptural rights have been purchased by His blood.

You cannot benefit from rights that you don't even know you have. But once you search the Scriptures & discover your rights, you then have to claim them. I have never searched for gold but I have heard how it is done. Finding the gold isn't enough. Once you search it out, you then have to go to the right place & file a claim. If someone challenges the claim then you have to stand on your legal rights & fight.

Likewise, before you ever live a victorious Christian life, you must stake your claim to your rights & fight for them. A Jesuit priest once said the most amazing thing. He said that he didn't believe the Word of God was the literal truth, & yet this man gave his whole life to the priesthood! Can you imagine giving your whole life for a concept you don't believe is the literal truth?

It's sad, but that kind of thing happens all the time. That is why you see graveyards with more life then some churches,

The Bible says in Hosea 4:6 N L T (All Scriptures are from N l T unless otherwise stated).
My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me. Since you priests refuse to know me, I refuse to recognize you as my priests. Since you have forgotten the laws of your God,
I will forget to bless your children. Recognise that what you do not know can hurt you. Pursue & value true spiritual knowledge. do not neglect God's Word.

The pursuit of spiritual knowledge & understanding should be high on our list of priorities. Can you think of a specific situation in which not knowing was hurtful or detrimental to you. Ask God to continually give you knowledge & revelation so that lack of knowledge will not destroy you. Eons ago, when God created the angels, Lucifer was the prince of the Morning. He worshipped the Lord, walked with Michael & Gabriel, & played music from the tabrets God formed in him. The angles were innumerable, & they sang & glorified God. All Heaven & Earth were in a perfect state, that is until iniquity was found in Lucifer.

 Do you know what great sin he committed? The Bible says he sowed discord among the angels. He flapped his lip so much causing a third of the angels to fall. We need to stop & think before we sow discord anywhere~in our homes, in the work place & especially in the Church. God doesn't take it lightly. Lucifer ascended into heaven to bring destruction to God's kingdom. They had a great war, & Jesus said “" Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! ( Luke 10:18) This was not a vision that Jesus saw satan of cast out of heaven; rather He saw the ultimate defeat & demise of satan. If you look in the book of Revelation, you will find that the lightning that proceeds from the throne is the anointing. When Lucifer was booted out of heaven, God stripped him of his anointing. That is the price you will always have to pay for discord. It will rob you of the anointing. Lucifer became spiritually dead, full of malice & hatred, & the father of lies. He began defaming everything God created, especially man. Adam was the smartest, most beautiful man who ever lived. God gave him power & dominion over everything He had created. Adam ruled the stars, the sun, the planets, the universe, the galaxies & planet earth. Eve ruled & reigned with him.

I want you to understand, that God did not look over His shoulder cheeking them to make sure they did everything right. He left them to do exactly what they wanted to do. Then in the cool of the day, he showed up to walk & talk with His creation. When they committed high treason through sin, it brought judgments in the Garden of Eden. One judgement came upon the snake, one upon the women & one on the man. When God told the snake that on his belly he should go does not mean that the serpent had legs, it is likely a poetic language supporting the fact that the animal kingdom will not be able to reverse its post~fall condition on its own; & when Jesus said "you shall eat dust" is also figurative for extreme humiliation. All the animal kingdom came under the curse because of sin. Then God looked at Eve & said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you. Gen3:16)

In other words, not only would the woman's great blessing of bearing children be painful to her, but she also live her life desiring to be equal to her husband, but he would rule over her.

Now this curse has been seen throughout history~Inequality for women began with sin. Before it, man & woman lived in harmony. After it, they did not. Today's uphill battle for equal rights rages in many parts of the earth. Christ sacrifice over two thousand years ago on the cross brought salvation from the curse for Christian men & women~a way of the distortion of our relationships toward one another brought on by sin's entrance into earth. Gal 3:13 But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree

By faith we receive the benefits provided by His death, including justification. We also learn that through Christ we are all equal.

You may be wondering what happened to Adam? What judgement did he receive? Well God told him in Gen 3:17-19 “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.” For the man the curse was very harsh~the ground which was what Adam tented was cursed. In other words Adams job would be much more difficult. His occupation would cause him to sweat & work all the days of his life. His major mistake was heeding the voice of the woman instead of God.

When God cursed the ground, thorns & thistles came up. The Bible teaches us that even nature groans & travails to be brought back yo it's original state (Rom 8:22) That is why Jesus wore a crown of thorns. It was not by accident; it was by design! Jesus came to reverse the entire curse, including the curse on the ground. That's not all. He also redeemed the animal kingdom because of Jesus they didn't have to sacrifice any more lambs, pigeons, doves or cattle. He redeemed them all. Last but not least He redeemed mankind from the curse of the law. You see, God loved man so much He sent His one & only son to die a cruel, cruel death on the cross paying the price of sin for all mankind.

Think about Adam for a minute. God told him that when he ate the forbidden fruit, he would die. But we know God wasn't only talking about a physical death because Adam lived physically for nine hundred & thirty years. God was also talking about a spiritual death. Adam died spiritually on that day in the Garden~He was cut off from the life of God that may have sustained in that body for eternity. Yet Adam was so full of power of God in his body that it took sin, sickness, demons, disease & Lucifer hundreds of years to kill him~ hundreds! The day Adam sinned he handed over all of his rights & dominion~the earth, the planets, the animals, & the galaxies~to Lucifer.

But God had a plan to get the planet Earth back legally, like it once was under Adam. If you think about it, when satan tempted Jesus, he said "All these kingdoms I'll freely give you." ( Lk 4:6) Jesus didn't contend with the devil about that because He knew that satan was offering Jesus what He legally owned. That's what made the temptation real. Satan was offering Jesus what he legally possessed. Jesus refused to compromise. He went to the cross & took upon himself all the sins of the world. Then He died, went to hell, & beat the devil on his own turf.

The second Adam (Jesus) did what the first Adam should have done: He took dominion over the devil & legally took back the right for mankind to be united with God. in this earth. I hear a lot of people ask why hasn't the devil left yet? The answer is simple: it is because he is still ruling & reigning over anyone who who doesn't know Jesus. He has the legal right to sell them into slavery, to get them on drugs, to bring them divorce & starve them into famine, he has the right to steal, kill & destroy, BUT he doesn't have the right to bring any of those curses on the believer. That is why it is crucial that you know your scriptural bill of rights.

We see just one of them in John 14:12-14 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. 13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it

This Scripture is saying that the promise is not that the disciples will perform works that are greater in value or significance than His. Rather they are greater in scope & number, in these respects: 1) Because He was crucified, Jesus earthly ministry was limited to a few years, but after the Resurrection & Pentecost, His ministry was & continues to be multiplied through Spirit~empowered believers. 2) Our works include the preaching of the gospel, resulting in the blessings of justification, reconciliation & the gift of the Holy Spirit coming to humankind~all post Resurrection manifestations of Christ.

We need to pray for & expect the "greater things" in the ministry of the church. The key word in John's gospel is "believe." Faith unlocks our understanding of the Scripture & releases the Spirits activity in our lives. Faith, like love, evidences itself in obedience. Finally faith approaches God boldly to receive from Him the things it needs. We also see in this passage that Jesus always glorified the Father. Now if it was important for Him to glorify the Father, then the body of Christ~the Church (us)~should be about the same business.

You may ask how do we glorify the Father? We do it by doing the same thing that Jesus did. He promised that we would do the works that He did, & greater as I have just explained. It is time that you understand your rights & privileges & start claiming them! But I warn you there is one solid stipulation to the promise. It isn't fasting. It isn't praying. It isn't sacrificial giving. It is believing.

Many years ago I realised my life was a mess on every side. Finally it dawned on me that the devil was taking my blessings all because I was letting him. I was letting him because I had a lack of knowledge about what God could do for me. Satan was working up a storm he was putting sickness on my body. Yet God was saying by Jesus stripes, I was healed! I like that report a lot better. The Lord said "It is there for you, just go & get it"

He will say the same to each & everyone of you~He wants you well. The devil screamed you can't have it. He tried to pull me away from my healing & destroy me. For me this did not happen overnight but finally it dawned on me that satan was under my feet! Jesus put him there, & I almost let him up. I have often wondered why so many Christians glorify the name of satan. With things like: "You know satan destroyed us." "Satan hindered us." "Satan killed Nana." I don't wont to hear anything about satan. Talk about what God has done for you! Just go to the Father & glorify Him: "Father Jesus delegated His authority to me in John 14. & You said that I am seated in heavenly places with you. Therefore I take authority over this situation. People have been fighting for centuries when all they need to do was to stand. When you stand in faith & patience, the Bible says you'll inherit the promises of God.

Sometimes I think that God must wonder why His kids don't pray out of their hearts instead of their heads. Then the devil would know who they are in Him. Instead, most people have satan on the front pew of their church. They give him place, when the Bible commands us not to give him a place in our lives (Eph 4:27). Sometimes we get side tracked with what satan is trying to pull that we forget that Jesus told us to ask anything in His name & He'd do it. When God says anything he means anything His Word will not return to him void Isa 55:11 (N K J) says So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Choose to believe that God's Word is the most powerful force in the universe & act accordingly. But remember that He shall only answer that prayer if it is His will for your life. Just a few of the things that are His will are: He wants you to claim your healing, He does not want you to be side tracked by the devil & He wants you to walk in what He has called you to do. Faith takes God at His Word when circumstances seem to deny the truth of His promises.

Our ability to endure to the end will depend upon allowing the Holy Spirit to train us in this kind of faith. God's promises & plans (words) are as sure of fulfillment as the fact that it rains & the sun comes out. There is no excuse for spiritual weakness & poverty in the family of God & when I say poverty I am not just talking about material wealth but wealth in all area's. The wealth of heaven is ours. We are not suppose to come to God like a tramp. we have to come to Him legally~as a son or daughter. Most Churches have a tramp like attitude with God. Saying things like "Now Lord you know my shoes are in a bad way. We don't have anything; the devil took it away from us"

Don't come to the Lord like Freddy the freeholder. You are not a tramp, & you won't impress God by acting like one. Remember the story of the prodigal son? The elder brother had a tramp attitude. He was as much a son as the prodigal, but he had a servant's attitude. He owned everything his father had, but he whined you won't even give me a goat to have a party with my friends. His dad just looked at him & said "What's the matter with you? Don't you know everything I have is yours? Do you know why he never took a goat or a cow? He didn't know his rights & privileges in the family. Yet he had the audacity to walk out of the party. His dad loved him very much, so much that he followed him outside to try & talk some sense into him. How many times have you acted that way to God?

If someone isn't saved, he's a slave. The Bible says that you are either a child of God or a child of the devil. So if you are a child of God you get all power.

I know you may ask what I mean by that statement? Nobody has all power except God. Lets look at Mat 28:18 NKJ) And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. I can hear you saying sure all power has been given to Jesus but it hasn't been given to us. Turn with me if you will to Eph 1:17-23 NKJ) That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you [That is you & me He is praying for] the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, [That's us] and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

 Drop down to the next chapter & verse 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. I want you to get this, the day God raised Jesus out of the pit of hell, He raised you & me, too. He set us right beside Jesus~far, far above every devil & demon. Not that only that but He gave you & me power of attorney to use Jesus name because our eyes have been enlightened to understand the Word of God. You are a citizen of Heaven who happens to be living on earth.

 No demon from hell has the right or authority to bring any of satan's curses on you. You weren't brought by the devil. You were brought by Jesus Christ. You are sitting with Him in heavenly places. I know what you are thinking that you are not seated in heaven but right here on earth. But that is only your physical body, your spiritual authority is seated with Jesus in heavenly places. All you have to do is claim it.

You have the right to claim eternal life. A home in heaven. God's protective care. Victory over sin. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Divine health. Prosperity (All area's). To be translated in the rapture. To live with the Father through all eternity. & ever other promise in the Book, from Genesis to Revelation. One of our rights is liberty, & not just the liberty guaranteed in the constitution. 2 Cor 3:17 AMP) promises Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom). The Amplified Bible defines liberty as emancipation from bondage: freedom. If the Son liberates you then you are really & unquestionably free. We are free from the power of sin. (Rom 6:14)Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.
The Bible says that sin will not have dominion over you.

The words sin & satan are synonymous. If you call yourself an old sinner, you are actually saying satan has dominion over me. If you are sinning every day you have a sin problem you need to get to the altar & make Jesus the Lord of your life~In deed not just word. Rom 6:15-16 NLT) puts it this way Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.

If you have given your life to Jesus, the righteousness of God has been imparted to you because, through Jesus, you have received God's nature. Sin & the dominion of satan cannot have authority over you because Jesus is your Lord. It is time for the Church to wake up & do what God sent us here to do so we can go home. We don't have a caravan up in heaven or a shack, Praise God we have a mansion waiting for us. That home is your right & privilege. you can have a nice home here too, if you are willing to believe God for it & claim it. We must also learn that we have the right for our body to line up with the Word of God that says I'm healed.

 Jesus said that sin, sickness & disease will not have dominion over us.

Take preventive medicine everyday through the Word of God. I am not asking you to do anything that I would not do myself. The Bible says that it is health to your flesh. It also say that a merry heart does good like a medicine. Learn to laugh. We are free from manipulation & control. Free from fear of what others think of us. we are free from comparing ourselves with everybody else. Free from competition with others. Free from selfishness. Free from legalism. Free to be an individual that is free to be you.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

The Church @ Philadelphia.

Last week we looked @ the church of Laodicea in
Revelation.  This week we will look @ the church @ Philadelphia.

Firstly a little background because that will help us anchor our thoughts & teaching.  The Church @ Philadelphia was one of the church plantings of Ephesus & as such belonged to that circle of churches originating from Ephesus & following the highway round in a circle.  We have some idea of what was happening here because we have looked @ the church growth in the area from Paul’s writings to Timothy, the overseer of the churches in this area of Asia Minor ~ modern day Turkey. Huge growth, heresy, false teachings, huge decline.

Philadelphia is between Laodicea, the apathetic church, & Sardis, the dead church.  Now each of the 7 churches in this area was a real church but these real churches also represent the Church ages.

Ephesus means the desirable one.  She is accused of losing her first love. The early church was desirable.  It grew beyond all worldly expectation exactly because her witness & walk made her desirable.

Then there was Smyrna, the persecuted church.  Her name means myrrh. Myrrh was obtained by beating & pressing the plant ~ & this was the fate of the church during the 2nd & 3rd centuries. Yet their witness [remember the original Greek can also mean martyr] brought many to saving faith in Christ.

Then along came Constantine who made Christianity the state religion, thus marrying state & church.  Pergamos means married, & the church has had difficulty divorcing from the world ever since.  People are happy to be *Christian* so long as it doesn’t cost them anything, so long as they can have heaven & their sin. It never works but people keep trying.

Thyatira means continual sacrifice.  This is the church that moved from salvation by Grace through the shed blood of Christ to salvation by works.  This was a compromised church seeking to win the Vandals, the Goths, the Huns with tolerance & compromise.  God will not have His people compromised.

Next there is Sardis ~ a church weighed down by ritual & man~made  rules, devoid of the power of the Holy Spirit & keeping the people in bondage through ignorance.  It was, & is, a dead church.

We have looked @ Laodicea, so that leaves Philadelphia. Philadelphia was an inland city beside the Cogamus River in the Kuzucay Valley ~ which probably doesn’t mean much to you. It has volcanic cliffs & being situated on the Anatolian Fault, suffered greatly from earthquakes, but with soil rich enough to grow grapes that produced excellent wine ~ wine good enough for Virgil to praise it.

Philadelphia was a wealthy commercial city serving as a crossover point between the Phrygian territory to the east & the Aegean ports to the west.  This gave them an open doorway for spreading the gospel.
So let us have a look @ what Jesus says to the church @ Philadelphia: Revelation 3:7~13

“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Philadelphia.
This is the message from the one who is holy and true,
    the one who has the key of David.
What he opens, no one can close;
    and what he closes, no one can open:
 “I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me.  Look, I will force those who belong to Satan’s synagogue—those liars who say they are Jews but are not—to come and bow down at your feet. They will acknowledge that you are the ones I love.
“Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world.  I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown.  All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the name of my God, and they will be citizens in the city of my God—the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from my God. And I will also write on them my new name.
“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.

When you read about these seven churches, what is the thing that strikes you first?  See these were real churches yes, but they are also representative of the church ages & types for all ages & the thing that struck me most ~ & I have read & reread Revelation for decades~ is something that is quite simply horrifying.  The dominant characteristic of the majority of these churches is that they were out of step with God.  Off track.  Out of order. Wow.
As we read these letters we learn it is possible to be a loving church yet have bad doctrine or to have good doctrine but lack love, to be tolerant of sin, to be persecuted for righteousness or be unpersecuted & spiritually dead, for no~one bothers to persecute the dead.

Philadelphia is one of only two churches out of seven that is not faulted in any way. So they have kept their first love, unlike Ephesus. They hold good doctrine, unlike Pergamum.  They are not harbouring false prophets or heretical teaching like Thyatira. They are not spiritually dead like Sardis, nor lukewarm like Laodicea. They are faithful, Holy Spirit empowered, effective & holding to the Truth. To this church Jesus identifies Himself as the Holy One; Yahweh; The Great I AM~ for none is holy but God [1 Samuel 2:2]

He then mentions *the key of David*. David symbolises the Messianic Office & his key is his symbol of authority.  We know Jesus was of David’s house & line so He is, in effect saying, Messianic authority is mine. In John 10:9 Jesus says : I am the door: if any one enter in by me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and shall go out and shall find pasture.  
Now there are a lot of ways you can interpret the reference to *pasture*.  It can be the blessings of shalom ~ all the goodness, wealth, freedom from want of God’s Kingdom.  It could be what Jesus meant when He said Come unto me …& I will give you rest for your souls ~ that security & peace that is only found in Christ.  Or it could mean, & I am partial to this one, that we have unlimited access to the Father through Christ the son & no~one can deny us for we have the son’s authority to come & go @ will. This also makes sense in light of the reference to Satan’s Synagogue.
The next thing I would like to draw your attention to is the word Dynamai,  in verse 8, once translated as able & once [in a slightly altered form] as strength.  In both instances we are talking about power.  No~one has the power to close the doors that God opens.  In the same way even though they were a small church [mikros means small in size or quantity] they still operated in God’s power. This must be hugely encouraging for us. God was not interested in their numbers but He did note their obedience, their faithfulness, their loyalty & their perseverance.
You see they had people on their case…John calls them the Synagogue of Satan…  They may have been Jews…  They may have been other Christians but ones adhering to Jewish Law [Romans 2:28/29 says it is the circumcision of the heart that makes one a Jew, not ethnicity or religion or religious practises]…& they were applying pressure to forgo God’s Word & deny Jesus. [V8]  But this little church did not cave.

We know from Revelation & from Church history that heresy & false teaching was spreading out from Ephesus & infecting the other churches but not the church @ Philadelphia!  Because they were obedient to the word they were protected & earned the commendation of the Lord. They persevered in the Truth.

Now Jesus promises this faithful little church something that on the face of it seems a little odd but it would have meant a great deal to the church @ Philadelphia.  Remember Philadelphia was built on the Anatolian Faultline & subject to earthquakes & their aftershocks.  At least one in the 1st century was so devastating that the Emperor provided funds to help rebuild the city.

The strongest & most secure buildings in the city were the temples. They were built to withstand the earthquakes by laying the foundations on a bed of charcoal overlaid with wool fleeces.  This caused the temples to *float* on the soil~ sort of like a raft, each block joined to the next by metal cramps so the whole moved in unity. So Jesus is promising this little church a place of eternal security & safety where nothing could harm them. What’s more, they would never be forced to flee from this safe haven as they fled the city when the earthquakes came.

Pillars were often inscribed ~ as archaeology amply testifies.  The inscriptions might extol a king’s virtues or a commander’s victories ~ or they might simply denote ownership. God’s name would be inclusive of all of these things: His virtues, His victory over satan & the world, His ownership of those who love Him.  When you love & are loved it is a wonderful thing to be claimed by the lover.

He also promises they will be spared from the tribulation to come.  I do not have the time to go through this verse by verse with all the cross~references but I will give you a little Greek because that makes the final meaning very plain.
Verse 10 says *I will protect/keep you from the great time of testing…* tereo* is the verb keep or guard but in this sentence is the little Greek preposition ek.  Ek means out of.  Completely. John does not us en [in] or dia [through].  He uses ek. The faithful, loyal, obedient churches, the faithful, loyal, obedient Christians will be spared the Great Tribulation.

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 2 Timothy 3:16

The church @ Philadelphia teaches us what it is to be a church in whom Christ finds no fault ~ not perfect, because there is no such thing, but obedient, working out their salvation with fear & trembling ~ & loyal.  How God values loyalty!  Churches & people who do not compromise, who do not commit adultery with the world, who are not ashamed of Christ.  May we strive to be a church like Philadelphia!

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Laodicea ~ Ganeida

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20

Laodicea.  Last man standing.  The church of the end times. The church that received a scathing condemnation from our Lord.  The church of our times.  And what was Laodicea's great crime?  Lukewarmness.  

We in the west, with centuries of Christianity behind us, are very comfortable with our religion ~ & we don't like to be discomfited but hear what Christ says, "Behold, I stand at the door & knock!"  Spoken, not to unbelievers but to believers, believers who considered themselves spiritually mature, spiritually rich, spiritually wise.

Now it is one thing to know what the bible says.  It is another thing entirely to understand it ~ & it is a third thing altogether to see how the lessons for the Laocidean church apply to us in this present age.  And let's be blunt.  From the Laocidean point of view things looked pretty good.  They belonged to a "rich" church situated in a sophisticated, cosmopolitan city that had benefited from the trade that passed along the 3 major highways. They minted their own coinage, had their own banks.  The city was part of the Roman aqueduct system with schools in medicine & the arts & they had a thriving commerce built around the the exceptionally fine soft black wool for which it was famous throughout the Empire.

Note something else also.  Laodicea does not stand accused of any of the sins of the flesh; not adultery, not fornication, not pornography, not drunkenness nor incest.  They do not stand accused of false doctrine nor of heresy & yet this is the church of whom Christ says he will vomit them out of His mouth!  Because they have no passion.  Because they have no zeal.  Because they have no enthusiasm. This ennui, this smugness  has resulted in something far worse.  This is a church that has forgotten its first responsibility.

 You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? ... You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid... Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.[Matt. 5:13 ~ 16]

The Laodicean church is a church that has lost its savour.  Rather than teaching the world to conform to Christ, the church is conforming to the world.    Rather than separating from the world, they embrace it. They are neither out in the world evangelizing, nor are they completely separating from the world.

 The very first thing the church is, if it is anything at all, is a peculiar people set apart for the use & purpose of the Lord God.  That is the meaning of sanctification.  That is why we are told to pursue holiness.  We are vessels of the Living God.  We are temples for the Holy Spirit. We are pilgrims & sojourners.  This is not our home, not our final destination.  We are meant for something else but if we deny our high calling we are fit neither for this world nor for the world to come!  And Christ is very clear; He will spit such a people out of His mouth!  Not if, not maybe; He will do it!

Now this passage of scripture is deep & rich with symbolism so bear with me as we unravel some of the hidden secrets of this passage.

The first thing to deal with is the speaker, whom we know from earlier passages to the other 6 churches is Christ Himself.  Here He identifies Himself as the Amen, the faithful & true, the ruler of God's creation. The Jewish Talmud Shabbat 1196 renders the original meaning of amen as EL MELECK NE'EMAN, an acrostic for God is a trustworthy king.  It refers back to Isaiah 65:16 He who blesses himself shall bless himself in the God of Truth.  Christ presents himself as king & ruler ~ a king & ruler who is not very impressed with His subjects!

You say you are: [referring to spiritual riches]
Christ informs them that they are spiritually blind
.........................wretched [in bondage to sin]
.........................miserable [in need of God's mercy, mercy they will not receive]
.........................Poor [lacking in love & power]
.........................naked [a metaphor for unconfessed, unrepentant sin, usually idolatry ~ in this case the worship of man through science & humanism, as was the Greek way.]

Hear what Christ says!  Buy from me gold...white clothes...salve. Buy!  This is not *cheap grace*.  The Laocideans are told it is going to cost them ~ & cost them dearly!  They are going to have to get serious about their sin.  They are going to have to get out of their comfort zone & get serious with God.

So what exactly is Christ telling them to do?  Firstly the *gold* is the sort mentioned in 2nd Chronicles, the sort Daniel knew, the sort Christ Himself acquired, the gold of humbleness.  Now humbleness is not, biblically speaking, running round like Uriah Heep.    Humbleness is knowing we can do nothing without God & our acknowledgement of that comes in one simple way: prayer!  When we are serious about prayer we combine it with fasting.  Prayer & fasting, that is to humble ourselves.  That is to put aside our everyday selves to focus on God alone. It is sacrificial & it costs the person who practises it something in terms of time & comfort.  It indicates a commitment to their walk with God.  For a rich church like Laodicea giving alms is often a substitute for sacrificial living & requires very little of the person in terms of personal sacrifice. Not good enough!  Nowhere near good enough.  The first commandment is to love God with all we have & are. That means more than giving out of the largess that is ours from God in the first place!

The second thing that needs to be bought is white garments.  Now remember the Laocidean church is a rich church & it is in the heart of *black wool* country ~ a wool renowned throughout the empire for its exceptional softness & fineness.  Many in the Laocidean congregation would have owned garments from this fine black wool.  Bit like owning a designer dress.  They are being asked to exchange their old *designer* life for the new one, one characterised by a life governed by the Spirit, one wherein they exchange sin for righteousness.

There is yet a third thing they need to buy ~ salve for their eyes that they might see.  Laodicea had a school of medicine & produced many salves.  The one mentioned here is kollourion which was shaped like small loaves. Anoint [egkrisai ~ literally *rub in*] your eyes with the bread (of life).  The symbolism is there.  In other words fill your mind with scripture.  Keep it always before your eyes.  Meditate on it.  This is what will work through your whole body to bring sight & healing!

To this last of churches, so self deluded, so blinded they are completely unaware of their true spiritual condition, Christ says, "I stand at the door & knock..." the 2nd verb suggests a continious ongoing action because despite everything this is still a church Christ loves & thus He also disciplines it. It is there in the name.  Laocidea comes from two Greek words that, as so often happens in scripture, can have two meanings: peoples' opinions [ie a church where each one is doing what seems right in their own eyes & not what scripture deems right] & a people judged.  Says it all really.  When the church reaches this level of self delusion Christ will act to cleanse & purify it. The church brings judgement on itself.

It is no easy thing to be a member of  the Laocidean church. It is difficult to survive in a climate of spiritual apathy.  It is hard to retain your zeal & fire for the Lord when no~one else is at all enthusiastic but Christ exhorts us to be zealous & for those who overcome He promises the right to sit with Him on His throne.

 Laodicea was so self deceived they could not see their way, nor their danger.  As the end times church we are warned to read the signs of the times, to repent, to prepare, to be ready.  Christ will come.  He is hurrying to meet the bride prepared for him from before the dawn of time.

Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

This message was first published on Out of the Silence as Last Man Standing.