Tuesday, 28 November 2017

As in the Days of Noah ~ Ganeida

As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be at the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24:37

Our second candle is orange.  It represents the covenant God made with Noah, which is found in Genesis 9 & begins in verse 9: "I hereby confirm my covenant with you and your descendants… And verse 13 explains I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth.

This covenant is prophetic in nature for the rainbow is always a symbol of God’s covenant until that moment foretold in Revelation 10:1 : Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, surrounded by a cloud, with a rainbow over his head. His face shone like the sun, and his feet were like pillars of fire.

Angel is a misleading term.  In the Greek it simply means messenger & it is clear from passages like Exodus 3:2 that the Angel of the Lord is Jesus who identifies himself in v.6 as I am the God of your father~the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God.

This covenant particularly looks back to the past & the Promise of God & forward to the future yet to be fulfilled & so as we remember & are thankful for past blessings we also consider the times in which we live as we wait in expectation for the coming of our Lord, for we are told that His coming will be As in the days of Noah.

So what were the days of Noah like?

Luke puts it this way: In those days, the people enjoyed banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat and the flood came and destroyed them all. "And the world will be as it was in the days of Lot. People went about their daily business~eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building~ until the morning Lot left Sodom. Then fire and burning Sulphur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. [17:27~29]

There is a reason we are warned to be alert & watchful.  There is going to be nothing out of the ordinary to warn people of impending doom.  It will be business as usual. Yes, there will be wars, rumours of wars, earthquakes & disasters in various places but in a sense these are *normal* ~ natural events that are part of this world. Consider the natural disasters we have witnessed: tsunamis, volcanoes, wild fires, flooding, hail, snow storms etc & life continued on despite the devastation. These things will not be the defining sign of the last days.

That dubious honour goes to violence.
Genesis 6:11 Now God saw that the earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence.

God observed all this corruption in the world, for everyone on earth was corrupt.[12]
So God said to Noah, "I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence. Yes, I will wipe them all out along with the earth![13]

The Hebrew word for violence is hamas. We tend to think violence only means physical violence & of course physical violence is included but remember God is not looking at the end result.  He is looking at all the things that have led up to the end result therefore violence is more than merely acts of physical violence.

The Expositors Bible Commentary vol.7 p.383 says it “means a defiance of the law by one too strong to be brought into account.”

We are not talking about man~made law here, but about the dictates of a Holy God.
Proverbs 6 gives us a list of 7 things that are an abomination to God ~ 7 things that He hates when He finds them in a man:
·      A haughty look [pride]
·      A lying tongue
·      Hands that shed innocent blood
·      A heart that devises wicked plans
·      Feet swift in running to do evil
·      A false witness who speaks lies
·      One who sows discord amongst brethren

The root of violence is pride.  This becomes clearer when you understand that when Psalm 51:3 says The fool says in his heart, “There is no God”… Fool [nabal], means an impious person who has no concept of ethical or religious truth, not a stupid person. Rather it is a person who desires to live without moral restraints, particularly any that are imposed by God.

Thus we understand that in Noah’s day people were living without moral restraint. If it felt good, they did it. It is a form of self~delusion.

People may be right in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their heart. Proverbs 21:2
Proverbs 30:12 There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.

Isaiah 5:20~21 warns: What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever.
There is a composite picture throughout scripture of what happens when a person, a people, or a nation throw of the moral restraints of God, causing violence to themselves, to others & to a nation.

We know this passage from 2nd Timothy well:
You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.
That is what the days of Noah looked like.  That was the violence that filled the whole earth. It brought a terrible judgement.
There is a wonderful statement @ the end of Genesis 7. Noah has been declared righteous by God & he obeys God, building the ark & filling it with the various kinds of animals. When the rain began to fall He takes his family & enters the ark & in v 16 we read…Then the Lord closed the door behind them.

I Thessalonians 5:5 says: For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don't belong to darkness and night. We remember that as children of the Light we belong to the one who is Light, the one in whom no darkness is to be found & as such can declare:
The LORD is my light and my salvation ~ so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? Psalm 27:1

As in the days of Noah there is a great divide appearing.

The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like total darkness. They have no idea what they are stumbling over. Proverbs 4:18~19

We are seeing bit by bit the erosion of the sanctity of life, of godly principles, of righteous nations but there is a limit
We learn from Genesis 15:16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

And again in Thessalonians
 …they try to keep us from preaching the Good News of salvation to the Gentiles. By doing this, they continue to pile up their sins. But the anger of God has caught up with them at last. 1 Thessalonians 2:16.

The world’s cup of iniquity is not yet full.  We are still in the Age of Grace.  There is still time for an unrepentant world to turn back to God but the time grows short. Thus We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. John 9:4

We are the light.  We are the salt. We have a little time yet to be salt & light in a world that sorely needs both.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Seeing as God Sees. ~ Rabqa

(All Scriptures are from N.L.T unless otherwise stated)

Last time we looked at thinking as God thinks, today we learn to see how God sees.

Psalm 119:130. The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand.

The entrance of God’s Word brings light, which is something we all need. We do not always know or see what we need to do, & many times we do not recognise our own problems. We need God’s light to understand ourselves & to see how we need to change & how we can cooperate with God to make things better. Reading God’s Word is like looking in a mirror. It enables us to see what needs to be cleaned up in our lives.

God’s Word brings entrance of light. It shines to illuminate who God is & who we are. Through its enlightment we become all He wants us to be & overcome whatever we have to go through. His Word is a brilliant candle. Casting light into every corner of our lives. The world & the devil conspire to corrupt our thinking. Our minds are like computers. Paul says that those who don’t know
God are futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (NKJ)Rom 1:21 & in Eph 4:18 (AMP) Their moral understanding is darkened and their reasoning is beclouded. [They are] alienated (estranged, self-banished) from the life of God [with no share in it; this is] because of the ignorance (the want of knowledge and perception, the wilful blindness) that is deep-seated in them, due to their hardness of heart [to the insensitiveness of their moral nature].
Unbelievers can be so callous & hard that they are past feeling but they live by their feelings in unbridled sensuality & carnality.

God gives people feelings for a specific purpose & use in their walk with Him. But people have alienated themselves from God & are hardened to the place where they are beyond using their feelings for the right purpose. Satan moves them into an area where they live riotous lives, doing whatever they feel like doing.

What is the world’s philosophy today? “If it feels good do it! You & I are not to live that way, but to
make the truth of God’s Word our standard & to obey it by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Five traits of a worldly walk are summed up in the word futility which is emptiness & purposelessness: darkened understanding, alienation from God, ignorance of God’s way, hardened heart, & unfeeling state. (The Greek word means to have cessed to care.)

Dark minds & dark hearts that describes every one of us. But God is light (1John:5b) & when we are born again, our eyes are opened. We can see again!

In the light of the Word we can see the world as God sees it. We see ourselves as God sees us. Above all, we see God as He really is. Renewing our mind means training our brain to see as God sees.

God sees from the vantage point of heaven as we see in Psalm 33:14 From his throne he observes all who live on the earth.

God has a heaven’s eye view & so do we! As His Children, we are sitting with Christ in heavenly places (Eph 2:6). We can now view everything from that wonderful, unimaginably high place. & the Holy Spirit whispers to us, “What do you see?”

The key thing in renewing the mind is to get revelation of who God really is & who we are in Christ. We need to see God rightly & see ourselves rightly.

2 Cor 4:18 a. So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.

This verse teaches us that we must come to God with an unveiled face in order to receive the benefit from His new covenant.

To me this means that I stop being religious & legalist & just come to Jesus, when I lay aside all my works & begin to see Him, & when I allow Him to remove the veil from my eyes, then He & I can enter into a personal relationship that will ultimately change me into His image.

When we speak & attend to God’s Word, we connect with the spiritual realm & call things from that realm into our lives. We bring the seen that is our life in line with the unseen which is the things of eternity

Training our brain to see as God sees means training to see the invisible. We train our brains to see the unseen realities God has established in heaven as more real than the temporary seen realities of our lives now (because they are more real). We train our brain to see the things God wants for us even before those things are evident in our lives.

The unseen realm is more real because it deals with what God has already done. It is fixed & permanent (2Cor 4:18). God has thrown open a window so we can see into the unseen with spiritual eyes

Heb 11:1 N K J. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
By faith we see more than the outward & more than the present. That is faith is it is grasping the unrealities of hope & bringing them into the realm of reality. Faith is the title deed to things we hope for as ours.

The context in which Paul said we look at things that are unseen is striking he wrote in 2 Cor 4:16-18a. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.

Paul was imprisoned, beaten, whipped & shipwrecked! But he understood that these were but for a moment. He has his eyes fixed instead on the eternal. In other words He was seeing as God sees.
Heb 11:3 J K J) By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

Our belief concerning God’s creative act exemplifies the evidence of things not seen.
The Greek word for framed is katartizo. Means to arrange, set in order adjust & complete, what is lacking, make fully ready, repair & prepare. The word is a combination kata which mans down & artios meaning complete or fitted. It is used for the disciples mending their nets (Matt 4:21) & restoring a fallen brother. (Heb 13:21)

It is when we speak the truth of God’s Word that we reprogram our minds to see how God sees. Our lives are already framed by our words in bad ways; therefore, we need to reframe them by speaking God’s Word which frames our world just as God framed His world by His Word.

God has made us masters of our own destiny. How we think creates our future & takes us into it.
What you are saying today is what you will be tomorrow.

In Romans 4 Paul talks about Abraham, who God promised would be the father of many nations’. He received that promise by faith. In other words, Abraham famed his destiny by choosing to trust God. Likewise we receive God’s promise of salvation by faith. In this sense, Paul is saying that Abraham is the father of us all. In Verse 17 (NKJ). In the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.

I encourage you to take a positive look at possibilities of the future & speak of those things that are not as though they were. Think & speak about your future in a positive way according to what God has placed in your heart~not according to what you have seen in the past or are seeing even now in the present. He has given you a great future. Believe it & confess it!

Think on the good, Philippians 4:8 tells us to
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Do you ever think about what you are thinking about? If you are not careful your thoughts can lead into problems. It is so important to think before you act, & to concentrate on things that are true, worthy of praise & honourable, just pure lovely, kind & admirable. Remember your actions will reflect God’s character & heart.

When we think like this we are thinking on things that will build us up, not tear us down.
Our thoughts certainly affect our attitudes & moods. Everything the Lord tells us to do is for our own good. He knows what makes us happy & what makes us miserable. When people are full of wrong thoughts, they are miserable, & I have learnt from personal experience that miserable people usually end up making others miserable too.

Take a personal inventory on a regular basis & ask yourself, what have I been thinking about? Spend some time examining your thought life.

Thinking about what you are thinking about is very valuable because satan usually deceives people into thinking that the source of their misery or trouble is something other what it really is. He wants them to think they are unhappy due to what is going on around them, but the misery is actually due to what is going on inside them that is their thoughts.

I urge you to think about what you are thinking about; & when you change the things you allow your mind to dwell on, you are on your way to the greater freedom, wholeness & victory.

All things listed in Philippians 4 bring us nothing but good. We need to speak them as favour & blessing over ourselves. Think on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Take them into your life.
spirit is in change so use it to bring your mind into subjection. Tell your negative mind to keep quite & say: mind stop it! You think in line with the Word of God. You line up with the Word & Spirit of God. When we meditate on God’s Word it enables us to make the right confessions like these. Fill your mind with God’s truth & you will fill it with the positive.

When we came into the kingdom of love, God placed His own nature within us. We have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16) & Col 1:12 says ...He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light.

Just as God honoured Israel by giving that nation Canaan an earthly allotment. So He has honoured each member of the Church with the potential of obtaining the inheritance of spiritual Canaan.

I Jn :5b says that God is light & in Him there is no darkness at all. Renewing our mind starts with renewing how we see God. The natural mind doesn’t see God as He really is.

God gets the blame for so many things. For instance something bad happens like an earthquake or a cyclone, many people ask why did God do that? Why did He kill all those people?

In our personal lives we do the same. Something hard happens & we think, either subconsciously or consciously, “Why is God doing this to me?” People are taught, particularly in religion, “God will get you!”This is faulty programming that has created a distorted picture of who God is.

God is not doing bad things that happen to us or the world God is a God of love, not a God who wants to do you harm. Discouragement & depression are not from Him. He is not going to put cancer on you or break your arm.

People from a religious background often speak about the fear of God. What they seem to mean is that God is out to get you. This is a misunderstanding on more than one level. First, the fear of God isn’t about being scared of God doing mean things to you. The fear of God is about
the awesomeness of God, & our appropriate response to Him of deep reverence. The fear of the Lord is something beautiful to those who understand it; God gives goodness, not punishment, to those who fear Him.

Psalm 31:19. How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world.
This verse teaches that God has stored up goodness or rewards for those who fear & trust Him. This is also confirmed by Jesus in Matthew 5:11, 12.

Second, God teaches & corrects us through His Word, not by making bad things happen to us: 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. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2 Tim 3:16-17.

Though Scripture was penned men, all of Scripture is divinely inspired (literally God breathed). & it is our authority & rule for faith & life. You can become a more serious student of God’s Word by sharing your faith with someone. The truth of the matter is that there may not always be the perfectly right time to share, but it is so important to be ready to take advantage of every opportunity that God gives to share your faith & to proclaim & teach His Word. Pray that God will help you recognise every opportunity & give you boldness to share!

God will not hit us over the head with sickness to teach us something that would be just like a father hitting his children over the head with a cricket bat to teach them a lesson. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman, always encouraging & always moving in love.

We can learn to think rightly about God, though John 1:18 says No one has ever seen God. We can think rightly about God because He has provided a way so we can see the invisible this verse goes on to say But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us. If you look at the life of Jesus you see the unseen God in Colossians 1:15. What did Jesus do? He restored deaf ears. He opened blind eyes. God is full of love & compassion & mercy. God is good all the time.

Our wrong ideas of God need to be uprooted. His love nature has been poured out in our hearts (Romans 5:5). It is His goodness that leads us to repentance, not fear (Romans 2:4). His love is so personal that He knows every hair on our head Luke 12:7). The Word of God overflows with indications of His love like these.

We need to brainwash ourselves with that Word, speaking it & turning it into thanksgiving & praise for instance “Thank you Father! You love me so much. Your grace is sufficient for me. There’s no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Your love is poured out in my heart.” Get the particular Word from the Holy Spirit that speaks to your heart & wash yourself in it, over & over.
You are not trying to get His love; you already have it, totally. If you consistently meditate on that, it will revolutionise your life. John 1:16 AMP) For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received [all had a share and we were all supplied with] one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favour upon favour and gift [heaped] upon gift.

You already have it. It is the already’s of God that crate our firm foundation. What has God already done for you? What has He already given you. After learning to see God as He is the next important thing is to train our brain to see ourselves as we truly are.

I am convinced that the greatest need in the Church today is for us to know who we are in Christ, how the Father looks on us & what He considers us to be. God wants His people to stand up on the inside & know their identity. We are already positioned in the place of victory~we just need to know it & release it.

Grace means steeping into the realm of what Jesus has already fulfilled for us. Through His work on the cross, God has supplied us with everything we need for both now & eternity. Grace upon grace. Spiritual blessings upon spiritual blessings. Favour upon favour. Gift heaped upon gift. We need to train our minds to meditate on this grace so we have the fullness & revelation of it. Paul says in Ephesians 1:3. All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ

You may have read this verse before but missed its full significance. It means that you came into God’s kingdom through salvation; you were placed in a position. It’s a position where you have all the blessings that belong to Christ. You don’t have to wait for them until later. & you never have to work to get them.

Spiritual blessings in this verse refers to divine privileges & resources available now, that is, chosen, adopted & forgiven 1Cor 12:1 uses the same Greek word for spiritual in referring to the
gifts of the Holy Spirit, evidencing that they are among the blessings included.

This has startling implications. It means you already have the grace you need. All the acceptance by God. All the faith. All the forgiveness. All the deliverance & all the healing. That is because Jesus won it all at the cross. Now you just need to learn to rest in it & walk in it.

Both Jesus & Paul were at rest in there standing with God Jesus had no sense of lack. He walked through the earth, completely settled in His relationship with His Father. Likewise, Paul, despite a history of persecuting Christians, learned that God’s grace was completely sufficient for him. Although he was in prison when he wrote a letter to the Philippians, he mentions joy in it sixteen times! He received a revelation of who he was in Christ.

To rest in our position, we too need a revelation of it. Meditate on the Word, commune with Him in prayer, & you will come to the place where your hear Him say, “The right standing is yours! It is your inheritance. I have already given it to you. I have already paid the price. It is a done deal. Now thank me for it! & rest in it.

There are many Christians who are still living with guilt & condemnation from the past. It still has a grip on them. The key to getting free is to grasp that Jesus has acquitted you of everything you have ever done. I myself learnt this very valuable lesson at Victory life Church in Perth where Dr Margaret Court is the senior pastor, I had lived my whole life thinking I would never amount to anything & That no one would love me, I heard this from my mother form a very early age, But when I learnt this key I held on to it & it set me free.

In the Old Testament sin was only covered but in the New Testament sin was wiped out. Imagine I wrote on a blackboard all the things that have a hold on you & then took a blackboard duster & wiped them off. That is what Jesus has done with your past. He has taken it as far as the east is from the west (Ps 103:12).

Jesus has done everything for us to exchange your old life for a new life. You might say, “Well, I’m not walking in it.” Your need is to grow in the knowledge & revelation of it. Start by simply Thanking God for everything He has done for you & declaring that you receive it; “Thank you Father. I receive your righteousness; I receive your healing power. I receive your freedom.
Faith is the confident expectation that God has really done all He says He has done.

Psalm 33:4. For the word of the LORD holds true, and we can trust everything he does. Just receive & start to drink it in!

Let’s look at some of things that God has already done for us. As you go through them, make the choice to train your brain in your understanding of yourself as God sees you. Do this by thanking Him for all these things, declaring that you receive them & speaking out the truth of them over your life.

We have been:
1. Delivered from darkness Col 1;13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son,
This verse conveys the idea of salvation rescuing us from the tyranny of darkness. Drawing on an important Old Testament theme (Ex 6:6, 14:30). It includes rescue from such negatives as danger, death, sickness & hostile situations in general (Ps 33:18,19). These rescues include both present deliverances & future. Consummated deliverances in the world to come.
1Thess 5:5. For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night.

Walking in the light of God’s Word ensures protection against satan’s lies & deception.
In my past this verse was most helpful to me, I can never stop praising God for who He is, He always, but, always has a Word when we need it. We can write it out & confess it & meditate on it. Say Father I thank you that you have delivered me out of the powers of darkness & transferred me into
the kingdom of your dear Son. Then you will start to sense that you are in His kingdom.
2. Liberated by grace. Gal 5:18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

The person who is directed by the Spirit will do what is right freely, & not by the compulsion of the law. So in other words is not under the law’s bondage & condemnation.

In the Old Testament God gave the Israelites the Law of Moses in order to reveal his holiness. It showed them they were sinners. If anyone could have kept the Law perfectly, it would have given them life (Romans 10:5). But since it was impossible, the law was powerless to make anyone right with God. Instead it was a curse on all who failed to keep it.

As the New Testament talks about Law, it is more than just the Mosaic Law. It refers to a whole way of trying to get right with God by personal performance. This effort is futile & leads only to the curse of condemnation. But we see in Galatians 3:13. That Jesus broke this curse. 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.”

God has poured out an abundance of grace as a free gift. Grace is what God is to you. Whenever you are conscious of what God is to you, you are under grace. The law says, “I am working for God”. But the grace says, “God is working for me.

If someone gives you a beautiful Christmas present you would say “thank you” Likewise say “Lord I thank you that you have made me righteous. I thank you that I do not have to strive for your approval.” When you speak like that you will get greater revelations of how God sees you.

3. 2 Cor 5:17 A M P). Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has
passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!

Appropriate the fact that God has called you to live for Him. Avoid any selfishness or personal ambition. Godly living may result in disfavour with others because it warns of judgement for the ungodly. Godly individuals live by the ethic of love, selflessly asking, “How can I live for the benefit of others?” They are not lawless or sloppy in the way they live; rather, they seek to do right in everything.

4. Son & heirs Rom 8:15. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”

This verse teaches us that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of adoption. Here the word adoption means that we have been brought into God’s family even though we were previously outsiders, unrelated to Him in any way. We were sinners serving satan, but God in His great mercy redeemed us & purchased us with the blood of His own Son. Think of yourself as a child of God: loved accepted& empowered by His unconditional love for you.

5. Righteous consciousness 2Cor 5:21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

The statement is the positive counterpart to v19 that God does not impute our trespasses to us He imputed them instead to Christ who was sinless in every respect (Heb 4:15). He bore our sins on the cross & endured the penalty that we deserved, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

6. No More Blinkers. Ps 36:9 For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.
The light is further revealed in Jesus (John 8:12).If you awaken to righteousness, it will remove the blinkers that stop you seeing with God’s eyes. In His light, your entire world will be illuminated. Awakening to righteousness clears out the mind & establishes a kingdom mentality.
When we carry this presence of God we are His power houses. We are the most awesome beings on earth.

Acknowledgements Dr. Margaret Court.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Light the Red Candle ~ Ganeida.

For a greater understanding of covenant you are referred here, though we will be looking @ this story again when we come to the Abramic covenant.

As we consider Hannukah please remember the idea behind the festivals is not new revelation ~ though we may receive that~ it is to remember.

We sing:
Though the world sees and soon forgets
We will not forget who you are and what you've done for us
what you've done for us [Jesus Culture]

We remind ourselves what God has done for us!

These are the things I would like to remind you of before we begin:

·      In each instance it is God making the covenant & He says: I am the LORD, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed. Malachai 3:6

·      Covenants are legal contracts & as such are absolutely binding.  Once entered into they cannot be altered or changed in any way. Who has done such mighty deeds, summoning each new generation from the beginning of time? It is I, the LORD, the First and the Last. I alone am he.  Isaiah 41:4

·      The end purpose of all God’s covenants is restoration For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God's curse. But with eager hope the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay. Romans 8:19~21

·      Each & every covenant is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:20 For all of God's promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding "Yes!" And through Christ, our "Amen" (which means "Yes") ascends to God for His glory.

And so we light our first candle. Red.  The covenant with Adam. The Light is separated from the darkness.

Genesis says that God created the heavens & the earth & the earth was chaotic, dark, empty. Then God said, Let there be light… Isn’t that interesting? 1 John 1:5 says: This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. God brings light: the light of revelation; the light of wisdom; the light of salvation. Remember, we have studied the Hebrew of the opening sentence of Genesis & understand that the cross was laid @ the very foundation of the world ~ something the New Testament reminds us of in Revelation 13:8.

In this world God planted the garden we call Eden & He created a custodian to look after this garden. Note Adam was placed in the garden to tend & care for it but his mandate from God was to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth & govern it: shomer, someone entrusted with the custody & care of another’s possession, so he was meant to do this from the garden but something went wrong. He & Eve sinned.

Sin has consequences. By sin death came into the world, both physical death & spiritual death. It cost them a life where everything was provided for them.  It cost them marital harmony. It cost them ease of childbirth & sibling harmony but in amongst it all is the promise: I will cause hostility between you & the woman & between your offspring & her offspring. He will strike your head & you shall strike his heel. We know from Genesis 1:1 & from Revelation [13:8] restoration was already provided for but now God has spoken it forth. Here begins the epic battle between God & satan for the possession of man’s soul.

As Numbers 23:19 reminds us:
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?
Adam died without seeing the promise fulfilled.

The world carried on & the seed of sin grew until God flooded the earth but God did not forget His promise. There is a short account in Numbers 21:4~9.

The Israelites have come out of Egypt & have been wandering around in the wilderness for some time & they’ve had a gut~ful. They complained long & loud ~ against Moses.  Against God: There’s nothing to eat!  There’s nothing to drink.  We hate manna! They were very ungrateful. They got poisonous snakes for their trouble.  Many were bitten & died.

They came to Moses & confessed their sin & God instructed Moses to make a bronze snake & hang it on a pole so that all who looked upon it would be healed.

Have you ever tried to hang a snake on a pole? I tell you, it can’t be done.  My sons were notorious for bringing me dead snakes, occasionally live ones, & snakes are slithery, slippery creatures that slide off sticks! However, if you put a cross piece on your pole you can drape your snake with some hope he’ll stay put. Or you can nail your snake to a pole.  Either way it is a picture of sin being nailed to the cross, of Christ bearing our iniquities & bringing our healing. I believe this is what Moses did because John 3:14 tells us: And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up

The promise came to fruition in another garden, on another tree & satan was defeated.

John 1:3~ 5 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
From the moment God first spoke into creation He dissipated darkness & brought light because all darkness is, is the absence of light.

Scripture contains greater & greater revelation of the nature & character of God until He reveals Himself in the person of Jesus Christ who enjoins us to:
Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light." After saying these things, Jesus went away and was hidden from them. John 12:36

This is the first promise, the promise of restoration.  It was made to the first woman. At that point @ which she bit into the fruit of the knowledge of good & evil, God’s glory departed.  Without God we stand naked & ashamed & the only clothing that can cover our shame & nakedness is the clothing God Himself provides.  Adam & Eve were provided with skins but Jesus clothes us with His own righteousness.

Up until the moment they sinned Adam & Eve had not known pain, or want, sickness or death. All is provided in Jesus Christ.  As the children of Israel were commanded to look upon the bronze snake & be healed, we look to the one God lifted up, in whom all the promises are yes & amen.

There is a beautiful symmetry to everything God does. As the tree brought a curse through Eve so were those who were hung on a tree cursed

…the body must not remain hanging from the tree overnight. You must bury the body that same day, for anyone who is hung is cursed in the sight of God. In this way, you will prevent the defilement of the land the LORD your God is giving you as your special possession.  Deuteronomy 21:23

That is no longer so because Jesus took it all upon Himself: the curse of the land, the curse of sin, the curse upon mankind. 

Colossians 1:19~20
For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ's blood on the cross.

All we have to do is reach out & claim it.
This promise is fulfilled for satan was defeated on the cross but we are still waiting the completion of the promise when satan is removed completely from his position of usurpation of those God chose to govern & the governance of the earth will be returned to us. Revelation 5:10

We have been promised so much.  It can be difficult to hold it all in remembrance but God doesn’t have our problem. He doesn’t forget.

Psalm 89:34
My covenant I will not violate, Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Jesus, Light of the World. ~ Ganeida

The Jacarandas are blooming. Our roads are strewn with purple blossoms.  They are a sign that summer is nearly here & Christmas is coming. We know how to look about us & understand the weather but Jesus said: You fools! You know how to interpret the weather signs of the earth and sky, but you don't know how to interpret the present times. Luke 12:56
The sad part about that is that God has given us everything we need to interpret the times we are living in. One of the reasons we have so much difficulty is because we have allowed satan to cut the church off from its root for Paul tells us in Romans 11:18 …You do not support the root, but the root supports you…. & that root is Judaism.

Again in Romans 3:6 we are told
And this is God's plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God's children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus.

The Christian Church began as a sect of Judaism & as such, for many years, followed the religious practises of the Jews ~ as did our Lord & saviour, Jesus Christ.

Now we are not Jews & Jesus was very clear: "Don't misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. Matthew 5:17

Jesus accomplished the purpose of the Law & because He kept it perfectly we are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. Romans 3:22

2Timothy 3:16 tells us 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… and yet the church has traded the scriptures for paganism.

You are right to ask: What does it matter whether we called it Easter or Pascha? Whether we celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah?  It is a good question but not the right one, therefore I do not wish to talk about that question in this discussion.  What I would like to address is what we lose when we forget our root.

We will start in Genesis 1:14.
Then God said, "Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years.
Seasons  is the Hebrew word moed. It means appointed times [by invitation]. These became the appointed Feasts of Israel when they came apart from the everyday to spend time with God.

The moed work on 3 levels:
·      The 1st is the literal event whether it is Passover or the harvest or Esther approaching a king on behalf of her people.

·      The 2nd is the remembrance of the event & its celebration.

·      The 3rd is the prophetic prediction & fulfilment of the moed in the person of Jesus Christ.

Each celebration is a precursor & revelation of Jesus Christ.  We have looked @ this in detail when we have celebrated Passover & we have studied Sukkot & Hanukkah before but in the weeks leading into Christmas/Hanukkah I would like to study Hanukkah in more detail.

John 10:22
It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication.

Immediately we have a wonderful picture of God’s redemptive Love.  Here is Jesus *the Light of the World* walking in the place dedicated to the Living God during Hanukkah.  Hanukkah is also known as the *Festival of Lights*.  From a Christian standpoint Hanukkah is all about Jesus, & Jesus as the Light of the World.

When Jesus declares He is the Light of the World the Greek word used is phōs ~ & yes, it can be translated light [John 8:12] .  It could also be translated radiance for Hebrew 1:3 declares

The Son radiates God's own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honour at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.

Here the Greek word used is apaugasma . This compound word comes from apo (from) and augazo (to shine forth, to beam upon).  But the Greek noun disguises a Hebrew verb – kavah – to burn. [Skip Moen]

Now we have been educated along Grecian lines so our mind set is Grecian & we will read  something like Hebrews 1:3 & immediately put it in the past tense so that it becomes static, a done deal, but that would not be true to the text because, as Paul tells us, He was a Hebrew of Hebrews. [Philippians 3:5] Thus he had a Hebrew mindset & in Ancient Hebrew there is no such thing as a static verb.  Hebrew verbs always include the idea of movement. Thus when Paul uses the verb apaugasma he is not thinking of radiance as being an attribute of Jesus. Jesus does not shine.  Rather Paul is thinking of it as an action of Jesus.  His radiance, His burning, is thus an ongoing action that is continually purifying us ~ because that is the idea of the burnt sacrifice, to purify that which is impure.

This idea is sustained further along in the passage for the word katharismos [purification] refers to ceremonial cleansing. The blood cleans us but it is Jesus who makes us righteous. [1 Corinthians 1:30]

Nothing is static in God’s kingdom.  It is either growing or it is decaying ~ & so are we.

Although Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrating the rededication of the temple after its desecration by Antiochus Epimane in 168 BC, its symbols [oil & light] are uniquely Christian. Christians do not celebrate hannukah the same way Jews do for we are looking particularly @ the prophetic & it's fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

The hanukkiyah is the special 9 branched menorah used at Hanukkah. The middle candle is called the shammash, or servant candle & it lights all the others. The shammash represents Jesus, who left His glory & came as a servant according to Mark 10:45  “…For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Now the menorahs were originally oil lamps & oil, always, everywhere in scripture, signifies the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Kings were anointed with oil.  Priests were dedicated with oil.  Prophets were anointed with oil to proclaim the word of God. Jesus title, Messiah, means anointed.

What is interesting about the candles is that once lit they become active.  They burn. Thus we are reminded of Christ’s radiance, His purifying power, that He is the light of the world & those who follow Him won’t have to walk in spiritual darkness… [John 8:12]

But there are 8 other candles!  Traditionally each candle is a different colour & here again we have a wonderful manifestation of our amazing God & how He saw the end from the beginning & how all things are unified in Christ!

There are 7 colours in a rainbow & when combined those seven colours produce a clear white light.  It is only when light is fractured that we see the other colours. Each of those colours represents a covenant God made with mankind & each covenant reveals some aspect of Jesus, & throws open more revelation of the person & nature of God.

Red: The covenant with Adam . Genesis 3:14~17 all about God’s provision of light & its purposes is read.

Orange. The covenant with Noah [Genesis 9:9~17]

Yellow.  The covenant with Abraham[ Genesis 12:3~7 & Genesis 17:1~8] symbolised by the stars ~ more light!

Green. The covenant with Moses. [Exodus 24]

Blue. The covenant with David [2 Samuel 7:8~16]

Indigo. The covenant of Redemption [[Matthew 26:26~29]

Violet. The covenant of Peace Revelation 21:1~4; 16~21

White: the Bridal Covenant [John 14:1~3; Revelation 19:6~9]

From the moment Adam & Eve fell into sin in the garden there has been ongoing revelation from God to bring people back into right relation with Him, culminating in the Bridal Feast of the Lamb. When we celebrate Hanukkah we remember, step by step, this ongoing revelation. We see Jesus, the promised redeemer, already prepared, in Genesis, in the giving of the Law hidden in the meaning of Torah [Behold, son of God, nailed to a cross], in the promise to David of an everlasting kingdom, & into the New Testament & the glorious, triumphant return of Christ to claim His bride!

Compare that to a Christmas add presently showing where a small child calls it *Santa’s Day*. You see, satan has been able to meddle with everything the church has borrowed from the culture around it because it was his first, but the things God has ordained he cannot touch.

Now I am not saying you shouldn’t celebrate Christmas.  That is not it at all for Romans 14:15~16 says In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honour him. Those who eat any kind of food do so to honour the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God.

What I am saying is that the Holy days ordained by God Himself are His personal invitation to come & spend time with Him & receive greater revelation. I am sure it is possible to celebrate these days as a secular Jew.  I do not believe it is possible to celebrate them as a secular Christian, firstly because to celebrate is to run counter to the culture around us & thus must be very intentional.  Its very intentionality means a greater awareness of what we are celebrating & why.

Secondly there are no mixed symbols. Christmas trees, yule logs, even present giving, have their roots in paganism & though most Christians have long since forgotten the origins, here we have a representation of the *two materials* metaphor [Leveticus 19:19], a mixing of the holy & the profane.

Thirdly, there is a subtle trap in Christmas that is not in Hanukkah. When our focus is on a baby in a crib it is too easy to forget, why He came, what He came to do, how He suffered for us, the price He paid & that He will return.  All of that is in Hanukkah.  God does not let us forget the big picture.

So as we move through this season, however we choose to celebrate it, I will be taking you briefly through the covenants & reminding you that that baby in His crib is still the Lord of Lords & King of Kings who is returning in all His burning radiance, not as redeemer but as judge & conqueror.