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Hello everyone, I am moving this blog to the passionnetwork site
Please register on the new site, God bless
Jesus told the Pharisees that they knew how to read the weather signs from the sky, but that they were clueless in spiritual discernment – “recognising the sign of the times”.
In the natural we all discern the weather, and the seasons, but in the spiritual, we often don’t. The thing is we are not just flesh and bone. We are spirit too. In fact the spirit part of us is more real than the flesh. The flesh will return to dust, but our spirit lives on forever.
What is the season you are in?
After the flood, God said this.
While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”
We all go through seasons in life.
You cannot have summer all the time. Do you know why? Because if you only have summer you end up with a desert. It is often when we go through the hard times, the winter seasons, where fruit is scarce that we appreciate the good times when they come. Sadly, often all too soon, we think the good times will never end, but no-one is on the top of the mountain all the time. No-one enjoys summer all the time.
I believe Gen 8 is prophetic and is not simply referring to the four seasons . In fact
1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace
You may be going through a time of winter, or autumn where things are not quite what they should be. You struggle and have stress and God seems more distant than you recall He once was. Someone once said ” if you are not as close to God as you used to be,… who moved?”
Summer – is the time when there is abundance, the sun is shining, almost everything is going well, you just know you are blessed. This is the time when there are no major crises in your life. The days are at their longest, and they are flooded with light. Everything springs to life. God speaks and His presence is evident in your life and in your business and in your church.
Autumn – is when you realise things that were going so well for a long time are not quite as good as they were, there are times of stress creeping in. Maybe spiritually speaking, after a time when you really walked close to God, perhaps now you just sense you are not reading the Word as often as before, not seeking God’s presence. Things which were once vibrant and alive now seem to be wilting. Things that used to run smoothly no longer run smoothly.
Winter – is the time when almost everything is a struggle. Things are going wrong, blessings seem a life time away, you are spiritually battling, spiritually cold. You know God cares but you just don’t see the evidence in your circumstances. It is the season with the most darkness, the least amount of light. You seem to be spiritually blind, there are walls up around you everywhere, stopping the blessings, stopping growth. This is the time when we are at our weakest. But God has called us out of darkness into His glorious light. Before we came to know Christ, we are spiritually dead, the Bible says we are blind, we walk in darkness. Winter is the “season of spiritual discomfort, hunger, misery and emptiness” of our life. But the Light of the world came to bring us the True Light. And it is our misery and struggles which eventually bring us to repentance. When you are in winter, it is a time to reflect and to understand what it is God is teaching you.
Spring – is the time when after a long hard winter, there are just signs that things are changing. There are signs of life, the days are getting warmer. Perhaps God is starting to warm your heart a little. The leaves are starting to come out, the days are getting warmer. Suddenly God is starting to speak to you again, and there is a spark of revival in your heart. The pain of winter is starting to fade, and it is time to start preparing for the growth that is coming. There is great hope for the months ahead. You will need to soon care for and nurture those things that used to be weak as they unfold into strength. You will know the joy of discovery and the excitement of new treasures previously unknown. In this time the promises of God become real. The first signs of life are a portent of things to come. It is a time to start getting excited, for summer and a harvest lies ahead.
In every season there is an appropriate response or way of doing. Recognising the season is the first step. God bless you
If you experience the joy of walking closely with Jesus your savior, you will know something about God’s timing. The secret to success is often not so much what you do, but when you do it – in other words, doing the right thing at the right time. With God, timing can be everything!
One business can open and seem to do everything right,and fail, and yet another that seems to do the same thing using the same formula and it flourishes. This is called timing!
The wisest man who ever lived (according to the Word) Solomon wrote the following:
“He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecc 3:11).
In the book of Esther, one of the most powerful themes is “for such a time as this”. Many prayers are prayed with faith, and with expectation and yet God seems to say No. It has been said that God answers every prayer with either a Yes, a No or a Not yet. It is all about Timing.
The Bible tells us in James, that God is a Father who gives us good gifts. He is indeed a father full of love towards his children. In fact God IS love! Christ died for us while we hated him and were sinners. But now we have been adopted into His family; we are joint heirs with Jesus, heirs of all the Father has in heaven and on earth.
Some people however are trapped in a world of lethargy – in a state of inertia. They never get anything done, because they are always waiting for a better time or another day. Procrastination is their middle name! God expects us to be active, and doing good all the time, unless He tells us specifically to “be still” for a time or a season. Until such an instruction is received, we should be busy about His kingdom.
“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Ps 90:12).
We don’t have forever – the days are short. We need to redeem the time. if you are guilty of procrastination, then this verse above should hopefully get you going. Then again, many others are guilty of always wanting to do it NOW. Jesus who is our greatest example understood that He had to wait for the right time before his time came.
Jesus told his disciples one day “The right time for me has not yet come.”
God Himself is aware of the importance of acting in the right time. The Bible says, “when the time had fully come, God sent his Son” (Gal 4:4). God did not send Jesus too early or too late. God sent Jesus just at the right time.
Have you missed God’s timing?
Maybe you gave up on your teenager too soon, or maybe you gave up on your marriage too soon. Maybe you rushed into a relationship, while you knew it was a bit premature. Fortunately God is God of all, including TIME. The Bible says that you can “redeem the time” (Ep 5:16). Redeem means to get back! God will let you recover some of the time that you have lost.
This is really exciting! Even if you have missed your opportunities for success, you can repent and get back time from God. Pray and ask God to redeem the time for you. God is a God of second chances.
Many people feel that God’s will and his timing are so difficult to understand. However, we read that:
Proverbs 16:9 “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (NIV)
Do not be afraid to plan, but before you act on your plan, submit it to God and ask Him to direct your steps. If your plan is not quite what God had in mind, He will show you as you go, sometimes really early on in the process. Of course this also requires listening to God and that means to be still and quiet before Him with the Word open and in a prayerful attitude. Ask God to open your spiritual eyes and ears and He will.
God has made it easy for us to understand His timing. He made it simple to discover His time by giving us the seasons of life.
Everything has seasons and there is a right time for everything.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: (Ecc 3:1)
You see, to know the time for everything you need to understand that every activity has a season.Seasons are God’s clue to timing. What season are you in?
Tomorrow I will share about the seasons. God bless you.
Finally, the start of this teaching:
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
Jesus starts off his teaching of the disciples on prayer this way:
This is how you should pray!
Now I don’t know about you, but any time Jesus specifically says this is how you do something, then we need to pay really good attention! Jesus has already set the scene (see past 2 days entries), where he teaches us to find a private, quiet place alone and then to pray simple words (not fancy religious babble).
First point is the prayer is addressed to the Father. And Our Father who is in heaven. At the start of the prayer, I am reminded that God is not only God (the Almighty creator of heaven and earth, who is worshiped 24×7 as the Holy One), but that he is my Father. Jesus taught us elsewhere to call God the Father “Abba” (daddy). So the prayer starts of by addressing our father (one who we know loves us as a father) who is in heaven. I am so encouraged when I think of Him being in heaven, where he is preparing a place for me.
His name is to be adored “Hallowed be thy name”.
Then Jesus prays this…
“Thy Kingdom come”
Noe stop right there. Do you know what the kingdom of God is? It is firstly the central theme of the New Testament, but it means were God is in total control. When God created the heavens and the earth (Gen 1) he created everything that was good. This was the kingdom of God on earth. Everything followed God’s purpose and plan. When the kingdom of God comes, then God’s will happens. The Jewish people knew that when the kingdom of God comes, then fighting and war would end. Sorrow and sadness and sickness would come to an end. Thee would be no more anger and bitterness and gossip, and hating one another.
When the kingdom of God comes, there will be no sickness. Wherever Jesus walked while he walked the earth, the kingdom of God manifested. If someone was sick, Jesus healed them. Miracles happened. The dead were raised to life, and blind eyes were opened. Those in captivity to leprosy and demonic power, were set free.
In Revelation 21 we see a picture of how things will be when the kingdom of God comes fully.
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
When Jesus was on earth, this is what followed him – the dead came back to life and the sick were healed. Jesus said at times that the “Kingdom of God is near” and at other times he said “the kingdom of God is here” and “the kingdom is within you”. I don’t want to get into the whole teaching on the Kingdom of God, but if you want a comprehensive study, check out books by Derek Morphew on the subject.
The important thing to understand is what the kingdom of God looks like. And Jesus tells us to pray “thy kingdom come”. The exciting thing about praying this is that you can pray the kingdom to break through in your life and circumstances. This means that what you are really praying for is supernatural intervention and provision in your life. if you are sick and you pray “thy kingdom come” you are inviting God’s kingdom power into your world and that will transform and heal. If you are struggling financially, God’s kingdom power can break the power of debt and lack because there is no debt and no lack in His kingdom.
So from no on when you pray this prayer, and you pray “thy kingdom come”, remember what you are asking God to do. You are inviting His kingdom to break out in your life and in your family and business and church, with God given power and abundance. And the best part of it all is that Jesus told us to pray this. He would never have told us to pray this unless it was possible (and likely) that God the Father will answer by sending his kingdom into our daily walk, as we ask it of him.
Wow, I hope you are excited by that. I am!
I believe that blessing has a power to transform, and this has been discovered by the Jewish pople for many centuries. The Jews bless their children and pronounce blessing over family members at Shabat each Friday evening.
In Numbers we read about the priestly blessing that God gave to Moses and Aaron. God told Aaron and his sons that this is the way to pronounce a blessing.
Number 6 v 24 The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; 26 the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace
The blessing is now an instruction to the priests and God says this is how you must bless.
Only God can bless, but God says “those who bless you I will bless”.
All of this is important because the blessings of Abraham are ours. In fact, under the New Covenant (a better covenant) we who know Christ as Saviour, have way more.
Our better blessing
The blessing of Abraham is ours
Romans 4 v 16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.
But we have a better covenant
Psalm 32 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them.
Through knowing Jesus, and through our adoption as sons and heirs to all that God has, we can walk in His blessing. Not through anything we have done, but through grace.
The first blessings in the Bible is when God creates animals, birds, fish and of course man. God did not specifically speak a blessing over the plants, although they were created to multiply too. Only when God made living things with blood did He speak the first blessing
Blessing on Man
Gen 1v 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.
Notice there are three parts to the blessing that God spoke over Adam.
God’s blessing at the very core is about fruitfulness and increase. That is what life is supposed to be – an ever increasing fruitfulness. Healthy things grow and increase. If something is not increasing it is not healthy We all understand this, in terms of how we understand blessing.
Part of God’s blessing is the ability and right to subdue that which is beneath us. We must learn to subdue – but this is an action – our lives should be actively subduing. Subdue is a strong action. It means to overcome that which comes against you. God has blessed you and me with the gift and ability to subdue. We forget this often. Jesus through his death has set us up for victory.
The blessing of God is so much more than just being fruitful and seeing increase. God has blessed us to be leaders, and to be subduers of evil, and subduers of circumstances that come against us.
It has been months since I wrote anything here, but this has been time where I have been seeking God’s leading and direction and I am at the verge of some exciting times in my spiritual walk I believe.
And so this week on Sunday I wrote to my home cell group in Hout Bay and told them we will be studying the Power of Blessing. I did not know why I felt this should be the topic, but I have recently been looking at the blessings Jacob imparted to his sons (found in Genesis ch 49 and 50). So then what happens as so often happens when you walk with the Lord, is I was looking for a software CD at home and found a DVD that my dad had given me years ago – a talk by Rick Godwin on the power of blessing. I had never listened to that DVD properly and lo and behold, up it pops out of nowhere.
My first thoughts turn to the way we use the words “Bless you” in English. We usually say “bless you” after someone sneezes. Or we say God bless this food to our bodies when we say grace before a meal. Why do we do this and has this anything to do with the Bible?
Well I looked up why we say bless you after a sneeze and this is what i found:
Wishing someone well after they sneeze probably originated thousands of years ago. The Romans would say “Jupiter preserve you” or “Salve,” which meant “good health to you,” and the Greeks would wish each other “long life.” The phrase “God bless you” is attributed to Pope Gregory the Great, who uttered it in the sixth century during a bubonic plague epidemic (sneezing is an obvious symptom of one form of the plague).
The exchangeable term “gesundheit” comes from Germany, and it literally means “health.” The idea is that a sneeze typically precedes illness. It entered the English language in the early part of the 20th century, brought to the United States by German-speaking immigrants.
Virtually every country around the globe has its own way of wishing sneezers well. People in Arabic countries say, “Alhamdulillah,” which means, “praise be to God.” Hindus say, “Live!” or “Live well!” Some countries have special sneezing responses for children. In Russia, after children are given the traditional response, “bud zdorov” (“be healthy”), they are also told “rosti bolshoi” (“grow big”). When a child sneezes in China, he or she will hear “bai sui,” which means, “may you live 100 years.”
For the most part, the various sneeze responses originated from ancient superstitions. Some people believed that a sneeze causes the soul to escape the body through the nose. Saying “bless you” would stop the devil from claiming the person’s freed soul. Others believed the opposite: that evil spirits use the sneeze as an opportunity to enter a person’s body. There was also the misconception that the heart momentarily stops during a sneeze (it doesn’t), and that saying “bless you” was a way of welcoming the person back to life.
This is interesting, because it pre-supposes a belief that sneezing means you are about to get sick. Jesus has already healed us by his stripes on the cross. Jesus died not only for our salvation but also to bring us health through his body broken. Well this is so, if you believe Isaiah anyway. And I do!
So I wonder if saying bless you after someone sneezes is contrary to holding faith that through Christ we have been healed? It makes me think anyway. But this is not the real use of the word blessing as I understand it in the Bible. Jesus blessed the food before he ate with his disciples, and this is why we say grace / ask God to bless the food to our bodies.
But there is sooooo much more to biblical blessing. Til tomorrow
There are many proverbs in the Bible about anger. Perhaps my favourite is this one:
Proverbs 15 v 1: A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger
We are all emotional beings. Some people are more driven by emotions than others. The fruit of the Spirit is self control, peace, patience, and gentleness among others.
Galatians 5 v 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law
It is interesting that anger is probably the opposite of all of these. Jesus got angry with the money-changers who were using the temple for trade rather than God’s business. Some people speak about a righteous anger, when standing up against injustice. These are accepted forms of biblical anger. So anger in itself is not wrong. BUT…When we get into anger and it starts to drive us and cause us to speak badly of others, to seek revenge for deeds done to us or those close to us, we walk out of the spirit. We need to guard our hearts because out of the heart, the mouth speaks.
A sign of a wise man is one who is slow to speak, quick to listen and quick to take godly correction. We are all caught up in emotional topics from time to time. Satan tries to grab a foothold through our anger to make us fall into sin and dare I say it…rebellion !
Pray that God will keep you from anger – especially anger against your brother.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
The message that Jesus came to bring is this: everyone can come to God and receive forgiveness. Everyone needs to do so, because everyone has sinned. Romans 3v23 says “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. People are really like sheep. We seldom really think for ourselves, and each of us has gone astray. We have turned off the path God wants us to walk on.
Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Since we have gone astray, we are lost. Therefore we are all those whom Jesus has come to save. Paul said that his message was to the Jews first and then also to the Gentiles (non-Jews). Jesus gave the parable of the lost sheep, where one sheep goes astray and the shepherd leaves the 99 sheep that are safe to go and find the one that has become separated. And that is the message of salvation, that God sent His Son Jesus, from heaven to find those who have gone astray.
But going astray has a cost attached. We all go astray because of the list of the flesh. The lust of the flesh means our own selfishness. We want things our way and we want it now. That is sin. Simply rebelling against God’s way is sin. In fact the Bible goes even further by saying that “to him who knows to good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4v17). But continuing from vs 5, God has taken the iniquity (see yesterday’s post) of us all and laid it on Jesus. This prophecy in Isaiah ch 53 is about Jesus who would come to fulfill this passage hundreds of years later.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
This prophecy is amazing in that it came hundreds of years before the death of Jesus. But Isaiah speaking by the power of the Holy Spirit, could see into the future, and tells us of a time that is coming when God will secure our peace and healing through punishment. However the punishment will be on “him”. Piercing is a clear reference to the way that Jesus died. Crucifixion was unbelievably cruel. It was so cruel that the Romans even abolished it eventually, as it was inhumane.
Jesus died by being nailed to a cross. In this way he was pierced. His hands and feet were pierced and the scars remained even after Jesus rose from the dead. Remember that Thomas did not believe it was Jesus, after Jesus appeared to him post his resurrection. Thomas said that unless I can put my hands into the nail-prints, I will not believe. Then Jesus invited Thomas to do so, and at that point Thomas believed. Jesus was pierced / crucified because of our transgressions. Transgressions is another word for sins. Jesus died for our sins. Our means yours and mine. Jesus took your sins and mine onto himself when he died.
Then Isaiah says he was crushed for our iniquities. Transgressions is probably a less harsh word. It is more like the word we might use today meaning our mistakes. Our errors. But iniquities refers to evil. Our evil nature that causes us to sin. Jesus died for it all. God crushed Jesus. How did this happen? I believe this happened by God placing the entire wight of the sin of the world onto Jesus. That weight would crush anyone. I think there is also a more subtle meaning – in that when God the Father turned His back on His Son as Jesus was abandoned on the cross, Jesus said “My God why have you forsaken me?”(Matthew 27:45-46) – I believe that Jesus was crushed in spirit at that time.
Why did Jesus die?
He died to bring us peace with God and He died to bring us healing. When you have sin in your life, you cannot be at peace with God. But Jesus removes sin. the Bible says that our sins are removed as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103 v2). The sin which keeps us from having peace, is now gone and we have peace with Almighty God.
And finally by his wounds we are healed.
Many Christians believe as do I, that God brought about divine health and healing to the body of Christ through the death of Jesus. If we were healed, then surely we must be healed in the future. So we can appropriate the healing that Jesus bought for us with his blood. But like all of God’s gifts, they must be received. I encourage you to pray for healing using this verse as the basis of your prayer.