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Cocktail of blessings

by Witness 4 Christ on 21 May 2017
It is desirable to proclaim Scripture over yourself and others as it fits perfectly with the Father's heart. Here are some examples:

I bless you with a worry-free day. (Mat 6:34 NIV)

I bless you with the rewards of those who earnestly seek the Lord because your faith pleases Him. (Heb 11:6 NIV)

May your faith be what the Son of Man finds on the earth when He comes. (Luke 18:8b NIV)

As you share in Jesus’ sufferings, I bless you with the glory that will be revealed in you. (Rom 8:17-18 NIV)

As you fulfil Jesus calling according to his purpose, I bless you in all things as God works for your own good. (Rom 8:28 NIV)

I bless you with the love of God and all His promises as His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion endures through all generations. (Psa 145:13 NIV)

As you declare "Amen" to the glory of God, His many promises are for you "Yes" in Christ. (2 Cor 1:20 NIV)

I bless you with the plans the LORD has for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jer 29:11 NIV)

I bless you with full restoration, strength and steadfastness as the God of all grace calls you to his eternal glory in Christ. (1 Pet 5:10-11 NIV)

I bless you with your righteousness shining like the dawn and the justice of your cause like the noonday sun as you delight yourself in the LORD and receive the desires of your heart. ( Psa 37:4-6 NIV)

I bless you with whatever you ask for in prayer. It is yours as you believe that you have received it ( Mark 11:23-24 NIV)

As you have left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God, I bless you to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life. (Luke 18:29-30 NIV)

The Lord Jesus Christ blesses you with having life to the full as opposed to the thief who only comes to steal and kill and destroy. (John 10:10 NIV)

I bless you with anything you ask in Jesus’ name as He will do it and bring glory to the Father. (John 14:13-14 NIV)

I bless you to bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be a disciple of Jesus as you remain in Him and His words remain in you, to the Father's glory. (John 15:7-8 NIV)

I bless you with sharing in Christ’ glory as you have shared in his sufferings. You are not only a child – you are an heir - heir of God and co-heir with Christ. (Rom 8:17 NIV)

I bless you with a good life being confident that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phil 1:6 NIV)

I bless you with encouragement in heart and unity in love, so that you may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that you may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Col 2:2-3 NIV)

I bless you with having Christ in you - the hope of glory as God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery. (Col 1:27 NIV)

I bless you with a rich reward as you do not throw away your confidence; I bless you with perseverance so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. (Heb 10:35-39 NIV)

I bless you with all things given to you as you seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. (Mat 6:33 NIV)

Finally you can't go pas the Aaronic blessing which doesn't need to be rephrased:

The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace. (Num 6:24-26 NIV)


Business in the church

by Witness for Christ on 14 May 2017 permalink
The Jews don't have any qualms about using their synagogue like a chamber of commerce, but some Christians feel guilty at the thought of doing business with one another.

It's about time we learn how to trust and respect each other without giving away the wealth of connections we have.

Whether you are aware of it or not, you belong to a local economy. If you trust more unknown folks in the secular world than members of your denomination - then there is something wrong.

Why has it come to that? People do remember previous abuses such as dodgy network marketing schemes peddled throughout the churches. Meeting business contacts in a social setting can be daunting. Rules of etiquette vary. In the US it is OK to promote openly your business at church. In the UK it is frowned upon. You have to admit you could live in fear of having to front-up to a manipulative operator week after week. There have also been cases of embezzlement through unscrupulous superannuation schemes or investment vehicles.

Now for the positives you will concede that is it better to practice with people you know. So if we can't trust each other within the church, why should the secular world trust us?

There is a biased mindset that has to be exposed and broken. In the past most people were self-employed - soliciting for business was a necessity of life. Today the majority of folks are in a salaried position - although this is being challenged as the security of a regular wage is being swapped for a contractual situation. Therefore only a few practice marketing and selling. Everybody else sees selling as something dirty. Well they sure would be out of their cushy job if there wasn't a sales team somewhere to exchange their fine products or services for cash. Even civil servants see the writing on the wall as government departments are pressed to become lean and mean.

The wisdom is to wait until people ask you what you do for a living before volunteering that information. I know of a certain plumber who has never advertised and relies exclusively on word of mouth. I believe a significant part of his congregation have been his customers. He has earned a good reputation. People like to keep their business in-house and patronise a church member if possible.


End Times Riddles

by Witness for Christ on 07 May 2017 permalink
666, the Antichrist, Armageddon, the rapture, have you got your survival pack ready yet?

The disciples were concerned as to when this world would end but Jesus side-stepped their question. In his parting words just before the Ascension He brings the agenda away from prophecy and squarely into evangelism:

"Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"

"It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:6-8 NIV)

In fact Jesus is quoted in each gospel except John as saying For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. (Luke 9:24 NIV)

By all means, read Revelation, Daniel, Ezekiel, Matthew 24, 2 Thessalonians, etc... but don't expect to come up with a plausible scenario that everyone will agree with. We could run a contest each year to guess who the Antichrist might be. There have been some remarkable contenders being put forward, but so far all have been disappointing.

On the flip side of this, if there are more than 300 Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament which were exactly fulfilled in Jesus Christ; chances are that all end-times prophecies will also be each fulfilled exactly but "It is not for us to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority"".

So instead we run in circles in a sickening instinct of self-preservation which the Scriptures warn us leads to destruction - the very thing we want to avoid. No, rather we should embrace the opportunity to get busy with proclaiming the gospel in a practical way within each of our sphere of influence.

Yes the world is teetering on the brink - welcome to the age of tribulations! Since we have been entrusted with a revelation of cosmic proportions, we should first demonstrate its effect in our own lives in order to be empowered to share it with others.

Have you lost your home in a fire, a flood or a divorce? What difference does it make? The amazing thing is that God knows your needs and still provides for you in un-expected ways.

When Jesus says nothing is impossible with God in Luke 1:37 - you have to take it very literally. We are to be spiritual tight-rope artists negotiating our way from one test to another in order to take with us into eternity the traits of character that God is very much after. So embrace the adventure. Remember that God is very theatrical. He invented Noah's Ark, the parting of the Red Sea, and the tumbling down of the walls of Jericho. He took Elijah away in a chariot of fire, He spoke to Moses through a burning bush and to Balaam through a donkey. Expect more of the same, with a twist...

Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:36 NIV)


Is God asleep at the wheel?

by Witness for Christ on 30 Apr 2017 permalink
Each year the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras goes on you would expect the earth to open its mouth and swallow them alive like in the days of the rebellion against Moses.

It looks like the devil and his hordes of demons are polarizing the world to sort out who would follow them as opposed to who would remain faithful to the gospel. The argument here is the parable of the weeds and the wheat which are both allowed to grow side by side until the day of the harvest where they will each meet their fate.

There is a sense of contending in the faith - operating in the authority of our inheritance in Christ while yet having much territory to reclaim from the enemy.

The knowledge of things to come is hidden from us for our own good. You are not going to get a word of knowledge about tomorrow's lotto numbers or the fate of the stock market in order to pay off your mortgage overnight. Instead we are told that the borrower is slave to the lender.

But we have read the last chapter of the book so we know how the story ends. That should not make us behave like fatalistic robots whistling to the wind "que sera sera" Rather we are soldiers under orders from our commander the King of Kings and Lord of Lords in a conflict of galactic proportions. We bring about His will in our environment with the good news of the gospel.

The Christian life is an adventure - not always to your liking. Sometimes you would like some answers. The way to get them is simply to follow the protocol. You approach God with praise and worship. This is especially important when we are in the midst of adversity. Your faith needs to be tested otherwise it is no faith at all. You do not choose how and when this will happen but rest assured it will happen. The sooner you learn to knuckle down with God and discern how to hear His still small voice the better off you will be. Life will never be boring anymore as your identity in Christ gives you your purpose and vocation.

Prayer is a two-way street. God likes to meet with you in the secret place but you have first to learn how to quieten the turmoil around you and meditate on some Scripture until it becomes a rhema word for you, just for today.


When everything else fails - try this secret weapon

by Witness for Christ on 23 Apr 2017 permalink
Prayer and fasting is not very popular in the 21st century Western church and one could wonder if there is a correlation with the lack of signs and wonders which are supposed to follow the preaching of God's Word.

(Mat 6:16-18 NIV) "When you fast, do not look sombre as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Jesus didn't say "if you fast", He said "when you fast"... fasting is depriving oneself of food for spiritual reasons. If you do not fast you are depriving yourself of the reward. God cannot bless you if you do not meet the condition.

(Heb 11:6 NIV) And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Fasting is not dieting. Without proper care you are in danger of putting back all the weight you lost plus some. Fasting is not a hunger strike. You do not manipulate God to obtain what you want. Instead you humble yourself to seek God's face. Blessed are those who aim for nothing for they shall not be disappointed (!) For your fast to be successful you need to be quite clear in your mind as to why you are fasting. Keep a prayer diary to remember those things.

Here are several reasons as to why you should fast:

To humble yourself
(1 Cor 6:19-20 NIV) Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body.

(2 Chr 7:14 NIV) if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

(Psa 35:13b NIV) I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting.

(Mat 23:12 NIV) For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

To come closer to God
(James 4:8a NIV) Come near to God and he will come near to you.

To understand God's Word
(Isa 58:8a NIV) Then your light will break forth like the dawn

To find God's will and receive direction
(Ezra 8:21 NIV) There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions.

To seek healing or deliverance
(Isa 58:8b NIV) your healing will quickly appear
(Mat 17:21 NKJV) However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.

To get God's intervention in some particular crisis
(2 Chr 20:2-3 NIV) Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, "A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Sea. It is already in Hazazon Tamar" (that is, En Gedi). Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the LORD, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah.

(2 Chr 20:17-18 NIV) You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.'" Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD.

To make intercession of behalf of someone else (unsaved loved one) or to appoint someone in authority
(Acts 13:2 NIV) While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."

(Acts 14:23 NIV) Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.

Practical tips for fasting

Don't go on a week long fast if you have never done it before. You may want to start by just skipping the evening meal. If you drink coffee you will have severe headaches. Stop the caffeine one day before you start the fast. You stomach will contract. Do not end a fast with pastry or anything greasy, fat or heavy. You may block your intestines! Instead use salad, fruit, green vegetables, a tin of warmed peeled tomatoes, etc...

The first day of the fast you may face an attack of many symptoms. After that your body hits ketosis, where energy is now drawn from your fatty tissue and you are on a high. Even Eastern religions use it to get elated.

Never go without liquid. Use water, fruit juice, broth, soup, herbal tea, (not caffeine) etc...

Fasting is both our duty and privilege as Christians. Let us heed God's call to pray and fast, individually and corporately, trusting Him that He will fulfil His promise to reward those who diligently seek Him.


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