Not Being Drawn…

The New Zealand Herald ran an article yesterday entitled, “National MP won’t be drawn on Israel Folau debate”…

This came after the above-embedded interview of Alfred Ngaro by TVNZ’s Jack Tame on Q & A…

Scott Morrison, Australian Prime Minister and also Martin Iles, General Manager of the Australian Christian Lobby were also ‘put on the spot’ by Australian journalists asking the same ‘pointed’ question which Jack Tame was endeavouring to ‘draw’ Alfred Ngaro on…

What is the etymology of the word ‘drawn’?

Hanged, drawn & quartered

Quoting from the Wikipedia entry at the above link,

To be hanged, drawn and quartered was from 1352 a statutory penalty in England for men convicted of high treason, although the ritual was first recorded during the reign of King Henry III (1216–1272). A convicted traitor was fastened to a hurdle, or wooden panel, and drawn by horse to the place of execution, where he was then hanged (almost to the point of death), emasculateddisembowelledbeheaded, and quartered(chopped into four pieces). The traitor’s remains were often displayed in prominent places across the country, such as London Bridge. For reasons of public decency, women convicted of high treason were instead burned at the stake.

That is the underlying purpose of the journalists who have asked Scott Morrison, Martin Iles & Alfred Ngaro ‘that’ question…

What journalists who ask questions like that don’t understand is that in so doing they are weaponising their noble profession – which is meant to be to bring the truth to light in the public square – to incite the above-mentioned behaviour against those who hold differing views to their own in the public square – lynching in the court of public opinion…

How many journalists who behave this way believe that God created them (thus being their Designer who knows what’s best for them)?

How many journalists who behave this way believe that the scripture is the word of God (thus being God’s statement of authoritative, absolute and objective truth)?

How many journalists who behave this way believe that Jesus is the Word of God, God in human flesh, who lived, died and rose again so they could spend eternity with Him in the presence of His Love if they chose to believe in Him rather than eternity apart from Him in the presence of His wrath if they don’t want to give themselves to Him?

How many journalists who behave this way are genuinely interested in finding out more about the reality of the above truths, to search these matters out for themselves according to their noble profession until they find the truth and bring it to the public square?

If the journalists who have asked ‘that question’ (or will subsequently ask it) don’t believe in the above realities and are not seeking (with an open mind) to investigate the authenticity of them then why should we who know these realities and understand them experientially as the truth be beholden to their ‘weaponised’ line of questioning?

They have become a false authority…

Why do they believe they have the ‘upper hand’ and why do they endeavour (as if by right) to put us (who know these truths) ‘on the defensive’?

Shouldn’t it be our aspiration (if we are journalists) to champion freedom of expression and freedom of speech along with freedom of the press?

TVNZ, for example, is owned by the New Zealand Government and funded from the tax collected by the New Zealand Government from all the people of New Zealand – including those of us who know and believe the above truths…

What right do ‘weaponised’ journalists have to ‘sit in judgement’ on those of us who know and understand these truths when it is our tax dollars which are paying their salaries?

That doesn’t appear fair or just…

Father, in Jesus Name, I forgive all journalists everywhere who by their line of questioning and statements expose their bias (i.e. that they don’t report or support the truth but instead endeavour to ‘shut the mouths’ of those who speak the truth and suppress the truth from ‘public exposure’) and I pray that You would lead them to a knowledge of the truth in their own lives which would lead them (in love) to share that truth which they have now experienced ‘first hand’ with all those around them (lead them to repentance Lord)… 🙂

If there are any journalists out there presently who are genuinely curious as to what the answer to ‘that question’ might be, I have endeavoured to provide an answer below from scripture (in my usual long-winded way which wouldn’t fit into a ‘sound bite’ in a live interview)… 🙂

I believe the answer comes in an understanding of what being ‘born again’ really means…

Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” (John 3:1-21 NASB)

Adam and Eve were created by God in His image, they were perfect and they had the right to choose whether they would obey God or disobey Him (i.e. decide that they knew better than God what was good for them and that they’d look after themselves)…

God warned them that on the day they decided to go their own way they would surely die (meaning that they would die on the inside and no longer have that choice between doing what was right and what was wrong) – that from then on they would only be able to do wrong…

Thus everyone born from Adam and Eve onwards (after they sinned) has been born ‘in sin’ (unable from their hearts to trust God and submit to Him in their lives, i.e. their hearts are spiritually dead towards God), God visits the sins of the fathers onto the children to the third and fourth generation…

When someone is ‘born again’ God gives them a new heart, a new spirit and a new soul which is made in His image (again like Adam and Eve were originally given) and alive towards God so that they can believe in Him and accept His Righteous Sacrifice of His Life in Jesus on the cross in their place to fully forgive and pardon them for all their sin…

That ‘born again’ person still has a lot of ‘sin within them’ (because it’s been practised for so long and for so many generations through their forebears and through themselves so the ‘born again’ part of the person never sins, it can’t sin and doesn’t want to sin and doesn’t sin – and that is what God views as them – and that is where the Holy Spirit of God lives within them…

On the other hand ‘sin within them’ continues to sin, so for example, a ‘born again’ person may still be committing (although their ‘born again’ real self doesn’t commit it, doesn’t agree with it, doesn’t like it and isn’t involved with it) any number of sins…

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:18-32 NASB)

As the above scripture makes clear, homosexuality is one of those sins…

If someone has decided not to believe in Jesus (noting that scripture tells us that believing in Jesus’ Righteousness inputted to us is what makes us righteous in His sight), not to ask Jesus to save them from their sin, not to believe that they are sinners but instead has decided to live in homosexuality (for example – we could use any sin there) all their lives and they die in that place then scripture clearly tells us that they will not inherit the kingdom of God…

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NASB)

Which is the scripture Israel Folau paraphrased in his short Instagram post which Rugby Australia subsequently fired him for…

And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:10-15 NASB)

So in summary, the sin which separates us from God for eternity in the lake of fire and brimstone is the sin of not believing in Jesus as our Substitute and not giving ourselves to Jesus to be our Lord and offering ourselves to Him to live through us enabling us to more and more and more live His way..

If we have done this, i.e. believed in Jesus, then we have been washed, sanctified and justified in Jesus’ name and God doesn’t see the ‘sin within us’ (which it might take a long time for Him to completely remove from us) but instead views us as perfect, accepted and blameless in His sight…

People’s lives who have never given themselves to Jesus will resemble 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 in their hearts all the time (from God’s perspective – who knows the heart), people’s lives who have given themselves to Jesus will resemble 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 less and less and less in their hearts from God’s perspective as they more and more and more live from their hearts the life of Jesus full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness and self-control…

This is why Israel Folau was compelled to warn us and he did so in love… 🙂

“Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31 NASB)

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For such a time as this – An open letter to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison…

Hi Scott,

I write this open letter to you (based on this article from a few years back where you identified yourself as “an Evangelical Protestant”) as a fellow believer in Jesus (i.e. as my brother in Christ).

As “an Evangelical Protestant” you would have had (as I did) at some point in your life that ‘born again’ experience where you realized that you were a sinner, that there was nothing you could do to save yourself from your sin and the eternal consequences of your sin and where you asked Jesus based on His Blood shed for you on the cross to forgive you for all your sins and take over your life, giving your life to Him, as Lord, to do whatever He wanted with your life for the rest of your life.

You, like me, would also have had that moment where you realised that the scriptures were your rule for what God has expressed as objective truth for our lives as believers in Jesus.

Esther in scripture was chosen to be the new wife of Persian king Ahasuerus (the then most powerful man in the world) because of her beauty (even though she chose not to make known to Ahasuerus her Jewish ethnicity before he made this choice) but shortly after being made queen when a plot was revealed by Haman to endeavour to obliterate the Jewish people (who were living dispersed in Persia at the time) she bravely risked her life to go before the king by way of appeal, to plead for the life of her people.

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14 NASB)

Upon your recent election victory, you said, “I have always believed in miracles”. I believe that God’s purpose for you in being appointed as the Prime Minister of Australia is, “for such a time as this”.

You have been given the opportunity to establish freedom of speech and freedom of worship in Australia. I have spoken about what that might look like in this article and also this article.

You are Esther, Israel Folau is Mordecai, each and every one of your brothers and sisters in Christ are the Jewish people, those who oppose freedom of speech and freedom of worship in Australia are Haman and the Australian Government is Ahasuerus.

When Haman saw that Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage to him, Haman was filled with rage. (Esther 3:5 NASB)

You have been given your platform by God to protect the freedom of speech and freedom of worship of all Australians, to give to the Jewish people the right to defend themselves against the attack of Haman who received from Ahasuerus before Esther intervened a legal extermination order on their entire race, as is manifest in Australia today.

“Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:16 NASB)

This is your call, this is why you have been placed in office. Fulfil your call, protect the freedom of speech and freedom of worship of all Australians. Towards this end, the Lord will be with you.

Love,

Andrew

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Corporate Virtue Signalling…

As I’ve been following what is going on in Australia with respect to the way Israel & Maria Folau are being treated presently it has become apparent to me that it is not just Rugby Australia and elements of the Australian Media who appear to be treating Israel & Maria in an unfair and unjust manner but also some of the corporations which sponsor the sports (Rugby Union & Netball respectively) they have been involved with have been sending strong ‘virtue signalling’ messages towards this talented sporting couple…

Qantas, ASICS, ANZ, Mazda & Health Insurance Company HCF are the five that I’m presently aware of…

As I’ve shared in previous posts on this blog I’m all for freedom of speech and freedom of worship…

I’m not out there physically trying to shut any of us up about what we believe in or trying to stop any of us worshipping whatever it is that we are worshipping as I believe that is our God-given right of free choice…

That is our dignity given to us by God – to ignore Him and His ways if that is what we so choose to do in this life…

Or to seek Him and His ways if that is what we so choose to do in this life…

And whatever we decide, to be treated respectfully (as taught and enabled by the Lord) by those of us who have already been brought to know the Lord and are being made more like Him in our actions by His Holy Spirit…

Even if the companies which I own (or will own) were to ever be in a strong financial position – which I believe will occur one day Lord willing – I do not believe (before the Lord) that it would be right for me to use my then position of financial power to threaten those who work for the companies which I own (or those who work for other companies or organisations which I sponsor)  to believe what I believe or worship the way I worship ‘or else’…

I believe that would be wrong (I believe sponsorship should be freely given if given at all with ‘no strings attached’)…

Apart from the decision which I have made before God that I (as the owner of these companies) will only approach and (if they’re keen) appoint people to our companies Board of Directors to serve as Directors who I believe (a) are believers in Jesus, (b) are surrendered to Jesus and scripture (as per my recent blog posts on this site), (c) are willing to allow Him to do whatever He wants through them as Directors and (d) resonate with our vision and values, we don’t have any stipulation and won’t have any stipulation on any of our employees (from ‘cleaner to CEO’) as to what we can or cannot believe – there is (and will be) full career progression available in our companies (again) from ‘cleaner to CEO’ no matter what we believe or how (and whom) we do or do not choose to worship…

We (again from ‘cleaner to CEO’) will all come to work (as described above), fulfil our unique responsibilities (hopefully having a happy time doing it), be accepted for who we are personally (whatever that might be), have all our work-related ideas listened to, valued and considered (and relayed to the Board of Directors and owner accordingly by the CEO) and go home again and do whatever we want to outside of work time and then come back the next working day and do it all again…

I believe there is a separation between work and personal life…

Between work – where we all come together to further the stated vision and values of our respective companies – and our private lives (or beliefs)…

Why should any of our personal or private lives (apart from being genuinely arrested and truly found guilty of some real wrongdoing which results in any of us going to prison so we can’t come into work) have anything to do with our ability to perform our job?

Obviously, if one of us was hit by a bus and killed or had all our bones broken and ended up in a traction machine at the hospital this would also stop us completing our job…

But why would any of our personal Instagram posting, for example, done under our own name and not under the name of our employer (as is the case with the Folaus) have anything to do with our employment?

It should not…

I always believed (maybe naively) that it was fair and just for the best players in a nation to be selected for the national sports teams of that nation (and I genuinely believed that was what happened)…

I always thought that sport was the great equalizer where the upper, middle and lower classes would all be represented on a level playing field based on sporting ability and that for team sports no matter what the individual personal backgrounds or beliefs of the team members we all had to ‘buckle down’ and get on with each other – accept each other and work together in training and on the field – for the sake of the team…

This would involve a zero tolerance for bullying in the team, meaning that if any of us as a team member spoke personally against another one of our team members putting our team members’ playing ability down and stating that we were not willing to play with our team member any more for reasons relating to our team members’ personal beliefs that we would of necessity need to be removed from the team environment (until we sorted through our attitude problem) as that activity and behaviour goes against team bonding and the development of team culture…

I believe it’s exactly the same (and should be exactly the same) in the companies that I own (or will own)…

We should (aspirationally) all be working together towards a common vision using our common values for the good of the company (with no condemnation as per our values) no matter if we believe different things in our personal lives and irrespective of how we share these beliefs publically in our personal lives…

This has not happened in the Wallabies…

It appears that the Wallabies – barring a miracle – will be going to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan without their best player…

This choice has not been made because their best player isn’t a team player or that he has personally spoken against any other team members’ ability to fulfil their position in the team or because he is a ‘diva’ who refuses to play with any other team member because of some personal view that they hold and have expressed publically in their own private time…

Rugby Australia has chosen not to pick the Australian Rugby Team based on sporting ability but instead based on a willingness for the players chosen not to share their own personal beliefs publically when they differ from those ‘personal beliefs’ which Rugby Australia have chosen to share publically on behalf of all those players (whether those players share those views or not)…

So the selection process for the Wallabies is no longer fair or just…

It is no longer based on rugby playing ability…

It is based on toeing the party line…

Conformity to the party position…

Conform, or no paycheque…

Conform, or no selection…

Having seen the ease with which Rugby Australia (with the ‘support’ of Qantas and ASICS) completed the removal of Israel Folau from the Wallabies, Netball South Australia, Netball Australia (and even Netball New Zealand) have now been ‘approached’ by ANZ, Mazda and HCF and told their views of Maria Folau in no uncertain terms…

Why would they do this?

Surely their ‘virtue signalling’ views are available on their websites for everyone to see?

Surely they didn’t need to tell Netball South Australia, Netball Australia (and Netball New Zealand) of their ‘virtue signalling’ views with specific reference to Maria Folau?  Surely Netball South Australia, Netball Australia (and Netball New Zealand) would have completed ‘due diligence’ on ANZ, Mazda and HCF before agreeing to receive their sponsorship so they would be fully aware of their ‘virtue signalling’ views?

So why ‘remind them’ so pointedly when Maria Folau reshared a post her husband made on Instagram with no comment?

Was that a threat from ANZ, Mazda and HCF?  What did they hope to achieve by that action?  It appears obvious to me that just like Qantas and ASICS, ANZ, Mazda and HCF were using their ‘virtue signalling’ clout to let every athlete employed by Rugby Australia, Netball South Australia and Netball Australia respectively know that they (as the sponsors) ‘call the shots’ (not Rugby Australia, not Netball South Australia and not Netball Australia), that they believe their sponsorship dollar has given them ‘leverage’ over Rugby Australia, Netball South Australia and Netball Australia and that they now believe (on this basis) that they ‘own’ Rugby Australia, Netball South Australia and Netball Australia (i.e. ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch’)…

I do not believe that any corporation should ‘wield’ that kind of power (albeit second hand or indirect power – as none of the athletes who work for Rugby Australia, Netball South Australia or Netball Australia signed up to Qantas’ or ASICS’ or ANZ’s or Mazda’s or HCF’s vision or values) over their employees…

This kind of abuse of power is exactly the same kind of power which Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Lenin and Mao Tse Tung exercised over the people of their nations as government leaders – conform or suffer and perish…

This is a very Anti-Christ perspective…

As I have said before – Jesus is not a controlling person…

He is a realist…

He speaks the truth in love…

He tells us what we need to hear not what we want to hear (even when it offends us)…

He tells us what He knows is best for us (even if He knows we won’t like it and will reject it)…

And then after we reject what He tells us ultimately, He honours our ultimate rejection of Him in this life (He gives us over to what we really want to do)…

He is saddened by our decision but He honours it and He never forces us to do anything that we don’t want to do…

He never forces us to do anything against the desires of our own heart…

He has the ultimate authority to be ‘virtue signalling’ – He controls whether we breathe or whether we don’t – whether our hearts beat or whether they don’t – He owns everything – He keeps the world spinning on its axis and in its orbit around the sun at just the right distance for our little planet not to burn to a crisp…

And yet – as I’ve said before – He doesn’t use that right to force obedience to His vision and values, instead, He lets us (His subjects) do whatever we like in this life ‘under the sun’ hoping that we will see His goodness and repent and turn to Him so we can get to know Him now (in this life) and live with Him forever…

He warns us that the lake of fire and brimstone await all of us who choose not to believe in Jesus to forgive us from our sin – because sin is not trusting God and instead deciding to be the boss of our own lives – thinking we know better than God what is good for us and deciding to ‘go after’ or ‘grab’ that for ourselves…

He doesn’t threaten us with this – He just tells us – it is a reality…

He doesn’t want us to end up there but we will if we don’t turn to Him in repentance…

He doesn’t expect us to ‘try harder’ or ‘try to improve ourselves’ or ‘try to repress our desires or urges’ – He just asks us to admit that we turned away from trusting Him to look after us (in Adam and Eve) and decided instead that we knew better than Him how to look after ourselves and we’d sort out our own happiness from now on ‘thank you very much’…

So, if I compare Qantas, ASICS, ANZ, Mazda and HCF with Jesus I see that Jesus has an infinite amount more authority than any of these corporations and also an infinite amount more credibility to be ‘morally indignant’ than they do – and yet He doesn’t use it…

He, Jesus, is our example in all things…

When the companies I own are blessed (Lord willing) by the Lord to ‘increase’ and have financial ‘clout’ and ‘power’ I pray (Lord make this the reality) that my decision will be to continue to give these companies back to You Lord – as You are the Owner (with a capital O) of them and let You do whatever You want with them (they are Yours)…

Those of us who choose to work for those companies at all levels (barring Board of Director and owner level) can do so believing exactly what we want to and expressing this however we want to in our private time publically on social media and worship whoever and whatever we so desire in our private time publically and on social media if we so choose…

Father, in Jesus Name, I pray that Your Character would be replicated in our region (the Great Southland of the Holy Spirit and the Pacific Ring of Fire) and that all of us who know You will give to all of us who don’t the freedom in our region to speak and worship in our own private time however we would so desire – I pray Father that none of us who know You who own companies would use our companies as weapons of control to try and ‘moralize’ or ‘conform’ any of us as employees in these areas…

Father, in Jesus Name, I forgive Qantas, ASICS, ANZ, Mazda & HCF for bullying Israel & Maria Folau, I choose on behalf of those of us who know (and are coming to know) You to hold no malice towards Qantas, ASICS, ANZ, Mazda & HCF in our hearts but to listen to You (personally and individually) as to how You would want us to relate to these corporations (following the peace You give us) and all like them who use this ‘virtue signalling’ approach, we forgive them Lord and ask that You would bless all the employees, Directors and owners of Qantas, ASICS, ANZ, Mazda & HCF with a knowledge of Your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, that they would come to know You and hand their corporations over to You as the Owner (with a capital O) of their corporations so that their corporations could be used in our region for Your Glory, in Jesus Name I pray…

I pray Father, that none of us who know You and work in government of any sort would try and ‘moralize’ and create laws which force us as the people of our nations to do or not do anything – as forcing us as the people of our nations to do things against our will (i.e. to speak or not to speak, stipulating what we can and cannot say and how we can or cannot say it or to worship or not to worship, again stipulating how we can or cannot worship) doesn’t bring us closer to You (because its not in Your Character)…

I pray Father that we who believe in You would honour what You said Jesus that Your Holy Spirit will convict the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgement…

Not ‘virtue signalling’ (by corporations) or ‘laws’ (by government at whatever level) which try to force an outward ‘morality’, but Your Holy Spirit personally speaking to the heart (either directly or through those of us who know You who find ourselves submitted to Your Holy Spirit at any point in time and Him speaking through us), so that the world, i.e. all of us who don’t know You as our Redeemer, our Saviour, our Lord, would come to know You in our region and that our whole region would be saved in freedom, in freedom of choice, in Jesus Name, that we might speak of You boldly, publically and lovingly and worship You freely – all without fear and persecution – in our region under an open heaven…

I pray in the Name of the Father, and of the Son – Jesus Christ – and of the Holy Spirit – who is our Counsellor in everything, so let it be, Amen… 🙂

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All Scripture…

All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training which is in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NASB)

…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:17b NASB)

There’s a statement I heard when I was younger, “nailing your colours to the mast”…

What it means (nautical origins of the phrase found here) is to clearly make your intentions known to others around you (so they can respond accordingly) and that you will fight for those intentions to the death…

In this vein, I would like to “nail my colours to the mast” in this post with respect to my un-dying aspiration to be surrendered to scripture under the interpretation of the Holy Spirit for the remainder of my time on earth before Jesus returns to reign…

Jesus is God, Jesus is the Word of God, we are told as believers in Jesus to “let the Word of God dwell in us richly”…

If we as believers are surrendered to Jesus then the proof of this is that we are surrendered to the scriptures which Jesus breathed…

for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (2 Peter 1:21 NASB)

…worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10b)

Jesus claimed that He was the Truth, He also stated the below…

“Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. (John 17:17 NASB)

and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:32 NASB)

When the Holy Spirit brings revelation to our new (born again) spirit of the truth of the scripture this is the Holy Spirit carrying the Sword of the Spirit and dividing to the very depths of our beings…

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. (Hebrews 4:12-13 NASB)

Jesus Himself is the Word of God, He breathed out the scripture through human writers and when the Holy Spirit wields that Sword and His truth is revealed to a born again spirit, that born again spirit is changed into the likeness of Jesus…

Each time He speaks in this way we are changed and we are never the same again…

I believe the old and new testament scriptures as delivered by the Lord in their original languages of Hebrew and Greek respectively – sixty-six books – constitute ‘All scripture’…

They are the benchmark for truth – if any other source claims to be speaking the truth but is not in agreement with ‘All scripture’ then that ‘other source’ is not speaking from or for Jesus who is the Word of God…

It is impossible to be surrendered to Jesus without also being surrendered to His word…

I am not saying that those of us who are surrendered to Jesus need to be perfectly practising His word before we make the statement that we are surrendered to Jesus – I’ve covered this in the preceding article – but for us to be surrendered to Jesus that will indeed be our stated aspiration – to practise what the word of God says that we as believers in Jesus are to be…

The whole of scripture paints a complete – or as complete as we need in this epoch of human history – picture of who God is, who we are without God, who we are with God and how our lives and our futures are all wrapped up in our decisions as to whether we want to know God or whether we don’t (the decision we make on this issue in the time between when we are born and when we finally die will affect where we spend eternity)…

So, for me, I’m making my public statement, I’m spelling it out…

I have surrendered myself to God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit and also surrendered myself to His word – the scripture – the sixty-six books in their original languages which we have in what is now commonly called the Holy Bible…

I do not presently perfectly practice the truth within the scriptures but I have surrendered myself to the Holy Spirit to guide me into all truth, to place truth in my innermost being and to enable me to practice truth for the remainder of my life…

As He reveals this truth to me, more and more and more, through His scriptures I will be transformed into His image by the renewal of my mind…

in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.  (Hebrews 1:2-3 NASB)

God the Father made the world through Jesus, Jesus upholds all things by the word of His power…

So when Jesus speaks, as He does, right throughout scripture from Genesis to Revelation, all the stories He tells, all the descriptions of human history He gives, all the insights, all of it is an expression of the truth…

He is depicting for us reality as viewed through various different eyes so that we can get a picture of what things are (or look like) from His (the world and our Creator’s) perspective, i.e. what is the truth (as He is the Definition of The Truth)…

When God in scripture specifically tells us not to do certain things (even if we do not understand why) we can be sure that He is telling us this because doing these things are not good for us…

They harm us and He invites us to dialogue with Him to find out why…

Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah. (Psalm 62:8 NASB)

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 NASB)

He will speak to us through His Holy Spirit who lives within us as believers in Jesus and His Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth through the scriptures…

If any of us say we believe in Jesus but also say that we do not believe that the scripture is the truth then our confession is incompatible (these two statements can’t coexist together) because we can’t separate Jesus from the scripture…

He wrote the scripture, He wrote it so that – along with His physical life on earth – we could know Him – the whole book is about Jesus – Jesus is hidden in every page of the scripture – He is hidden everywhere and the Holy Spirit reveals Him to us as He leads us into all truth…

So I believe in Jesus and I believe in the scripture, Jesus and the scripture are true because Jesus wrote the book, I don’t understand everything about God but I know that His word is truth and this is what I want to practise for the rest of my life on earth as He enables me in greater and greater and greater measures, come what may…

Amen? 🙂

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Is it ‘hypocritical’ not to ‘practise what we preach’?

I’ve been alive for a while now (nearly 48 years) and I’ve seen a lot of people who believe things deeply keep their mouths shut about what they believe because they’re afraid of people accusing them of (or viewing them as) being ‘hypocritical’ as their own lives don’t (or they’re scared at some point in time won’t) measure up to what they believe on the inside…

To say that we believe in something, do we first need to be perfectly living that truth?

There are different scenarios with respect to our knowledge of the truth…

  1. We don’t know what’s right, don’t have the desire to do what’s right and don’t have the ability to do what’s right
  2. We know what’s right, don’t have the desire to do what’s right and don’t have the ability to do what’s right
  3. We know what’s right, have the desire to do what’s right but don’t have the ability to do what’s right
  4. We know what’s right, have the desire to do what’s right and have the ability to do what’s right

If we find ourselves in either scenario 1 or 2 above then most likely we won’t find ourselves wanting to share the truth with anyone…

Were we (being in scenario 1 or scenario 2) to share things which we didn’t know to be right as truth (i.e. lying) or did know to be right but didn’t have the desire to do as truth but stated them as if we did have the desire to do them or were already practising them (i.e. lying) then that would be hypocritical…

If however, we find ourselves in scenario 3 (i.e. Romans 7) then it is highly likely that we will want to be sharing the truth with others – as we know it’s the truth (and thus know it’s good for us and others) – but we may find ourselves ‘held back’ by the above belief that somehow it is ‘hypocritical’ for us to share what we believe due to us not now or maybe not later being able to perfectly practice that truth in our own lives…

If we find ourselves in scenario 4 then we would be very likely to be sharing the truth that we know and experience but maybe find ourselves being concerned that other people will think that we think that we’re better than them (there’s also a definite temptation to pride if we believe we’re walking perfectly in scenario 4 on any issue)…

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. (1 Corinthians 10:4 NASB)

It’s really scenario 3 that I want to focus on in this blog post…

This is where the majority of us who are followers of Jesus find ourselves (or somewhere oscillating between scenario 3 and scenario 4 in different areas of our lives – which I endeavour to elaborate on later)…

Sometimes it’s not just in sharing what we believe that we feel ‘handbraked’ but also in praying about certain issues we feel ‘handbraked’, i.e. why would God listen to me about this prayer when I’m not perfectly living His truth in this area?

I’ve been thinking about this blog post for about a week now in the back of my mind and personally would like to share that I live the vast majority of my life in scenario 3 with the remainder of my life spent oscillating between scenario 3 & scenario 4…

The Lord has shown me what He’s shown me in terms of the truth – objective truth about the way life is generally and also specific truth about what He has planned for me to do while I’m here on planet earth – I’m sure He hasn’t told me everything He’s going to tell me and I’m sure that what He’s told me so far is just a portion of what He will tell me over my entire life…

OK, so I’ve got this deposit of truth – however full the ‘carafe of water’ of my life (using this as an analogy) is presently in His eyes – in terms of what’s He’s revealed to me personally as being the truth…

Not that’s it’s ‘my personal truth’ as ‘truth is truth’ and is objective but it’s my portion of the whole of His truth (overall) and it’s my present portion of the hopefully larger portion of the whole of His truth that He’ll reveal to me (which is a subset of His overall truth) while on planet earth…

Anyway, of this portion of truth that I know now I’d say that I presently only repetitively practice (freely from a pure heart) under half of this in my daily life…

What I’m saying is that there is a huge gap (or lag) between what I know to be true in my heart (and want to do) and what I actually ‘day after day’ consistently, situation by situation (no matter the circumstances), reproduce, live out (or do) in my life…

Does this make me, or anyone else who can relate to what I’ve just shared, a ‘hypocrite’ if we share what we know to be true as ‘aspirational’, i.e. where we know we should be and where we are desirous of being in reality, before we are actually able to repetitively walk in that truth?

I don’t believe it does…

I’m not telling myself that I must do these things, I’m not telling anyone else that they must do them either…

I’m not trying to threaten or intimidate myself or anyone else to do anything…

I’m not pretending that I am perfectly practising these things…

I’m also not expecting anyone else to be perfectly practising them…

I’m not looking down on myself or anyone else but have accepted that there is a gap (or lag) between what I know I want to be and what I presently am and I also know that only the Holy Spirit can continue to reveal truth to me and continue to enable me to practice truth – thus I’m believing that there will always be a gap (or lag) between these two positions in my experience even as I progress towards the Lord (thus I’ll always be experiencing scenario 3 in some areas of my life at any point in time even if I am intermittently experiencing parts of scenario 4 before the Lord shows me that there’s more to scenario 4 that I’m yet to experience thus heading me back to scenario 3)…

If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; (1 Corinthians 8:2 NASB)

Who would be the author of the voice or voices that would condemn us (or make us feel worthless or powerless) for being in scenario 3?

Would that be the Lord?  Would that be our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord (under the control of the Holy Spirit)?

I don’t believe so…

It would be the accuser of the brethren…

We overcome him by the Blood of the Lamb – speaking of our cleansed, forgiven and blameless status before the Father through our faith in the Blood of Jesus and the word of our testimony (and we don’t love our lives unto death)…

What is the word of our testimony?

That we believe in Jesus, that we believe such and such and such (which He has shown us through his word in the scriptures and through His Spirit who gives us revelation of the scriptures) to be the truth and also practically sharing about the areas where the Lord has moved us from scenario 1 to scenario 2 or from scenario 2 to scenario 3 or from scenario 3 to scenario 4 (although I don’t believe any of us ever really fully arrive permanently at scenario 4 as there are depths and depths upon depths of the perfection of Christ which I believe we are yet to have unfolded to us)…

All the above is the word of our testimony – our life’s story of God’s dealing with us to make us more and more and more like Jesus…

If none of us who believed in Jesus could speak the truth we know (in our hearts) until we were perfectly and constantly living it (with no gap or lag) in scenario 4 then I do not believe that the mission which Jesus left us on earth to complete would ever be completed…

How do we know as we share in scenario 3 what we know in our hearts (aspirationally) to be true with others whether the Lord will release to them the anointing to believe this, the desire to accomplish it and give them the ability to accomplish it?

I believe this is entirely possible – we share what we know in the hope that others will be benefitted from it and even more benefitted than we have been from it – that they will outgrow us in that sense – as what we want to see is more and more and more of the practice of truth through more and more and more believers in Jesus…

The more those of us who believe in Jesus practice the truth the more the rest of us whose practice of the truth is ‘lacking’ or ‘dormant’ in any certain area are likely to get ‘sparked’ by that grace exhibited through one of our brothers or sisters and be encouraged or empowered or stimulated towards going and doing likewise – ‘towards love and good deeds’ – as the scripture says…

Paul himself at the end of his life said that he hadn’t yet attained but that he was pressing on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of him…

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12 NASB)

Paul admitted that he wasn’t perfectly living in scenario 4…

And yet Paul wrote the majority of the new testament scripture telling us as believers in Jesus how to live…

Was Paul a hypocrite?

No, Paul had revelation given to him from the Lord – a whole lot of revelation – and shared that with us (in scripture) – and I genuinely believe that what Paul shared the Lord shared with us ‘aspirationally’ as believers so we’d know what it looked like to ‘fix our eyes on Jesus the Author and Perfector of our faith’ (i.e. to have Jesus living through us) – it was setting the ‘high bar’ (high jump analogy) of where He was taking us in our experience of Him living through us and making us more like Jesus…

What Jesus and Paul and others in scripture share with us who believe in Jesus is not condemning for those of us who believe in Jesus, it is encouraging – it is lifting our vision higher to see where He is taking us – we are already accepted in His Blood – there is nothing to prove – but we have however many years He has given to each of us on earth to get to know Him better – both in our spirits, in our souls (in our hearts) and in our bodies (out through our actions) – he is redeeming our complete inner beings and the crowning glory is that His truth is lived joyously and naturally out through our bodies in full sight of all other people (as appropriate) so they too can see His beauty… 🙂

In Jesus Name I set us all free – who know Jesus – to be who we are…

To speak out the truth which He has shown us (in accordance with His word in scripture)…

To speak out that we aspire to be like Him (Jesus)…

That we aspire to practise everything which He tells us to do in His word because He has told us in love and it is for our good to practise His truth…

I set us all free (me included) not to be afraid of what anyone thinks of us for speaking out and sharing the truth that we know (no matter how our performance of that truth pans out)…

I set us all free (me included) to accept ourselves in whatever stage of transition into the likeness of Jesus we find ourselves…

I set us all free (me included) from perfectionism which would focus on our performance rather than on the Person of Jesus living through us to be our source of pleasure in this life…

I set us all free (me included) to enjoy the freedom which He gives to each one of us in our spirit, in our soul and in our body to delight in and practise His truth and to be content in this (grateful for this) while pressing on for more as He releases it to us…

I set us all free (me included) to wait for Him to complete His work in us and to experience His pleasure in so doing…

I set us all free (me included) to live without fear of condemnation, punishment or persecution but to live in the love of God towards all humanity…

I set us all free (me included) to speak the truth in love and portray Jesus openly and honestly for who He is (irrespective of our behaviour)…

God, who while remaining fully God became a Divine Embryo transplanted into the womb of a human woman being born as a baby Man (without sin or without any contamination from the sin of His human mother being passed on to him) and who humbled Himself (a) to undergo Divine Amnesia (laying down His All-knowingness), (b) by laying down His All-powerfulness and (c) by laying down His Omni-presentness (being able to be everywhere at once)…

And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. (Luke 2:52 NASB)

“But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. (Mark 13:32 NASB)

One day He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing. (Luke 5:17 NASB)

“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. (John 16:7 NASB)

He did not, however, lay down His Godhood (the Character of God, I AM WHO I AM) and He, the Word, who was never created and has always existed as God took on the form of a Man being made in human likeness…

He, as God and as perfect Man, then laid down His life taking upon Himself the sins of the entire world on the cross where He bore the eternal wrath of God for sin – carrying it all as His own – in our place for three hours of human time…

God, the Father, accepted His sacrifice and atonement for sin and provided proof of the acceptance by raising Jesus from the dead – as ‘the wages of sin is death’ (and Jesus now again – after carrying our sin to completion – had no sin) – on the third day and received Him up to His Right Hand in heaven some 40 days later after Jesus appeared to some 500 believers in Jesus alive at one time after He rose from the dead…

Jesus left us who believe in Him with a commission to go everywhere in all the world telling everyone about what He did for them…

He said that we would see the nations believe in Him and be baptised and He told us to teach the nations to obey everything He commanded us to do…

Finally, He said that He would be with us in this pursuit until the end of the age and as He ascended up into heaven and was hidden by a cloud two angels spoke and promised us that we would see Him return in exactly the same way that He left…

He is who we wait for, He is who we willingly choose to serve while we wait (as He enables us)…

He is who we long to know…

He longs to know us… 🙂

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There’s a one-way ticket for evil in our region…

I was on my run today thinking about something (the protection and provision over us as believers in Jesus worldwide) I’d seen earlier on this morning when the Lord woke me up and I was singing, “Our Father…” (what’s traditionally known as the Lord’s Prayer) on the piano to a new tune for me that was just coming out of me and I saw again (on my run) the transparent dome of protection over our region – the Pacific Ring of Fire (including Australia) – and I saw on the outside of this dome, kind of like sitting on the dome (awaiting instructions) or hovering next to it (looking outward and ready for action), a large number of closely spaced angels in white, ready to refuse entry into the dome of any fallen angels (demons) who were trying to penetrate the dome and ready for any other assignment to which they would be assigned (those sitting waiting on the dome)…

The Lord reminded me that the elect angels form two-thirds of all the original angels He created and thus the fallen angels (demons) are outnumbered two to one…

Then I heard the words, “There’s a one-way ticket for evil in our region”…

I don’t know who spoke those words but they were spoken authoritatively and I knew that they were the truth…

It’s possible for evil to exit our region – and it will (the demonic entities will flee our region) – but it is not possible for evil to enter our region…

Love does not delight in evil and love will fill our region…

That is our destiny in the Lord from this point in time until He comes again to reign from Jerusalem…

Our region is and will be secure…

In this environment, we will grow in purity and perfection, living in the light as love covers a multitude of sins…

Thank You Jesus… 🙂

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“My Kingdom is not of this world”…

Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom belonged to this world, my servants would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But for now my kingdom is not from here.” (John 18:36 ISV)

There’s something very profound about what Jesus spoke to Pilate when He was on trial for His life…

What Jesus said to Pilate still applies to us as followers of Jesus today and will continue to do so until He catches us up to meet Him in the air before we return with Him to earth when His feet touch the Mount of Olives…

Right up until that moment when we meet Him in the air we are to ‘do business’ until He ‘comes back’…

“And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas and said to them, ‘Do business with this until I come back.’ (Luke 19:13 NASB)

What sort of ‘business’ are we to do with the gifts and talents which the Lord has given us?

Are we to lobby governments for what we would consider to be morally acceptable laws?

If that fails, are we to endeavour to get ourselves elected into governments so we can put what we consider to be morally acceptable laws in place for our nations?

If that fails, are we to physically overthrow governments by means of force majeure or coup to place ourselves in control of our nations so we can put in place what we consider to be morally acceptable laws?

Assuming that we were to succeed in any of the above approaches, what would we do when the people of our nations didn’t comply with the laws we’d put in place?

Would we impose fines on them, take away their jobs, confiscate their property, put them in prison, kill them?

Is this the sort of ‘business’ which Jesus was talking about?

A political business?

No, it was not…

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. (John 18:36a NASB)

So what exactly is it that Jesus does want us to be doing with the gifts and talents which He’s given us in this epoch of time?

But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20 NASB)

It seems pretty clear to me that our role is to make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that Jesus commanded the eleven disciples…

We have been given authority to do this and a promise that Jesus will be with us always in this endeavour until He comes again and ushers in His thousand-year reign on earth…

If Jesus didn’t want his servants to physically fight to keep Him alive (think of how He told Peter to put away his sword) how much less would He want us, as His servants now, to physically fight to endeavour to force some sort of moralism (or legislated morality) over our societies or to physically fight to force the members of our societies to ‘believe in Jesus or die’…

This approach is just plain wrong in light of Jesus’ clear words…

Yes, there is a time coming, when Jesus returns to earth to reign from the throne of His father David for a thousand years – which He hints at in John 18:36b where He says, “But for now My kingdom is not from here” – when things will be very different…

That time, however, is not now…

So, as followers of Jesus in this present age, what should we be focusing our efforts on?

Encouraging free-will heart change in all people, holding out the opportunity for all people to turn freely and willingly to Jesus by sharing the truth and grace of Jesus in love with all people and also by sharing our testimonies of how Jesus has changed our lives and is still, in His grace, changing our lives…

How do we affect change in our own lives?  By having our hearts affected by an understanding of the truth and grace of Jesus and touched by God to turn the desires of our hearts freely and willingly towards wanting to do what He has told us is best for us to do (trusting Him that He knows best for our lives)…

How do we affect change in society?

By sharing what God has done in our lives and encouraging everyone that He can and will – if they want Him to – do this in their lives also…

This involves each and every one of us who knows Jesus surrendering to Jesus, giving up being moralistic ‘try-hards’ and giving up on our efforts of ‘self-improvement’ and allowing His Holy Spirit to do His work in us in His time…

To live honestly in this way before all those around us so they see that we’re real, we’re not perfect, we’re not ‘better than them’ but naturally and joyfully God is doing things in our hearts to turn our hearts, more and more and more towards Him and towards His ways…

As they see our maturing and ongoing relationship with Jesus they taste and see vicariously that He is good and the kindness of God through us leads them to repentance, a.k.a. to come to know Jesus, a.k.a. to submit themselves to Jesus and allow Him to take over in their lives, laying down their lives and dying that Jesus can live His life through them…

There are those of us who believe in Jesus whose ‘day jobs’ involve working in government, God calls us as His people into all different professions and all different work environments but in whichever environment we find ourselves our role is as explained above, one that is focused on bringing as many people as possible into a heart relationship with Jesus because this is the only thing that saves and this is the only thing that preserves (like salt) our nations…

In the spiritual plane, there are prophets and prophetic intercessors who have a call, as Jeremiah did, to their nations…

The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” “Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:4-10 NIV)

These ones could also be called watchmen or gatekeepers…

What this involves, in the spirit, is the casting down of every spiritual authority and power which raises itself up in our nations against the knowledge of Christ…

We, those of us thus called, have a mandate from God, to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow and also to build and to plant in the spiritual atmosphere’s of our nations an environment of peace which facilitates the sharing and expression of the good news about Jesus to all in our nations…

We have authority as specifically led by the Holy Spirit to remove the demonic principalities and powers from the spiritual environments over our nations and regions as we are given this authority by the Lord…

This opens the way for things to change, flourish and grow in the natural plane in our nations…

The prophet and prophetic intercessor – along with the apostle I believe – has an authority to build and to plant into their sphere of influence, under the jurisdiction that God has given to each one – what they release will come into being in time in the natural in their sphere of influence…

All this is done in the spirit, God works all this out ‘behind the scenes’ – no one in the natural plane is forced or coerced to change – as that wouldn’t be heart change, i.e. wouldn’t affect any change in any of our hearts – no government ‘strong-arming’ is required – however over time there will be changes in the way our societies operate as a result of these prayers and proclamations…

Why will there be changes in society?

Because every time in history where God has moved on His people to focus on helping others to come to know Jesus in truth, the society in which those people lived was also changed as a result of that focus…

The changes in society were an after-effect of the changes that had occurred in the members of those societies’ or communities’ hearts – a natural and free-will outcome, they just didn’t want to do certain things anymore…

Any authority structure which presently exists, we are told in Romans 13, presently exists because the Lord has set it in place…

This doesn’t mean that He’ll not remove it at some point if this is His will, as He lifts up and He casts down…

Nebuchadnezzar learnt this in Daniel 4…

“This sentence is by the decree of the angelic watchers And the decision is a command of the holy ones, In order that the living may know That the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, And bestows it on whom He wishes And sets over it the lowliest of men.” (Daniel 4:17 NASB)

We, thus, shouldn’t be surprised if the Lord chooses to rearrange those who hold the highest positions of authority in any of the authority structures which He chooses to remain in place from here on out until He comes again…

Again, even if some of us (who know the Lord) find ourselves as the Prime Ministers or Presidents of our nations – we are only servants of Jesus in that role and Jesus has very clearly told us not to politicize our mandate but to encourage freedom for all who know Jesus to share Jesus through their life and testimony with all those who are yet to come to know Jesus while giving those who do not yet know Jesus every freedom to reject giving their lives to Jesus and every freedom not be penalized, via any government ‘pressure’, for making that decision…

Our roles, those of us who know the Lord, as Prime Ministers and Presidents of our nations, is to ensure free-will is honoured for all members of our societies, which includes freedom of speech and freedom of religion for all, including ourselves…

We pray, as Paul tells us:

for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. (1 Timothy 2:2 NASB)

We pray that those in authority would govern our nations in such a way so that every believer in Jesus would have the freedom to live this way so that the sharing of the good news about Jesus can continue unhindered…

If there are those presently in positions of authority who are not acting in a way which enables what Paul instructs us to pray for then we are to ask the Lord to show them His truth and grace so they could have a change of heart, if it becomes clear that those ones do not want to have a change of heart then I believe our role, in line with Daniel 4:17, is to pray that the Lord would remove them from this position of authority and place someone in that position who He knows will enable those of us who believe in Him to live the way Paul instructs us to…

Jesus, after all, is the Ruler of the kings of the earth…

and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. (Revelation 1:5a NASB)

He has this right, He was the lowliest of men…

With respect to those in our society who knowingly choose not to believe in Jesus they should not be punished at all for this decision in this lifetime – they should enjoy freedom of speech and freedom of religion in our nations – this is what Jesus instructed us to do (emphasis mine) in the scripture below…

Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. “But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. “But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. “The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ “And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ “But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. ‘Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’” (Matthew 13:24-30 NASB)

So is the Lord calling those of us who know and follow Jesus into political activism or political lobbying?

I don’t believe so…

If He calls us into positions of authority in society (as our ‘day job’) I believe He does so to put forward (without any force or pressure) Jesus’ truth and grace to those who don’t yet know the Lord who are also in positions of authority in the hope that we all (in those positions of authority) will freely choose (in unity) to agree with God’s will for our nations – (a) to protect the peace and tranquility of those who know Jesus in our nations so that we can humbly and joyfully share Jesus and His free gift of eternal life and rescue from eternal death to all those who do not yet know Him in our nations and (b) to protect the free-will (freedom of speech and freedom of religion) of all in our nations (without vilification, ostracism or punishment)… 🙂

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To Israel Folau – I am standing with you in prayer brother…

Hi Israel, I’ve been following what’s been going on recently with great interest and the Lord has placed you on my heart to stand with you and support you in prayer…

I’ve read your article, Israel Folau – I’m a sinner too and hear your heart in your article and know in my heart that you belong to the Lord and are my brother in Christ…

In my article, Is Jesus a Bigot? and the articles referred to within that article I enunciate what I believe is important for us as believers in Jesus – to be both pro-grace and pro-truth at the same time – which I believe Jesus was, and from reading your article on Player’s Voice above, I believe that is what you’re endeavouring to do also…

I would like to encourage you that as the Apostles said,

“Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19b-20 NASB)

And as Peter the Apostle said,

Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATIONAND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; (1 Peter 3:13-18 NASB)

I’ve been praying for you that the Lord would give you peace, would give you wisdom and that no matter what happens you will keep your peace and your wisdom and that the Lord will direct you in the path which He has for you…

I would encourage you to forgive everyone who is speaking evil against you – from your heart – as this will protect your heart…

Remember, any authority which is set against you only has power over you as is given to it from above, as Jesus said to Pilate,

Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” (John 19:11 NASB)

Also, remember what the Apostle Paul did when he was falsely put into prison,

But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.” The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. (Acts 16:37-39 NASB)

And finally, from the Apostle Paul, remember that,

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:26-39 NASB)

I believe that everyone has the God-given right to do whatever they want to under the sun (good or bad) – I don’t think any of us should try and ‘legislate morality’ or ‘bully anyone into change’ – but that doesn’t mean that we’re not all responsible for what we choose to do under the sun (good or bad) in light of eternity…

From reading your article above, I believe you believe this too…

I would encourage you to continue to speak as the Holy Spirit leads you, from the peace He gives you in your heart and remember that those speaking against you are not your enemies, they are the ones for whom Christ died, it is the entities which have been controlling them which are resisting the grace and the truth in you because they see that combination as a powerful threat to their continued presence in our region…

What is happening to you is more than just about you, it is about our region and what the Holy Spirit is doing in our region to turn our region to Jesus…

Be strong and keep surrendering yourself to the Lord, keep up your physical training also, don’t lose heart, be encouraged, don’t rush to speak but when the Holy Spirit gives you a peace to speak, then speak and know that as we acknowledge the Lord, He will make straight our paths…

Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB)…

I will keep praying for you until this season of fiery trial is over for you, I believe you will come out of this much stronger in the Lord and knowing/experiencing the Lord much closer to you and supportive of you than you do even now… 🙂

And the future is bright for you, wherever the Lord chooses to lead you, just follow Him, follow His Voice through His Holy Spirit and the peace He gives you and stay true to the scriptures… 🙂

I believe you are right where the Lord wants you to be (keep being humble and meek before Him) and He will honour and protect you and provide for your every need, in every area of your life, Jesus’ Blood is over you, He is your Passover and you are safe in His Hands… 🙂

Love you brother,

Andrew

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Is Jesus a Bigot?

There’s something going on over in Australia at present which the Lord has put on my heart and in my prayers and as I’ve been praying about this situation, this question has come up…

Is Jesus a Bigot?

I went to the Oxford Dictionary to see what they defined this word as…

Bigot:  A person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions.

Then I went to the Oxford Dictionaries definition of intolerance…

Intolerance:  Unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one’s own.

In my last blog post, Viewing Freedom From God’s Perspective, I believe I laid out a pretty clear picture of how tolerant God is of all the behaviour which occurs in His world which He doesn’t agree with…

It seems pretty clear to me that God is not a bigot – under the sun, while people are alive on earth, God has given them freedom to make choices and to live their lives however they want to, no one is forced to do anything against their will by God, anyone who wants to know Him can and those who do not want to know Him don’t have to…

Thus, as far as I can observe and based on all the evidence I have at my disposal (including the scriptures), God is very tolerant of all human beings who presently reside on planet earth…

Jesus is God, He said this of Himself, “…before Abraham was, I AM”…

Jesus could have taken Himself down off the cross and undone all the injustice which had been done to Him but instead, He was tolerant of all those who have ever resided, were residing or would ever reside on planet earth and took all of our sin on Himself asking God, His Father, to forgive us all…

I can’t think of a more unbigoted or tolerant action which anyone has ever undertaken…

Jesus didn’t shy away from telling us the truth about our sin but then He doubled down and paid the penalty for our sin Himself…

He was full of Grace & Truth as I endeavoured to explain in Balance (Grace & Truth)…

Does this make Jesus a bigot?  Does this make Jesus intolerant?

Does this make any follower of Jesus who speaks truth and practices grace (who ‘accepts’ but does not ‘approve’) a bigot, intolerant or a ‘hate speaker’?

Jesus’ kingdom is “…not of this world”…

Jesus isn’t stopping anyone doing whatever they want to do during their stay on planet earth…

Jesus loves everyone…

Jesus isn’t expecting anyone to change themselves before they come to Him…

He is just asking each of us to come to Him so that He can change us to be like Him…

He will do all this for us, even if this involves a complete makeover of our entire inner beings, spirit & soul…

God isn’t putting any pressure on any of us to ‘sort ourselves out’ or ‘pull ourselves up by our boot laces’ – He tells us to come to Him as we are and “…taste and see that the Lord is good”…

He promises us that our relationship with Him as it grows will transform us into His likeness but that how transformed we get before we leave planet earth shouldn’t be our concern (it is our desire but not our focus) as He just wants us to enjoy that process and our experience of our relationship with Him, which He knows will end in its perfection when we leave this planet and go to be with Him where He is… 🙂

All we have to do is believe what He has done for us and trust Him to do whatever He still needs to do in us until we leave planet earth…

There is nothing for us to do but to receive His love and give ourselves to Him for Him to do everything in us to free us to know and understand Him more and more…

If we choose that we don’t want to spend our time on planet earth getting to know Him, or having a relationship with Him, then He will honour that, which will mean that we will spend eternity in the presence of His wrath – which is His anger against sin…

He doesn’t want any of us to experience this, which is why He tells us that the lake of fire and brimstone is real and eternal and warns us that all who choose not to believe in Him will experience this as the consequence of their decision forever…

He gives freedom but He does not give freedom from consequences…

Our decisions (to either believe in Jesus or not to believe in Jesus) have consequences but if we believe that Jesus is the best thing for us to be spending our time on while we are here on earth then we’ll reap the harvest of that focus once we leave earth and will know Him fully for eternity – His love for eternity – even as we are fully known by Him…

That’s the positive side but there is also a negative side…

The only thing we can do to avoid the negative side is to thank Jesus for dying on the cross for us and give ourselves to Him so He can live His way through us, this is a decision which we make on the inside, He then comes and lives in us through His Holy Spirit and begins to transform us into His image… 🙂

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Viewing Freedom From God’s Perspective…

This thought has been on my heart before but it is strongly on my heart tonight so I feel to share it…

Have we ever thought about what it is like for God to give humanity so much freedom?

I mean, God is the ultimate parent, operating primarily as a Father but also at times scripture tells us operating as a mother…

Imagine the daily dealings we have in our family homes, our interactions with our children, what we allow them the freedom to do, the boundaries we may or may not set, how much freedom we choose to give our children…

Now God has a guidebook, the scriptures, where He’s recorded a pretty clear path as to the heart we would want to exhibit if we were to enjoy life on His planet and with the other planet dwellers who He has created to cohabit with us during our time on earth…

The reality is that not many of us follow that heart, revealed in that guidebook and so many times during every day God looks on in sadness because we’re missing out on the happiness which He wants for us all…

But does He step in and force or coerce us to follow His Heart, the way He lives from His Heart, in our everyday lives?

Based on my observations during the first forty-seven years of my life, I’d say, in summary, not very often and especially not over the last nearly two thousand years since Jesus rose from the dead…

He seems, in my observation, to allow all sorts of things which many of us would be very uneasy about allowing our children to practice in our homes (the earth is His ‘home’, He is the Ruler of the kings of the earth) with no obvious interference or consequence…

If we look at all the things which are done and said on earth in opposition to His revealed Heart and especially the things which are spoken against Him by His children (as in some ways whether we believe in Him or follow Him or not, by His own definition, as He is our Creator, we are all in that sense His children)…

I marvel at how ‘un-controlling’ and ‘permission giving’ God is…

I truly do and am endeavouring to model my life, with the way I treat myself, the way I treat my wife, the way I treat my children, the way I treat my grandchildren, the way I treat people who work with me and in all other social interactions (which aren’t many for me to be fair), after this ‘un-controlling’ and ‘permission giving’ God…

It’s not like He’s disinterested, it’s just that He’s not smothering…

He gives a lot of freedom for us to do the exact opposite of what He’s said will make us the most fulfilled, He doesn’t seem worried when we ridicule Him or when we put Him down, He seems to be so ‘even’ and able to see things in terms of what would benefit us the most…

Yes, I know that He’s sad and yes I know that there’s an ‘accounting’ coming after we die but His attitude is one which I like and am endeavouring to emulate…

He’s put His truth out there…

He wants us to seek it out…

Anyone who does seek it out, He’ll start talking to and guiding them along the path to find Him and His way of living…

But He’s not afraid, He’s not swayed by our rejection of Him…

He doesn’t change depending on how we treat Him…

He is still Himself…

I AM WHO I AM…

He’s not falling over Himself to make sure at every step we know that we should be following Him, He’s not ‘needy’ like that…

He wants us to be ‘with Him’ but if we choose not to be, He’s OK, He’s sad but He’s not going to change who He is because we reject Him, His Purpose will continue, He honours our rejection of Him…

He is not desperate, He lets us go, it pains Him but He accepts our choice…

In any sphere of our lives, I believe we take ourselves too seriously when we believe that we hold, for example, our children’s futures in our hands and we get so overwrought trying to make sure we spell out to them all the pitfalls and things which may go wrong…

So much emotional energy is expended by ourselves as we ‘micro-manage’ every relationship in our lives, trying to ensure that it all works out perfectly…

God desires the best for us but His way is that we choose to seek Him out – to engage trustingly with him in open dialogue to find Him, He doesn’t ‘overshare’ – He’s shared enough, He’s demonstrated enough – through Jesus – He’s given us enough witnesses – and even the people who are getting to know Him who we come across – to be able to start that relationship – an open ‘back and forth’ with Him – if we so desire…

But He doesn’t force Himself or His way on us – He is (as I believe I’ve said before) the Perfect Gentleman… 🙂

Love You Lord… 🙂

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Balance (Grace & Truth)…

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 NASB)

Back on the 22 Mar 19, I shared the below publically on my Facebook page…

As a follower of Jesus, it is my aspiration to simultaneously accept everyone (including myself) as they are in love yet only approve of those things which anyone (including myself) does which are in accordance with Jesus’ character and written word in truth, I believe this is the balance which Jesus walked when He was on earth… 

I had a situation here in New Zealand which was playing out in mind as I shared that, and it seemed appropriate to put forward my position publically…

There is another situation over in Australia currently playing out which I feel to share this post in relation to…

Whilst accepting everyone (including myself) as they are in love, this does not mean that I accept them (or myself) based on their (or my) behaviour (whether it be good or bad)…

Jesus died for everyone, Jesus paid for everyone’s sins, all died in Jesus, everyone has their pardon fully written out with Jesus willing to act as their Advocate with the Father, waiting for them to sign it and say, “Yes, I want to receive Jesus as my substitute before God, I want Jesus to stand in my place before God and have His Perfect Life credited to me so that my sins can be forgiven and His Righteousness will be permanently and forever credited to me so that I do not need to face God’s Judgement for my sin”…

Anyone who believes they are a sinner (i.e. have fallen short of God’s Glory) and have not lived (in their heart, actions and character) as Jesus lived (in His heart, actions and character) while He was on earth, can accept Jesus’ offer to be their Substitute and give their lives to Jesus for Him to live through them…

He does all the work…

No eternal judgement…

Eternal Life instead…

That is an amazing offer from God, the most amazing offer any of us will ever get in our lifetimes…

So I accept everyone whether they are believers or unbelievers as those for whom Christ died and as those for whom Christ longs to be reconciled to Himself, I treat unbelievers as ‘pre-believers’ or ‘potential believers’, i.e. ‘potential brothers or sisters in the Lord’ and I treat believers as brothers and sisters in the Lord whom the Lord has told me to accept…

Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME.” For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. (Romans 15:1-7 NASB)

But here’s the flipside…

God is God and what God says in His word, the scriptures, is the truth…

There is no wiggle room on that…

God doesn’t water down what He’s said or lower the bar on what He’s said the truth is to make people feel better about themselves…

None of us (period) can feel good about ourselves, we’re all sinners outside of Christ…

So God is the great leveller…

It’s not just some people who need to repent and give themselves to Christ, it’s all people, everywhere, in every nation and for all time…

None of us is any better than anyone else – this is what scripture tells us…

We are all sinners and none of us can save ourselves…

So to say that God singles anyone or any group out as being bad while siding with any other person or group as being good is just plain wrong…

God says that everyone outside of Christ is 100% bad – because even if you only sin once God views that as having committed every possible sin – there is no hope once any of us have committed even one sin – we are lost without Christ…

But on the other hand, you have this most amazing offer – to be credited with Jesus’ Righteousness and be accepted, loved and forgiven by God and placed into Jesus so that all that Jesus enjoys and will enjoy you too will enjoy for all eternity…

All that Jesus has, you too will have for all eternity…

That’s amazing and I’ve just got to shout, “Hallelujah!!!”… 🙂

Then on the flipside, scripture tells us that Love rejoices with the truth…

This is the approval side of my quote above…

To give approval is to agree that a particular action, in motive and deed, was an enactment of the truth – the character of Christ – in a particular situation…

Only those with the Spirit of God within them and living through them can complete such acts…

Thus the only approval I can give is to those (including myself) with the Spirit of God within them who (including myself) are yielded to the Holy Spirit in those areas and committing those acts under the control of the Holy Spirit…

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit are Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness and Self-Control (Galatians 5:22-23)…

The ‘fruits’ of those who either don’t know God or do know God but aren’t at that moment experiencing the Holy Spirit living through them are immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these (Galatians 5:19-21a)…

If we were to drill into immorality, impurity and sensuality, from scripture we would find that all of us are guilty of these three sins in some way or another, whether we would categorize or identify ourselves as heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender…

God has a very clear and narrow path – His prescribed path – for our lives with respect to doing the opposite of immorality, impurity and sensuality – (unless we are gifted as a eunuch for the sake of the Kingdom in which case we have no sexual interaction with ourselves or anyone else at all, either on the inside in our hearts or physically out through our bodies) it consists of men marrying women, treating them as more important than ourselves, never forcing ourselves on our wives sexually, never abusing our wives sexually or in any other way, in laying down our lives for our wives, never being interested in or attracted to anyone other than our wives and giving only our wives our hearts and our attention in the deep matters of our hearts (those things that should be shared only between a husband and a wife), becoming one with our wives and with respect to our bodies, only experiencing sexual intimacy – which is a two-way free giving activity – with our wives…

Any heterosexual activity which doesn’t conform to the above is a sin in the eyes of God…

Even if that sin only occurs in the heart and not in action…

That’s how serious it is…

In terms of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender behaviour, all this is sin in the eyes of God…

None of this behaviour conforms to His prescribed path in scripture at all…

Those are the facts from scripture…

Now having said that, the Lord protects us all by saying that none of us has any right to judge or condemn or look down on anyone else…

Why?  Because we’re all just as guilty as each other…

There is only One Lawgiver and Judge the One who is able to Save and Destroy…

In dying for our sins Jesus earnt the right to have all Judgement entrusted to Him by the Father…

He is the Only Judge…

So is it right for ‘christians’ to look down on ‘non-christians’?  No, it is not…

Is it right for ‘christians’ to condemn ‘non-christians’?  No, it is not…

Is it right for ‘christians’ to condemn ‘Christians’?  No, it is not…

In fact, in the area of morality is anyone better than anyone else?  No, they are not…

Even for those who scripture tells us have been released from their sins, even these ones aren’t to think they stand but to take heed lest they fall…

Even for those who know God and do fall, those who haven’t fallen are to restore such ones in a spirit of meekness (submission to the Lord) watching themselves lest they also are tempted…

Scripture paints a pretty bleak picture of any believer who gets forgiven and freed by the Lord and then goes out and starts trying to lord it over or look down on or condemn those who are yet to be forgiven and freed by the Lord…

Scripture says that the Lord allows that one to be chained up by the tormentors and I believe to be reacquainted with their past bondage to sin until they realise that they must forgive others for their sins in the same way as the Lord has forgiven them…

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32 NASB)

If we refuse to forgive others then practically the Lord will let us wallow in our past sins until we do…

Scripture paints a pretty bleak picture for anyone who wants to set themselves up as being better than anyone else, eh?

Scripture is the great equalizer…

We are all equally guilty…

None of us has a leg to stand on…

We are all offered God’s mercy (not getting what we deserve) and grace (getting what we don’t deserve) and our eternity is in our hands, in what we do with that offer…

If we gratefully accept that offer and trust God through scripture that Jesus has paid the price and risen again from death and ascended into heaven then we’re ‘all good’ (Eternity in the Presence of the Love of God which starts when we believe in Jesus)…

If on the other hand, we choose to try and establish our own righteousness before God (and remain steadfast in that pursuit until death), we will spend eternity in the Presence of His Wrath in the lake of fire and brimstone…

The things which scripture tell us are God’s will for us are the things which the Holy Spirit will do through us…

The Holy Spirit won’t do anything through us other than the things which God’s word in scripture tells us He will…

The Holy Spirit won’t sin through us, He can’t – He’s the Holy Spirit…

The only way we as believers can know God is by letting the Holy Spirit live through us…

As we do this we start to see the Miracle which God has created in Christ and the Church – who is Christ’s Bride – and we start to see why male and female fulfilling their unique roles within the covenant of marriage is so important to God…

It’s His Blueprint, His Plan, His Purpose, to reveal Himself in all His Fullness, to us… 🙂

But, to those who believe in Christ, there is no condemnation as we move from ‘glory to glory’ in Him and are transformed in an ever-increasing measure (strength to strength and grace upon grace) into His Image…

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Love, Acceptance & Forgiveness…

I woke up from a dream yesterday morning where the Lord was telling me that all that was important for me – with respect to myself and others – was love, acceptance & forgiveness…

I remember attending a Church service back in late 1999 or early 2000 just before my wife and I got married where the Pastor invited up to the front anyone who felt they needed to forgive themselves…

I remember getting a lot of freedom that day as the concept of forgiving myself wasn’t one that I’d thought about before then…

To truly forgive myself is to remove all expectations that I have on myself from myself…

It is to accept myself and to accept the fact that only the Holy Spirit through my new self can make any change for the better in my life…

It is also to accept who I used to be and that who I used to be might still be seen although hopefully in diminishing amounts through me at various points in the remainder of my life on earth…

It is also to forgive myself for everything I’ve ever done, for the things which I haven’t been able to undo and for the effects on others which these actions have had or will have…

To understand God’s Sovereignty is very helpful in these considerations…

How could I come to a place where I’m so at peace with my failings that I’m not trying to stop myself from them but am completely surrendered to the Lord to work His new way through me in His time and for His glory?

It is in understanding that the Lord has absolute control or the last say in everything which either happens or doesn’t happen in His world…

All souls are His…

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof…

The enemy could only do to Job what the Lord permitted him to do…

The Lord didn’t purpose Job’s suffering or instigate it but He definitely allowed it…

What the Lord allows through my imperfections to be experienced as pain by those in my sphere of influence has the potential to draw them closer to Himself…

Our response to the sinfulness of others who are in our sphere of influence will either make us or break us as human beings…

And so it turns outward from being an inward facing thing to being our response to all those around us…

Having loved, accepted & forgiven ourselves we start to see that all the people around us need our love, acceptance & forgiveness also…

And so we see in that place that our freedom is in forgiving them for the impact they have had on our lives…

In accepting them and in loving them in spite of the impact they have had on our lives…

There is nothing to cause us to stumble in this place…

This is the place of freedom…

The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. (1 John 2:10 NASB)

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When there’s nothing left to fear…

When the anti-Christ spirit, the religious spirit and the Jezebel spirit have been removed from the Church what is there left to fear?

False teaching & Pride will no longer be there…

Expectation & Striving will no longer be there…

False authority, Injustice & Condemnation will no longer be there…

Rejection & Apathy will no longer be there…

When everyone, irrespective of the gifts and mantles they have been given by the Lord, takes their place in considering others as being more important than themselves and takes the place of a servant in the Church, then there is unity, then there is peace and then there is harmony…

Then, in that genuine place of knowing that only God does anything of value in our own individual lives and only God sets us free from our sin to enjoy Him and enjoy serving others, in that place we can be (within the bounds of peace) truly transparent with each other and as the Lord releases it, we can receive freedom from the Lord from our besetting sins as the entire Body works together to nourish itself in love…

When the anti-Christ spirit, the religious spirit & the Jezebel spirit are not ruling in a meeting where God’s people come together (i.e. they are given no place) and the Holy Spirit is given His Place to have absolute freedom to minister to His Church, then where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty – absolute liberty to share and be healed without fear – in an atmosphere of acceptance – in the Presence of the Lord…

I long to see that day in the Church, I long to be a part of a Church where this occurs and Revival follows… 🙂

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Heresy…

I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves. (1 Corinthians 5:9-13 NASB)

This topic has definitely been on my mind…

It was strongly on my mind before going to sleep early (surprisingly early for me) last night and I’ve woken up early this morning and still can’t get this topic off my mind…

I need to explain where I’m coming from on this before launching in…

I am by no stretch of the imagination perfect with respect to the above list of sins…

God knows my heart and He knows that my new self doesn’t want to do or do any of those things and when His Holy Spirit is working through my new self neither does my body…

I’ve shared on this previously in A New Creation

Sin which dwells in me, however, wants to do and does the things on the above list of sins both inside me and also out through my body at various points in time…

Paul clearly states in Romans 7 that this is not me doing those things but sin which dwells in me…

What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful. For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. (Romans 7:7-20 NASB)

So what exactly is Paul talking about in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 above?

Because honestly, based on my forty-seven years of life experience to date, I wouldn’t be able to associate or eat with anyone (including myself) who called themselves a brother, i.e. I would never be able to go to any Church or meet with any so-called fellow believers based on those words if I interpret those words to mean that those sins are going on within a person on the inside and practised by them on the outside when the Holy Spirit isn’t in control of their bodies…

Holding each of our lives up to God’s truth means that each and every one of us falls short of the glory of God, whether we have a new creation or whether we don’t…

Those who don’t have a new creation fall short 100% of the time, those of us who do have a new creation fall short somewhere <100% of the time, but we all fall short…

So what is Paul trying to say?

If we were to believe his literal words in the scripture above from 1 Corinthians (factoring in what he says in the above scripture from Romans 7), Paul wouldn’t have been able to associate with or eat with himself either…

Only Jesus would have been able to associate with and eat with Himself but not with any other so-called believer…

And yet we see Jesus living with and eating with the twelve (who called themselves followers) for three years, even cooking them breakfast on the beach when they’d patently disobeyed His command to go to a certain mountain and wait for Him but instead went back to their old fishing jobs (to me that disobedience is being covetous of money, looking after themselves and their livelihoods instead of waiting on the Lord for His provision), they’d also forsaken Him in His hour of need with one of them even denying that he knew Him (and this was the one whom Jesus reconfirmed to be the leader of that group)…

You might argue, “No Andrew, Paul isn’t speaking about what goes on on the inside, he’s speaking about what is actually practised on the outside – it doesn’t matter what goes on on the inside as long as you ‘keep it together’ on the outside”…

I disagree with this, Jesus Himself said, that if a man looks at a woman to lust for her he has already committed adultery with her in his heart – deed done…

That’s the severity of God’s Law…

It’s absolute, no one is practically perfect, no one is practically sinless…

If someone had of been then Jesus wouldn’t have needed to come and sacrifice Himself…

When the woman caught in adultery was brought before Jesus to be stoned to death, “Remove the wicked man from among yourselves” which is the verse Paul is quoting from the Law, what did Jesus say?

Let him who is without sin cast the first stone…

How dare we condemn what God has justified!!!

Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load. (Galatians 6:1-5 NASB)

So knowing that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, what exactly was it that the Holy Spirit was meaning through what He wrote through Paul?

Was the Holy Spirit wanting each of us to have the gift of discernment to such a degree that each of us could look into every other potential brother or sister and see whether they were thinking or doing the sins of that list every time we were about to say hello to them or head out for a bite to eat with them?

Did the Holy Spirit want us to have to complete sleuth work, like private detectives with respect to any potential brother or sister we ever encountered before we’d even acknowledge their existence?

That would not be the Holy Spirit that I know…

I’m just calling a spade a spade here…

The Holy Spirit I know has given me discernment about what’s going on inside certain believers and He’s specifically told me to keep that to myself and pray for them, to encourage them and to accept them, just as Jesus has accepted me, to forgive them and encourage them, to point them towards the good plan that the Lord has for them, to encourage them that the Lord loves them, has accepted them, that there is no expectation on them from the Lord to perform but that He will, through His Holy Spirit within them, do the work and that Jesus’ yoke is easy and His burden is light…

I encourage them that anything else is striving…

I take the pressure off them and encourage them that it is God who works in them to will and to work for His good pleasure…

I don’t want to know what is going on inside my brothers and sisters hearts, I honestly don’t…

When the Lord gives me discernment to see some of those things I then have a responsibility to pray for them and that is honestly hard work…

What I’m trying to say is that I’m much happier to just mind my own business and not know what is going on inside my brothers and sisters…

To their own Master, they stand or fall and stand they will because the Lord is able to make them stand…

I have no business to be a busy body and focus on all my brother and sisters potential faults and think I’m offering some service to them by pointing those out…

That’s why the Holy Spirit has been given to each of us – operating inside each of our new selves – to point out to us the lies which we’ve believed which are allowing sin which dwells in us the ability to keep practising the sin which it so loves to practise…

Love always trusts and love covers a multitude of sins…

Who would want to be a part of a ‘church’ where your behaviour was continually scrutinized (by your fellow ‘members’ and ‘leadership’) with the end result being that you could potentially be removed from that ‘church’ because of your behaviour?

I know that I personally wouldn’t want to be part of such a ‘church’ – that reminds me of being in Communist China/Russia or Nazi Germany – I’m just being honest…

I don’t believe the Church should be on an introspective witch-hunt amongst its own members – life is too short…

Our job is to surrender ourselves to the Holy Spirit, allow Him to lead us into all truth from the scripture and to transform us as He wills – it is His will to sanctify us – we just offer ourselves to Him in this process and trust Him to do the work…

I’ll never forget back in my twenties how I did a street ministry called ‘Drug Arm’ on Friday nights and my fellow team leader was a guy who’d been saved out of drugs (which I believe is included in the ‘drunkard’ category from the list above) and how his Pastor at the time wisely told him, don’t worry if you get high a few more times, don’t focus on it…

It was that advice, freeing him from the fear of failure and showing that his Pastor accepted and believed in him (really believing in the Holy Spirit within him and seeing his new heart) which freed him from his drug addiction…

That’s the Holy Spirit I know…

The Holy Spirit I know has sat with me in all my sexual addictions and promised me that I will be free…

He hasn’t ‘excommunicated me’ or told me that He won’t associate Himself with me or eat with me until I’m perfectly whole sexually…

In fact, He’s done the opposite…

If it wasn’t for Him I’d still be just as sexually addicted as I was on the inside before He saved me in the first place…

He’s done a lot with me in respect of the renewing of my mind so far but He’s still got a lot more to do in the future – I know this, I’m happy with this and I’m content to let Him do it in His time…

Jesus Himself welcomes us to associate with Him and eat and drink with Him as often as we take the bread and wine to remember that it was His death, burial and resurrection which gave us life…

OK, so here’s what I believe this scripture means…

I believe the Holy Spirit is telling us that if we come across a person who says defiantly, openly, proudly and publically, “I practice [insert name of particular sin from the above list], I have no intention of ever stopping, God’s OK with it, God’s got nothing against it, it’s not a problem, I’m a Christian but I’m also going to keep doing this for the rest of my life, you should accept me into your Church, I should also be able to have a leadership position, I fully belong with the rest of you as an equal but I’ll be practising [insert name of particular sin from the above list]”, in that case – being as (a) that is the testimony of that particular person, (b) in giving that testimony they are encouraging others to ‘go and do likewise’ and (c) being as that testimony has been heard by two or three witnesses, i.e. it wasn’t ‘witch-hunted’ out of that person but they declared it freely themselves as their intent – they shouldn’t be allowed to be a part of that Church, that local group of believers…

There’s a huge difference between saying, as I have personally stated in the article above, “Look, I believe in Jesus, I submit to the authority of the scripture, what scripture says is sin, is sin, it is wrong, I believe the Holy Spirit will remove it more and more and more from me, I’m not perfect yet, I’m trusting the Holy Spirit to sanctify me more and more and more, every sin is surrendered to Him by me, I want Him to fill me entirely and Baptise me with His Holy Spirit and with Fire more and more and more, as per His word I am ‘hanging limp’, I have ‘ceased striving’, I am ‘being still’ and knowing that He is God, I am trusting Him to transform me into His image and as such I submit myself to the Church to receive any genuine words or insights from the Lord and in accordance with scripture to head me in that direction”, and the preceding statement…

The preceding statement is proud and arrogant and willful and rebellious and is setting up an alternative authority to the word of God as revealed in scripture – that just doesn’t belong in the Church…

There can only be one authority in the Church – and that is Jesus Christ Himself and His written word the scripture…

It’s OK for us as believers to be broken, I am broken, I understand brokenness, I understand addiction, I understand the importance of undoing lies which we have believed, I understand the importance of forgiveness, I understand that there are layers in our behaviour which bring us into deeper and deeper and deeper freedom in the Lord, it’s exactly that – and exactly that pursuit that we should be pursuing together in our Churches – without any shame or any ‘looking down on’ behaviour – but encouraged by the leadership of the Church knowing that there are no taboo subjects in the Lord, that the Lord is not scared of us openly discussing our failures, our failings and our sin, as in that open discussion – that bringing of those things hidden in darkness out into the light – in that place and in that place alone (not in jamming them down inside us and hoping no one will ever find them because we’re scared of being rejected or despised by our so-called ‘church family’), that we will together find freedom…

When one suffers we all suffer…

When all are free, imagine what that freedom will look like – we will all share each other’s joy in being free… 🙂

So the person who does not submit themselves to Jesus and His word revealed in scripture – His truth revealed in scripture – to the person who does not align their confession or their testimony with that of scripture but endeavours to establish an alternative truth, i.e. they call evil good and good evil, they are not welcome in the Church of Jesus Christ…

I personally believe that those people are to be treated as if they are not believers at all – they should not have any part in our meetings or voice in what we believe, I believe we need to tell our Church members what those people have said so that our Church members can know what they stand for and make their own decision as to whether they agree with them and also want to leave our Church or whether they submit to scripture and the process of believing truth which we have not yet perfectly walked but are surrendered to continue to believe as we’re transformed more and more and more into the image of Christ but with no time-frames set (i.e. no expectations set) on how quickly this must happen for any of us – just the trust in the Lord and in each other (the discernment) that we belong to the Lord and are here to help each other (without any force or control) as He leads us towards us as a Body becoming individually and collectively more like Him…

Thus our testimony to the world is intact, i.e. that we submit aspirationally to the practice of all the truth revealed in scripture, but we are also seen by the world as being real in that we have not yet attained to this aspiration but are on a journey of trust and discovery as we look to the risen Jesus to achieve this transformation within us as we journey together from grace to grace… 🙂

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Sexual Intimacy…

The Lord has shown me what sexual intimacy will look like in a relationship which He inspires and blesses with the freedom – in His Holy Spirit – to be surrendered – both husband and wife to exist for the pleasure of the other – in freedom and abandon…

He has promised me that I personally will experience this with my wife at a point in time in the future where He brings me and my wife into that place where we are one soul with each other…

I have seen a vision of Him literally blending our souls on that day so that we are no more two separate souls but one blended soul – in the picture it was as if our individual blood was blended together (that was the metaphor He was using) – He was blending it together to make us one…

Our consciousnesses were shared and what I knew about my wife was total – there were no secrets – and what she knew about me was total – there were no secrets – and in that place, there was absolute acceptance – from each other – of each, and a sharing of both our strengths and our weaknesses – both of the good and the bad – so that she became me and I became her – we were literally one…

We thought together, we solved problems together – any problem either of us had was our problem – there was no expectation on us to sort anything out – we were trusting (together) in the Holy Spirit to continue His work in us – we were brought together into this place by Him and for His Glory – and He was the One making us one in our souls…

He had already made us one in our spirits – we were walking on the same path, in the same direction, with the same understanding of His call on our lives and the path which was ahead of us, although steep – was sweet and anointed with His newness and dripping with His new day fragrance…

This fragrance led us forward in eager expectation of what lay ahead and a desire to walk with Him right to the top of the mountain which was His call for our lives together…

I knew her and she knew me, I loved her and she loved me, I desired her and she desired me…

There was no need – only appreciation and the desire to give and receive from each other as freely given to by the other…

The desire to meet the deepest needs in each other and to give to each other in the deepest possible way, pleasure in every aspect of life – culminating in the sexual area…

The sacredness that I saw in this oneness truly took my breath away…

It was so intimate, so sacred, so given, so exclusive, so free, so genuine, so real, so felt – it was truly that we knew that we genuinely loved each other and were giving – wholeheartedly – to each other with no regret or filter and in the knowledge that this was ordained by God and blessed by God and in the power of God for our pleasure and enjoyment and to blow our minds at His love for us in creating such an amazing other-centred relationship – in which there is no regret – for us to enjoy and see His nature at work…

It was so sacred that it wouldn’t be talked about or discussed with anyone else – except in those overall terms – but what we specifically did in those times of sexual oneness or intimacy were private and confidential – protected by His boundaries – a special personal relationship just between us – which was just ours – just our business – which was so special – and meant that we could completely relax in His presence knowing that we were safe to be absolutely transparent with each other because this experience would forever stay within our bedchamber…

I have to say that when the Lord showed me this it completely took my breath away in awe at the Lord…

The Lord is the opposite of a prude…

The Lord has created intimacy between a man and a woman in a given covenant relationship where each has unconditionally given themselves to each other to be each others’ – come what may (forgiveness is key in this relationship) – for the rest of their lives together on earth…

The issue of acceptance is covered – it is a given…

The issue of trust is covered – the Lord gives the faith to believe and know that to give yourself to this other person is the right thing to do and that He will enable you (and them) to grow in this relationship and trust Him that He will hold you and cause you to come closer and closer and closer to each other and to Himself…

The issue of letting down your defences or your walls is covered as what is shared with your partner stays between the two of you – it is safe in the vault of that sacred privacy and will never be used against you…

The two become one and tackle life’s problems together as one – putting all their combined talents and wisdom together – to forge a way through life which is efficient and wise (yes, I can’t think of a better word so I’ll use that word again) – perfect…

It is no one else’s business what goes on on the inside of this relationship – that is the beauty of it – it is not broadcast or publicized – it is not displayed on a reality TV programme – it is the privacy of it which gives it God’s special stamp of intimacy and makes every unique couple who He so calls together special…

Every unique couple, whoever they are, from whatever walks of life they are from, with whatever financial endowment they so find themselves with, have each other and this special relationship, given by God to them – and they know this – that God has brought them together to be one inside His covenant relationship of marriage…

Male and female – made one – perfect diversity – dwelling together in unity…

Intimacy – it is just beautiful – based on honesty and acceptance…

Not seeking honesty and acceptance but flourishing off that foundation which has been set there permanently by God Himself…

Growing in freedom from that place of acceptance and love – knowing that this is the one who the Lord has given to share the rest of your life with (or however long it is until He takes one or both to be with Him in Glory)…

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