Healing Relationships

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1 Pet 3:7  Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered

The ancient concept behind sacrifice was simple.  If you did wrong, that action disturbed your relationship with God. The sacrifice you brought to the temple and offered by the ordained priest was the act that restored the relationship.  However, Jesus is saying that your gift to God is of no value until you have ‘gone to’ the person with whom you have fallen out. The sacrifice will not atone for you on any level. Forgiveness will not take effect until you are right with your neighbour. To be reconciled with God means I need to be reconciled to my brother.

Sacrifice for atonement must include confession of sin and penitence. This means rectifying any of the consequences sin has had.  The worshipper then comes to the place of worship with his sacrifice, places his hands on the sacrifice saying, ‘I entreat O Lord; I have sinned, I have done perversely, I have rebelled; I have committed…………..; but I return in penitence, and let this be for my covering’.

We cannot be right with God without being right with people.

Any breakdown in our relationships is caused by ‘them’ or us. All of us prefer to believe it’s always, ‘them’. However, surprising as it may seem, we can be very blind to our own failures. So when it is us, we need to go to the offended party, repent, apologise, make any restitution necessary and seek forgiveness.

There are steps in healing a breach;

 1. Understand what the offence is. Describe it to yourself.  

Arrange to meet with the person. Choose the right time and place to ask forgiveness.  The meeting should involve only those within the circle of offence; therefore it should be private, a phone call or a visit. A last resort should be a letter. Once the relationship is mended it should be forgotten. If a matter is still in writing it has the capacity to stir up old bitterness.

The time should be convenient for the other person. It should also indicate the level of seriousness you are attaching to the matter. Don’t ask your neighbor’s forgiveness while they’re mowing the lawn or preparing dinner. The time needs to be free from interruptions.

2. Choose the right wording.
The prodigal son worked out what he would say before he met his Father.  (Luke 15:18) Remember though, right words, without the right attitude have little worth. Be as brief and clear as possible. Don’t go through all the details again. It doesn’t help. Don’t implicate or involve others in the confession.

Examples of  the wrong wording:
‘I was wrong, but you were too’.
‘I’m sorry, but it wasn’t all my fault’.
‘If I’ve been wrong, forgive me’.

Examples of the right wording:
‘I was wrong. I apologise and I’m doing …………… to straighten this out. Could you please forgive me’.

If the problem is definitely them; we go to them and seek to be reconciled.

In this case, even though they may have done wrong we still recognise our own faults in the situation, confess them and seek to be reconciled. Even though it is obvious to everyone the other person caused the problem, the pathway to reconciliation for a believer is to first recognise personal faults that have contributed to the situation.

Matthew 7:5  ‘First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.’ 

If they are unwilling to be reconciled we are at least able to depart with an untroubled conscience and a right relationship with God because we have done all we can.

Never underestimate the power of bitterness.  The Bible says it ‘defiles many’ (Heb 12:15). It’s contagious. It’s passed on from one generation to another, mother to daughter, father to son. It infects everyone else in relationship to the embittered person. It brings sickness at every level.

If only we could repent, apologise, and forgive, the blessing of God could come on our lives bringing joy and good health.

The Tree Of Life

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Truth is a river flowing from the throne of God. Walking in this river, one truth leads to another. Truth brings life. Deception brings death. Truth is that tree of life which Adam abandoned in the garden, preferring the tree of knowledge. Knowledge on its own is not life. But when knowledge of the Scripture enters our spirit as revelation, it is life. It is this ‘life’ that heals sickness, casts out demons, and gives it’s possessor in dominion on this Earth.

There are two trees in Eden. The tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam gets distracted from the unlimited abundance available to him, and temptation draws him to the singular small thing God has forbidden. The devil draws Adam’s fascination to the forbidden tree. So, he eats from the tree of death.

Accumulating knowledge is not the gaining of ‘life’. LIFE comes from the Word of God. We receive a ‘knowing’ in our spirit, rather than knowledge in the mind. The ‘tree of life’ is the Word and the Spirit.

John 6:63 The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

All the branches of the Kingdom of God spring from this tree. Salvation, new life, freedom, healing and prosperity flow from this tree.

Revelation 2:7 To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”’

Every day we get to eat from this tree of life. When we feed on the Word of God, our spirit receives revelation. This is a transforming power, changing us into the image of Christ. Living in the Word of God brings us faith and the power to overcome. It is over comers who get to eat from this tree.

Thanks for reading this week! If you’d like to hear more from me, feel free to check out my website. Otherwise, swing by one of our services this weekend. We would love to meet you!

Spirit, Soul + Body.

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We are spiritual beings. This means we are not just a body. We do not only exist in a physical dimension; we also have a spiritual dimension. When God formed us, He made us spirit, soul and body.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

This Scripture tells us we have a spirit, a soul and a body. Our body exists in the physical world, and we engage with this world through our senses: touch, taste, sight, smell, and hearing. Our physical being experiences the physical world.

Our soul is that part of us that includes our heart and mind. It is the place of imagination, trust, desire, rhythm, song, art, emotion and dreams. We relate to others and to ourselves with our soul. We experience the heart and emotions of others through our soul. We are creative in our soul. We are ‘moved’ in our soul by various influences, all of which cause us to behave in a variety of ways (2 Pet 1:21).

Our spirit is the wellspring of our life. It is the basic attitude of our life. It is the seat of motivation. All our life comes from that invisible, mysterious, God conscious area called the spirit. Once the spirit has departed from the body it is dead (James 2:26). Daniel spoke of his spirit in the ‘midst’ of his body (Daniel 7:15). Jesus said that living water flows from the ‘innermost being’, (‘belly’, KJV), of believers when they are filled with the Holy Spirit (John 7:38).

Our spirit is that part of us where God dwells after we have received Christ. God communicates with us from deep in our spirit. God is a spirit.

John 4:24 “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

If we want to commune with God we must be spiritually alive. Our spirit finds expression through our soul and ultimately through our body.

However, regardless of where and of what substance our spirit is, the Bible continually reveals the high significance of the spirit through countless references to its influence in our lives. When we receive Christ, our spirit is regenerated, that is, it is born again (John 3:3-7).

The complete process of our salvation covers three areas which can be located in three different timings:

1.   Our spirit receives complete salvation when we receive Christ (John 1:12). At that point we are born of God (1 John 5:1), who is a spirit (John 4:24). We are born spiritually (John 3:60. This rebirth awakens our spirit to God, and grants to us a ‘God awareness’.

2.  Our soul is being saved (1 Corinthians 1:18), that is, the inner man of our mind is being renewed daily (Romans 12:2). Our emotions, our desires, and trust, our heart, all our being saved as we walk with Christ and feed on the things of God.

3.  Our bodies are not yet saved, but at the resurrection will be (Romans 8:23). Then our redemption will be complete. God shows His guarantee that our salvation will be completed, 
through filling us with the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:4,5), who, when He comes, is accompanied with supernatural phenomena such as speaking in tongues (Acts 10:45, 46).

This study just goes to show, once again, that God is wholly invested in us; body, soul and spirit.

Thanks for reading this week! If you’d like to hear more from me, feel free to check out my website. Otherwise, swing by one of our services this weekend. We would love to meet you!

The Restless Soul

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When Jesus sees the multitude of people thronging to hear from Him, He realises they are ‘harassed’, people without a shepherd.

Matt 9:36 (NIV) ‘When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

One of the Bible’s recurring themes is God’s ability to give peace. Of the many reasons we humans are not peaceful, the biggest, is we are troubled in our conscience. No matter how many justifications well meaning people attempt to placate our troubled conscience with, there is within us a God-part, and when we violate that part by doing the wrong thing, no matter how deeply buried that God-part is, we will be tormented with the fact that we have cheated on ourselves.

Integrity is our inner life aligning with our outer life. This is being ‘integrated’, which is harmony between the inner and outer us. We are ‘disintegrated’ when this fails. This breaks our ease in living. It could even be called our ‘dis-ease’. Living with unresolved guilt leaves us in a state of dis-peace. Our inability to live happily with ourselves spills into us having conflict with others. One follows the other. Even though we try to achieve calm within through many different means, meditation, remote places, none can actually deal with the spiritual reality crying out for peace with God.

Our restless soul has it’s own consciousness. It only comes to rest when we are reconciled with God and this can only happen when we repent from sin and we receive forgiveness from God. The payment for our sins has already been made. The only payment that satisfies the penalty for sin is death. Ours! However, in His love for us, God has provided a substitute, His only Son. So when we accept Christ and believe in His substitutionary sacrifice for our sins, a spiritual experience takes place in the deepest parts of our created being and we finally come to rest with God, knowing that all is right and all is well with Him. Our sins have been forgiven and washed from our entire lives. He has imputed to us the perfect life of His only Son, Jesus, as though it were ours. So, all that Jesus has received from God, so have we, even being seated at the right hand of God.

This knowledge should bring us considerable peace!

If you’d like to read more about peace, you can grab my book here.

Also, check out one of our services this Sunday. We’d love to meet you!

 

FEAR NOT.

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2 Timothy 1:6-7  Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Fear shuts down our gifts, talents, and potential in life. Fear pushes itself into our emotions. Unlike God, fear does not wait for the invitation to enter our lives. Fear simply forces itself on us. To be free from phobias we have to take charge deciding we will not be afraid, to literally, ‘fear not’.

The power of a fearless life rises from our relationship with the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the spirit of fear has no place to live. Secondly, if the Word of God lives in us, in our thoughts and hearts, then the words we speak become reality in our lives. The Word of God must reign in us if we are to reign in life.

Why does it need to be stated that God has not given us a spirit of fear? Because the devil works hard to make fear feel as though it was from God. If we believe that the anxieties we feel are from God trying to communicate with us, then we will open ourselves to that emotion. If Christians can be deceived into believing their fears are from God, then they will be rendered powerless. Know this, any fears you have are not from God. Any voice that accuses you, intimidates you, makes you feel guilty, worried or unsettles you is not from God. It’s the devil. Take your stand, resist the devil and gain the victory over those voices.

The family of fear is intimidation, timidity, anxiety, despair, doubt, unbelief, confusion, hardness, negativity, complaining.

Faith is the antidote to fear.

The family of faith is believing, trusting, courage, confidence, positivity, praise, thanksgiving and decisiveness. This is the spirit we walk in. We are saved by faith, not fear. Faith rests in the finished work of the cross. Fear tries to gain assurance of salvation through standing on its own efforts, appeasing an unhappy conscience. Faith accepts that the grace of God Himself has already provided in Christ all that is needed to be accepted by God Himself. A fearful person worries that God is displeased with them, and tries to gain acceptance with God through their own goodness.

The irony is that when we live in fear we are far more prone to sin. People lie when they fear the truth becoming known. People steal because they fear they will not get what they need, not believing that God will provide.

Dr. David Yonggi Cho says, ‘the two most powerful motivators are the fear of loss and the hope of gain’.

Thanks the reading this week! To read more about this you can get a hold of my book Peace on my website here.

Also, check out of our services this Sunday. We’d love to meet you!

7 Fears That God Dismantles

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‘Fear not’ is proclaimed in 365 Scriptures in the Bible. One for every day! The Lord doesn’t want you to be fearful on any one day of your life.

In the book of Isaiah, the prophet clusters seven ‘fear not’s’ together in quick succession. The background is that the Israelites have been dispersed in foreign lands from their homeland for nearly seventy years and now Yahweh’s promise to cause them to return is coming to pass. He is telling them he will use a Gentile, foreign King, Cyrus, to do this. They need not fear because God will keep His Word, His covenant and His promises. On this basis they need not fear anything at all. Their God is reliable and has the power to do anything He wants.

In these Scriptures we can see seven reasons that fear gets a hold of our lives, but then also seven reasons to neutralise those fears. All of those reasons to not be afraid are because God gets involved personally.

  1. Fear of abandonment – ‘I am with you’
  2. Fear of helplessness – ‘I will help you’
  3. Fear of our own mistakes catching up with us. – ‘I am your Redeemer’
  4. Fear of not belonging anywhere – ‘I have bought you, you are mine.’
  5. Fear of being disconnected from family – ‘I will gather your descendants’.
  6. Fear of being left out – ‘I have chosen you’.
  7. Fear of having no significance – ‘You are my witnesses’

Let’s get the magnifying glass on the first line;

Isa 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you;

‘Fear not’. Why not?

‘for I…’

Who is ‘I’?

This is the God who has created the entire universe, the Earth and everything in it. The God that has created every human that has ever lived, giving them life and consciousness. He is the author of eternal life for those choosing to receive it.

He is the same God who guides one man to build and ark that saves his family and a multitude of animals from a flood that covers the entire Earth.

This is the same God that worked with a shepherd called Moses to deliver a nation single-handedly out of 400 years of slavery from the most powerful nation on Earth.

This is the same God who descended to Earth healing every sick person who came to him, cast demons out of the possessed, who stopped a storm with a simple command, who multiplied small amounts of food to feed multitudes.

This is the same God who allowed men to crucify Him, but then who came back to life after three days, rising from the dead ascending into heaven.

This is the same God who came down from heaven on the Jewish festival day, Pentecost, overwhelming the disciples so they began speaking in languages they had never heard.

This is the same God who turned the world upside down then and has been doing the same in millions of people’s lives ever since.

This is the ‘I’, the God who says, ‘fear not, for ‘I’ am with you.’

Life can be lonely, but when God is with us, we do not need to be afraid.

If you want to read more about the peace of God, you can get a hold of my book Peace on my website here.

Also, feel free to swing by one of our services. We’d love to meet you!

PEACE //

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Isa 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you;

This Scripture has always spoken so very loudly to me, maybe because I’ve found I regularly need to calm fears of my own, but also I see it as the root cause of so many problems people have. In 1984 I wrote a song called ‘Fear Not’, based on this Scripture, which enjoyed some popularity for a while.

Fear shuts down our gifts, talents, and potential in life. Fear pushes itself into our emotions. Unlike God, fear does not wait for the invitation to enter our lives. Fear simply forces itself on us.

To be free from phobias we have to take charge deciding we will not be afraid, to literally, ‘fear not’.

The power of a fearless life rises from our relationship with the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the spirit of fear has no place to live. Secondly, if the Word of God lives in us, in our thoughts and hearts, then the words we speak become reality in our lives. The Word of God must reign in us if we are to reign in life.

Why does it need to be stated that God has not given us a spirit of fear? Because the devil works hard to make it feel as though that fear is from God. If we believe that the anxieties we feel are God trying to communicate with us, we open ourselves to that emotion. If Christians can be deceived into believing their fears are from God, then they will be rendered powerless. Know this, any fears you have are not from God. Any voice that accuses you, intimidates you, makes you feel guilty, worried or unsettles you is not from God. It’s the devil. Take your stand, resist the devil and gain the victory over those voices.

Stress, pressure, anxiety, depression, rage, terror and fear are just a few of the words we hear all the time in society today. In the middle of all this we try desperately to seek a restful, peaceful calm for our own souls, for our families and our world. God himself is the peace we seek. There is no other source for genuine peace. It cannot be counterfeited. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, brings this peace to anyone connected to Him. This book is about how we all can have internal peace of the heart, mind and spirit.

You can order the new book Peace by Phil Pringle on my website here.