// PRE-DESTINATION \\

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Eph 1:5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

Every single person ever born and ever will be born has been predestined to be adopted by God, to be born of God, according to His good pleasure. He takes no pleasure in anyone perishing. It is neither His will, nor His pleasure for anyone that He predestined to be His child, to perish. And He has predestined everyone to be His child.

2 Pet 3:9 The Lord is … not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

For this Scripture to mesh with the abundance of Scripture proclaiming that ‘whoever will may come’, and ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’, it is obvious that even though God has predestined our adoption He has never overridden our choice as to whether or not that will actually happen.

It’s always been His plan, but whether or not it becomes our plan as well is left to our choice. Also it is incumbent (far too soft a word), upon us who have received this predestined adoption, to bring as many others as we can into the same state, through every means possible.

Some of our friends have imagined that Paul is saying that our acceptance of Christ was predestined, and, unfortunately, those who don’t accept Christ, was also predestined. This violation of Scripture voices arrogance from the ‘chosen’ and charges God, who is Love, with the severest of discriminations. The weak believer will wonder if they are part of the chosen few. The non-believer can only conclude God is diabolically prejudicial.

Ultimately, there can be no Day Of Judgement if we had no choice in the matter of our salvation. God would be evil to judge us for things He was fully aware that He made us do. To force someone to do something and then to judge them for that action is inconsistent with any notion of justice. His plans for people are His predestination. All of us have the chance to receive His magnificent plan for our lives and begin living it out.

I know there are always those who ask, ‘what about those who have never heard, to have the opportunity to choose?’ A more pertinent question may be ‘what are we doing who have the Word of Life?’ Should we not be sharing Christ, building the church, sending preachers, supporting broadcasts, television and radio, so that people who have never heard do have the opportunity to hear and believe.

See you in church (with a friend)

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‘Cause I’m Happy….’

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Happiness

The opposite to depression is happiness.
If a person is happy, they are not depressed.
However, happiness should not be confused with laughter.
The circus clown is often the saddest person in town.
Depressed comedians are proverbial.

Pr 14:13
Laughter can conceal a heavy heart,
but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.

Depression has become epidemic.
WHO predict depression will be the most common major disease by 2020.

Wikipedia – The recent hit pop song “Happy” is a neo soul and funk song on which Pharrell Williams’ falsetto voice has been compared to Curtis Mayfield by critics. The song has been highly successful, peaking at number one in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and 19 other countries. It has sold over 5.6 million copies in the United States  and over 1.52 million copies in the United Kingdom, and has reached number one in the latter a record three separate occasions.

Happiness is popular because so many want it, and yet happiness remains so elusive.

Depression and Stress: Several studies have found that high levels of religious commitment correlate with lower levels of depression and stress. [David B. Larson and Susan S. Larson, The Forgotten Factor in Physical and Mental Health: What Does the Research Show? (Rockville, Md.: National Institute for Healthcare Research, 1992), 76-78
“Australian Psychologist”
Volume 34, Number 1
March 1999
Editor: Christine Lee
University of Newcastle
The World Health Organisation’s global burden of disease research indicates that unipolar major depression was the leading cause of disability worldwide in 1990. Furthermore, it predicts that, by 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of death and disability across the world. (Page 49)

The deepest happiness available to any of us is fellowship with Christ.
This communion brings a smile to our soul unobtainable anywhere else in the Universe.
This is being right with your creator, rather than wrong with Him and feeling separated from Him because of our offences against Him.
This joy is the joy of fellowship with Christ Himself.
This is the secret place of Psalm 91.
No-one can remove this or steal it away.
This happiness remains in spite of everything and anything.
It is the wine of fellowship with God Himself.
When we should be drowning in depression, we can be happy in an overcoming attitude because we are connected, fused with a supernatural fusion to Christ Himself the One who rose from the dead, overcoming all hell, hades, demons, sickness, sin and shame.

Dr Martin Seligman is the world’s leading authority on optimism and happiness. He wrote a ground breaking book – Learned Optimism (Knopf, 1991) and followed that up with (amongst others) Authentic Happiness (Random House, 2002).

In Authentic Happiness (page 177 & 178) Seligman wrote this about the importance of optimism for achieving high performance:

‘The pessimist views bad events as pervasive, permanent and uncontrollable, while an optimist sees them as local, temporary and changeable. Pessimism is maladaptive in most endeavours: Pessimistic life agents sell less and drop out sooner than optimistic agents. Pessimistic undergraduates get lower grades, relative to their SAT scores and past academic record, than optimistic students. Pessimistic swimmers have more substandard times and bounce back from poor efforts worse than optimistic swimmers. Pessimistic pitchers and hitters do worse in close games than optimistic pitchers and hitters. Thus pessimists are losers on many fronts.’

Optimists are people magnets. People like to be in the company of an optimist. Emotional Intelligence author, Daniel Goleman’s research proves that optimistic leaders more easily retain talented people compared to leaders who more often display negative moods.

Optimism and associated good moods create positive feelings about work. Good moods have also been proven to greatly improve people’s speed in; understanding complex information, making effective decisions and thinking more creatively.

Optimism builds resilience. Pessimists as more likely to give up sooner or not to try at all, compared to optimists.

Nelson Mandela is often mentioned in surveys of inspiring leaders. To go through all that he did as a prisoner on Roden Island for over 20 years and come out a free man with no apparent diminishment of his belief in the basic good of all people, shows optimism at its most inspiring.

There are a number of roadblocks to happiness that all of us have to deal with if we want some joy in our lives.
I certainly don’t underestimate the power of depression in people’s minds and lives. I have faced and fought my own battles with depression, but also I have discovered how to minimise the impact of negative thoughts and emotions and how to promote positive emotions.
Positive feelings alone are not the root of happiness. If our character is right and our spirit clean, joyfulness is inevitable in our emotional life. To try and medicate our way out of depression and into good feelings doesn’t deal with the roots of the problem.

The truest and most accurate translation of the word ‘Blessed’ when Jesus is presenting the sermon on the mount, is ‘Happy’.
We have a problem with this because we think this is too light a word compared to the word blessed, which sounds so much more sacred.
However, Jesus came to bring us into happiness, not by waving a major wand, but through us being obedient to God.

Happy weekend friends & see you in church!

Ps. Phil has authoured 14 books, one of which is about HOPE.  A must read for anybody suffering with depression or feelings of hopelssness.  You can order a copy by clicking on the link above.

 

Little by Little

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Ex 23:30 Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land.

Great achievements rarely happen instantly or ‘overnight’. We grow into our greatest achievements little by little, sometimes the progress is barely visible. This is why we simply walk by faith, believing that what we are doing is having an effect and that eventually we will experience the results.

Even though the deserts of the Sahara are so vast, they are simply comprised of countless little grains of sand.

Isa 28:10

For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept,

Line upon line, line upon line,

Here a little, there a little.”

We grow gradually into our possession, our destiny. A child may, by inheritance ‘own’ the car and the house, but he is far from able to drive the car or manage the house. He grows into that by having one small job after another until, he has learned all the skills needed. God gives us our inheritance a little at a time, so that we are not suddenly handling responsibilities and situations beyond our wisdom, strength and capacity.

We also need to maintain what we have attained (Phil 3:16). The very skills to do this are won through the ‘little by little’ application of ourselves to the smaller jobs we have had. The Israelites needed to increase in numbers as well so they could outnumber their enemies and the beasts of the field (Deut 7:22)

On the negative side, we are tempted to justify sin to ourselves by it’s smallness, yet little by little the decay will rot away a person’s soul. More houses are destroyed by termites than by earthquakes. More fires are started by matches than by volcanoes. Conversely, little acts of righteousness, little, regular, consistent times of prayer, seemingly little attentions to the Word, eventually will build a magnificent life.

Every little bit counts. It may not seem like it at the time, but each step we take is taking us somewhere, and after a lifetime of steps we will reach certain destinations. The person who restrains themselves from eating foods that add weight, won’t see the result for a while, but eventually they start to see the difference, feel better about themselves and have a new eating habit. Conversely, if we think we can get away with eating small amounts of extra that we don’t need but just want, eventually it too will show. Some people will eat everything on the plate in front of them just because it’s there. Self impose a limit on yourself as to how much you will eat and stick with that. Our results in life are because of the cumulation of all the little things we do over time.

With our money, we can start by putting a little money away into an investment. Every little bit counts. If we don’t waste the money we have in our hand but save it, invest it, soon we will have more than we need. However, if we waste our money and spend all the little amounts on futile things, justifying to ourselves that it’s just ‘little’ spending, we will soon find we don’t even have the money that we do need.

This is living with control. When we’re out of control it shows in our lives.

Our budget is not what we have in our hands. Our budget is the amount of what we have in our hands that we have decided we can spend. For some people, whatever they have is what they spend. Self impose limits on yourself and only spend that amount.

Make these choices as lifestyles, not just something you’ll try for a week. We change our lives when we change our lives.

Bless you,

See you in church!

Meditations on the Holy Spirit

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Eph 4:18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;

 Blindness; Greek, “hardness,” literally, the hardening of the skin so as not to be sensible of touch. Hence a soul’s callousness to feeling (Mk 3:5). Where there is spiritual “life” (“the life of God”) there is feeling; where there is not, there is “hardness.”

Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Eph 4:18). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

 A negative mind darkens understanding, so we misunderstand and simply don’t understand or have any insight into even obvious truth, because we are cut off from connection with God and the inevitable ‘life’ that flows through that connection from Him to us. Ignorance is a refusal to receive knowledge, in this instance because of the lack of ‘sight’ in the heart. We ‘see’ with the heart which is the seat of our trust, love and desires. When we sin we separate ourselves from God. We cannot connect with Him. In this state we look at the Bible and it fails to live for us, whereas when we are clean and close to God, every page of the Bible lives. Prayer provides easy access into the presence of God so we feel the anointing and a fountain of joy springing up within. But when we are guilty, our spirit is divorced from our mind and emotions. We are divided within, isolated from ourselves and God. As I said, we know we are in a state of divided-ness from God because we feel distant from the Bible. It doesn’t live for us. The division we experience within bleeds into our relationships so we find ourselves at variance with others. When we are at peace within ourselves, we find it easy to be at peace with others and to be peacemakers.

If you are feeling a divide between yourself & God, my book ‘Moving in The Spirit’ can help you reconnect and move forward into His presence.

Meditations on the Holy Spirit

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2Co 3:17  For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit is freedom. He sets people free from fear, from addictions and from not being free to control their own lives. We do not come under the control of the Holy Spirit when He fills us. Rather we gain self-control, free to make decisions that will change our lives.

The word religion means to bind. Life in the Spirit is not religious, binding, but neither is it without order. Some people have imagined that the more chaotic their lives are, the more evidence there is of the Holy Spirit. However, The Spirit brought order to chaos in creation, not more chaos. Order brings security and freedom. Religion brings bondage because the spirit of it is not based on grace but laws, that teach the only way to please God is to be a perfect law keeper.

Rom8:15  For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

See you in church!

Discover how to move more effectively in the Holy Spirit here….

Meditation

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Meditation Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day & night.

Our love for the Bible is a clear indicator of our spiritual health. If we are sick we lose our appetite for food.  Same with our spirit.  The Bible is Jesus in written form.  He is the manna from Heaven.  To meditate is to ‘chew’ the Word one verse at a time, with our mind.  As we rethink a verse, over & over, we digest the Word into our spirit where it becomes revelation.  This is what makes us fruitful.  We become planted like a tree by the river of the Word & so bear fruit all the time.  We become influential in peoples world transforming their lives.  Healing flows from the Word within.

See you in church! 

Plans

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PPapp_ The worldJames 4:15 ‘….Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that’

Instead of being presumptuous & saying this is what we ‘will do,’ make plans, but surrender them to God so He can change them, enhance them or stop them.  THIS is how He is Lord of our life.  Prov 3:6 says if we commit (surrender) our ways to Him, He will direct our paths (direction, timing, connections) & give us good success. Make plans, take steps, work hard, but place it all in the hands of God in prayer and declaration.  He brings success!

See you in church!