Month: October 2014

October 26: Faith – What is it and How does it Work?

ABC logo OA Faith

 

Of all of the subjects discussed in Christendom there are perhaps 3 that stand out as being misunderstood the most. They are Righteousness, Humility and Faith. Over the next few weeks we will take each of these and develop a better understanding of what the Word of God actually has to say about them.

I say this because, for some reason, religion, well really I should say, Religiosity; something that’s been taken out of context, or popularised because it sounds holy and is based on “Our tradition.” (the way it’s usually presented is surrounded with statements like: “Well, that’s the way my Grandpa always did it!” Or, “That’s the way we’ve always understood it!” Or, even better: “That’s what my pastor, church, religion teaches!” Then they all end up saying: “So, that must be it!”)

Religiosity tells people, in churches: “God put that sickness on you to teach you something!”  The person may even say it about themselves when they’re around the rest of their ‘churchy’ friends on Sunday. But, come Monday morning they’re down at the doctor’s office wanting them to give them something to get rid of whatever it is.faith B

Obviously, by the time Monday comes around they’re no longer interested in what God’s trying to teach them. Or, they’ve decided that they might skip that lesson; whatever God wanted to teach them couldn’t be that important after all.

Now, before you go running off and saying that I believe Christians shouldn’t be going off to see Doctors, or use medicine. Or, before you go off saying that I’m teaching people that God uses sickness and disease to teach people you’d better hold your horses. Because I’m not saying either  one of those things.

I do not believe that God is the author of sickness and disease. I do not believe that God puts sickness ON people to teach them ANYTHING. HOWEVER, I do believe that God can and will use the circumstances a person is in to teach them and strengthen them for the next time a struggle comes there way. I believe that God get’s the glory when people get healing from any and all sickness and disease.

leap-of-faith_724_482_80I also believe that God gave human beings a brain and a desire for knowledge. As a result medicine has made incredible advances in the treatment and management of diseases and conditions that once would have denoted a death sentence for a person receiving a diagnosis of dysentery. However, even today doctors will admit that they cannot heal anyone; all they can do is provide medication and advice that creates an environment for the body to heal itself.

That, in a slightly round-a-bout fashion, brings us to our topic dealing with one of those three subjects; namely Faith.

The word has been misused through modern application to denote what kind of belief system you follow; Catholic, Protestant, Moslem, or Jew. But, that use is a long way from the real meaning of the word and it has watered down the effectiveness of what is an essential part of the life of every person on the planet.

Every person, who lives on planet earth uses faith every day of their lives. Even the most ardent of those who refer to themselves as atheists use the force of faith just to face each and every situation that touches their life each day.

Faith is not a static unchangeable thing. Faith is dynamic, flexible, able to be developed and also something that can grow. Much like the muscles of the human body, Faith is comparable to being a muscle of the human Force_of_Faith_imagespirit; the real you. If it is not used it atrophies. If fed, challenged and nurtured it will grow and increase in strength.

Since it is impossible to please God without Faith (Heb 11:6) understanding its acquisition and development, along with its application are vital to the health and development of the believer.

To download this week’s important Spirit-Filled message click on the following link and save the linked file to a directory of your choice on your computer. Otherwise your browser will open up with a player to simply listen online.

 Faith – What Is It And How Does It Work?

October 19: We Have The Victory

Sunrise in Space

The fervent desire to be effective in prayer is admirable, achievable and absolutely essential for the person who believes they are called to be involved in Intercession; that is
ALL of us; as well as those who are called to take this art to the next level; to take on the ministry of an intercessor.

As a Pastor I rely, first of all, on the call of God and the anointing given by the Holy Spirit to stand in this office. Added to that is the additional confidence that I have, in the knowledge that there is a team of intercessors and others in the church who feel led to intercede on my behalf, and on the behalf of the church I have the privilege to pastor.

All of the ministries and work done by the body of Christ in the world has to have its basis firmly based in prayer that has given birth to that work well before it has even begun to become physically apparent, to a single person, that anything is happening. It has been given birth in the spirit through the work of intercessory prayer.

This is no insignificant matter. The outcome has serious consequences on an eternal level for those who are in dire need to hear the Gospel and to be brought into salvation; not simply a hope that they might make Heaven. But, that they may enjoy the benefits of that salvation here in this life as well.

For the Sick and the Maimed this is a matter of health and healing. For the Poor it is the provision of their needs being met. For the Lonely and the Widowed there is comfort and peace; all of those things that Jesus proclaimed he had come to provide when he read the scriptures from Isaiah on the day he began his public ministry. (Luke 4:17)

Jesus’ ministry, no simple act, of God Stepping down into the world. It was the culmination of prophesies and prayers and intercessions that had been made for centuries before Jesus was ever able to be conceived, birthed and grow in stature as a man. A man, who was then anointed at his Baptism, with the Holy Spirit and with the power required to fulfil the initial stages of his earthly ministry.

All of this was achieved and brought to fruition based on the prayers and intercessions that were built on the promises made to Abraham by God. A faith that was accounted to him, and to those who followed in his footsteps, as righteousness. A Faith that produced a confidence and an attitude of victory, that the battle was already won, because he who had promised was and is faithful to do what he has said (Heb 10:23), even centuries before it was to come to pass; Faith and Patience working together.

In the New Testament the church, the body of Christ in the Earth, is informed that their position is even better than that of those men and women of God recorded throughout the Old. Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit informs us, on more than one occasion, that we have been raised up to the position of Victory. But, we have to renew the way we think and look at the world around us and, to recognise the true nature of the work; the battle we face to bring this spiritual victory into the physical world around us.

If we come to recognise that we have the victory, before we begin, and that we build our confidence upon that victory, we will face the task with a very different attitude to the one we would have if our eyes are fixed upon each and every struggle, fall and defeat that we face along the way.

This is by no means denying those difficulties. But, as every champion knows, you have to keep your eyes upon the prize, the goal ahead, or be overwhelmed by what it takes to get there. In spiritual matters this is even more important as we recognise that what we see, feel and sense in the world around us had its beginnings in the realm of the spirit first of all (Heb 11:3).

Before we enter the prayer closet we need to recognise that we already have the victory and we are to help to bring that victory to fruitThe Tongueion in the world.

I highly recommend this book for your reading and study in this area: it is by Charles Capps and called “The Tongue – A Creative Force. It is one of the foremost comprehensive books to deal with this subject and is invaluable to growth, spiritually. Follow the link on the image to go directly to the Capps Website, or check out your local Christian Bookstore.

To download this week’s important Spirit-Filled message click on the following link and save the linked file to a directory of your choice on your computer. Otherwise your browser will open up with a player to simply listen online.

We Have The Victory

October 12: The Covenants We Make – The Words of Our Mouths

When considering spiritual warfare we need to be aware of the covenants that we may have made in the past through a lack of understanding of the power in the words we speak.

Not so many years ago it was not uncommon to hear someone declare that their word was their bond. People had a habit of keeping their word Word Bond bluein agreements, or promises they had made.

Even today a verbal agreement can be held to be binding, in a court of law, most especially if there were witnesses to that agreement being made.

A covenant was made with words: vessels, or carriers of power, or authority, that convey messages, or meaning between tow parties. We are informed that “by Faith God spoke the worlds into existence.” So too we create the world around us with the words we speak; both to and over other people. But, particularly over ourselves and our own lives.

SYATTZig Ziglar, one of my favourite motivational speakers has been quoted over and over again, saying: “the man who says he CAN and the man who says he CAN’T are both right!” The biblical principle that he is espousing here is as effective today as it was in the 1970s when he made this statement initially.

The word covenant is a legal term still in use. It refers to contracts and agreements that have been made between parties. In New Testament times the understanding about the power of covenant agreements was well understood; they usually involved the shedding of blood and the declaration of the benefits and the penalties attached to the covenant.

As I said earlier, words are carriers of power, energy, meaning and authority. If we are people who keep our promises and do everything in our power to ensure that such promises are NOT broken; even if in so doing we inconvenience ourselves; we become known by other people and more importantly, to our own souls (our mind, our will and our emotions) as a person of integrity.

Additionally, we develop an ability to be able to depend our own words, so that when we pass a compliment, or describe a sunset, we know we say what we mean and we mean what we say.

Such covenants were binding between families up until and in many cases well past the deaths of the two making the original covenant. A Will, the document that is read after a person dies is a covenant agreement. It is also referred to as the Last testament of the person who has died. It is the reach of that person, from the grave itself often placing a range of expectations swell as benefits upon the survivors of whom the testator has named.

So how does all of this have anything to do with Spiritual Warfare?

The principles of interacting with other people on a natural level have implications for ourselves and others on a spiritual level as well. We need to realise and be aware that Faith, the substance that takes the place of those things unseen (until they appear; Heb 11:1-2) is released through words. Likewise Fear, the opposite spiritual force to Faith, is also released and empowered to produce results by being released through words.

When we consider the Ziglar equation of “Can and Can’t” then it begins to become apparent that our own words create the environment, in our lives that can spur action or, feed inaction and increase our inertia.

The book of Proverbs, usually attributed to King Solomon, still regarded as a wise, if not ‘the’ wisest man to walk the Earth has a lot to say about this very topic:

²You are snared with the words of your lips, you are caught by the speech of your mouth. Prov 6:2 AMP

Another translation says it slightly differently:

²Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth,
thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. 
Prov 6:2 KJV

Further in, there is even more wisdom:

20A man’s [moral] self shall be filled with the fruit of his mouth; and with the consequence of his words he must be satisfied [whether good or evil].21Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].Prov 18:20-21 AMP

To Moses, God said:

19I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live. Deut 30:19 AMP

In this last example we see, very plainly, that the words that we speak will either bless our lives and may even affect the lives of our descendants.

There are numerous examples throughout the New Testament (there’s that word) as well. Jesus demonstrates the example and then teaches the disciples about the power of our words in Mark 11:23-24; Matt 8:23-27. James tells us that our tongues are like the rudder of a ship, that can change the course of our lives, or the outcome of a situation, through the use of words of power.

sword_doveThe Deuteronomy reference is particularly important because God chooses to use words specific to the establishing of covenants: “Life, or Death; Blessing and Cursing.” We need to realise that at the spiritual level we are accountable for every word we speak. Jesus even said that we would be held to account for the words that we have spoken (Matt 12:33-37).

Bringing this principle into the realm of Spiritual Warfare and in particular to Intercessory Prayer, it is very clear to see why the ability to pray in the Holy Spirit, to pray in “Other Tongues” (Our personal, private, perfect, prayer language), to avoid our ability to carelessly curse, when the intention was to bless the person, or situation we are praying for.

As an additional weapon in our arsenal, Jesus demonstrated just how effectively using the written word of God; the principles, promises and the statements contained within the scriptures themselves; “It is Written” (Matt 4:1-11). The Word of God in written form (logos, in the greek) is powerful. But, when it is spoken, it becomes the rhema (gr), two-edged sword, the sword of truth outlined in the study of the Armour of God in Eph 6:11-18.

That is why I continually recommend the book “Prayers that Avail Much” by Germaine Copeland of Word Ministries Inc. I remember PTAMit from the 1980s and see that it is still selling well today. A lot of the hard work has already been done for you as Germaine has researched the scriptures required to pray blessing and Life into a multitude of situations and circumstances that can come up in either your prayer time; or in everyday life. Follow the link on the Image to see what she has available.

This weeks message looks at this subject and I believe that the Holy Spirit can provide you with revelation knowledge as you listen. Ensure you have your bible with you when you listen and see the scriptures themselves right in front of your very own eyes.

To download this important Spirit-Filled message click on the following links and save the linked file to a directory of your choice on your computer. Otherwise your browser will open up with a player to simply listen online.

 The Covenants We Make – The Words Of Our Lips

One more book that I highly recommend for reading in this area is by The TongueCharles Capps, called “The Tongue – A Creative Force. It is one of the foremost comprehensive books to deal with this subject and is invaluable to growth, spiritually. Follow the link on the image to go directly to the Capps Website, or check out your local Christian Bookstore.

October 5: Knowing How To Pray

Ok, you have on your Armour. You have decided to pray. But:

      • Who do you pray for?
      • What do you pray for?
      • What do you pray about?
      • What do you know about the situation you are going to pray about?
      • What is God’s will in the situation?
      • How can you pray in line with God’s will?

These are all valid and important questions that need to be addressed to be effective in the spiritual battle that prayer actually is. James tells us that: “the effectual, fervent prayer of as righteous man availeth much.”

The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]. James 5:16b

Sadly, this dynamic, explosively powerful dimension of prayer has been lost to the majority of the institution ‘the church’ has become. The ‘exercise’ has become ritualised and even though, at times, earnest (at least at the emotional level), sadly it has been relegated to the concept of  ‘religious’ activity; a matter of “going through the motions.”Meeting

In taking up the role of intercessor, a christian is accepting the challenge to step into a role that imitates Christ in his present role ever interceding on our behalf.

To step into this role, as a prayer warrior, requires an individual to learn to be supple and sensitive to the unction of the Holy Spirit (a deep spiritual yearning, as opposed to being emotionally driven) when and how He (the person of The Holy Spirit) directs.

To this end it is important to spend time and effort in developing that sensitivity which involves a certain level of both intimacy and familiarity. One of the most effective ways to do this is by praying extensively in the Holy Spirit, in your personal prayer language, usually referred to as “praying in other tongues.”

In 1Corinthians 2:14, the Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul tells us that:

But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognising, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated.

This is why if a person has not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in other tongues, as demonstrated in every instance in the book of Acts, they are unable to make an appropriate judgement regarding the importance of this form of prayer.

Am I suggesting that a person cannot be involved in intercession and intercessory prayer without being able to “pray in the spirit?” Most certainly not. But, if after a while, in prayer, you find you come to the limits of your knowledge about what to pray for, in the situation, this is where the ability to pray in other tongues becomes invaluable, if not crucial.

The Apostle Paul says it this way:

So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance.
And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God’s will. Rom 8:26-27

The Holy Spirit, himself, comes along beside us to help us in those areas where we are restrained, through a lack of knowledge of how and what to pray for. He helps us, our spirit, to pray in line with the will of God.

The intercessor needs to be open to working in and moving in the other spiritual gifts to follow directions as the spirit leads. The individual’s personal prayer gift, as opposed to the public gift of speaking in tongues, is the intimate doorway into the dimension of the Holy Spirit and the other spiritual gifts as outlined in 1Corinthians 12; all of which can be extremely useful to the work of the intercessor over time.universe

Added to this mighty arsenal another way to  pray in the understanding, in a way your mind can be involved so that you can pray in line with the will of God is to proclaim, or pray the scriptural promises over the life of the person. Praying for another Christian you can use Paul’s prayers from Ephesians Chapter 1 and Chapter 3 as well as the prayer for Christ to be formed in them as he said to Timothy.

One of the most effective resources I have ever found to do this kind of praying is Germaine Copeland’s (No relation to Kenneth and Gloria) books “Prayers that Avail Much.” When I first started 30 plus years ago there was only one volume available. PTAMSince then there have been another 2 volumes as well as a range of different formats with prayers specific to different groups. If your local bookstore doesn’t carry them they are very easy to order online, as well as in electronic form.

Stepping into the role of intercessor has been one of the most privileged things God has ever had me do. If for no other reason, the fact that you get your eyes off of yourself and your own situation and onto God and by his direction into the position of praying his blessings and will into the life of another person, it is a wonderful way to get to know and understand the heart of God.

The intercessor is trusted with information about people that is sacred and intimate about the life of another person. To this end anyone stepping into this work will be required to mature and grow spiritually in a way that is worthy of that trust. The example of Farther Nash, that I’ve shared with you previously was known simply as “a quiet fellow.” He wasn’t known for smalltalk and chit chat; because an intercessor must gain control of their tongue more than anything else.

Revivals begin in the prayer closets of intercessors long before they are ever advertised publicly. Churches are formed in intercessory prayer. New Christians are given birth in the prayer closet before they make their public declarations of faith and Christian maturity is attained by virtue of the work of someone else, on their knees, before the throne of God, on your behalf.

Every Pastor, anyone in public ministry, needs a team of intercessors praying on their behalf. For every person led to receive Jesus as their saviour by an evangelist, or someone doing the work of evangelising, the heavenly reward is also accorded to the intercessor, or intercessors involved in the process.

Intercessory prayer is a great calling; a wonderful experience; extremely fulfilling and an amazing adventure. You may be asked to pray for someone you know, or are related to. Strangers who you have been involved in praying for may come into your life at some stage. Yet, there are more often more people and situations you will be involved in praying for that you will never meet, nor know the actual outcome for, in this life. That is why as you grow in intercession, so too does your faith. I can highly recommend taking up the privilege.

Intro Interc Also, I can highly recommend this book by Pastor Dutch Sheets (Yes, that is his name), called “The Beginner’s Guide to Intercessory Prayer.” It is one of the most comprehensive books for someone beginning to investigate the world of intercession  that I have read in a long time.

Please, as you listen to this week’s teaching, be blessed by it. Graham

To download this important Spirit-Filled message click on the following links and save the linked file to a directory of your choice on your computer. Otherwise your browser will open up with a player to simply listen online.

Knowing How To Pray