Month: November 2014

The Advent Wreath

Keeping Christ in Christmas

Advent Wreath

The Advent wreath is a circular garland of evergreen branches representing eternity. On that wreath, five candles are typically arranged. During the season of Advent one candle on the wreath is lit each Sunday as a part of the Advent services. Each candle represents an aspect of the spiritual preparation for the coming of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

 

At this time of year it can be so easy to get our eyes off of the one about whom the season is actually dedicated to. This is just one example of how to ensure that your Christmas is Christ focused as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ.

November 23: Humble Yourself – Let God Do The Lifting

Humility is one of those words that Christians either like to throw around as they talk about others and their response to the accolades they receive. If a person acknowledges the talent they have they are considered arrogant, or proud and heading for humiliation.

The words that usually accompany any discussion around the subject of humility in church settings include: worthless, lacking, weak, unworthy, humility-and-pride croppeduseless. Or Contrawise, arrogant, proud, tall-poppy, big-headed, self-centred and self-important.

Don’t get me wrong, some of the second list of personality traits would not impress me either; if they were true. But, here’s a point to consider. For some people true biblical humility would appear, to them, to fit into this second list. Instead they would cling firmly to some of the terms in the first list.

However, I’ve said it before, the children of God have had these models of humility preached at them from the pulpit. Told to accept loss, sickness and disease as God’s way of teaching us to be humble. As far as I’m concerned, “That’s Perverted.” We Jail parents who act that way here on Earth.

I’ll have people coming up to me saying:

“But, Pastor Graham, I know someone who was so proud, so unapproachable to anyone else in the street, never mind at church. And they got Cancer and since then they’ve changed. They’ve become so good natured; so loving and kind to people. It’s like a miracle has happened in their lives. They come to church. They are so generous with their time and their wealth. They’re like completely different people.” 

A couple of things could be at play here. Don’t be too quick to think that the outcome is a result of the tragedy. For some people, they have walked so long out of the Love of God; living in opposition to the only 2 commandments that Jesus left the church with:

“The First and Greatest commandment is this: You must love the Lord your God with all you heart, your soul and your strength. And the second, which is equal to the first, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. By these two you have fulfilled the Law and the prophets.” Matt 22:38

As a result we walk out from under the protection that our covenant with God, through Jesus, provides for us. Our body becomes subject to the enemy’s attack and diseases like Cancer find a place to grow.

So, right away, when anyone comes to me to tell me that God has given, or has put sickness, or disease, on a person to humble them, I wonder Blinded mindswhat god they’re talking about. Even Paul said that: “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the elect.” 2Cor 4:4 Jesus referred to Satan as “the Thief” (John 10:10).

The saints (all those who have been set apart, sanctified, for God; if you are In Christ, that includes you) are told to “Count it all Joy, when you fall into temptation..” (Jam 1:2) In 1Thes 5:18 we are told to: “Praise God ‘IN’ every circumstance.” Please note that it says IN every circumstance, not FOR every circumstance.

This one verse of scripture has been mangled, over the centuries, to say the complete opposite of what was intended. Members of the body of Christ (much like the woman, the daughter of Abraham, bowed low for 18 years that Jesus healed and rebuked the ruler of the synagogue for. Luke 13:11-17) have been lied to and blinded to the healing power of God for their lives.

In many cases people who get diseases like Cancer, or a diagnosis of a condition that threatens their mortality they do have a moment of epiphany. They take stock of their lives as they believe that with the time they have remaining they need to get their affairs in order.

Some become bitter and resentful. While others, stepping back, are not pleased by what they see as their legacy and they decide to make changes and adjustments to remedy the picture with the time left to them. Some of them, in both groups, have been members of a church for years, without any knowledge of, or about the healing atonement in the New Covenant. As a result, I believe, they have been robbed.

Saddest of all, is the church member, who has been led to believe that by changing their ways they can buy a way into God’s favour, something that  he has given freely. But, as a result of wrong thinking and wrong teaching on the subject of humility their false humility (PRIDE) will not allow them to accept that it is a gift of Grace and are also robbed.

True bible humility is very different to any of these images. True Humility accepts that what God has to say about you has more authority than cloudsanything you might think about yourself to the contrary. Remember, anything that would try to set itself up as a greater authority than God is motivated by PRIDE, the kind of pride that saw Lucifer lose his place among the Archangels. It is not humiliation. But, Pride will eventually produce humiliation.

Humility admits that as a human: “I am small.” But, “God is Great!” In point of fact, he is far beyond our wildest imaginations and any attempt to contain, or restrain the image of what God is or what he thinks is actually foolishness.

In the Old testament the word Fear is translated from the Hebrew word ‘yirrah‘. In some instances this Fear is associated with a dread of things either happening, or to come. But, in relation to describing God the word is better understood to mean AWE, or Reverence.

Awe, meaning to have the perspective that you are…you and that God is God, the creator of the universe and all that it contains. If that doesn’t have you falling on your face acknowledging the significance of that image, well…? The posture that is adopted in this circumstance is Humility and refers to both one’s physical posture and, or the posture of the heart, the spirit.

Reverence, in relation to God, is an attitude of both Heart and Soul. It refers to the ability to accept what God has to say about you even when all of your feelings and senses are saying something different. Wisdom and knowledge, the Proverbs tell us, are the fruit of this acceptance.

James (Jam4:10) tells us that if we seek to be lifted up by God, then we first of all have to humble ourselves to see ourselves as God sees us. While Peter, in his first letter (1Pet 5:7) tells us exactly how we commit to true humility; by understanding that all that we have and all that we need ultimately come from God, our provider and he is reminded of the lesson that he learned from the Master, Jesus, In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:33; by Casting ALL of our cares upon the Lord.

We need to renew our minds to the truth of what God has said about us. We need to adopt the mind of Christ as Paul talks about in Phil 2:5.

This week’s message is the fruit of obedience and faithfulness. Allow yourself the opportunity to consider this key ingredient to walking a successful and victorious life In Christ. Accept all that God, through Jesus Christ, has done for you and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to you.

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. All of these messages are provided free of charge.

Humble Yourself – Let God Do The Lifting

 

November 16: What Can Separate Us From God’s Love

PRIDEFEST 2014Dove Rainbow 1

THANKSGIVING SERVICE

 

If there is one message that I would like to get out, into the hearts and minds of people across the globe it would be this one.

The Grace of God is an incredible thing for us mere human beings to contemplate and comprehend. In fact we do such a poor job of comprehending it that God has to use a donkey like me to shout it out.

Far too many people live their lives in the fear that they are out of the will of God. Or, live under condemnation for events that took place, in many cases years ago, in the past. They may have even gone through the Rainbow Crossprocess of confessing and asking to be forgiven. But, they have never forgiven themselves.

GLBTIQ Christians, in particular, fall victim to this condemnation from both within themselves and from without by other members of churches who enjoy the opportunity to have a scapegoat that enables them to assuage the guilt, they feel, about their own life walk; their religiously constructed measuring system for sin gives them a sense of superiority when they can compare the things they’ve done up alongside the life-walk of someone they and their friends regard as deviant.

The wonderful thing about the Grace of God is that it can even accommodate this expression of self-pride and self-importance. I am reminded of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector that Jesus Spoke of, saying:

He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves and were confident that they were righteous [that they were upright and in right standing with God] and scorned and made nothing of all the rest of men:
Two men went up into the temple [ enclosure] to pray, the one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
The Pharisee took his stand ostentatiously and began to pray thus before and with himself:God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men—extortioners (robbers), swindlers [unrighteous in heart and life], adulterers—or even like this tax collector here.
I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I gain.
But the tax collector, [merely] standing at a distance, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but kept striking his breast, saying, O God, be favorable (be gracious, be merciful) to me, the especially wicked sinner that I am!
I tell you, this man went down to his home justified (forgiven and made upright and in right standing with God), rather than the other man; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.   (Luke 18:9-14 AMP)

It is for this reason that I really love the book of Romans. Yes, it contains one of the most violently abused justifications for bullying, tormenting and even the killing of GLBTIQ people. Because of Romans 1:24-27 many Gay and Lesbian people have been Exorcised, demonised and marginalised from their home churches; being told they are not welcome. In some extreme cases they have even been forbidden any future contact with family members who have been instructed to shun them.

Judge-gavel-genericIt is interesting to note that only a few verses further into this letter Paul, by the Holy Spirit issues the ‘Gotcha’, by announcing that anyone who judges another, for such things, will themselves be judged with the same judgement, as if they had committed the very same acts. Paul is not commenting on the acts themselves. Rather, he is commenting on the action of usurping the role of God who is the only one with the right to pass judgement; since, as Jesus said “Only God sees the heart of a man..” (Luke 16:15 para.)

The Book of Romans is not a book of condemnation. Rather, it is an exposé of The Grace of God. In this letter, to the whole church, Paul opens up to his own struggles with sin (Rom 7:14 – 8:2 Chapter and verse is only there to help us locate these scriptures they weren’t there in the original letter). He talks about his own self accusation regarding the work of persecuting the church. That same church he has now been sent to proclaim and to promote, while still reminded of the ability of that Abundant Grace to save even one such as himself.

It is Romans 8:33-39 that is the clincher for me though. I particularly like the Amplified version of this passage because, as you read it carefully, even studiously, it reveals the very heart of God Himself. It expounds the very nature of Grace. The whole letter, to this point has described the process that the man Paul has had to undertake to renew his thinking, to be able to live with his memories and yet press on to serve Christ.

He describes the depth to which the Grace of God has penetrated his soul. Using words like “Persuaded;” “Beyond doubt” and “Sure.” The very strength, the emphasis that he puts into this passage should leave no wiggle room for the reader to think that Paul means anything less than what he is about to describe; he believes:

For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers,
Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.   (Rom 8:38-39 AMP).

Don’t allow yourself to be robbed, any further, by the insecurity; the blatant ignorance; the awful ‘hate-speech’ constructed from cherry-picked pieces, from the bible, that have been taken out of context, to be wielded as a weapon of destruction and by no means from the Love of God.

This message, from the book of Romans, so badly misunderstood, is the very Gospel that we must take and spread to the world. The Love of Jesus that we can see in action in the synoptic gospels comes alive in the church as we are able to share the simple, yet awesome truth; that NOTHING; NO THING; Absolutely NOTHING and NOBODY (or their opinion) can separate you from the LOVE OF GOD WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS, Our Lord!

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. All of these messages are provided free of charge.

What Can Separate Us From God’s Love

♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦

Please consider becoming a part of the blessing of this ministry and sowing your seed gift through the methods listed under our Giving menu at the top of the page. Your gift will enable the ministry to continue to be a blessing offering these messages freely each week. 

I Pray: That God bless you and your family as he continues to provide for all of your needs through His riches, In Christ Jesus. Amen!

Praise the Lord!

 

November 9: Til Christ Be Formed In You

righteousness-header-e1351008913390

The Formation of Christ in our lives is a journey that everyone who accepts the salvation that Christ has to offer immediately finds themselves on.

For some that is good news; they’re up for a challenge. For many though, that journey has challenges and barriers that they believe they have to overcome before they can continue on that journey.

Another way of looking at it is to suggest that they think that they have to change things in their life, in their own strength, before they can join the journey of making changes with God and through God’s own ability in us.

 Consider it this way: Let’s say you’ve spent the whole day working in the garden,you’re sweaty, dirty and you think a little smelly. I am driving by your place on my way to the river, for a swim and a cool down. I ask you if you’ve finished your work (which you have) and ask you if you’d like to come down to the river with me and cool off.

Sound like a good idea to you?

However, instead of saying Yes! I’ll be with you in an instant. You say: “Nah! I need to go and take a bath before I could do that.”

Does there appear to be something wrong with this picture?

Well, if the truth be told, this is the way many Christians view their relationship and how they perceive themselves positionally with God.

They have the belief that after asking Jesus to be their Lord they need to spend THEIR energy and time, for the rest of their lives trying to EARN what they have been given FREELY, BY GRACE, as a FREE GIFT.

The problem is that the belief that you could ever do enough to earn the Grace of God is beyond reason. Even going to the extent of giving your life for someone else’s, as noble as that sounds, it would not be enough to pay for the Grace of God and for the FREE GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS that is given to ALL who call upon his name.breastplate18g

You see the biggest confusion lies in the concept of what Righteousness actually is. Many, in the church, have taught that it is a method of behaviour. It is the conduct by which you order your life. However, it isn’t that at all. Righteousness is a STATE OF BEING. It refers to your position, with God, as a member of His Family.

I’m by no means suggesting that Christians should stop trying to do the right thing; stop being the express image of God in this world. However, if you get this concept settled deep down on the inside of you, If you can, through the renewing of your mind, by the Word of God, grab ahold of the standing that Christ has given you.

You will be empowered to do those things in God’s own strength and ability, in a way that will bless the recipients to an even greater degree because you are finally doing those things in the same way that Jesus himself did them: With an understanding of who he WAS and IS as The Son of God and YOU as a CHILD OF GOD.

I Like the way Brother Kenneth Copeland says it in his message; “The Force of Righteousness.”

He says:

“Righteousness is not Conduct. It’s not the goody goody way in which you act. It will produce Conduct. But, Righteousness is your Right-Standing with God. 

You know that you not only have a Right to Pray, you have a Right to be heard when you do pray!”

Now for some ‘religious’ folk that may be a little difficult for them to swallow. But, the truth of the matter is that by accepting Jesus’ sacrifice and by making him Lord over your life, you have become a part of him and have inherited ALL of the benefits that he is entitled to; simply by virtue of the fact that you are in his body.

cross-and-jubilent-arms-upliftedHowever, God, being the sensible and Wise Father that he is, doesn’t just hand a toddler the massive toolbox and send you on your way. He doesn’t give you access to all of that power to weild, by yourself, without being there to lead and guide you, by his Holy Spirit. In fact, as you grow, by faith, more and more into the image of God in you, you find he trusts you with more and more, as well as trusting you with more and more responsibility.

We are called to Grow Up In Christ. We are called to come to MATURITY IN HIM. Physical Age is irrelevant as far as God is concerned and just because someone who has been a member of a church congregation for 40 years, it doesn’t make them an Elder in the church. I’ve seen young people come to maturity, in Christ over an 18 month period way ahead of some who’ve been around churches all their lives.

Knowing your position in Christ; once you wake up to the truth that you have been given a whole BRAND NEW set of Spiritual clothes and are a whole new person (1Cor 5:17). Once you wake up to the truth that you are who God says you are. Then you will find that your behaviour will modify to meet that image; the you you want to be, IN HIM.

You will never see the image of Christ in your life, on the outside. Until first of all you get the image of Christ living and Alive in you on the Inside water_falland that is the work of renewing the mind, by the washing of the water of the Word of God that Paul speaks of in Romans 12:2  and then in Ephesians 5:26.

This message is one of my favourite messages to teach. Because, of a truth, it is one of the most transforming messages that any believer can hear. As I grew up I believed that as a Christian I was a failure. That I was worthless and even though I believed in and truly loved God I couldn’t understand why God would want to know me.

I pray,  that as you listen to today’s teaching, you open your heart up to receive everything that the Spirit of God has to say to you about just how precious you are to him. This one took me way off of the notes that I had prepared. But, it is truly a message from the very heart of God himself.

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.

Til Christ Be Formed In You

 

Please consider becoming a part of the blessing of this ministry and sowing your seed gift through the methods listed under our Giving menu. Your gift will enable the ministry to continue to be a blessing offering these messages freely each week.

I Pray: That God bless you and your family as he continues to provide for all of your needs through His riches, In Christ Jesus. Amen!

Praise the Lord!

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: SUNDAY NOVEMBER 16

PRIDE THANKSGIVING SERVICE

SUNDAY 16 NOVEMBER

SPECIAL PRIDE EVENT

Dove Rainbow 2

Open Arms Fellowship: Perth’s ONLY GLBTIQ  Welcoming and Affirming  Pentecostal church Invites ALL GLBTIQ People; Their Families; Friends and Supporters; to this special PRIDE service.

Members and Ministers/Priests of other  GLBTIQ welcoming churches throughout Perth are welcome and encouraged to attend this Official PRIDE event.

This Service will take place at our regular venue, the North Perth Lesser Hall; 24 View St, North Perth.

This special service will be held at 3.00pm and will include Music, Prayer,   Holy Communion, a Short Message and an opportunity for fellowship afterwards over Tea and Coffee.

An offering will be taken up during the meeting to cover costs.

If it’s a while since you’ve stepped inside a church because you felt you were not welcome please take this as an opportunity to meet with people happy and willing to support and Love you for who you are. Not for something they want you to be.

We Look forward to seeing you!

GDM

 

Pastor Graham Douglas-Meyer

November 02: You Shall Eat The Fruit Of Your Lips

Life and Death

 

Proverbs 18:21 AMP

Death 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].

This is not the only passage that speaks of the need to watch our words. The instances where the people of God are instructed to guard their mouths are numerous.

The true nature of our heart is revealed by the words we speak at the  moments of the most pressure in our lives. Jesus himself said that a spring cannot bring forth both sweet and bitter water and that we would be judged by every loose word we speak.

James, the brother of Jesus, instructs us that one of the most important tasks we have is to guard our mouths. To ensure that we attempt to control our tongue which can, like the rudder of a ship changes the direction of the ship, determine the outcome of our lives.

We should by no means take this instruction lightly. A word study on the power of the tongue is encouraged. Since our mouths can get us in, or out of difThe Tongueficulties we will face this is one area where it is worth spending some time.

There is a wealth of material that can be found on this topic, not the least of which is a book by Charles Capps that I have promoted previously “The Tongue a Creative Force.” However, for those who want somethingWORDS to pop into their pocket I seriously suggest the minibook “WORDS” by Kenneth E Hagin.

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.

You Shall Eat The Fruit Of Your Lips