God Loves Us But Does Not Need Us

eye of god

God is perfect…in need of nothing. He does not sleep nor eat therefore he does not become hungry or tired. He does not wear clothes and he does not live in houses. Therefore he does not need to make or buy anything. He is utterly without lack. He is not human, therefore he is not fallen, and that which is perfect is entirely whole and without flaw. A created thing which is without flaw and is whole does the thing it is created for perfectly. God, who is not created but created all things, is perfect in everything he thinks, says and does. He does not have to cast around for the right word, or reconsider his actions, or regret his past choices.

Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: 24 “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26 And He has made from one blood[c] every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ 29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. 30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17)

Consider then…if we are in Him we too have no lack.

Like God, we will not have need. In Him we live and move and have our being. If our life is hidden in Christ, we will never have need again. (Col. 3:3)

Practically speaking, we will get tired and we will get hungry. But Scripture is full of comfort regarding these things. In peace I will both lie down and sleep for you alone O Lord make me lie down in safety (Psalm 4:8). We will be able to sleep because there is no anxiety, nothing troubling us. And Christ himself said that those who hunger and thirst will be filled in Him. He also said that God will provide what we need in the same way He provides for the living things around us, birds and flowers. (Matthew 12:29)

What are the things which cause us anxiety? Mostly our anxieties centre on our needs. We do not have enough of something so we fret. Not enough money, no job, no car etc. We also fret about relationships. Our parents or our husbands or wives do not love us enough, or even at all. Our friends betray us. Our bosses are bullies. Our children disobey us. God likewise has to face all of these things. We have betrayed and rebelled against Him. Yet, He still sits in serene perfection in heaven on his throne. He has not fallen off nor will He ever. He has need of nothing, not even for us to get right with Him. His provision on the Cross was enough. ‘It is finished’ were Christ’s last words. The final and greatest sacrifice was from God himself. He has given us everything that is necessary for life and godliness.

2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter)

We also can be perfect as He is perfect. When we are in Him, we have need of nothing. If we so choose. If we do not choose, then we will have lives of chaotic anguish. There is nothing God can do about that. He has provided everything for us, if we do not wish to live in this place of abiding where there is no need, we will suffer the consequences. I do not say this to be harsh, it is simply a fact. Since God has given us free will, it is up to us to come to God our heavenly Father, and receive all He has provided. Christ as our high priest and final sacrifice bled for us so we may receive cleansing, freedom from sin and victory over death. Christ is also our brother and suffered as we have suffered. Not only does God provide for us physically, he provides for us emotionally, spiritually and in all other ways.

You might say, ‘But wait a minute, what about our health people have serious illnesses, they can be badly hurt in car accidents, what about those needs?’ Jesus has, does and will heal his people. Yet even in the midst of an illness which has not been healed, there is provision. We hurt physically and we need pain relief. We have medicine in this day and age which can do that for us. Yet even in the midst of our weakness, His grace is sufficient for us.

I do not know fully how this truth affects our lives. I only know how it affects mine and I have only begun to understand it. There are always questions and seeming paradoxes in this life, mostly because we humans have limited understanding and faith. But I can lean on the authority of scripture. There are some things that I am absolutely sure of because God himself has told me these things.

He is perfect and has no need. Our lives are hidden with Christ, we have His life and received it in exchange for ours when we accepted His death on the Cross and His resurrection and conquest of death itself. In Him, who is our provider, there is no need.

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The Blood of Jesus and How It Changes Everything

 

 

Lambs frolicking in Christchurch, New Zealand (© Andrew Walmsley/Alamy)(Bing Australia)
Lambs frolicking in Christchurch, New Zealand (© Andrew Walmsley/Alamy)(Bing Australia)

 

 

Recently, I have been reading the book The Power of the Blood of Jesus’ by Andrew Murray. The teaching in this book has opened my eyes to the truths about the blood of Jesus Christ contained in scripture in a way that nothing else ever has. In fact, I can’t remember ever having read, or in fact heard, any teaching on this subject which is as in-depth or as revelatory as this. Murray is not alone in his studies on this subject, many authors and speakers have dealt with it over the centuries. However, this particular book is a classic and has been well-read and accepted as a sound theological treatise. In my lifetime, this has been a revolutionary and challenging book to read and I feel I am going to have to re-read it quite a few times. Our whole family in fact have been reading the book and discovering more and more about the wonderful salvation which is so freely available to all in the death of Jesus on the Cross.

The more I think about the power of the blood and how it cleanses and makes us fit to approach the throne of God, the more I realise how this fact also changes everything else about my walk with Jesus and in fact our lives and the history of our family up to this point.

Our family spent 15 years (1989-2004) in an abusive group called Brisbane Christian Fellowship. Much has been written about this particular organisation, and I won’t insult the church of Jesus Christ by calling it a church. It is a religious institution…that is all. There may well be true believers in its midst and the Holy Spirit will lead them out sooner or later. Strangely, when we left, we were told we were leaving them because we ‘were not of them’, a reference to the scripture 1 John 2:19

“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”

In fact, they themselves were not of Christ. There was nothing which manifested in that place which was of Christ and despite the fact that they held communion and preached on the significance of ‘the one table’ for the whole body, they were woefully inadequate and in fact mostly wrong in both their exegesis of the meaning of communion and the execution of their offices as ‘elders’.

Steve and I have often discussed what it was that kept us in this place for so long. In essence, it was a lack of understanding of the true gospel. The whole time we were there we strove to be one with the members of the congregation, yet there was always a sense that we were failing and we couldn’t work out why. The elders would have had us believe that we were not obeying them and this was the result of it. We continually felt ashamed, oppressed and worn out. What was lacking was the realisation that we were trying to become one with darkness and there is simply no fellowship of darkness and light. (2 Corinthians 6:14)

We thought we had to somehow make ourselves fit to be members of the body of Christ and that somehow our actions or our acceptability to others (especially the elders) would ensure our acceptance into that body .It was a terrible thing to live with. We felt in our spirits always at odds with what our minds were telling us. We believed we were members of the body, yet we continually worked to gain acceptance into it. We were told on some occasions that we were ‘accepted in the beloved’ from the pulpit, and yet it was clear that there was an overarching yet subtle rejection of us as members of this group. We questioned why this was at every possible juncture. We asked people to our house and were rejected. We wondered why others were asked to go away on vacation but not us. We tried to be part of things like the ‘young marrieds’ group and were told that there were not enough spaces. There were plenty of opportunities for us to involve ourselves in the activities and social life of this place, yet over and over, we walked away with the impression that we were never really quite making it. An astounding observation in a group of people who claimed to be members of the body of Christ.

We had been part of a smaller church which had joined the larger congregation of BCF. We were told that we were joining with them in person because in Spirit we were all one in Christ and that we should rejoice that we were becoming part of the larger body. This was not only illogical it was a completely wrong reason to become part of BCF. If, in fact, (and it is true) we are all one in Spirit and regardless of where we live in the world we are all part of the Body of Christ, then we do not need to come together as one whole body in one place at one time every week. It makes no difference where we are. In fact, it is neither practical nor necessary to do so. We were lied to by the elders who agreed to join with BCF and we were also coerced into believing that this group of people were in fact actually part of the body of Christ in the first place.

Many times we were told as a congregation that we may not even be saved. A lack of assurance in our salvation was a very central part of the abuse that these men heaped upon their people. When we left, we thought that this was why we had always felt that we were disjointed as it were while we were in the group. Their explanation was ‘you were not really of us – they said we were not part of the body of Christ because in their parlance, that is what the ‘us’ means. It meant they were part of the body of Christ, or more specifically, they believe they ARE the body of Christ in Brisbane and all true believers should join them. If fact, all they do is begin new works in various places and hijack other people’s congregations or else encourage lost and hurting Christians to join them in the hope that this is a place where they will find their true calling. Again, it is all a lie.

For many years I questioned the ‘once saved always saved’ message. I believe now that this falls very far short of understanding what ‘saved’ even means. If we are able to come to the Cross of Jesus Christ, and understand what the blood of Jesus Christ has done for us, and we get well and truly converted and continue on in the faith (‘if we endure to the end we are saved’) as all who are given a revelation of this truth will do,I am convinced of it then there will be a mighty change in our lives. We will repent of our sins, we will understand our position in Christ as unassailable, and we will have a mighty saving faith in the blood to deliver us from sin and wickedness and the evil and darkness which surrounds us. BCF have repeatedly taught that we have no ‘position’ in Christ at all but this is to create doubt and fear and a toxic dependence upon the elders to save them.

The congregation of this ‘church’ are not filled with the joy of the Lord or of their salvation. They walk in fear, doubt, anxiety, distrust, frustration, despair and often loneliness and depression. We have always believed this was because of the terrible abuses heaped upon them by the elders. In fact we need to consider this very important and central fact. Are these ones who identify as Christians in fact saved? I believe not. In fact, I believe most of the members of the BCF congregation (if not many other churches in this country) are not saved at all simply because they have not been properly discipled, or taught, the scriptural truths which will in fact change them from sad defeated and fearful religious human beings into joy, faith and hope-filled believers.

It is the blood of Jesus Christ which saves, cleanses and defeats the power of sin in our lives. We are NOT dependent upon some false teacher or other to pronounce our acceptability to God, and these men are very adept at this kind of sorcery. Yet so many of the congregation are not saved at all. We, who were saved and came to Christ in a completely different environment, and were taught and discipled by other men in other ways, came into this environment believing that these people were exactly like us. How wrong we were. They had been taught lies and religious myths for decades and had learned to lean on the rotten bones of greedy sinful godless men instead of the true rock of their salvation, Christ himself.

One of the first sermons we heard in this place was by a man called Vic Hall, who now leads these people and their various churches around this country. He told us that we ‘do not have a pipeline to God’. He tried to tell us that our relationship with Jesus was now null and void and that in its place was the relationship with the elders of this congregation who would now be the face and voice of Christ to us and that we should obey them and it would be as though we were obeying Christ. It was not said in this kind of language of course, it was spoken in words which were much less clear and not all at once. Over the course of time, we stopped believing in Jesus, stopped reading our bibles, stopped praying in fact, and believed that our involvement with this church and its leaders was all that was necessary.

The truth of the matter, which I have only lately come to understand fully, was that there was no ‘us’ to be part of. This was not a church of Jesus Christ, this was no group of members of the body of Christ. Within its ranks there were individuals and marriages who were members of the body of Christ due to their conversion at some previous point and who had gotten themselves well and truly lost. Jesus has, and will, come to claim those ones. But nobody who has heard this un-gospel since a child, or has become a ‘christian’ within its ranks ( a precious few I think) or has stayed inside its gates for more than a few years will be able to call themselves truly saved until they leave and come once again to that bounteous place where the blood can cleanse them of their blindness, deception and wicked deeds. Indeed, the insidious hints and insinuations to the congregation that they might not be saved, that they may never enter heaven because they were not truly obeying, or believing in the un-gospel that was being preached was in fact twisted truth. There was no genuine gospel being preached, the blood of Jesus has been trampled underfoot for years, and there is no growth, change, deliverance or fruit of the Spirit.

26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
(Hebrews 10)

Many have left this place claiming ‘there is no love here’. An idea which has created a great deal of angst in the leaders who have gone to great lengths to protest that there is indeed a great deal of love. They point to the ‘works’ which have been done there in the name of Jesus, yet as Paul points out, you can be prophesying, believing, giving all your worldly goods to the poor and giving your body to be burned but if there is no love you have nothing. These elders have simply pointed to all the ‘works’ they have done and failed to realise that love can be completely absent regardless of how busy you are as a Christian doing religious activities.

There was manifestly no love in that place, as many can attest, because of the lack of salvation, the lack of genuine change, of new creation, of the love of Christ. The love of the Father was not in them, therefore there was no love of the brethren.

As John proclaims…

“We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loves not his brother abides in death.”(1 John 3:14)

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”(John 13:35)

“Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.”(1 John 2:10)

A precious antidote to this lack of love, is to understand what the blood of Jesus has done for us. It has enabled us to come to the cross as wicked sinners lacking in even the most basic love for mankind, to be washed and cleaned and to be given new life, robes of righteousness and the power to defeat sin. We now are new creations. We are now able to love, rejoice, hope, believe, trust, walk in the Spirit, know the mind of Christ, and grow and change into mature believers. There was no love at BCF because there was no gospel. There was no change at BCF because there was no gospel. There was no communion of the saints at BCF because there were no saints and there were no saints because there was no gospel.

I can’t stress enough the importance of this truth. The gospel has the power to save. The gospel has the power to save and only the gospel has the power to save. This is why Paul talks about a little leaven leavening the whole lump. (Gal:5:9) It only takes a partial gospel, an incomplete gospel, a slightly changed gospel, or indeed that most frightful of all things doctrines of demons, to deceive us, and we will not be able to partake of the whole of what is available to us.

Not only was BCF preaching a false gospel – come to the elders and be saved – but it was controlling and manipulating its members in cruel and unusual punishment. This was no mere mistaken preaching, this was the whole package of torment, anguish, fear, destruction and theft. People entered in believing they were partaking of the communion of Christ and left broken and battered not even realising they had partaken of demonic perversion and been made unclean and unworthy to be called Christ’s.

Jesus has had to come to us as a family and show us once again what the saving power of His Blood is all about. We have had to ask Him to cleanse us, forgive us, change us so that we no longer live in the oppression and false teaching which was heaped upon us by ungodly men clothing themselves as angels of light.

Their sin made themselves unclean, and because we had partaken of their false gospel we also were unclean.

7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that we[b] do not lose those things we worked for, but that we[c] may receive a full reward.9 Whoever transgresses[d] and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.

(2 John 1:9-11)

If it is a sin to bring a false doctrine and equally a sin to share in this false doctrine, then we need to confess that sin before Jesus and repent of it, and be washed by his wonderful blood and be restored to Him. For we not only shared in those evil deeds by staying in that place and giving them our tithe, and essentially our approval, but we supported them in word and deed by participating in the life of the church including communion.

Paul was adamant about ensuring you don’t participate in communion in an unworthy manner.

“Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

(1 Corinthians 11:27-32)

In this same chapter just before he discusses communion, Paul also mentions heresies and divisions amongst the brethren.

For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

(1 Corinthians 11:18-19)

We participated in a communion of false believers preaching a false gospel and leading others astray. It was a synagogue of satan, or more pertinently, a church of satan (Rev. 3:9). We were not hearing the true gospel any more than we were loving each other and laying down our lives for each other. The blood of Christ was made to no effect, because there was no faith that all we needed to do was partake of His life. We were living sad religious lives led by angry, greedy religious men.

God has awakened our hearts to the gospel, has cleansed us in His life-giving blood and empowered us to live, pray, believe and trust in His provision and His grace for each and every day. THIS is the gospel, THIS is what brings the joy of the Lord, and THIS is what true communion with Christ is all about. We no longer have to strive to become members of the body of Christ, in Him and because of His sacrifice, His resurrection, we are made one.

A true believer will always love the brethren. They do not need to be harangued or attacked by preachers to do so. You know when you have spoken to another member of the body of Christ because there is that universal acknowledgement in the Spirit that here is another like unto ourselves who are united by the blood of Jesus. The love of God is in us because He loved us first and proved His love at the Cross. That love is shed abroad in our hearts and to our brethren and to the unsaved also upon we have great compassion as lost, as we once were ourselves.

No, the blood of Jesus is the ONLY thing which unites us as believers and that unification is present, eternal and functional wherever and whenever we find each other in this present darkness. Only a false gospel presented by messengers of Satan can erode and disrupt that unity. May it never be.

39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. ( Hebrews 10)

 

Much love,

 

Anita Brady

 

Mr. Tithee’s Letterbox

mr tithe

15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. 16 And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. 17 Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”

18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? 19 Show Me the tax money.”

So they brought Him a denarius.

20 And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?”

21 They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”

And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way.

(Matthew 22)

Steve and I used to attend a church in Brisbane called Crossbearers Fellowship. It was based in Fortitude Valley, an area of ill-repute containing as it did a great many brothels, night clubs and bars. Originally, it was set up by the founders for church meetings for those people who had been led to the Lord through street witnessing. Many were the hours Steve spent handing out tracts and talking to strangers about Jesus on the streets of that part of town.

Crossbearers did not own any property. In this it was unique for a church of its era. The 80s were populated with the newly instituted mega-church, which built architect designed warehouses to serve congregations of thousands. Crossbearers never had more than about a hundred members. It used a senior citizens hall backroom for meetings. It was not uncommon for churches to begin in school classrooms and then to acquire property after their membership offerings had increased to the point that they could obtain a loan from the bank to buy land or a building. Crossbearers didn’t have any real money of that kind however, it used its tithe to fund trips overseas to spread the gospel. All well and good one might think, except that the concept of tithing, the means by which any good church funds its operations in post-modern society, is not biblical. The church which insists that its members give 10% of their income to the church they attend is not based on scripture, either Old or New Testament. Tithes in the Old Testament were of different types and consisted of food and raw materials, grains and greens etc. Often these tithes were used to feed the poor, but they were never actual money. (further reading)

I would like to point out a pertinent verse (above) whose meaning has heretofore always eluded me. When Jesus told the Pharisees to render to Caesar what was Caesars, often I have simply assumed that He was telling them to pay their taxes as was required. But I believe God has revealed to me a much deeper meaning. The ‘tribute penny’ which Jesus asked them to show Him is considered to be a denarius. The denarius had the face of the son of Caesar on it and the coin proclaimed Caesar to be divine.

denarius

The inscription reads:

“Caesar Augustus Tiberius, son of the Divine Augustus”

What Jesus was saying was that the coin of the realm actually belonged to Caesar. In fact, all money everywhere belongs to Caesar, the god of that age and of that realm. Money, in its entirety, the economic system, is owned by Satan himself.

God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He owns all the resources on the planet. Tithe was made on that which was grown for food (Deuteronomy 14;22-26), it was not made on coins which were owned by either Pharoah or Caesar or whichever King the Israelites were subject to at the time. It is also why God wanted to rule over them himself. If they were ruled by a King, they had to obey the King who would set up his own economy (mammon), tax them, and send them off to fight the nations enemies and demand a tithe not only of their land and produce but of themselves. They would therefore be owned by the King, (1 Samuel 8)

10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked him for a king. 11 And he said, “This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. 12 He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. 14 And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. 16 And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men,[a] and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. 18 And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.”

We, who live in this modern age, still use money with the head of our King or Queen upon it. Our coins still bear the image of Elizabeth the 11, the Queen of the Commonwealth of Australia. Commonwealth is actually a misnomer, because while the people live here, we do not own this nation. We must purchase land in order to build a house, the land does not automatically belong to us because we were born here, or because we became citizens of this country. The land, the money to buy the land, and everything in the land, is owned by the government, or private enterprise. If we want to have money in order to buy the land from either the government or private enterprise, we must work to obtain the money. Money is given in exchange for services or products.

Everything owned by ‘Caesar’ is of this world. God is telling us in this passage to recognise that our money, is nor our money, despite the fact that we have sold our services in order to obtain it. Our money actually belongs to Caesar (or the government). In fact, once we belong to God, we are no longer of this world. This is why it is so important for us to understand that God’s provision of food and clothing is not only a blessing but a promise. God always provides for His own, in the same way that Caesar provides for his own, but in a different way of course. Caesar causes human beings to go into slavery to him in order to procure wages and those wages are in the form of cash, not goods. God has paid every debt we owe in order to purchase us so that we may then recognise God’s total provision which comes in the form of fulfilment of all our physical, and non-physical needs one way or another, but He does not literally give us cash, like some kind of tooth fairy.  If He does indeed own the cattle on a thousand hills (all the resources contained in the world, the land, the animals, the fruits of the field and the forest and of course the water which is so vital to life), then we should not be concerned about what Caesar owns.

For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine
(Psalm 50:10,11)

Money is in effect only a symbol of wealth. It is a symbol of the gold deposits which every nation has. Money is in essence simply a mark, not a real form of wealth. As the citizens of Greece are currently discovering, money can be made worthless overnight however much you may have in your bank account.

Some preachers have suggested that since God owns all the money we have, we should actually be giving more than 10% of our money to Him or ‘the church’, but in my opinion this too is false theology. Scripture does not tell us that all the money we have is owned by Him. Jesus specifically told us that what belongs to Caesar should be given to Caesar, and although this text refers ostensibly to tax, which is a form of tithe, in fact, everything with Caesar’s image and inscription (that Caesar is god – of this world) upon it therefore belongs to him. If this is the case, then no cash belonging to us is in fact ours. This would also suggest that anyone owing Caesar anything (in the form of financial debt) is in a double bind.

The Israelites were expected to forgive debt on a regular basis. They were told to give back all that belonged to the owner every 7 years.

“At the end of every seven years, you shall celebrate the remission year. The idea of the remission year is that every creditor shall remit any debt owed by his neighbor and brother when God’s remission year comes around. You may collect from the alien, but if you have any claim against your brother for a debt, you must relinquish it. …” (Deuteronomy 15:1–6)[

Every debt that was owed to them they were expected to clear on the 7th year if it was not paid back. God did not want His people owing anybody, including each other. Interestingly, the land and all agricultural work was also expected to cease during the seventh year. This was apparently meant to test the Israelites and help them understand that their provision was from God, not their own hard work.

Debts are paid in the New Testament Kingdom of God by God himself. Interestingly there are a number of parables relating to coins and money in the New Testament spoken by Jesus. The widow who gave all she had when she paid the temple tax, the woman who lost a coin, and found it again much to the delight of herself and her friends, the wicked servant who owed his master a great amount which could only be paid back by his wife and children being sold into slavery, the servants who buried their talents etc. These coins, I am assuming were not the Roman tax coins. They were different coins, and some coins were in fact weights. The talent for example was a weight of measurement used in the Old Testament.

Ancient coins used in the Old Testament always contained the images or inscriptions of those who issued them, either of the ruling authority, or of the High Priest of the Jews. They were, in effect, owned by those in authority, those who had rule over the people. What belongs to Caesar should be given back to him, we do not own what we have, nor does God, since His kingdom is not based on mammon, but on His great provision of our needs. Since Jesus told us we cannot serve both God and mammon, it would appear that God sees money, and the worldly system (including the economy), as a rival to what is due to Him. If we serve God, He will provide our needs, so we cannot both look to God for our needs and give ourselves to the worldly system to provide for ourselves. This in no way precludes the idea of working in order to ‘make a living’ since God himself says if a man doesn’t work he doesn’t eat. What it does do is recognise that working is not a means to provide for ourselves, it is a means to honour God, and reach out into the world as a witness to His glory. It is a subtle difference but a vital one.

We do not actually ‘need’ money. Money is a tool by which we can purchase those things which can provide our needs. If we owned our land and property outright having inherited them from our parents or having purchased them completely, we would be able to provide for ourselves. We could purchase cows, hens, sheep etc to provide food, we could plant crops, we could make our own clothes from the raw materials therein as societies like the Amish have done. All of this would be possible but not terribly practical, this is why the barter system was replaced by coins, or at least that is the ostensible reason. In fact, if we serve mammon, we are owned by mammon. If we serve mammon, remembering that the ruling authority of our world is Satan (Caesar was god, as was Pharoah and it is their images on our money) then we are serving money.

Those Pastors and church leaders who insist that their congregations should tithe, or give 10% of their income are not preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are preaching a false gospel, and they are teaching their congregations to become dependant upon them. The congregation must give their money ‘to God’ when in fact it is the church staff and the building funds which benefit. The congregation apparently benefits by being allowed to use those facilities and have access to the staff, but this was never the basis upon which ministry was brought to the body of Christ in the New Testament.

Money was always a means of helping those who had needs, it was not used to pay a wage to anyone. Money was used directly to finance food, clothing, shelter etc., those needs which were immediate. Money was not used to build churches, or make the church institution rich. The moment you look to start building churches and financing the homes and possessions of pastors, you are setting up a business in which the congregation are paying for services rendered. No, no, and again no! Tithes are not biblical, giving certainly is, but giving is sporadic and according to the need. We are not called to set up bank accounts specifically for drawing wages or servicing loans for church buildings.

Because Crossbearers did not have a permanent home, certain things had to be adjusted to suit. We therefore had a number of tithe boxes with slots at the front for cash and envelopes with cheques etc. There was one memorable occasion when one of the senior citizens had called one of our members to let them know that Mr. Tith-ee had left his letterbox behind and they should come and pick it up. Clearly, the individual concerned had never heard of the tithe and mispronounced it, assuming it was somebody’s name and that the box, which was shaped rather like a letterbox must have been for their garden, not their bank account.

Here is another point I would like to raise. In every church I have ever been part of there was always a cleaning roster. It was considered to be the duty of every member of the church to clean and tend the property and the gardens. But what are we doing here? If the church is wealthy enough to own property and pay staff why are they not paying for a cleaner and gardener? Surely this is the more ethical approach? The argument would probably come back that these are church members, they pay tithe, it is their church, it is in fact their money which bought and built the church. But hang on a minute there. Whose name is on the title deed? If the church is owned by a denomination, say Baptist, then it is more than likely that the name on the church deed is that of an organisation, say the Queensland Baptist Union. All well and good, until it comes time to sell the property. Who then has the right to sign the deed over to the new owner? It would be an officer of the Queensland Baptist Union surely. I am not a lawyer, but I would have thought that basic legal knowledge would tell us that it is not the members of the church, nor even the board of elders or the pastor who would sign the deed. In a smaller independent church, it is not the whole congregation which signs the deed, but whichever corporation owns the building. If the church is organised under a law which allows it to accept money for charitable needs, then it is a charity and under that law, it would have certain tax exemptions. Under those circumstances, it must incorporate as a charitable institution. It would therefore have to have an AGM, as most churches do, and then it would have to have a board of directors, and of course, a chairman of the board. Essentially, we are looking at the profit from this organisation (the sale of its assets) going back to the corporation, NOT the congregation, which simply expects all of this to carry on as they have been told for generations that tithing, serving the church by cleaning and gardening, and giving money for building new buildings is all the expected norm for the faithful Christian. But hold hard here. God did not tell us to give money to a building fund. He did not even tell us to give money to missionaries on missionary Sunday, nor did he tell us to give a tithe of our income (money) to the pastor in order to provide a salary for him and anyone else the church board sees fit to employ.

We need to stop mixing our metaphors here. Either we are a worldly corporation which hires staff (including cleaner and gardener) or we are an organisation which takes money and distributes it to others as the need arises without the need for tax exemption or the need for property which will inevitably drain our finances anyway. We do not need to have a building and many churches have done very well without them. If we do have the blessing of having our own property, do not expect the members of the church to clean it out of obligation to their duty as members. Either have a working bee where everyone digs in where they can, or hire a cleaner, but don’t set up some kind of ‘roster’ which in turn makes everyone on that roster somehow feel more ‘christ-like’ because they have served at church. Yet every chrsitian I have ever met will have been involved in some kind of service in their Christian building for their Christian institution without having actually benefitted themselves from being the co-owners of that building. Nobody is receiving anything from that building except slavish expectation to clean and fix it when it needs it. If this building were my home, or somebody else’s home which we were using, we would clean it because it belonged to us. But most of the time it belongs to the denominational organisation and we, the parishioners, who pay our tithes, are expected not just to be grateful for having the benefit of sitting in a church on Sunday mornings, rather than in a school building (which employs its own janitors). Not only is it not enough to simply own buildings any more, but it is expected that the church will increase its giving in order that the church organisation should purchase, with the congregations money, another building, bigger and better, for more people to come in so that the tithe can increase and giving can increase and the church then expands even more.

Ostensibly this seems to be a great thing. The church turns into a mega church and more needs get met. But do they? In my experience, mega churches tend to beget more needs. Its rather like buying a larger handbag. The more you can get in it, the more you put in it, and the problem which caused you to buy a larger handbag in the first place is not solved, it is simply displaced. You now have a larger, more unwieldy handbag and you still haven’t got enough space. The problem is not getting a larger handbag, or building, the problem is dealing with the issue you have. Cut the necessities down to fit the handbag, deal with the issues you have with the congregation you see in front of you, don’t assume that you simply have to have a larger church because this means you are a successful pastor and that the world will sit back and look at you and adjust its glasses and say “my but there goes a wonderful group of Christians, I think I will leave my whoring and drinking and drug-taking and spending and join them. Sorry, it doesn’t happen that way. People don’t get saved because your church is the most impressive one around. They get saved by hearing which comes from the gospel. If the gospel is being preached, people will get saved. If the gospel continues to be preached and people are challenged to continue on in the walk of the Spirit and they are being fed well and grow spiritually, you will have a small church of spiritual giants, instead of a giant church of spiritual pygmies. More pygmies, more money, more problems because nobody is growing. Since most mega-church pastors are not interested in actually serving their people, because they have a staff of junior and associate pastors to do that, you have a problem which is never going to be addressed.

Anita Brady

David Wilkerson – A Booth on The Roof

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Here follows an excerpt from a sermon by David Wilkerson, July 25,1988. The rest of the sermon can be accessed here.

Here at Times Square Church we have designated this year as one of prayer for revival. By “revival” we are not thinking of some great emotional stirring, with people coming from miles around to see something sensational. Instead, we are wanting a prepared people – prepared in holiness! We want a revival of the Lord’s holy presence, where things are so pleasing to God, that He will come down to meet every need – where His glory is revealed!

In Nehemiah, the eighth chapter, there are to be found what I call “the five absolute evidences of revival.” It cannot be called revival or awakening unless all five of these evidences are present. Nehemiah is a revival book. It is the story of 42,360 Jews returning to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon to rebuild the walls and get back to the old paths of holiness and true worship. Their leaving Babylon is a type of believers leaving dead, compromising, worldly churches to go forth with a remnant to Holy Zion, to return to the old paths, and to go on with a people and shepherds who walk in truth.

This holy remnant rolled up their sleeves and worked in unity to remove the rubbish and filth that had polluted Jerusalem. They rebuilt the crumbling walls and put up the gates. That’s what we are doing at Times Square Church: removing the rubbish that has accumulated, the rubbish of false doctrines, of materialism, of sin and compromise in the pulpit and pew! We are rebuilding the walls that had crumbled. Hundreds of God’s people have been plundered and ravaged by Satanic powers; homes and marriages have been in turmoil; many are backslidden, starving for God’s Word. We’ve been working together to put up walls and gates to keep the enemy out. God has gathered together a remnant of all who have escaped Babylon and are ready to take the five great steps to restoration and revival.

The Secret To Happiness

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Don’t you hate it when you read titles like this and then they only tell you what you already know?

Everybody wants to read about secrets. Everybody wants to know something that somebody else doesn’t. It’s the reason why gossip is so popular.

But the secret to happiness, now that is something we all want to know about. It has the same appeal as the fountain of youth. We all want to be happy for the rest of our lives and if possible to live for ever. Right? Of course right!

I am 51 years old and I have struggled with discontentment, anxiety, fear, confusion, anger, frustration and a whole host of other things. I am a human being. But for a very long time I figured that I must be doing something wrong. I bought into the prosperity gospel which told me that I have to do these five things, or believe those three verses, or pray more, or memorise the books of the bible, or make sure I am coming to church, or make sure I am paying my tithe, or do as the pastor says, and I will be healthy, wealthy and wise. Nobody ever said content however. Nor did anyone ever say godly, although they almost said it sometimes. I guess you know which verse I am thinking of.

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into thisworld, and it is certain[c] we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

(1 Timothy 6:6-10 NKJV)

The first sentence of this passage has always been a pain in the neck to me. I would hear it and ignore it. If it was quoted to me, I heard noise. In fact, more often than not this verse is quoted in that annoying sing-song voice people use to quote superficial maxims and proverbs. It has been held in the same esteem as the sayings from a fortune cookie. And nobody really believes it. I certainly didn’t. Until just recently.

I can’t and won’t go into the difficulties I have been through over the last 50 years. But I can say in general terms that having come from an extremely dysfunctional and abusive family and then spending 15 years in a religious cult and the next 10 years recovering, most of my life has been dedicated to finding the secret to a happy life. Or at least to recovering from an unhappy one. Folks, even with my love of God the father and His son Jesus Christ and the wonderful Holy Spirit, and my deep appreciation for the treasure that the word of God is, I can tell you that there is no secret to a happy life. Dag nabbit! There just isn’t.

But there is contentment with godliness.

Godliness with contentment has never really meant that much to me. For the longest time neither word conveyed much in the way of excitement or pleasure to me. But that was because I neither understood the gospel, nor lived it. My husband and family and I have been through some very difficult times together. And in all those times, as I said, I figured it was something I was doing, or not doing, that was causing all the problems. I thought I was the one in control, and if I could just crack the code, I could fix what was wrong and stop anything else bad from happening. My whole life has been about changing the past and manipulating the future.

I will give you as an example part of the process God took me through to change my thinking on this.

A couple of years ago, my husband was out of work. He is a builder with a fantastic resume and an extremely high quality of workmanship. Nobody who knows him would believe that for three months he could not find any work. Now anybody in the building trade knows how fickle it is, and regardless of your skill level there are times when there is just not enough work to be had. But for Steve, this was the first time in his life he had been out of work that long. For a workaholic perfectionist, it nearly killed him. The rest of us weren’t doing that great either.

I spent just about every morning during that period of our lives in my prayer closet (that sounds so holy doesn’t it – it was a walk in wardrobe) crying out to God to ask Him to fix our problem. He just kept telling me over and over to worship Him. Just to worship Him. I figured maybe this was the preliminary and then he was going to give me some direction, some plan, some hope that would help us at the time of our dire need.

I am a firm believer that God causes us to mature and grow by changing his strategy every now and then. As you don’t treat a teenager the same way you treat a toddler (despite the fact that they have surprisingly similar issues) God doesn’t treat a very young Christian the way he treats an older one. I have been a Christian for 37 years, so for me, the answer was not to give me an answer and to focus my gaze on God himself, not what He could do for me.

Well this was a kick in the pants. I was used to the 5 steps to this or the 10 keys to that, or at the very least some kind of bible verse or general hint that things were going to get better. Yet every morning, I would pray and God would tell me to worship Him. He wasn’t speaking audibly mind, He would speak to my heart and I knew that this was what he wanted. Just to worship Him. It took three months, nothing of any significance happened during that time, but I did learn something. In those hours of simply sitting and focusing on God, his attributes, his nature, and his presence, I learned this one very important thing.

In Exodus 3:14 God tells Moses that his name is “I AM that I AM”. The King James version uses the word ‘that’, and some later versions say ‘who’. I prefer the older translation. I don’t know if it is more accurate and I don’t know enough ancient Hebrew to be able to know what the exact translation means with decent accuracy. But I do know that “I AM that I AM” confers a majesty and a simplicity that just never ceases to amaze me. Let me explain this way.

I found something amusing on the internet once years ago. Some smarty pants compared the words of Popeye to those words God used to describe himself and put them side by side.

Popeye says “I yam what I yam” or, in English, I am what I am.

God says “I AM that I AM”.

You would think that the two mean the same thing but they don’t. Popeye is saying what you see is what you get and I am not anything more or less than that.

God is saying, the fact that I exist at all is the most important thing in the entire cosmos or any theological treatise or in the annals of human knowledge for the whole of history.

So when God tells you that it is more important that you worship Him in the midst of your desperate need He is telling you something about Himself, and also about yourself. He is saying that he has created us as His people to worship Him at all times, in every way, under every circumstance, and with all our hearts and minds and soul and strength because He is.

Once we get even a small glimpse of this, then the understanding of that immortal verse, godliness with contentment is great gain becomes transparent.

To go back to Popeye’s self-description, he was speaking as a humble little sailor who simply was who he was and he had no ambition to be anything more. God’s self-description is that his existence is the most important aspect of who he is. If God is, then every human being who has ever lived must bow the knee and confess with their mouths that He is Lord. If God is, then the whole of creation belongs to Him, and we, as his creation, are also in no position to be making any demands of the Almighty one who is not only God and Lord but Father. We also have to acknowledge that since He already knows the beginning from the end, and every fact about everything that ever existed, we do not need to go into meltdown when things go ‘wrong’. As far as God is concerned, everything that is happening now has already happened. He saw it before it happened and knows the outcome, even those parts of the outcome which don’t concern us. So to act like spoiled children demanding that God fix our lives or our circumstances is actually pretty faithless. I don’t speak as somebody who is beyond the cares of this life, I assure you. I speak as somebody who has clung to the hem of His garment and found the edges of this truth. I am convinced there is a great deal more to know.

If the one and greatest truth of all time is real, then nothing else matters. Not what man can do to me, not whether I can make a success of my life in this world, not whether I live or die, nor whether I have the best house in the street or the most expensive car in the city. It matters not one whit whether our kids get married or our dog gets better or our lives are comfortable or our bank balances empty. GOD IS. THAT is all that matters.

Once we have heaved our reluctant brains around this completely brain-imploding truth, then everything else changes. And it was this that God was trying to help me see. But as God is perfect and His wisdom is wonderful, I am dumb and slow to hear. It took me a lot longer than three months, and I am only just getting my head around this truth now. And yet it is so simple.

It also makes the truth that godliness with contentment is great gain a whole lot clearer. I use this particular verse because for the first time, contentment is having such a huge impact on me. I have to stress, its not because I am content. Far from it. But I realise now why I haven’t ever been. I have been focusing on the wrong thing. If I look at my circumstances, I will always see the need to improve or change something. If I look at my family I will always fret about their needs, or lack. For some reason, human beings seem to only be able to see what is wrong with the world rather than what is right about it. It may have something to do with the fact that there is nothing right about it. The world is imperfect, therefore, we will never find ourselves in a place where everything is working as it should. Who are we to assess what ‘working’ even means? That is why looking to God, looking at God is the only and best way to look at life.

And here is the really interesting part. Godliness comes as God works his own life into you. The seed is planted at the point of faith, and the seed grows as we change from being baby Christians to teenage Christians to much older Christians. That life is worked into us as we get closer and more intimate with Him. The more intimate we get with Him, the less we need to do in order to impress Him, or ourselves (or our neighbours).

I don’t know if you have ever noticed this, but baby Christians often get everything they want straight away. Not always, but it happens a lot more to them than it does to older Christians. For us, we have to wait a lot longer to see results, and our patience and our faithfulness are tested in this way. When you are young and full of energy and zeal, perhaps you don’t notice that God isn’t working the way you thought he would, but the older you get, the more impatient you become. God why haven’t you supplied this need for work for my husband? You know he is the sole wage earner and we need the money what are we going to do without money you know that we have to eat God are you listening to me? It becomes a nag, not a prayer. God stopped listening a long time ago, but he looks at your heart and sees the pain and doesn’t ever stop caring. He simply wants you to stop clinging so desperately to the obvious, and to start exercising your trust and faith in Him.

Best way to exercise trust and faith? Focus on who He is. Worship Him. It is not just an intellectual exercise. Nor is it a religious one. This is not ‘centering prayer’ or ‘mystical mediation’ or anything like any of that religious rot. It is solely and purely about immersing yourself in the truth of God’s nature and his omnipresence. Then you begin to understand that all things work together for good and things start to being to look different. They don’t change, they just look less threatening.

I will give you one more example before I close.

Some time ago we were having a great deal of trouble with a property manager. She was the sort of person who played games with people because she was in a position to do so. She was, in short, a narcissist. She was completely self-involved to the point of making other people’s lives a misery for no other reason than that she enjoyed it. When we had to leave the house we were renting from her, I knew she was going to give us grief, as so many property managers do to their tenants. It got to the point that I knew I would have to take her to court to get all our bond money back. It would be a doddle. I knew it. I talked to a tenancy law advisor and she agreed. So I prepared the paperwork. It took me a couple of months of work, with phone calls, emails and filling in forms, but I knew I had this woman exactly where I wanted her and no judge worth his salt would be able to overlook the obvious outrageous behaviour she indulged in. I had a fancy that she was probably just doing this to cause trouble and would probably not care if she was denied her own claim anyway. She was not in this for the money, just for the amount of difficulty she would cause us. We had the gall to question her illegal methods and say ‘no’ to her, so we were going to have to pay. I was sick and tired of being ripped off by morally deviant people.

The night before I was about to go into town and deliver the papers, the Lord spoke to me. It was close to midnight, and I was the only one awake, sitting in the lounge room, with our cat quietly purring beside me. God broke through my exhausted mind and pointed out how content the cat was. She was quite happy to simply be in a warm comfortable place being patted by her keeper. She was content. God then showed me that my own heart, however righteous I knew my quest to be, was disturbed and discontent. I was strung out, stressed, anxious and tense, all because I had to face off my enemy in court. I did not know the outcome despite the fact that I knew I was right because I had heard of cases where simply because there was an outstanding amount, the judge made both parties pay equally. It was not justice, nor was it even fair, but that was the way the courts worked. So it was entirely possible that even though I did not owe anyone any money, we would still have to pay half of the money oweing. I couldn’t stand the thought of that wicked woman sitting there with her smug sly smile looking down her nose at us. As I said, it wasn’t the money that was the issue with her, it was making us pay for crossing her. For her this was payback. We simply wanted to clear our own names and maintain our perfect rental record.

Our motivation was fear, plain unadulterated fear, and we weren’t proceeding in faith or in love. God told me to drop the court case. I could hardly believe it. He simply came to me in that lounge chair and said, let it go. As I allowed myself to hear from Him and let my heart turn from its own agendas to His, I realised the truth once more. What did it matter how somebody else tried to destroy our character? God knew the truth. God was our defender, God provided houses, not human beings, God would fulfil our needs, not the world, and God was our Lord and Father, we were not at the mercy of the courts. So we dropped it. I spoke to my husband the next morning, he had been sleeping soundly when God was talking to me (he did not get as stressed about these things as I did) and Steve agreed that this was God’s word to us. The second I let it go, I knew a peace and a contentment I hadn’t felt for months. There were a few scary moments when the deadline for the court papers passed, but in the end, I knew we had done the right thing.

Godliness and righteousness are conferred upon us through Jesus sacrifice on the Cross. Yet in verse 11 of the chapter quoted above, Paul tells Timothy to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and gentleness. He tells him to fight the good fight of faith and lay hold on eternal life. Elsewhere he tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. So there is a conscious effort that we put into our maturity. Not, I hasten to add, our salvation, lest anyone accuse me of preaching a works based gospel. No, our works, that gold silver and precious stones which will come through the fire, are the result of our faith and our salvation. Yet they are still the measure of how much our hearts have changed in Him. As we mature, the more we pursue godliness, and if we can also be content in Him, that He is, then we will have great gain.

So the secret to happiness doesn’t actually exist. Happiness is never promised in scripture. Godliness, righteousness, love, joy and peace on the other hand are the fruit of a life lived in full commitment to Jesus our Saviour and God the Father and the gentle sensitive Holy Spirit.

Our task is not to pursue prosperity, nor is it to ‘have’ things, nor is it to protect our stuff, whether that is our reputation or our earthly security. If God bestows upon us the blessings of material wealth it is because he has a purpose for it, not because we somehow deserve it or because He wants everyone to be rich. Just being out of debt would be nice. Sometimes, owing Ceasar can be a huge weight on your shoulders. Yet God promised that he knows our every need and our lives are in His hands. Do we actually believe that or are we just shrugging our shoulders and saying ‘yeah, right’ in our hearts.

Want to overcome your circumstances? Worship God. HE IS.

Much Love,

Anita

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Dan’s Discourse

Daniel's Discourse

Spiritual Warfare: What We Really Face on the Battlefield

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)

Most people believe that spirits, demons and other such supernatural phenomena are just the products of people’s imaginations. That they are make-believe. Fairy-tales. Not real. But this belief is so far from the truth it’s not funny. There are many instances throughout Scripture that paint a terrible picture of what the spiritual realm contains, and demonstrate a very grim reality for those that meddle with such entities. There are many unfortunate people in Scripture that are tormented by spirits, both innocent and unrighteous (by this I mean people like King Saul, who so displeased the LORD that He sent a distressing spirit to punish him for his actions (1 Samuel 16:14-23)). Admittedly, many of the instances of spirits being mentioned are contained within the New Testament, but this doesn’t impact the seriousness of the issue at all. The fact remains; spirits are neither to be trifled with nor taken lightly.

Ephesians speaks of our true enemies as being ‘principalities and powers’. A principality is a parcel of land, sometimes confined to a city’s limits, but is usually larger, that is ruled by a prince. And considering the fact that Satan is often referred to as ‘the prince of the power of the air’ (Ephesians 2:2), this is a very apt description of the spirits and demons that form Satan’s hordes. If you think about it, Satan’s power on Earth is formidable, especially since the invention of the television, computer, and the Internet. Now, please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying that these things are ‘of the devil’, and that we all need to get rid of all of our electronic devices lest Satan corrupt us. What I am saying is that Satan has tremendous power over these things, and he seeks to distract us and destroy us through what we absorb through these media.

I can definitely tell you from experience, the things displayed on TV, movies and the Internet can be very alluring, and are very distracting. I’ve often found myself sitting down to do one thing, and later on finding myself on something completely unrelated and wondering how in the world I ended up on it. This is because of the spirits behind the things we see and watch. One such spirit is that of obsession. Obsessions can start off as being an occasional thing; watching a few minutes of a show, having a quick scan over a page on the internet. It can seem very innocent at first, but this is where the danger lies; most if not all obsessions start off as little more than a passing interest.

But a passing interest can quickly grow out of control. As the Lord Jesus said in Scripture, ‘a little leaven leavens the whole lump’. It’s a little out of context, I admit, but I think that it still applies in this case. Leaven, or yeast in modern-day terms, is a living organism that requires very little in order to multiply, and multiply explosively. Such is the same with obsessions. I can tell you from my own struggles with this exact problem; interests become obsessions very quickly, so quickly that you don’t even know that you have a problem until someone else points it out. You can protest against it until you turn blue in the face, but the truth remains; you have an obsession, and it needs to be dealt with.

You may not think you are obsessed; in fact, in my experience, you often think that everything is fine and dandy, and it’s everyone else with the problem. But just try going without it for a while, even just for a couple of days, and you’ll quickly find out that things aren’t what you originally believed. If you try going cold turkey, especially in your own strength, you’ll quickly find that you can’t stop thinking about whatever it is you’re obsessed over, in my case fantasy/science fiction, even when you’re asleep. This is the mark of the spirit of obsession, and this is when you need to seek deliverance from the LORD. Believe you me; it will make an exponential difference to your life.

When I prayed to the LORD for deliverance from the spirit of obsession over my life, I tell you, it was like feeling a physical weight being lifted off my chest. When I was under the power of the spirit, I felt suffocated, and that feeling multiplied when I tried to stop my obsession on my own. Trust me, this is the worst possible thing you can do when trapped under the power of a spirit. But when I fell on my face before the LORD and prayed for release, the difference was like night and day; I truly felt freed from my obsession.

This is what I mean about not taking principalities and powers lightly. People might scoff and say that there are no such things as spirits or demons, but they are very wrong. Spirits and demons exist everywhere on this earth; this is their playground, after all. If you’ve ever heard people talking about run-ins with ghosts, or aliens, or any type of supernatural happenings, then you can almost always be sure that it is demonic activity. Granted, there are mysterious occurrences that have solid scientifically-based explanations, but more often than not the inexplicable usually has only one source: the demonic servants of Satan.

Case in point; aliens. If you’ve ever seen a science fiction program on TV or watched a movie that is based on aliens, take a moment to stop and actually look at the creatures that are portrayed as the non-humans. If you think about it, these creatures look like demons. Really, think about it. The Alien franchise, Predator, the V TV series, and everything else that comes out of Hollywood looking like something originating from the pits of hell, actually does come from hell. These are creatures that are purportedly from another world. The spiritual realm is another world, albeit one that we cannot view with our natural eyes. And they cannot be vanquished by a dashing rogue with a laser pistol. These entities are real, and they are dangerous. Don’t be fooled. These are creatures that you do not mess around with.

Again, granted, we need not be afraid of these terrible and destructive entities when we have the Spirit of the LORD residing within us. Is says in Isaiah 59:19 that ‘When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD will raise up a standard against him.’, which means that the Holy Spirit will intercede for us whenever the hordes of the enemy seek to make our lives difficult, and will protect us against the machinations of the spirits of this world. But, this does not mean that we can simply indulge in worldly pursuits with abandon and expect to be protected from these spirits. We need to be very careful about what we allow into our hearts and minds, because, as I said, it is ridiculously easy to be overtaken by obsession and be influenced by the principalities and powers of this world, and very difficult to get out from under these influences without the power of the LORD.

Also, be aware; when praying to be released from these spirits, speak against them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and pray in the Spirit. There is a very clear picture in the Bible of what happens when people try to banish spirits in their own strength, something I think I can relate to. When I tried to be rid of the spirit of obsession over my own life, especially in my own strength, and I wasn’t truly praying with my whole heart for release, it didn’t work. In fact, I felt even more trapped than before; the spirit of obsession became even stronger, making me feel imprisoned by the things that I had obsessed over. Let me tell you, this is not something I would want anyone to experience. It’s not an easy thing to explain what it felt like to be shackled by this spirit, but I can definitely tell you of the sheer and joyous relief that I felt when I was finally set free by the power of the LORD.

In the Bible, specifically the Gospels and Acts, there are a couple of examples of the difference between the power of the LORD and the ‘power’ of men when it comes to spirits and spiritual warfare. Jesus was an obvious example of the Power of God compared to the powers of hell; in fact, just His presence was enough to send demons running in fear of the Judgement of the LORD and the lake of fire. They feared Him, greatly so! So much so, that even they pleaded with the LORD for mercy from judgement, because they knew what was coming for them at the end. All Jesus had to do was speak a word, and they would be sent fleeing in terror. How powerful is our Almighty LORD!

However, when certain people tried to banish spirits (Acts 19:11-20) they failed spectacularly; because they didn’t speak in the name of the LORD, nor, I believe, did they truly speak in faith. This is because they spoke to the spirit and said ‘We exorcise you by the Jesus that Paul preaches.’ They didn’t say, ‘We speak against you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ’, or something to that effect, which make me think that they didn’t truly understand what they were doing, nor did they understand the power of the name of the LORD. This is made pretty clear when the demon answers the men by saying, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?’. This makes me think that these men didn’t have a true faith in the LORD; the Bible says that we are the light and salt of the world. We shine in the world because we have been washed by the blood of the Lamb, and because we have the Spirit of the LORD living within us. I don’t really think that these men had that, otherwise they wouldn’t have failed in their efforts to banish the spirits.

When I prayed in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I was released from the spirit that had held sway over my life for a long time, and I gave the glory to the LORD because of it. There is no power of hell that can withstand His magnificent Light, and I encourage you to read all you can about His power and mercy to those that cry out for release from torment. If we have true faith in the LORD, and pray to him for release from the principalities and powers of this world, we can and will be released. And this isn’t just confined to spirits over our own lives. I would also encourage you to pray for those you know that are imprisoned by obsessions and other things that have their claws deeply embedded in their lives. I can tell you from personal experience, your prayers will have an effect. Scripture tells us that ‘The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.’ Pray effectively and fervently for those that are trapped under the power of the world, brothers and sisters; I know that your prayers will be heard, and that you will see the power of the LORD working wonders in their lives, and your own.

May the Lord keep you and bless you abundantly,

Dan Brady

Mond’y Mornin’ ‘Musement

Food Tetris
Food Tetris

Everybody hates Mondays right? Unless you are Bob Geldof, in which case you have made a lot of money from people hating Mondays and you would probably think Monday was pretty fine. For the rest of us doing the weekly grind, Mondays can be overwhelming as we think about what is to come.

We at the Myrtle Blog thought it would be nice to lighten the load somewhat by making merry and as scripture says, a merry heart doeth good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

To kick things off, we would like to elaborate on the above photo. It was taken yesterday at our local Coles Supermarket. Hi to Gary the manager, a man who is often seen pacing the back car park smoking furiously. I hope you are having a good week.

The photo above is a picture taken by Steve of his own handiwork. For years, 26 to be exact, Steve has helped out with grocery shopping. The only trouble is, he is very neat. Too neat. He likes to ‘pack’ the groceries so that they are grouped by size, shape, refrigeratability (is that a word?) and colour. I, who arguably am not an expert in anything EXCEPT grocery shopping find his consummate skill in packing not only annoying but redundant. I may not have the shopping trolley looking immaculate but that is my style. Steve likes to push the trolley when we are grocery shopping so if I happen to absentmindedly drop an item in the trolley and put him off his groove, he simply moves it so there are no unnecessary spaces. He does this without thinking, his skills in object maneouverability are preternatural, it’s part of what makes him so good at his job. However, we are chalk and cheese in this department. Pardon the pun.

When I was a student, my desk looked like a tip, but I knew where everything was. When my children were small, my house looked like a tip, but… likewise. I should note that whenever somebody was coming over (like my relatives) I would clean the house to within an inch of its life. Embarassingly, my kids would always notice what I was doing. “Is somebody coming over?” they would ask innocently, highlighting my mother-guilt that the house did not look like this all the time. Now I am older and wiser and recognise nobody with three kids under the age of 6 (or in fact 16) is able to keep the house looking neat and tidy for longer than half an hour, I can look back and recognise that maybe I was good at something other than grocery shopping. My children are independent, conscientious, empathetic, caring individuals with a fantastic moral compass and work ethic. They love the Lord, their parents and each other and can actually go out together and enjoy each other’s company. Clearly the ‘supermom’ lie has done us all a great disservice.

So, yesterday, Steve was doing his thing, which comes naturally and is not forced or put on for show. He moved and counter-moved the groceries around on the conveyor belt at warp speed as though he was a Russian chess champion, except there was no bell to ping. Instead, he took a photograph to commemorate his achievement. We stood and giggled at his handiwork, but the young check-out dude was not having any of it. To him, groceries were serious business, moreso when you also have to cope with two middle-aged idiots trying to get you to lower your standards.

When we came home, Steve showed our family the photo and it was Nick who asked incredulously “what is this food tetris?”. The name stuck.

We feel there should be a moral to this story, despite the attempt at humour. We are all very good at ordering our lives into compartmentalised controllable bite sized pieces. Unfortunately, life in this dark world is not ordered, it is chaotic. Only God can make good from bad, and we look to Him to create His perfect order from our messy existence. Thank God He is able to do this and in fact desires for us to give Him our lives so He can do just that. No matter how orderly you are, there will always be a flaw in your plan. And sometimes it is another person. Being Monday, we will all be able to ruminate on our own bete noir’s whether they be at the office or the building site or the retail outlet.

As we are now told every time we go into a shopping mall to ‘have a good rest of your day’, I will not offend our three readers with any further platitudes of this nature. Instead, I will wish you all a deeper and richer appreciation of the chaos of life and the God who makes it all worthwhile.