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Tomorrow marks the beginning of the season of Tabernacles with the Feast of Trumpets, the first of three special events, which God commands all who claim Him as their God to uphold. Read Leviticus 23:23-25.

The Feast of Trumpets prepares people for the Day of Atonement, but also reminds us of the Lords impending return.

Passover and Pentecost have been fulfilled, but Tabernacles is yet to be fulfilled, but will soon. Are you ready?
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ROMANS 11 & THE 2 OLIVE TREES

(Download PDF Print-friendly version) Those who understand Paul’s teachings in Romans 11, know he likened Gentile disciples of Christ to wild olive branches, who through Christ, are grafted into a cultivated tree, a symbol of ‘spiritual Israel’. In the Middle East and southern Europe where olive groves abound, it’s very noticeable how harshly cultivated trees are pruned in order to produce better fruit.  Cultivated olive groves have lines of well-ordered and pruned trees, whereas wild trees grow everywhere on the hillsides, straggly and wild, producing lesser fruits.  The harshness with which cultivated trees are pruned, even using chainsaws to cut off major branches is significant when considering Paul’s parable in Romans 11. Why, because Gentile branches should expect to be pruned and trained as the host tree is.   If Gentile believers are grafted into the cultivated tree, becoming spiritual citizens of the commonwealth of Israel, they too should expect to do as the Lord requires of Israel.    Otherwise we risk falling into the trap of wanting to have our proverbial cake and eat it.  We want the blessings that Israel receives without paying the full price of commitment and obedience. Jesus makes clear: love = obedience to His word, all of it!   This is not out of legalism (a trap into which Israel has fallen) but out of love for our Father in Heaven. God placed laws and commandments for the Israelites to follow with the counsel that great blessing or cursing would come too, depending on whether they obeyed or rebelled.   The Western church majors on the doctrine of grace, a doctrine which has been placed on such...

SERVE THE KING!

(Download PDF Print-friendly version) Our Lord and King came not to be served, but to serve so; “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.  Therefore God has highly exalted Him and given Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow…’   (Phil 2:5-10) The concept of a servant king is somewhat alien to our understanding, for ordinarily it is kings who are served by others.  Jesus demonstrated something remarkable, something that challenged contemporary thinking during His time on earth and still does today.  As God and King, He came to earth to represent His Father, teach about the kingdom of heaven and prove it by manifesting kingdom power and authority with signs and wonders.  He knew that “a servant is not greater than him who sent him”, words He shared with His disciples just before the last supper, after He’d washed their feet.  He was teaching them an important point – that they too were called to humble themselves and serve the kingdom and God as He was. However, in 21st century England, servitude carries negative connotations.  Perhaps the notion of servant-hood conflicts with our imperialist past?   Modern society places so much emphasis on...

THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH & NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH

(Download PDF Print-friendly version) The above words, declared daily in Magistrates and Crown courts the length of Britain, are meant to bind people by swearing an oath on the Bible, to tell the truth.   Ironically, such a request for an oath on the bible is actually in direct opposition to God’s word,  for Jesus expressly commanded: “But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.  And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.  All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”  (Matthew 5:34-37) Words echoed by James: “But above all my brethren, do not swear either by heaven or earth or with any other oath.  But let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no”, be “no”, lest you fall into judgment. (James 5:12) The British justice system, whose role is to establish truth in court, opens proceedings by asking people to make an oath in opposition to God’s word, yet will convict the righteous for doing the Lord’s will.  Recently two street preachers were convicted for committing a ‘religiously aggravated public order offence’, which falls under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.’ [i] Both were fined and one, a UK citizen, may well have a ‘Criminal Behaviour Order’ (CBO) [ii]imposed upon him restricting his ability to share the gospel publicly.  A CBO (replaced ASBOs’ in 2014) can stay on...

COPING WITH BETRAYAL

(Download PDF Print-friendly version) Betrayal is one of the worst things that can happen to us:  it causes great pain, anguish, disappointment, destroys trust and leaves us feeling vulnerable.  It causes us to question our own judgment and can induce feelings of anger and revenge, or cause us to slide into self condemnation and depression, none of which are godly responses. Many of the great figures in the bible suffered betrayal and to be honest it goes with the Christian walk.  Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, Abel was killed by Cain, Samson was betrayed by Delila and Jesus was betrayed by Judas.  Paul suffered it, many of the apostles did too, as people they trusted and discipled turned and tried to harm them. “The saddest thing about betrayal is it never comes from your enemies.”-  Unknown Betrayal in families, between friends or work colleagues, or in business can be as just as devastating as any betrayal within the body of Christ.   Friends in church, or a church leader even may have betrayed you?    Moses was betrayed many times as he tried to lead the people out of Egypt.   The Israelites turned on him time and again, even to the point of wanting to stone him at Mt Sinai.   His calling was so great, yet so lonely, because no-one really understood him.  It’s hard sometimes to find words to express what God has called you to do, especially in our modern secular Greek-thinking world.  God’s ways are so different to man’s, yet man thinks he know it all, when really he knows nothing.   God’s ways and thoughts are so...

DO NOT GIVE DOGS WHAT IS HOLY!

(Download PDF Print-friendly version) “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” – Matthew 7:6 Dear Friends, have you ever shared something of value in a home group, or with a church leader, or with Christian friends, only to have them turn on you and attack you, or even betray you? Have you been ostracised in your church because you have an understanding of something important to do with the Kingdom of Heaven, that others do not? The words of Jesus in Matthew 7:6 are a warning to us not to share such holy nuggets of wisdom with those who do not understand. For if they truly wanted to understand the Kingdom of Heaven, and hear what you do, they would also, as is written, seek first the Kingdom of Heaven by asking, seeking and knocking. Things that are holy are, as alluded to in previous letters, things that are set apart for a special mission, role, purpose or time. They are things that pertain to God’s divine will, Kingdom and purposes. Pearls are highly valuable and beautiful, and Jesus uses them as a picture to speak of pearls of wisdom. So when the Lord reveals to you certain things that are of great significance and value for the Kingdom, these are holy understandings akin to pearls of wisdom. Now the warning is this: that we should not give to the dogs or swine what is holy – Jesus is using dogs and swine to describe ‘unclean people’,...

THE GOD OF UNCONVENTION

(Download PDF Print-friendly version)   “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are My ways your ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are My ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9 From beginning to end, the Bible is full of stories demonstrating God’s ways and thoughts frequently vary from our own, and even conflict with them. Sometimes it’s hard to understand, but God simply doesn’t do things our way, for He is the Potter who forms and shapes the clay, not the other way round: “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.” Jeremiah 18:6 He is the Lord and Father of mankind who created the heavens and flung the stars into space, He sees the beginning from the end. So dare we think we can put our expectations or sense of entitlement before His divine will and knowledge? “For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has become His counsellor?”i Therefore as we begin 2017, let us purpose in our hearts and minds to stay close to Him; to seek first His ways, His heart and His mind in order to know what pleases Him. Such purpose may bring us into conflict with our secular world, our church and even our families, but as Isaiah wrote, God’s ways are not man’s ways. We must grasp this very important point and seek first the kingdom of heaven and His definition of righteousness, not our own man made interpretations, because...

LET IT BE UNTO ME ACCORDING TO YOUR WORD

(Download PDF Print-friendly version) At this time of year, many around the world will have cause to think of Mary and Joseph and the nativity story. But rarely is the price they paid considered, in submitting to God’s will. Mary was a young girl, possibly only around 16 years of age. Joseph was likely a bit older possibly mid to late twenties. Mary was a simple girl from an agricultural village in northern Israel, Joseph a local carpenter, both humble young village folk. Yet when approached by the angel Gabriel and told what was to happen to her, Mary’s response was; “let it be unto me according to your word.”i She humbly and obediently submitted to God’s will. But at what price? The law of Moses stated that if a woman became pregnant outside marriage the penalty was death by stoning, on the assumption of adultery. Mary knew this risk. She would have been ostracised by her family and community. Shame and dishonour would have befallen her father and the family name. Yet against this backdrop of potential consequences she still said “let it be unto me according to your word.” Joseph was also put in a very difficult position, so much so Gabriel also had to have a word, telling him to stand firm, remain faithful and protect Mary, which he duly did. This act of obedience and submission to God’s will was done, despite his understanding that the circumstances would be regarded as wholly unacceptable in the eyes of the wider community. “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife,...

TEST THE SPIRITS – Part 1 – ISLAM

(Download PDF Print-friendly version)   ‘Test the Spirits’ – Part 1 – Islam Confusion still exists in many parts of the church, including its leadership, as to the true nature of Islam.   So as part of our new season of tackling difficult issues, this letter will address what remains for many, an enigma. Understanding the true nature of Islam is actually very simple.  One only needs to recognise the ‘spirit’ behind it.    If we understand this, everything else makes sense, including the violence, pursuit of power and control, and deception committed in its name. The spiritual litmus test to discern the spirit of Islam is clearly explained in 1 John 4:1-3: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  By this you will know the Spirit of God.  Every Spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is not of God.  This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard was coming and is now already in the world.” The Quran acknowledges Jesus existed and recognises Him as a prophet, one among many, but states clearly He was not the Son of God.  The texts below taken directly from the Quran are self-explanatory: “That they (the Jews) rejected faith; that they uttered against Mary a grave false charge;  that they said (in boast): “we killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah.”  But they killed him...