All posts by lewegewer7

Waar kom Kersfees vandaan?


lantrens

Die meeste mense dink verkeerdelik dat Kersfees ontstaan het uit ‘n klomp heidense feeste. Baie onkunde bestaan oor die ontstaan en tradisie van hierdie fees. Dit is gewoon nie waar dat Kersfees vanuit ‘n heidense agtergrond begin het nie. Die grootste deel van die vorm daarvan en inkleding kom uit ‘n bepaalde Ou Testamentiese (OT) fees.

VOOR CHRISTUS (V.C.)

Die wortels en betekenis van Kersfees lê in ‘n fees wat deur gelowiges gehou is lank voor CHRISTUS se tyd.

In 168 V.C. het die Siriese Griek, Antiochus Epifanus, Jerusalem binnegeval en die tempel ontheilig deur onder meer ‘n standbeeld van Zeus daarbinne op te rig en varke op die altaar te offer, die varkvet op die boekrolle van die OT Bybel en tempelgoedere te sprinkel en die tempel sodoende te verontreinig. JESUS verwys na hierdie gebeure in Mat 24:15 as die “gruwel van verwoesting”. (Vgl. Daniël 9:17 ens.). Die Joodse gelowiges van die OT word in daardie tyd selfs gedwing om varkvleis te eet. Die opstand wat hierop gevolg het, staan bekend as die Makkabeër opstand onder leiding van die seuns van Matatias. Hierdie gebeure gee aanleiding tot die grootste deel van die boek van Daniël.

Deur die Makkabeër opstand slaag die Jode (Judas Makkabees) daarin om Jerusalem te herower van die Siriërs en op die 25 ste Kislev (kom met min of meer met ons maand Desember ooreen) in 164 V.C. word die tempel weer gereinig. Hierdie wyding van die tempel word later in ‘n fees herdenk wat bekend staan as die Chanoeka en tot vandag toe word dit deur die Jode gevier. Op watter dag? Die Oosterse ekwivalent van 25 Desember: Op watter dag is die tempel ontwy deur Antiogus? 25 Kislev 167 V.C. Onthou dat die Oosterse jaarkalender van die Westerse jaarkalender verskil. (Die Oosterse berekening van die jaar word met die maan gedoen, terwyl die Weste ‘n vaste siklus het volgens die son. Dit neem ‘n uitvoerige afsonderlike bespreking om dit te verduidelik.) Chanoeka word gevier van 25 Kislev tot 2 Tevet as Kislev 30 dae het, en tot 3 Tevet as Kislev 29 dae het. Dit kan voor, op of na die 25 Desember val omdat die Joodse kalender volgens die maan bereken word.

Die fees staan in die Ou Testamentiese tyd al bekend as die fees van die ligte, die Chanoeka, of die fees van die tempelwyding. Almal wat dit bygewoon het, het kerse en ligte en lampe gedra op pad na die tempel. Palmtakke en ander takke is rondgeswaai. Hoe is die fees van die tempel se inwyding dan in verband te bring met ligte en lampies? Die ligte word aangesteek om die wonderwerk te herdenk van die klein kruikie heilige kandelaar olie wat in die tempel ontdek is nadat die heidene uit die tempel gedryf is en wat agt keer langer gebrand het as normaalweg tot tyd en wyl die nuwe heilige olie voorberei kon word. Dit is die wonderwerk van die olie wat so lank gehou het, wat die Goddelike bevestiging en seël was op die her-ingebruikname van die tempel, wat gevier is met die Chanoeka fees. Die ligte simboliseer hierdie vryheid.

Die olie self was in die Ou Testament beskou as die simbool van die GEES van GOD. הוהי חוך . Die sewevoudige kandelaar (minora) is heeltyd onafgebroke in die tempel gebrand. As u Ex 25:31-35 lees sal u sien dat die kandelaar soos ‘n amandelboom en dié se takke moes lyk. Daarom is die ligte wat aan die boom hang, direk te verbind aan hoe die kandelaar daaruit gesien het.

‘n Kenmerk van die fees, voor CHRISTUS se tyd al, is die vrolike atmosfeer (1 Makkabeus 4:56-59) en die geskenke wat die Jode aan mekaar gegee het. Die fees word begin deur eers een kers na sononder aan te steek in die gesin. Elke verdere aand word kumulatief nog ‘n volgende kers aangesteek totdat daar met die agtste aand agt kerse brand. Ook lampe is voor die huise aangesteek. In die tempel word die Hallel gesing (Psalm 113-118) wat ook tydens Paasfees deur alle tye gedoen word. Hierdie Chanoeka fees wat op die 25 ste Kislev (Desember) gevier is, dien as agtergrond van Johannes 10:22, Johannes 8:12, en Psalm 30. Onnodig om te sê dat kinders, reg van die begin af, hierdie fees die meeste geniet het. Die fees was so gewild dat geskiedskrywers beskryf hoedat dit in die aand gelyk het of Jerusalem aan die brand was. Soos wat die mense op pad aangestap het na Jerusalem met hulle brandende lampies, is die hele omgewing in een sprokiesland omskep. Geskenke is vir die kinders versteek in die huise en op ‘n gegewe tyd moes hulle daarna begin soek. Onthou, ons praat van die fees in die Ou Testamentiese tyd en kan aanvaar dat die kind JESUS ook hierdie fees gevier het.

JESUS CHRISTUS van Nasaret is die vervulling van die Wet. In Hom het die hele Ou Testament profeties in vervulling gegaan. Ook die Chanoeka fees, die Fees van die Ligte, die fees van die Tempelwyding.

NA CHRISTUS (N.C.)

Na JESUS se hemelvaart het die dissipels besef dat Hy die ware Tempel is soos Hy gesê het, en dat die ware Lig in Hom alleen is. GOD met ons. Matthéüs 1:23 : “Kyk, die maagd sal swanger word en ‘n seun baar, en hulle sal Hom Emmanuel noem, dit is, as dit vertaal word: GOD met ons.” Die fees van die tempelwyding van die Ou Testament het hulle in die CHRISTUS vervulde vorm van die ware tempelwyding gevier. JESUS se menswording is van toe af herdenk op dieselfde dag as die ou fees van die tempelwyding of fees van die ligte. Kersfees was aanvanklik nie te verstaan as die letterlike geboorte van JESUS nie, maar dat JESUS as die Tempel van GOD en die ware Lig na die aarde gekom het. In daardie sin wel die menswording of geboorte.

In die vroeë Kerk is die geboorte van JESUS op hierdie dag, 25 Desember gevier en agt dae daarna die besnydenis van JESUS (in nomine Jesus) op 1 Januarie. Kersfees is vooraf gegaan deur vier Adventsondae, 1. ad te levavi (Ps 25:1). 2. populus Sion (Jes 30:19). 3. gaudete (Filippense 4:4) en 4. rorate coeli (Jesaja 45:8). Die Oosterse Kerk vier ‘n verdere epifanie fees op die 6 Januarie (Matthéüs 2:1-12).

Die Kersboom-gebruik het waarskynlik ontstaan omdat die ligte / lampe in hierdie feestyd aanvanklik aan ‘n amandelboom buite die huis opgehang was (onthou die minora in die vorm van ‘n amandelboom!) en later binne in die huis ingebring is. Soos wat die Christendom in Europa inbeweeg het, het die soort boom verander.

Natuurlik kan alles rondom Kersfees ook op ‘n wêreldse manier verdraai word en die ware kern daarvan misgekyk word. Ons glo dat ons erkenning moet gee vir diegene wat in CHRISTUS ook gewerk en getuig het. Dit bring ons by Kersvader. Die weldoener by uitnemendheid naamlik, (Sint) Heilige Nicolaas (280-345 N.C.) uit die Grieks-Ortodokse geskiedenis, se optrede is ineengeweef met hierdie dag omdat hy altyd geskenke aan kinders en minder bevoorregtes uitgedeel het. Hy was ‘n werklike gelowige wat soveel verrig het dat hy vir altyd onthou word in die Kersvader figuur.

Aanvanklik was ek van mening dat die ronde krans wat sommige mense op hulle voordeure in die Kerstyd sit, van heidense oorsprong was soos wat destydse heidene in die misteltakke (voëlent takke, Eng. “mistletoe”) geglo het. Hierdie heidense gebruik was geleë in die ritueel om mirte blomme en takke deur die Druïdes (heidense priesters van die ou Germane) met ‘n goue sekel op ‘n bepaalde tyd te sny vir allerhande rituele gebruike.

Navorsing oor die Boek Ester (wat die Hebreeuse naam Hadassa, dit beteken mirre, gehad het) het nuwe inligting oor die gebruik van mirre in die Kerstyd vir my ontsluit. Die Europese ekwivalent van mirre is die mirteboom, waarvan die “mistletoe” bloeiwyse van dieselfde familie is. Die gebruik om goud, wierook en mirre met Kerstyd as simbole van JESUS se geboorte te vestig, het uiteindelik gelei tot die gebruik van die Europese mirre op die voordeure van gelowiges in die vorm van die kransie.

LIEDERE

Die twee mees bekendste liedere rondom Kersfees is “Gloria in excelcis Deo” n.a.v. Lukas 2:14 en “Stille nag, heilige nag”. Eersgenoemde is al gesing so vroeg soos die 2de eeu N.C.

“Stille nag, heilige nag” het op 24, 25 Desember 1818 sy beslag gekry toe ‘n priester, vader Joseph Mohr van Hallein (Oostenryk) ontbied is na ‘n arm vrou wat geboorte geskenk het aan ‘n kind. Die ouers het gevra dat hy die kind moet kom seën. Hy het na die baba gegaan en was so aangeraak deur die moeder se geloof, dat, toe hy die aand terugkeer, en sien hoe fantasties die ligte lyk van die mense wat met hulle lampe na sy Kerkgebou toe vir die Kersfees op pad was, hy die onverbreeklike verband met JESUS se eie moeder en die geboorte van haar Kind op ‘n besondere manier ervaar het. Hierdie inspirasie het gelei tot die woorde van hierdie lied nog daardie selfde aand. Die volgende dag 25 Desember 1818 het sy vriend en musiekonderwyser, Frans Xavier Gruber, die wysie binne ‘n uur gekomponeer en “Stille Nag” is dieselfde dag in die erediens gehoor!

Deur Willie Prinsloo

KERSVADER

Sint Nikolaas is gebore ongeveer 280 N.C. in Patara, Lycia, ‘n gebied wat deel uitmaak van hedendaagse Turkye. Hy het albei sy ouers as ‘n jong man verloor en na bewering sy erfenis gebruik om die armes en siekes te help. Hy was ‘n baie goeie man en het ‘n reputasie gehad om die armes te help en geheime geskenke aan mense te gee wat dit nodig gehad het. Hy was ‘n toegewyde Christen en het later as biskop van Myra gedien, ‘n stad wat nou Demre genoem word. Die roem van die heilige Nikolaas van Myra het skielik gegroei na sy gevangenis en die daaropvolgende dood (345 N.C.) in die hande van die Romeinse Keiser, Diokletianus. Reeds in die sesde eeu is kerke in sy eer in Europa gebou. Teen die Middeleeue het hy die beskermheilige van beide Griekeland en Rusland geword. Toewyding aan Nikolaas het gedurende die Protestantse Hervorming van die vyftiende eeu afgeneem. Slegs in Nederland, alhoewel ‘n Protestantse volk, is die legende van Nikolaas in stand gehou en gevier. Die Nederlanders het sy feesdag op 6 Desember behou as die tyd om geskenke te bied aan kinders wat hul skoene die nag van te vore uitgelaat het. Dit was die Hollanders wat die gebruik van “Santa Claus” die wêreld in versprei het. Teen die middel van die negentiende eeu was dit die fokus waaroor Kersfees gedraai het (Ensiklopedie van Wêreldbiografie, 2004. St. Nikolaas. The Gale Group Inc.).

 

Opgedateer van ‘n plasing in 2009.

 

Leading like Jesus led – really?


As an intentional Christian, I am challenged with appropriating our Lord’s teachings and life into every aspect of my life. One of the most difficult has been reconciling these with my personal predispositions and popular contemporary leadership models.

Most of these focus on the leader with exhortations to go with our gifts, maximize strengths, and pursue our visions. However, I am working through the counter-intuitive and counter-cultural implications of Philippians 2. Paul summarizes the Jesus model as one that focuses more on the led than the leader. It gives up perks, privileges, and personal agendas. It recognizes that our treasured calling to leadership is contained in an earthen vessel (2 Cor. 4:7). And it is willing to take on responsibilities outside of our strengths in order to ensure that the glory goes back to the One who has called us into leadership. It is a call that could mean the sacrifice of the leader in order to achieve the highest good for those being led. While for me this is a work in progress, I am thankful that the same equipping and empowering Spirit that made such leadership possible for our Lord is also available to me (Rom. 8:11). Come, Holy Spirit—I need You to lead so I can lead like Jesus led!

By David Gyertson
Associate Dean Beeson Center at Asbury Theological Seminary
Professor of Leadership Formation and Renewal

Flyover: The Stories We’ve Missed


An original devotion by Jay Milbrandt

Thanksgiving offers us an annual pause from the pace of life return to places we do not often visit and gather with people we do not often see. Indeed, I live in what some call a “flyover state” — Minnesota — a placed that many visitors fly over while hopping coast to coast. I know that it takes a Thanksgiving-like event to bring people here — often reluctantly.

We also have “flyover verses” — obtuse lists of names, places, and pedigrees that make for good skimming and quick page-turning. These genealogies appear to be intended for another time and place, where the names meant something — perhaps a millennias-old precursor to Facebook’s “Mutual Friends.”

Thanksgiving can not only be a return to our flyover states, but a reason to seek out these flyover verses.

Take this list from Matthew chapter 1 and carefully study it. Read every name as if it’s the first time you’ve seen them. If you can, print it out these names and circle the ones you recognize.

Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
and Jesse the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asa,
Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
Uzziah the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon,
Amon the father of Josiah,
and Josiah the father of Jeconiah[c] and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,
Abihud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Elihud,
Elihud the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah  (Matthew 1:2-16).

You likely identified several patriarchs of the Bible: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David. You also likely recognized other stars of the Old Testament, including Boaz, Solomon, and Rehaboam.

The list calls out five women: Tamar, Rehab, Uriah’s wife (a.k.a. Bathsheba), Ruth, and Mary. While many of us are familiar with these names, these women are a curious addition to this patrilineal genealogy. While their names do not become branches, the author clearly views their inclusion as important. These women are known for various reasons, including incest, prostitution, adultery, being an outcast, and of course, giving birth to Jesus Christ.

Some of the lesser-known, down-list names are equally intriguing. In the generations following Solomon, seven of the men did evil in the eyes of the Lord — turning away, worshipping other Gods, or worse. At least five of names on the list were, for a portion of their life, considered refugees of political or religious persecution. And, several of the men were forced or sold into slavery.

In short, this list contains some of the most notorious names in the Bible — the worst of the worst. But, of course, it also contains some of the Bible’s most celebrated heroes.

Finally, I’ll ask the obvious, but most important question: What is this list?

It’s the lineage of Jesus. His family.

If you thought you had a messed-up family, look no further than that of Jesus.

Jesus’ family tree accounts for nearly every category of sin and dreadful human condition. It’s by no means a list of perfect people or the ideal family. Many of us might be embarrassed to call this our kin. Yet, while it’s tumultuous, there’s beauty in the chaos. The messiness reminds us that out of darkness and broken things spring forth in light and healing.

God works through process, and sometimes this process can only be seen on a long enough timeline. By looking back, but not overlooking, we catch glimpses of God’s plan. Like beauty unfolding from the messy lineage of Jesus, we see the beauty unfolding in our nation, our families, and our own past.

This Thanksgiving, take a moment to pause and think about some of these flyover stories in your life, then consider what beauty might be unfolding from them.

This was originally published on Faithgateway’s Devotionals Daily 

Gehoorsaamheid en deursettingsvermoë


Die dominee en sy elfjarige seuntjie het die gewoonte gehad om elke Sondagmiddag na kerk die dorp in te vaar en traktaatjies uit te deel met die evangelieboodskap op. Een Sondag kom die seun by Pa aan, toegewikkel in sy warmste klere: “Ek is reg pa!” Die dominee is effens uit die veld geslaan – dit is bitter koud en die reën kom af in emmersvol. “Nee Seun, ons kan nie vandag gaan nie – nie in hierdie eendeweer nie..” Teleurstelling is duidelik op die outjie se gesig te lees: “Maar Pa.. gaan mense dan nie Hel toe as dit reën nie?”

“Kyk Seun, ek gaan beslis nie in sulke weer uit nie!”

“Maar mag ék dan maar gaan Pa? Asseblief Pappie.”

Nadat die dominee goed oor die saak gedink het, gee hy vir sy seuntjie ‘n pak traktaatjies om te gaan uitdeel, en opgewonde vaar die outjie alleen die sopnat strate in.

Daar was byna g’n siel te siene op straat nie, dus loop hy van deur tot deur en deel sy traktaatjies uit. Na twee ure se harde werk het hy nog net een traktaatjie oor. Sopnat gereën en bibberend van die snerpende koue stap hy na ‘n huis toe om sy laaste traktaatjie af te gee. Hy lui die klokkie, maar niemand maak oop nie. Hy lui weer ‘n slag, maar binne is dit doodstil. Dan druk hy die knoppie met méning, en lui en lui, maar binne gebeur absoluut niks.

Uiteindelik draai hy om om te loop, maar dit is asof ‘n stemmetjie binne in hom vir hom sê om terug te gaan. Hy draai om, lui weer die klokkie, en begin om aan die deur te klop, en later te hamer met sy vuis. Dit is asof iets hom by daardie deur hou. Net toe hy wil moed opgee gaan die deur stadig oop. ‘n Ou tannie wat duidelik baie bedroef is vra vir hom of sy hom kan help met iets. Met ogies wat glinster en ‘n glimlag van oor tot oor gee hy vir haar sy traktaatjie: “Ek is jammer ek het Tannie gepla, maar, maar ek wou net vir Tannie kom sê dat Jesus ‘rêrag’ vir Tannie lief is. Hier is my heel laaste traktaatjie vandag – daarop vertel dit alles van Jesus en Sy groot liefde!” En daarmee gee hy vir haar die traktaatjie, draai om en hardloop huistoe.

Die volgende Sondagoggend staan die Dominee op die preekstoel. Sy oë gaan oor sy gemeente, en toe vra hy of daar dalk iemand is wat ‘n getuienis het wat hy wil lewer voor die diens begin. Heel agter in die kerk staan ‘n ouerige dame op, haar gesig stralend.

“Niemand ken my in hierdie kerk nie,” begin sy vertel, “want sien, voor verlede Sondag was ek nie ‘n Christen nie, en ek was nog nooit in hierdie kerk nie.” Die mense rek eintlik hulle nekke om hierdie vreemdeling te sien. Sy begin haar verhaal vertel:

“My man is ‘n paar jaar gelede dood, en toe los hy my stoksiel alleen op hierdie droewige aarde. Laas Sondag was dit ‘n besonder koue, nat en mistroostige dag, en ek het net gevoel dat daar vir my absoluut niks hier oorbly om voor te leef nie. Ek het ‘n stuk tou gevat en ‘n stoel, en ek is op na die solder toe. Daar het ek op die stoel geklim, die tou om ‘n balk vasgemaak en die ander punt om my nek. En daar staan ek, so bitterlik jammer vir myself. Ek het die einde van my paadjie bereik! Net toe ek wil spring, lui die deurklokkie – ek het my byna dood geskrik. Ek het doodstil gestaan en gedink dat wie ook al die klokkie lui sou padgee.. maar hy het nie! Die gelui het al harder en dringender geword, en ek het begin wonder wie mý deurklokkie so sou lui, want niemand het ooit vir my kom kuier nie. Naderhand het die gelui ‘n geklop geword en naderhand het die persoon met sy vuiste teen die deur gehamer. Ek kon dit nie meer vat nie, en toe maak ek maar die tou los om te gaan kyk wie dit is.”

“Ek kon my oë nie glo toe ek die deur oopmaak nie, want voor my het ‘n seuntjie gestaan – sy gesiggie stralend soos ‘n engel s’n. En daardie glimlag – ek kan dit skaars beskryf! En toe hy begin praat, is dit soos ‘n engel wat met my praat: “Tannie”, het hy gesê, “Tannie, ek kom net vir Tannie vertel dat Jesus vir Tannie ‘rêrag’ liefhet!” My hart wat so morsdood was het in my keel geklop. En toe gee hy vir my hierdie traktaatjie wat ek vashou.”

“Toe hy weg is, vat ek die traktaatjie, en ek lees dit oor en oor – ek het elke woord daarin ingedrink. En toe stap ek op na die solder toe, en ek gaan haal die tou en die stoel, want toe was hulle nie meer nodig nie, want sien, ek is nou ‘n Kind van die Koning. Julle kerk se adres was agter op die traktaatjie, en ek het net vanoggend gekom om te kom dankie sê vir die engeltjie wat my lewe kom red het, en my gered het van die ewige verderf in die hel.”

Teen daardie tyd was daar seker nie ‘n enkele persoon in die kerk wat nie gesit en trane afvee het nie. Die dominee het van die preekstoel afgeklim en sy klein engeltjie styf teen sy bors vasgedruk terwyl die trane vryelik oor sy wange loop. Daar is seker nie ‘n gemeente wat ‘n groter oomblik van glorie beleef het as hierdie een nie, of ‘n pa wat meer vervul was met liefde en eerbetoon vir sy seun as hierdie een nie . buiten Een: hierdie Vader het óók Sy Seun in die donker, koue wêreld ingestuur om die Boodskap van Redding aan die wêreld te bring. Sy Seun was verag, verwerp, gespot, geslaan en aan ‘n kruis vasgespyker. En toe alles verby was, het Hy Sy Seun terug verwelkom en Hom op die troon laat sit om te regeer oor die heelal.

Daardie Seun bring vandag steeds hoop en redding vir die wêreld, maar hy vra vrywilligers soos ek en jy om Sy boodskap met vreugde uit te dra aan mense wat verlore is.

 


 

THE STRESS KILLER – THE ANSWER


Stress has no place in your life. God has called you to life in abundance through Jesus Christ. The Word of God says that the mind of the spirit is life and peace.

So what is the key to a STRESS FREE LIFE?
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by PRAYER and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the PEACE OF GOD, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

  • Replace STRESS with PRAYER.
  • It isn’t about ignoring the facts, but rather taking everything to God.
  • Your Heavenly Father who loves you infinitely also happens to be ALMIGHTY. He will always give you the breakthrough and lead you into victory, as long as you take everything to him in prayer.
  • The Word of God guarantees that if you PRAY instead of WORRYING, that the supernatural PEACE OF GOD will guard your heart and mind.
  • The world says: “Don’t worry, be happy.” That obviously isn’t working to well.
  • God says: “Don’t worry, but PRAY.” THAT will change your life forever.
  • Appoint a permanent guard in your life: it is called the PEACE OF GOD.
  • This very moment is the best time to get going: start taking everything to God in prayer.

God bless,
Hugo Van Niekerk  (KINGDOM GLOBAL GROUP – Advancing the Kingdom Globally)

 


 

GRACE AND REST


I took the liberty to post this article, it was posted by a brother on FB…He is Asian so there is a little bit of broken English but it was so good I had to share it…

I had pleasant encounter with one of my former elder’s wife recently and I was delighted to see her. Although our encounter was brief the short fellowship was sweet. She did express her surprise whilst we have not conducted any Gospel rallies, my church has grown significantly both in quantity and quality. As a caring and loving lady she also expressed to me her concern on our preaching and our emphasis on grace and on rest. How can we tell people to do nothing?

Here is a common misunderstanding. When we preach grace we mean we are to rest in the FINISHED work of Christ. We do mean not resting and doing nothing. Resting in the FINISHED work of Christ allows us to do what HE wants us to do and not what we think we should do. Further it is HE that work in us to DO and to WILL.

Many at times we are so busy doing what we think we should be doing rather than resting on what Jesus had done. Our battle today is no longer to eradicate sin in our lives but to manifest the reality of Christ in us. It is only by allowing Jesus to be form in us that we can be mortified sin in our bodies. This is done by realizing our position in Christ as being dead to sin ALREADY.

Why does God ask us to live according to faith? I think it is because He realizes from the scope of eternity, that the fact that we are dead to sin IS our real reality. God calls us to believe this to be our real reality because it IS the real reality. It is when we believe His reality, we begin to manifest the finished work of Jesus in our lives. That is how we overcome sin by faith. Not by power nor by our might but by the operation of the Spirit of Christ.

That I believe is why Paul tells us our position before he tells us what to do. In fact I believe Paul does not tell us what to do but what to believe. According to Paul our behaviour is really the product of our belief. Our belief dictates what we do. This is the mystery. That God can be in us through Christ. The hope of Glory.

As such the reality is this. We cannot serve a God who is not served by human hands. Yet the book of Hebrews tells us that HE purged our conscience to serve a living God. This means my Father cannot be served by people who have a conscience which is NOT PURGED. In context, a CONSCIENCE that is NOT PURGED is a conscience who does not believe that is fully forgiven.

It is no wonder why God cannot be served by HUMAN hands. These are hands which based on a righteousness which requires to be CONSTANTLY be forgiven. This is our default mode. Forgiveness based on our asking, our begging and on a basis that we pride ourselves with a guilty conscience or sin conscienceness.

The writer of Hebrews exhort us to believe our sins are forgiven once and FOR ALL. Hence a purged conscience. That is when we are fit to serve a Holy God. We serve God hence with the WOUNDED HANDS of Jesus not by human effort.

I verily state this serving God with HUMAN hands is serving Him with our effort. It is the same thing Cain did. It is the same thing that Saul did. It is the very thing the Pharisees did. It is serving God to have your conscience clean. This is the “sin” that the writer of Hebrews is referring to in Hebrews 10. This is the sin that he refers to as “if we sin wilfully there is no more sacrifice for sin”. The belief that your conscience needs to be clean regularly.

I have come to understand that my sins are forgiven ONCE and FOR ALL. In fact if you read the verse” just as a man is destine to die once and face judgement” it is followed by “so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”

We read Hebrews 9:27 so often out of its context. If you read it again together with Hebrews 9:28 you will realize the focus is not about God’s judgement but about HOW COMPLETE God’s forgiveness is. There are 2 certainties: DEATH and TAXES. We only die once and we remain dead. In the same manner the writer of Hebrews tells us that Christ need die only ONCE and you remain FORGIVEN forever. He has taken the sins of many people.

Hence it is my humble submission if we preach to people that they are guilty until they begin to serve God is to preach a religion of “AN UNPURGED CONSCIENCE” which in actual fact is a SERVICE OF HUMAN HANDS. It results in people trying to please God for the purpose of having their conscience cleared. That is dead works.

Jesus is still serving today. He serves through my body. I am in His temple. Notice that when Jeremiah whipped the people in the temple he said 3 times: The Lord does not live in the temple any more. Notice when Jesus did the same thing he said “tear this temple down and I will build it up in 3 days”. Notice Jesus is echoing Jeremiah. God does not live in the Temple any more. Jesus said HE IS THE TEMPLE.

Paul now tells us We are his Holy Temple. He now lives in US not in some temple in heaven. That is why Jesus said when he healed the man “To prove to you that the Son of Man have authority to forgive sins ON EARTH!” God is no longer dwelling far away in heaven. He is in US.

Hence it is HE that breathes and lives in me and He is the one serving. That is why I rest and He works. That is why I come to him with “fear and much trembling” so that it is not my eloquence. NOT MY BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is BY HIS BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS on the cross. The Blood Sweat and Tears is a done deal! It is not a deal yet to be done…

That is why I preach about God’s rest. That is also why my church despite little effort on the part of the believers is growing. It is because Jesus is working. It is also because of that I have no glory but Jesus receives ALL the glory. I boast of my Lord. He is AWESOME AND DESERVES ALL MY WORSHIP.

Simon

Awaken to love


I received this word in May of this year for my local church. I have however come to realize that it’s a word in season for the church at large. My frustration with the church at present is the lack of spiritual fervor in the worshipping of her Lord. It seems that very few people are really hungry & thirsty for Him these days.

Hear this church of God; I have called you before the foundations of the earth were laid, & I have loved you with an everlasting love, for you are My beloved, my bride, my household, & my holy temple.

Now know this; I have set you apart according to my purposes for something very significant in a time like this. Yet you have not asked of me; “what is it my Lord?” “What would You require of me & where is it that You would have me go?” But I would say to you that many of you are guilty of neglect & carelessness in your devotion & your walk with Me.

Beware against being misled away from your devotion to Me, by the enemy, under the pretense of grace. If you were to have a true revelation of My grace for you, you would fall more in love with Me. Grace does not mean that you can neglect your Lord for the sake of the meaningless activities of the day. It does not mean that you can excuse yourself from engaging Me your One True Love.

I am standing at the door of the hearts of My people & very few have heard Me knocking & even less have opened up to Me. I desire to sit & sup with you My beloved, chosen, precious & holy in My sight. I have opened the way for you to come to Me & be with Me, anytime, anyhow.

But My Church has been consumed with the business of life & so very few know Me or knows My voice…so very few indeed. Few have taken the time to seek Me out & be seated at My feet to hear My words of love & My awesome plans that I have for My Church.

So very few have come to recline in My bosom like John, & so very few have come to be seated at My feet to hear My words like Mary. I am calling you to repentance My love. If only you would really listen to My voice, hear my words, & obey My instructions You would already be who I say you really are.

I have desired for you to commune with Me even before you walked this earth. I have longed for your communion even before I created the universe. Yet you have shunned My advances to you as a Lover who is so deeply in love with you as His betrothed.

But there will yet be a generation/church who will awaken to My love & who will share with Me the deepest delight & ecstasy of intimate communion & union with Me as her Bridegroom God. And I have called you for this very purpose My beloved.

Will you hear My voice & awaken to My love? Will you enter into the grace that so few have ever entered into? The very same grace that John took advantage of when he reclined in My bosom, My most intimate presence? The very same grace that Mary laid hold of when she gave up everything to love Me, follow Me, & listen to My words?

Like Mary I want you to be seated at My feet & give up your life for that which matters most, for that which can never be taken away from you. Today you must listen to My rebuke to you, My love, for you have become to be more like Martha & I desire for you to be like Mary.

Like Martha you have become more of a servant than a companion to Me. I’m looking for communion with you as my companion. I have no need of servants; only of a companion. Do not become distracted from my love by serving me as so many others have done before.

Like Martha you have become conservative & reserved in your devotion & worship of Me. Be like Mary my beloved; love & worship Me with unbridled passion & devotion & I will yet reward you with the greatest reward I have for My Church; My very presence made manifest to you & in you.

You must also stop being so BUSY & DISTRACTED like Martha had become. Your business of life is the cause for all your anxieties, fears, & worries.

Only by your abiding & resting in Me will the burden of this world & its pressures be lifted from your shoulders. Don’t you realize that this is the very purpose & reason for My coming to suffer & die for you on My cross? I came & did what I did to remove every thing that hinders My love!

It is for this reason that I endured the cross with joy scorning its shame. I came to rent the veil to reveal My heart of love, to set you free to know My love, & for you to be able to love Me with the very same love that I have for you. O, if only you would awaken to love!

When you awaken to My love the eyes of your heart will open up to My goodness, love & mercy. The Spirit is busy preaching through My friends, the friends of the Bridegroom, that I have always loved you. Listen to the Spirit! Listen to My friends! My gospel is the good news of My love for you.

Bride of Jesus; I have chosen you & appointed you to recapture the hearts & the imagination of a people whose hearts have hardened against Me. But I want you first to repent from neglecting Me as your First Love, before I can infuse you with the illumination of My love so that you might become a testimony of My love.

Will you heed the call? Will you listen to the words of My servants, the friends of the Bridegroom? Come now My love & seek intimacy with Me. What I have for you cannot be compared with all of the greatest treasures, wonders, & riches of this world combined and multiplied even to infinity.

For those of you who would answer this call from My heart & have laid down your lives for the love of Me, for you I have the greatest reward available to mortal men; My very presence made manifest to you & in you. For those who are prepared to shun the world & the business of life I will soon reward with My presence, power & glory made manifest to you, in you, & through you.

There is a generation that will still yet conquer My heart through their complete sacrifice & extravagant devotion to Me. They will be a people who would have counted the cost & still have wasted their lives on Me, for nothing else but their love for Me. Nothing in all creation can conquer Me, but your complete sacrifice for the love of Me.

I want a bride who would love Me in such a manner; the very same love that I have for her as I have demonstrated on the cross. She would then have power with Me & whatever she would ask of Me I would not deny her. This way My glory will be revealed through her in all the earth.

Prepare yourself for waves of My power & glory that will soon come upon you to awaken, empower, & purify you. These waves will remove all hindrances of My love & it will also remove all obstacles standing against the movement that I’m about to birth through you.

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.