2013 12-Xmas-523X350

Christmas Message 2013 from Father God

So we prayed that God would bless us all during this Christmas season and that He would encourage us and allow us to share an uplifting message to the broader Storm Harvest community.

What we received from the Lord, however, is far from positive and lighthearted.

It is with fear and trembling that we publish the following message: God’s 2013 Christmas Message for the List:

“Paul entered Ephesus and confronted the silversmiths and the Temple of Diana collapsed. Stadiums were filled and riots began. She was greater than I – then Paul put me first and the tide changed.

“Oh America!! Thanksgiving surpasses Christmas and Santa eclipses Jesus. Where are your songs and who are you praising?

“Go to Ephesus now – the sea has dried up and the land has been devastated by earthquakes.

“So shall it be for America.”

Robert received the impression that God is tarrying (lingering and delaying in action) before the sins of the U.S. reaches its full measure. We were reminded of the story in Gen 15:16 where God foretold the story of Abram’s descendants. God told Abram that they would have to wait four hundred years as slaves before God would lead them out of slavery into the Promised Land. They had to remain in slavery for hundreds of years until the sins of the Amorites warrant their destruction.

“Then the LORD said to Abram, ‘You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years.
“But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth.
…..
“After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction.'” (Gen 15:13-16)

In the Lord’s message, He asks us to consider the fate of Ephesus – “Go to Ephesus now – the sea has dried up and the land has been devastated by earthquakes.”

For a quick virtual tour of the ruins of Ephesus please look up:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suT0_MTnpLc (A tour of Ephesus, Turkey, by Dave Mahloy – this video explains why the sea at Ephesus has dried up, and it shows how destitute the land is.)

In Paul’s days Ephesus was a great trading city with a harbor, and it was second in size in the Roman Empire after Rome. However the harbor was since silted up and the city was destroyed by war and earthquake.

Image-1-346X350Google Maps show the location of Ephesus being several miles away from the Aegean Sea. Ancient Ephesus’ habor has moved away from the city!          

Image-2-530X350

 (Image of some ruins in Ephesus – Google Maps)

After praying and meditating on the Lord’s message these past few days, I see a redeeming and significant feature. It is the man, Paul.

“Paul entered…(he) confronted… Paul put Me first and the tide changed.”

In all that Paul was and in everything that he did, God and His agenda came to the forefront. And because of that, God, through Paul, wrought great change causing an uproar among the people in Ephesus.

Similarly, Abraham pleaded with God for the righteous ones in Sodom and Gomorrah. He went right up to the heart of God earnestly imploring Him to spare the cities from destruction. In the end, God promised not to destroy Sodom if there were 10 righteous people. (Gen 18:20-26).

From His message, I sense that God is looking for just one person like Paul, who will put Him first and this person can bring an awakening like what Paul did in Ephesus.

“God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles.
“When handkerchiefs or aprons that had merely touched his skin were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases, and evil spirits were expelled.” (Act 19:11-12)

There is hope.

We should pray diligently for repentance and revival in America, and that a ‘Paul’ would rise up to ‘put God first,’ and save the day!

May God bless you.

Mario Liu

2013 12-Xmas-523X350

Christmas Message 2013 from Father God

So we prayed that God would bless us all during this Christmas season and that He would encourage us and allow us to share an uplifting message to the broader Storm Harvest community.

What we received from the Lord, however, is far from positive and lighthearted.

It is with fear and trembling that we publish the following message: God’s 2013 Christmas Message for the List:

“Paul entered Ephesus and confronted the silversmiths and the Temple of Diana collapsed. Stadiums were filled and riots began. She was greater than I – then Paul put me first and the tide changed.

“Oh America!! Thanksgiving surpasses Christmas and Santa eclipses Jesus. Where are your songs and who are you praising?

“Go to Ephesus now – the sea has dried up and the land has been devastated by earthquakes.

“So shall it be for America.”

Robert received the impression that God is tarrying (lingering and delaying in action) before the sins of the U.S. reaches its full measure. We were reminded of the story in Gen 15:16 where God foretold the story of Abram’s descendants. God told Abram that they would have to wait four hundred years as slaves before God would lead them out of slavery into the Promised Land. They had to remain in slavery for hundreds of years until the sins of the Amorites warrant their destruction.

“Then the LORD said to Abram, ‘You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years.
“But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth.
…..
“After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction.'” (Gen 15:13-16)

In the Lord’s message, He asks us to consider the fate of Ephesus – “Go to Ephesus now – the sea has dried up and the land has been devastated by earthquakes.”

For a quick virtual tour of the ruins of Ephesus please look up:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suT0_MTnpLc (A tour of Ephesus, Turkey, by Dave Mahloy – this video explains why the sea at Ephesus has dried up, and it shows how destitute the land is.)

In Paul’s days Ephesus was a great trading city with a harbor, and it was second in size in the Roman Empire after Rome. However the harbor was since silted up and the city was destroyed by war and earthquake.

Image-1-346X350Google Maps show the location of Ephesus being several miles away from the Aegean Sea. Ancient Ephesus’ habor has moved away from the city!          

Image-2-530X350

 (Image of some ruins in Ephesus – Google Maps)

After praying and meditating on the Lord’s message these past few days, I see a redeeming and significant feature. It is the man, Paul.

“Paul entered…(he) confronted… Paul put Me first and the tide changed.”

In all that Paul was and in everything that he did, God and His agenda came to the forefront. And because of that, God, through Paul, wrought great change causing an uproar among the people in Ephesus.

Similarly, Abraham pleaded with God for the righteous ones in Sodom and Gomorrah. He went right up to the heart of God earnestly imploring Him to spare the cities from destruction. In the end, God promised not to destroy Sodom if there were 10 righteous people. (Gen 18:20-26).

From His message, I sense that God is looking for just one person like Paul, who will put Him first and this person can bring an awakening like what Paul did in Ephesus.

“God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles.
“When handkerchiefs or aprons that had merely touched his skin were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases, and evil spirits were expelled.” (Act 19:11-12)

There is hope.

We should pray diligently for repentance and revival in America, and that a ‘Paul’ would rise up to ‘put God first,’ and save the day!

May God bless you.

Mario Liu

2013 12-2nd-Coming-474X350

Message 2013 as received by Dr Ray Ashmore

even as they resent my Lordship today but pretend they belong to me. I am coming to deliver the suffering ones into life eternal and the pleasure seeking ones into the flames of hell. As the scriptures say, those who love their lives will lose their lives and those who lose their lives will find their lives in me.

“But the so-called “sanctified” ones, who are building their own kingdoms, do not look for me and do not want me. And I don’t want them. I want the small ones, the struggling ones, the ones the world laughs at and ridicules. These are my children who will live with me in paradise.

“My gentleness is reserved for those who want me and my wrath is reserved for those who are invested in this world. As the scriptures say, this world passes away, and all its lusts will be gone from my Father’s universe and my kingdom. Only love will remain–my love for you and your love for me.

“Look for me. I am coming soon. You see the darkness and see me as Light. It is always darkest before the dawn. The pompous and arrogant ones who are building their own kingdoms and calling them mine will be surprised because I plan to tear their kingdoms down. Only my kingdom will be raised up in that day.

“My appearing will be glorious and frightening, glorious for those who are mine and frightening for those who name my name but whose hearts are far from me. Those who are spiritual nomads in this life, who wander from poverty to persecution will see me and be glad. They will instantly know my name and be raised into my presence.

“The washing will come, but not with water–with fire. My presence burns away all flesh.

“I am coming soon and my armed guards are with me. There is no power on earth that can withstand the might of heaven. I am coming soon. Look for me.”

2013 12-2nd-Coming-474X350

Message 2013 as received by Dr Ray Ashmore

even as they resent my Lordship today but pretend they belong to me. I am coming to deliver the suffering ones into life eternal and the pleasure seeking ones into the flames of hell. As the scriptures say, those who love their lives will lose their lives and those who lose their lives will find their lives in me.

“But the so-called “sanctified” ones, who are building their own kingdoms, do not look for me and do not want me. And I don’t want them. I want the small ones, the struggling ones, the ones the world laughs at and ridicules. These are my children who will live with me in paradise.

“My gentleness is reserved for those who want me and my wrath is reserved for those who are invested in this world. As the scriptures say, this world passes away, and all its lusts will be gone from my Father’s universe and my kingdom. Only love will remain–my love for you and your love for me.

“Look for me. I am coming soon. You see the darkness and see me as Light. It is always darkest before the dawn. The pompous and arrogant ones who are building their own kingdoms and calling them mine will be surprised because I plan to tear their kingdoms down. Only my kingdom will be raised up in that day.

“My appearing will be glorious and frightening, glorious for those who are mine and frightening for those who name my name but whose hearts are far from me. Those who are spiritual nomads in this life, who wander from poverty to persecution will see me and be glad. They will instantly know my name and be raised into my presence.

“The washing will come, but not with water–with fire. My presence burns away all flesh.

“I am coming soon and my armed guards are with me. There is no power on earth that can withstand the might of heaven. I am coming soon. Look for me.”

2013 12-Storm-Coming-517X35

The Coming Perfect Storm

without prophetic people speaking up, we will not play our redemptive part in bringing change for the good.

FIVE ELEMENTS OF THE BREWING PERFECT STORM
As in the movie The Perfect Storm, the storm I see coming to the United States is a combination of more than one element, and when the elements unite, the storm becomes exponentially more dangerous. However, unlike the movie, this storm is not just a storm of merging weather patterns. This storm is worse; it involves five different elements: religion, politics, economics, war and geo-physical events.
At times these five elements will be so intertwined that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish which events are driving a particular manifestation of the storm. Massive problems in these five areas will come often, or in combination, and sometimes repeatedly. Each element has potentially several events that will have national and international ripple effects. Some ripples will be worse than others, depending on where you live and how you make your living. Different areas of the United States will experience different severities. Some will experience more economic elements, others more geo-physical elements; some will experience all elements. Remember, it is the combination and the rapidity that will make the storm problematic.
Also, this does not mean all five elements will hit at the most devastating levels. For example, on a scale of 1–10 with 10 being the worst, one element may strike at a six while another strikes at an eight. It is the particular combinations of elements — the proximity of each element as well as the intensity of each element — that will make this storm so difficult and seem to last so long. This storm will not be short-lived; it will come in waves, one after another.

WHY IS THE STORM COMING?
This storm is coming because the Church (the Body of Christ) is no longer the backbone of this nation. From our inception, the Christian faith has been the plumb line of decisions made at all levels of life. The Christian founding of this nation is what makes it different from every other nation, other than perhaps Israel. Other nations may have become Christian in their focus, but none were initially formed with Christianity as the core of its DNA.
The Church is to make known God’s manifold wisdom to the world and the powers of the air (Ephesians 2:2). This demonstration to the heavens is not accomplished by speaking to those powers but through righteous living. How we live opens or closes doors for Satan to legally afflict us and even rule over us via leaders who do not know the ways of God. From Adam and Eve through today, the actions of humankind have given room for the enemy to strike and attack us. The only legal way the enemy has access to us is when the hand of God lifts from us, resulting in a space between Him and us. This space increases as we distance ourselves from Him and His ways.
Anytime there is an increased distance between God and humanity, it leaves room for attack to come and for principalities and powers of the air (rulers of darkness) to take up residence. The longer dark powers reside over an area, the more the people begin to call right wrong and wrong right. Here in the United States, leaders arise from the people; in other words, as the people believe and think, so do the leaders who rise from their ranks. Eventually, the lines between right and wrong, as well as the holy and profane, become blurred. The way to God through Jesus and the Cross is no longer seen as an absolute. In fact, absolutes become touted as “intolerance” first in the world and then even within the Church. Yes, there are exceptions to this thinking within the Church, but through compromise, the absolutes of Heaven and eternity are clearly evaporating.

GOD CAN FASHION A DISASTER
We are living in the days of Ezekiel and Jeremiah, who prophesied that God can bring disaster on a nation if that nation continually chooses to walk according to its own plans. God spoke this to Jeremiah:
“The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.
“Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.”‘”
And they said, “… We will walk according to our own plans, and we will every one obey the dictates of his evil heart.” — Jeremiah 18:7–12

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT ARE COMING?
What are some of the things/consequences that will come? In time, water will be more expensive than oil, and cities will evacuate thousands because there is not enough water to meet their needs. (As Amos 4:7 says, “I made it rain on one city, I withheld rain from another city.”) Earthquakes will strike not only coastal areas but devastate the Midwest as well. Israel will bomb Iran, and anti-Semitism will escalate as fuel costs soar. A dirty bomb will explode in a coastal city. There will be thunderstorms with huge hail, 24 inches of rain in 24 hours, three feet of snow in six hours, record-setting tornadoes with winds of more than 350 miles per hour and tornadoes in unusual places. There will be an unexpected blight that will hit various hybrid seed crops and weaken the yield. In addition, drought and devastation from storms will dramatically cut into various harvests and the national food storage will deplete.
“Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.”‘” — Jeremiah 18:11

FOUR THINGS THE CHURCH MUST DO
First, the Church must return to knowing God and His ways rather than just knowing about God. We have replaced power with programs, revelation with administration and the Father’s heart with organizational skills.
Second, the Church must learn how to contend for the faith again. We are weak, and we fall away so easily when crisis is not at hand. We have not been tested, and we have lost our resolve. We understand little of the adversary’s plans. We do not know how to debate our faith without becoming angry, and thus we have so few strong, clear, godly voices in political arenas. We have lost our witness — the witness that convicts others and strongly testifies that God is still God and is very, very real. We have lost the witness that demonstrates that God is a personal God in a very impersonal world, the witness that says, “What I do proves God exists.”
Third, the Church must return to the love of God’s Word and the belief that it is infallible and inerrant. This would include the conviction, understanding and knowledge that God is absolute, and there is only one way to know Him: through Jesus the Messiah. We need a new revelation that God’s power is unlimited, His knowledge is unending, His presence is with us always and He never changes. We have made God far too small, and our lives prove it.
Fourth, we will need to declare sacred and solemn assemblies of repentance and corporate fasting in many parts of this nation — a time set aside for rending our hearts before God.
“Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, And leave a blessing behind Him — A grain offering and a drink offering For the LORD your God?
Blow the trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; Gather the people, Sanctify the congregation, Assemble the elders, Gather the children and nursing babes; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, And the bride from her dressing room. Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, Weep between the porch and the altar; Let them say, “Spare Your people, O LORD.” — Joel 2:12–17

CRISIS IS THE FRUIT OF FOLLOWING THE WRONG GOD
God allows calamities to happen in order to draw us to Himself. What does that mean? It means that God allows us to reap the fruit of that which we serve. Walking in God’s ways brings blessings and fullness of life, while walking in the ways of the “god of this world” will bring the fruit of the god of this world: decay, destruction, deterioration and death. We make our choice, then the choice makes us. Sadly, we are developing a history of wrong choices.
Throughout Scripture, when crises hit the people of God, they turned their hearts to Him, and He heard and took action.
Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
— Jeremiah 29:12–13
May the people of the United States seek the Lord … and find Him. Remember, we still have the promise that if we turn from our wicked ways, God will heal our land.

Original Source
http://www.streamsministries.com/resources/the-prophetic/the-coming-perfect-storm-prophetic-bulletin

2013 12-Storm-Coming-517X35

The Coming Perfect Storm

without prophetic people speaking up, we will not play our redemptive part in bringing change for the good.

FIVE ELEMENTS OF THE BREWING PERFECT STORM
As in the movie The Perfect Storm, the storm I see coming to the United States is a combination of more than one element, and when the elements unite, the storm becomes exponentially more dangerous. However, unlike the movie, this storm is not just a storm of merging weather patterns. This storm is worse; it involves five different elements: religion, politics, economics, war and geo-physical events.
At times these five elements will be so intertwined that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish which events are driving a particular manifestation of the storm. Massive problems in these five areas will come often, or in combination, and sometimes repeatedly. Each element has potentially several events that will have national and international ripple effects. Some ripples will be worse than others, depending on where you live and how you make your living. Different areas of the United States will experience different severities. Some will experience more economic elements, others more geo-physical elements; some will experience all elements. Remember, it is the combination and the rapidity that will make the storm problematic.
Also, this does not mean all five elements will hit at the most devastating levels. For example, on a scale of 1–10 with 10 being the worst, one element may strike at a six while another strikes at an eight. It is the particular combinations of elements — the proximity of each element as well as the intensity of each element — that will make this storm so difficult and seem to last so long. This storm will not be short-lived; it will come in waves, one after another.

WHY IS THE STORM COMING?
This storm is coming because the Church (the Body of Christ) is no longer the backbone of this nation. From our inception, the Christian faith has been the plumb line of decisions made at all levels of life. The Christian founding of this nation is what makes it different from every other nation, other than perhaps Israel. Other nations may have become Christian in their focus, but none were initially formed with Christianity as the core of its DNA.
The Church is to make known God’s manifold wisdom to the world and the powers of the air (Ephesians 2:2). This demonstration to the heavens is not accomplished by speaking to those powers but through righteous living. How we live opens or closes doors for Satan to legally afflict us and even rule over us via leaders who do not know the ways of God. From Adam and Eve through today, the actions of humankind have given room for the enemy to strike and attack us. The only legal way the enemy has access to us is when the hand of God lifts from us, resulting in a space between Him and us. This space increases as we distance ourselves from Him and His ways.
Anytime there is an increased distance between God and humanity, it leaves room for attack to come and for principalities and powers of the air (rulers of darkness) to take up residence. The longer dark powers reside over an area, the more the people begin to call right wrong and wrong right. Here in the United States, leaders arise from the people; in other words, as the people believe and think, so do the leaders who rise from their ranks. Eventually, the lines between right and wrong, as well as the holy and profane, become blurred. The way to God through Jesus and the Cross is no longer seen as an absolute. In fact, absolutes become touted as “intolerance” first in the world and then even within the Church. Yes, there are exceptions to this thinking within the Church, but through compromise, the absolutes of Heaven and eternity are clearly evaporating.

GOD CAN FASHION A DISASTER
We are living in the days of Ezekiel and Jeremiah, who prophesied that God can bring disaster on a nation if that nation continually chooses to walk according to its own plans. God spoke this to Jeremiah:
“The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.
“Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.”‘”
And they said, “… We will walk according to our own plans, and we will every one obey the dictates of his evil heart.” — Jeremiah 18:7–12

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT ARE COMING?
What are some of the things/consequences that will come? In time, water will be more expensive than oil, and cities will evacuate thousands because there is not enough water to meet their needs. (As Amos 4:7 says, “I made it rain on one city, I withheld rain from another city.”) Earthquakes will strike not only coastal areas but devastate the Midwest as well. Israel will bomb Iran, and anti-Semitism will escalate as fuel costs soar. A dirty bomb will explode in a coastal city. There will be thunderstorms with huge hail, 24 inches of rain in 24 hours, three feet of snow in six hours, record-setting tornadoes with winds of more than 350 miles per hour and tornadoes in unusual places. There will be an unexpected blight that will hit various hybrid seed crops and weaken the yield. In addition, drought and devastation from storms will dramatically cut into various harvests and the national food storage will deplete.
“Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.”‘” — Jeremiah 18:11

FOUR THINGS THE CHURCH MUST DO
First, the Church must return to knowing God and His ways rather than just knowing about God. We have replaced power with programs, revelation with administration and the Father’s heart with organizational skills.
Second, the Church must learn how to contend for the faith again. We are weak, and we fall away so easily when crisis is not at hand. We have not been tested, and we have lost our resolve. We understand little of the adversary’s plans. We do not know how to debate our faith without becoming angry, and thus we have so few strong, clear, godly voices in political arenas. We have lost our witness — the witness that convicts others and strongly testifies that God is still God and is very, very real. We have lost the witness that demonstrates that God is a personal God in a very impersonal world, the witness that says, “What I do proves God exists.”
Third, the Church must return to the love of God’s Word and the belief that it is infallible and inerrant. This would include the conviction, understanding and knowledge that God is absolute, and there is only one way to know Him: through Jesus the Messiah. We need a new revelation that God’s power is unlimited, His knowledge is unending, His presence is with us always and He never changes. We have made God far too small, and our lives prove it.
Fourth, we will need to declare sacred and solemn assemblies of repentance and corporate fasting in many parts of this nation — a time set aside for rending our hearts before God.
“Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, And leave a blessing behind Him — A grain offering and a drink offering For the LORD your God?
Blow the trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; Gather the people, Sanctify the congregation, Assemble the elders, Gather the children and nursing babes; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, And the bride from her dressing room. Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, Weep between the porch and the altar; Let them say, “Spare Your people, O LORD.” — Joel 2:12–17

CRISIS IS THE FRUIT OF FOLLOWING THE WRONG GOD
God allows calamities to happen in order to draw us to Himself. What does that mean? It means that God allows us to reap the fruit of that which we serve. Walking in God’s ways brings blessings and fullness of life, while walking in the ways of the “god of this world” will bring the fruit of the god of this world: decay, destruction, deterioration and death. We make our choice, then the choice makes us. Sadly, we are developing a history of wrong choices.
Throughout Scripture, when crises hit the people of God, they turned their hearts to Him, and He heard and took action.
Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
— Jeremiah 29:12–13
May the people of the United States seek the Lord … and find Him. Remember, we still have the promise that if we turn from our wicked ways, God will heal our land.

Original Source
http://www.streamsministries.com/resources/the-prophetic/the-coming-perfect-storm-prophetic-bulletin

Apostles 341X290

The Sign of a True Apostle

“It is a word that has fallen into disuse and needs to be restored, and that restoration is not going to be cheap.”

We are so carnal, so power hungry and so enamored with status and position that we don´t have a clue what apostolic ministry really is. Most charismatics think it is about authority, and many men who claim to be apostles build top-down pyramid structures that abuse people. Others think apostolic leaders are marked primarily by sensational miracles. Yet I see something we have entirely missed when I look at the life of the apostle Paul.

Paul told the Thessalonians that love is the true hallmark of any person who is sent on an apostolic mission. Therefore, if we want apostolic power or authority (which we should), it must flow through apostolic love or it is a counterfeit. This apostolic love can be described in four ways:

1. It is incarnational. Paul brought the gospel to the Thessalonians and lived among them. He did not just drop in, preach a good sermon and leave. He said, “We were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives” (1 Thess. 2:8, NASB, emphasis added). Just as Jesus came to this earth, lived among us and died for us, true apostles give it all. If all an “apostle” does is preach a good message, he is a poor substitute for the real thing. (And if he also spends more time taking up offerings for himself, he is a hireling or a con artist.)

2. It is sacrificial. Paul risked his neck in Thessalonica, and then he told his followers that he would “suffer affliction” from his persecutors (1 Thess. 3:4). But he loved them so much that he prayed for them continually, and he longed to visit them again even though he knew it would be risky. He never mentions money. In fact, when he was with the Thessalonian church, he worked night and day “so as not to be a burden to any of [them]” (1 Thess. 2:9). That flies in the face of modern apostles who charge $1,000 an hour for their consulting fees.

3. It is relational. The word brethren appears in 1 Thessalonians 17 times. That´s because Paul viewed the church as the family of God. He saw himself in the role of a gentle, nursing mother (1 Thess. 2:7) as well as a strong father (v. 11). Paul´s affection is so thick and so slobbery that it drips off the page of his letter. He says the members of the church “have become very dear” to them (v. 8) and that they “also long to see [them]” (3:6). It´s no surprise that he ends the epistle by exhorting the people to greet one another with “a holy kiss” (5:26).

What has happened to this kind of holy affection in today´s church? Why are we so disconnected? We have replaced deep relationships with cold professionalism. Many pastors have not been properly fathered, so they don´t know how to love – nor do they have close friends. So we cover our dysfunction with busyness. We work, work, work – while sterile, loveless congregations struggle to grow. We use gimmicks and programs to get people in seats because our love is not warm enough to attract people to Jesus.

4. It is confrontational. Paul was not seeker-sensitive. He did not hesitate to confront sin. He gave the Thessalonians one of the most frank, forthright sermons on sexual sin ever written (1 Thess. 4:1-8). But he confronted them as a loving father by emploring them to stay within their God-given boundaries. He didn´t use anger, manipulation, domination or threats. He led with strong, apostolic love.

I believe God wants to pour out a new wave of apostolic power on our generation. But we can´t be trusted with this anointing if we refuse to grow up. We will have the maturity to use the word apostolic when we learn to walk in the love that was modeled by the first apostles.

-Original Source-

http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/fire-in-my-bones/18982

Apostles 341X290

The Sign of a True Apostle

“It is a word that has fallen into disuse and needs to be restored, and that restoration is not going to be cheap.”

We are so carnal, so power hungry and so enamored with status and position that we don´t have a clue what apostolic ministry really is. Most charismatics think it is about authority, and many men who claim to be apostles build top-down pyramid structures that abuse people. Others think apostolic leaders are marked primarily by sensational miracles. Yet I see something we have entirely missed when I look at the life of the apostle Paul.

Paul told the Thessalonians that love is the true hallmark of any person who is sent on an apostolic mission. Therefore, if we want apostolic power or authority (which we should), it must flow through apostolic love or it is a counterfeit. This apostolic love can be described in four ways:

1. It is incarnational. Paul brought the gospel to the Thessalonians and lived among them. He did not just drop in, preach a good sermon and leave. He said, “We were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives” (1 Thess. 2:8, NASB, emphasis added). Just as Jesus came to this earth, lived among us and died for us, true apostles give it all. If all an “apostle” does is preach a good message, he is a poor substitute for the real thing. (And if he also spends more time taking up offerings for himself, he is a hireling or a con artist.)

2. It is sacrificial. Paul risked his neck in Thessalonica, and then he told his followers that he would “suffer affliction” from his persecutors (1 Thess. 3:4). But he loved them so much that he prayed for them continually, and he longed to visit them again even though he knew it would be risky. He never mentions money. In fact, when he was with the Thessalonian church, he worked night and day “so as not to be a burden to any of [them]” (1 Thess. 2:9). That flies in the face of modern apostles who charge $1,000 an hour for their consulting fees.

3. It is relational. The word brethren appears in 1 Thessalonians 17 times. That´s because Paul viewed the church as the family of God. He saw himself in the role of a gentle, nursing mother (1 Thess. 2:7) as well as a strong father (v. 11). Paul´s affection is so thick and so slobbery that it drips off the page of his letter. He says the members of the church “have become very dear” to them (v. 8) and that they “also long to see [them]” (3:6). It´s no surprise that he ends the epistle by exhorting the people to greet one another with “a holy kiss” (5:26).

What has happened to this kind of holy affection in today´s church? Why are we so disconnected? We have replaced deep relationships with cold professionalism. Many pastors have not been properly fathered, so they don´t know how to love – nor do they have close friends. So we cover our dysfunction with busyness. We work, work, work – while sterile, loveless congregations struggle to grow. We use gimmicks and programs to get people in seats because our love is not warm enough to attract people to Jesus.

4. It is confrontational. Paul was not seeker-sensitive. He did not hesitate to confront sin. He gave the Thessalonians one of the most frank, forthright sermons on sexual sin ever written (1 Thess. 4:1-8). But he confronted them as a loving father by emploring them to stay within their God-given boundaries. He didn´t use anger, manipulation, domination or threats. He led with strong, apostolic love.

I believe God wants to pour out a new wave of apostolic power on our generation. But we can´t be trusted with this anointing if we refuse to grow up. We will have the maturity to use the word apostolic when we learn to walk in the love that was modeled by the first apostles.

-Original Source-

http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/fire-in-my-bones/18982

Original sin 254X380

Overcoming Addictions

 

We then prayed for a person who is suffering bad skin infections. His skin eruptions cause much itchiness and irritation.

God said “There are many reasons for bad skin conditions. Some people are just allergic to physical things. These allergies cause skin eruptions. There may be mental short term causes such as thinking, stress, and pressure. These emotional, submerged, factors result in chemical changes in the blood which in turn cause physical skin eruptions, which are usually treated with creams but this is ineffective. There are alternative spiritual long term causes: unforgiveness; anger; other issues which are buried.”

God’s answer reminded me of something that I have read in a book called “The Mountain.” This is one of the recent books written by Robert. On page 201 of the book I can find the following passage: “We always will think that we can control them—anger, bitterness, guilt, we think that we are stronger than them. But we are not. Such emotions come out in our actions, yes, but they also come out in our body. Bitterness correlates with blood pressure problems, strokes, heart attacks. Even dermatitis seems to be related to anger.”

Some days later, in response to our prayers for the healing of my friend’s skin conditions God gave us an obscure answer: “Iniquity is resident as a stain upon the soul. Transgression is resident as a stain upon your habits. Sin is resident as a stain upon each decision made. And any of these may be a source of affliction or a gateway to oppression.”

I was not sure that I understood what God was saying, so I asked again “Is there anything that can bring deliverance from past iniquity, transgression and sin?” And God’s answer was “Grace nullifies iniquity. Redemption nullifies transgression. Forgiveness nullifies sin.”

After receiving this answer I went online to do research on ‘sin, transgression and iniquity.’ Unfortunately I could not find any information that can help me understand what God was saying. I guess I was looking for a certain method that I can apply to help my friends trapped in the bondage of damaging habits, to bring results and relief, and to ‘set the captives free.’

Several days ago I felt that God asked me to study Robert’s book “Enoch’s Blessing.” I have read that book before and I did not benefit much from it. However this time I read the book slowly with a humble attitude and I learned quite a lot.

With reference to addictions and bad habits, Robert’s book says that it takes many poor choices to get a person deeply entrenched in a bad habit. Usually deliverance from addiction involves a long, slow process. By seeking God’s mercy daily, we are led by the Holy Spirit to make the correct choices day by day, so that we can eventually replace a bad habit with a good one.

The rest of this article is taken from Robert’s book “Enoch’s Blessing,” page 31, in the section called “GOD AS SAVIOUR – THE SPIRIT OF THE FEAR OF THE LORD”:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fearing God brings provision of everything we need – and this requires that we turn from our wicked ways. That we repent of our sins and seek forgiveness in Christ and in this way God releases good and peace to us. He desires to walk with us, as he walked with Enoch. He wants to speak to us, and his ear is attentive to those who cry out to him, to those who fear him and repent of their wickedness.

Renovating the vehicle for the journey

Did you know that the cost to run and maintain a family car is 3 times higher than the manufacturing cost over the life of the vehicle? That means if it cost $35,000 to manufacture, it costs $105,000 to maintain over the 25 years it serves you. This number doubles again if there is renovation and extension of life. This is because cars require lots of maintenance. Not at first, but increasingly as time goes on.

The damage in a vehicle comes in three distinct forms:

- Substandard construction. There are things that were not built properly in the first place – substandard, below acceptable level. Often these are fixed within the first seven years under manufacturer’s warranty;
- Abuse or improper use. There are things that get used improperly, or overused and abused. The car owner takes responsibility for the wear and tear of abuse by occupants;
- Long term ageing. Things damaged by age, the stain of use. Rubber seals decompose, metal fatigues, paint cracks in the sun, plastic bits split and fade.

As with vehicles, so too with people. We have almost exactly the same issues going on, but the damage is not only bodily, it is emotional, mental and spiritual too. We have three kinds of damage needing three kinds of repair too. I call this renovating the soul.

Three kinds of damage

The ancient Hebrews used three different words to describe the damage done to the human condition as time wears on things go wrong. To them there were three categories of damage, and therefore three remedies or courses of action to take toward the varying forms or damage. The words they used are: khata, aveira and avona.

Khata – substandard behaviour (sin)

Probably an archery term used when something fell below the target or missed the mark. Khata described when something was substandard, below the acceptable level or missing the mark. The “mark” was considered to be the way a human was created – their purpose, the right thing; to do good. The way Adam was made.

For us to act in a way that goes against our created purposes is khata, and it causes damage. Falling short of the mark was a violation of intended purpose and violations cause damage to the arrow as it falls into the rocky soil.
• cultural laws (saying please and thank you, washing hands, dress standards);
• moral laws (not committing murder, adultery, rape);
• ethical laws (honesty, integrity, honour).

When people violate these “laws”, we fall below the mark or become substandard. The word khata describes the damage done by this – falling off a balcony results, because of gravity, in a broken bone. Everything has consequences. This is only the first kind of soul damage: sub-standard behaviour.

Aveira – to abuse (transgression)

The second kind of damage is when things are continually used improperly. The rear view mirror was designed to look backward, not protect you from the bushes growing at the side of your house! Continual use in an improper way will break it.

Aveira means to continually abuse something, to go across the line repeatedly, to trespass the created purpose. This idea was similar to invading someone’s property illegally, poaching their animals or food crops. When a person repeatedly makes a series of poor choices, a number of damaging relationships or continually crosses their conscience. We might also call it developing bad habits.

Bad habits also have consequences on the soul (and the mind and body). If you continue in a bad habit, like smoking for example, you will contract lung cancer. If you continue to use anger to control someone, that relationship will be harmed. This is only the second kind of damage done: to abuse or transgress.

Avone – ageing or staining (iniquity)

Lastly there is the damage of age; the stain of use. There is a long term kind of damage on a vehicle that causes the long term maintenance costs. The car does not live up to wear and tear, weathering and environment it is in. Like a tan from long exposure to the sun, or the coffee stain left on a mug, it marks a person.

Avone means a stained and fallen state of disrepair: an unmaintained soul. When a person lives a life in this way – a lifestyle or permanent choice they would say the soul bore the stain. Mechanics looking at pornography, miners swearing, children being neglected, sexual abuse, someone living in poverty as they grow up all leaves a stain on the soul.

The good news is that as with buildings, all three kinds of damage can be worked on and restored. The first thing to do is enter the building and take a proper assessment. Quit pretending that we are in “good shape”. Make a radical and honest assessment of the damage.

What’s the damage bill?

Substandard behaviour (khata) – where have you fallen short of the mark, behaved in a sub-standard way, lived below your intended purpose?

Abuse or transgression (aveira) – where are you crossing the line, not acting according to your intended purpose, trespassing or have developed a bad habit?

Aging or staining (avona) – what is the stain left on your soul from the life you have lived and the circumstances you have lived through?

When you come to fix a vehicle there is a tearing away of the old and a replacing with the new. There is a negative or painful element first, then a positive or reconstructing part. Renovation of the soul is painful and then a blessing. After reading a story about my grandfathers old, worn out Renault Caravelle in my book, “The Sons of Zion,” Keith Keating decided to help me repair it. Five years in, the car is an empty shell, and all the parts are stored around his shed. But it is in better condition now than when we started! The rust is gone, the panels have been beaten back into shape, and the chassis is straight again. Now comes the rebuild.

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV)

If you have engaged in substandard (sinful) behaviour you first need to realise this and be convicted of the need to change. Repentance turns the heart toward God again. If you are not living according to your purpose, you need to go ahead and discover your life purpose, which God has placed inside you to do. The stain left on our soul – the weariness we feel – the depression resulting from our lifestyle choices can be met with renovation – to tear out the old choices and rebuild. To sand back the panels and repaint. This is a very painful process, as we have become accustomed to the gloom of our deteriorated state.

The three remedies

There are an entirely different category of remedies for sin, transgression and iniquity. As with an old vehicle, you have the ‘tear out and rebuild’ option – the upgrade:
• Falling short (sin) is met with forgiveness.
• Transgression is met with redemption.
• Stains (iniquity) is met with grace.

The power of forgiveness

So when a person “falls short” of our expectations, when they let us down, or behave in a way that is not acceptable, we do not throw them out. Nor should we rant and rave, or injure. Instead, when they apologise, we forgive them. Then we train them, teach them, show them a better way and they adopt it. For their part, they recognise that they have fallen short. For our part we offer forgiveness. But we must also show them what is right – model a better way. This positive modeling is so powerful that psychologists assisting people with irrational fears have found that 67% of fears can be overcome by modeling positive behaviour. A child who is afraid of dogs need only see a child of his own age playing with a puppy safely for 20 minutes before they go into the same room. Our heavenly father is the same. He might not be “safe” or “nice”, but he is kind and forgiving.

The power of redemption

When a person is struggling with poor eating choices, or smoking and wishes to change we do not condemn. We should not reprimand or reject for their “way”. But instead when they have recognised their poor choices, the bad habit and want to change we offer an alternative way of life. We offer redemption. Almost all the time this will involve an exchange of one way of being, for another; or of one set of choices for another. Old habits must be broken, new habits must be formed. Step by step, choice by choice a person is redeemed. Think of the way in which a person loses weight. It is not all at once. Week after week passes, sometimes without weight loss. But as exercise increases, and difference food is eaten the person loses weight. Redemption is the same – God offers us a journey together with Him to work through process that step by step replaces the old ways of being and doing.

The power of grace

When a person is marred, marked, stained from a life of poor choices we should not demolish them. We should not greet them like rubbish, refuse to be discarded. But it takes a wholly different order of love and acceptance to enter into relationship with such a person. Grace – unmerited acceptance – must be extended to them. Usually a person who is run down, used up, tossed aside does not have the fortitude to come back into circulation. They feel rejected. God is the first one to extend grace to us, to all humanity through Jesus Christ. All we must do is come, broken.

“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave them.” (Psalm 32:5 NIV)

As we extend forgiveness (mercy), redemption (restoration) and grace (repair) it will be extended to us as well. This is so practical, so very much like the father of a family, so normal. I think the disciples walking to Emmaus could grasp this, and so can we.

Original sin 254X380

Overcoming Addictions

 

We then prayed for a person who is suffering bad skin infections. His skin eruptions cause much itchiness and irritation.

God said “There are many reasons for bad skin conditions. Some people are just allergic to physical things. These allergies cause skin eruptions. There may be mental short term causes such as thinking, stress, and pressure. These emotional, submerged, factors result in chemical changes in the blood which in turn cause physical skin eruptions, which are usually treated with creams but this is ineffective. There are alternative spiritual long term causes: unforgiveness; anger; other issues which are buried.”

God’s answer reminded me of something that I have read in a book called “The Mountain.” This is one of the recent books written by Robert. On page 201 of the book I can find the following passage: “We always will think that we can control them—anger, bitterness, guilt, we think that we are stronger than them. But we are not. Such emotions come out in our actions, yes, but they also come out in our body. Bitterness correlates with blood pressure problems, strokes, heart attacks. Even dermatitis seems to be related to anger.”

Some days later, in response to our prayers for the healing of my friend’s skin conditions God gave us an obscure answer: “Iniquity is resident as a stain upon the soul. Transgression is resident as a stain upon your habits. Sin is resident as a stain upon each decision made. And any of these may be a source of affliction or a gateway to oppression.”

I was not sure that I understood what God was saying, so I asked again “Is there anything that can bring deliverance from past iniquity, transgression and sin?” And God’s answer was “Grace nullifies iniquity. Redemption nullifies transgression. Forgiveness nullifies sin.”

After receiving this answer I went online to do research on ‘sin, transgression and iniquity.’ Unfortunately I could not find any information that can help me understand what God was saying. I guess I was looking for a certain method that I can apply to help my friends trapped in the bondage of damaging habits, to bring results and relief, and to ‘set the captives free.’

Several days ago I felt that God asked me to study Robert’s book “Enoch’s Blessing.” I have read that book before and I did not benefit much from it. However this time I read the book slowly with a humble attitude and I learned quite a lot.

With reference to addictions and bad habits, Robert’s book says that it takes many poor choices to get a person deeply entrenched in a bad habit. Usually deliverance from addiction involves a long, slow process. By seeking God’s mercy daily, we are led by the Holy Spirit to make the correct choices day by day, so that we can eventually replace a bad habit with a good one.

The rest of this article is taken from Robert’s book “Enoch’s Blessing,” page 31, in the section called “GOD AS SAVIOUR – THE SPIRIT OF THE FEAR OF THE LORD”:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fearing God brings provision of everything we need – and this requires that we turn from our wicked ways. That we repent of our sins and seek forgiveness in Christ and in this way God releases good and peace to us. He desires to walk with us, as he walked with Enoch. He wants to speak to us, and his ear is attentive to those who cry out to him, to those who fear him and repent of their wickedness.

Renovating the vehicle for the journey

Did you know that the cost to run and maintain a family car is 3 times higher than the manufacturing cost over the life of the vehicle? That means if it cost $35,000 to manufacture, it costs $105,000 to maintain over the 25 years it serves you. This number doubles again if there is renovation and extension of life. This is because cars require lots of maintenance. Not at first, but increasingly as time goes on.

The damage in a vehicle comes in three distinct forms:

- Substandard construction. There are things that were not built properly in the first place – substandard, below acceptable level. Often these are fixed within the first seven years under manufacturer’s warranty;
- Abuse or improper use. There are things that get used improperly, or overused and abused. The car owner takes responsibility for the wear and tear of abuse by occupants;
- Long term ageing. Things damaged by age, the stain of use. Rubber seals decompose, metal fatigues, paint cracks in the sun, plastic bits split and fade.

As with vehicles, so too with people. We have almost exactly the same issues going on, but the damage is not only bodily, it is emotional, mental and spiritual too. We have three kinds of damage needing three kinds of repair too. I call this renovating the soul.

Three kinds of damage

The ancient Hebrews used three different words to describe the damage done to the human condition as time wears on things go wrong. To them there were three categories of damage, and therefore three remedies or courses of action to take toward the varying forms or damage. The words they used are: khata, aveira and avona.

Khata – substandard behaviour (sin)

Probably an archery term used when something fell below the target or missed the mark. Khata described when something was substandard, below the acceptable level or missing the mark. The “mark” was considered to be the way a human was created – their purpose, the right thing; to do good. The way Adam was made.

For us to act in a way that goes against our created purposes is khata, and it causes damage. Falling short of the mark was a violation of intended purpose and violations cause damage to the arrow as it falls into the rocky soil.
• cultural laws (saying please and thank you, washing hands, dress standards);
• moral laws (not committing murder, adultery, rape);
• ethical laws (honesty, integrity, honour).

When people violate these “laws”, we fall below the mark or become substandard. The word khata describes the damage done by this – falling off a balcony results, because of gravity, in a broken bone. Everything has consequences. This is only the first kind of soul damage: sub-standard behaviour.

Aveira – to abuse (transgression)

The second kind of damage is when things are continually used improperly. The rear view mirror was designed to look backward, not protect you from the bushes growing at the side of your house! Continual use in an improper way will break it.

Aveira means to continually abuse something, to go across the line repeatedly, to trespass the created purpose. This idea was similar to invading someone’s property illegally, poaching their animals or food crops. When a person repeatedly makes a series of poor choices, a number of damaging relationships or continually crosses their conscience. We might also call it developing bad habits.

Bad habits also have consequences on the soul (and the mind and body). If you continue in a bad habit, like smoking for example, you will contract lung cancer. If you continue to use anger to control someone, that relationship will be harmed. This is only the second kind of damage done: to abuse or transgress.

Avone – ageing or staining (iniquity)

Lastly there is the damage of age; the stain of use. There is a long term kind of damage on a vehicle that causes the long term maintenance costs. The car does not live up to wear and tear, weathering and environment it is in. Like a tan from long exposure to the sun, or the coffee stain left on a mug, it marks a person.

Avone means a stained and fallen state of disrepair: an unmaintained soul. When a person lives a life in this way – a lifestyle or permanent choice they would say the soul bore the stain. Mechanics looking at pornography, miners swearing, children being neglected, sexual abuse, someone living in poverty as they grow up all leaves a stain on the soul.

The good news is that as with buildings, all three kinds of damage can be worked on and restored. The first thing to do is enter the building and take a proper assessment. Quit pretending that we are in “good shape”. Make a radical and honest assessment of the damage.

What’s the damage bill?

Substandard behaviour (khata) – where have you fallen short of the mark, behaved in a sub-standard way, lived below your intended purpose?

Abuse or transgression (aveira) – where are you crossing the line, not acting according to your intended purpose, trespassing or have developed a bad habit?

Aging or staining (avona) – what is the stain left on your soul from the life you have lived and the circumstances you have lived through?

When you come to fix a vehicle there is a tearing away of the old and a replacing with the new. There is a negative or painful element first, then a positive or reconstructing part. Renovation of the soul is painful and then a blessing. After reading a story about my grandfathers old, worn out Renault Caravelle in my book, “The Sons of Zion,” Keith Keating decided to help me repair it. Five years in, the car is an empty shell, and all the parts are stored around his shed. But it is in better condition now than when we started! The rust is gone, the panels have been beaten back into shape, and the chassis is straight again. Now comes the rebuild.

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV)

If you have engaged in substandard (sinful) behaviour you first need to realise this and be convicted of the need to change. Repentance turns the heart toward God again. If you are not living according to your purpose, you need to go ahead and discover your life purpose, which God has placed inside you to do. The stain left on our soul – the weariness we feel – the depression resulting from our lifestyle choices can be met with renovation – to tear out the old choices and rebuild. To sand back the panels and repaint. This is a very painful process, as we have become accustomed to the gloom of our deteriorated state.

The three remedies

There are an entirely different category of remedies for sin, transgression and iniquity. As with an old vehicle, you have the ‘tear out and rebuild’ option – the upgrade:
• Falling short (sin) is met with forgiveness.
• Transgression is met with redemption.
• Stains (iniquity) is met with grace.

The power of forgiveness

So when a person “falls short” of our expectations, when they let us down, or behave in a way that is not acceptable, we do not throw them out. Nor should we rant and rave, or injure. Instead, when they apologise, we forgive them. Then we train them, teach them, show them a better way and they adopt it. For their part, they recognise that they have fallen short. For our part we offer forgiveness. But we must also show them what is right – model a better way. This positive modeling is so powerful that psychologists assisting people with irrational fears have found that 67% of fears can be overcome by modeling positive behaviour. A child who is afraid of dogs need only see a child of his own age playing with a puppy safely for 20 minutes before they go into the same room. Our heavenly father is the same. He might not be “safe” or “nice”, but he is kind and forgiving.

The power of redemption

When a person is struggling with poor eating choices, or smoking and wishes to change we do not condemn. We should not reprimand or reject for their “way”. But instead when they have recognised their poor choices, the bad habit and want to change we offer an alternative way of life. We offer redemption. Almost all the time this will involve an exchange of one way of being, for another; or of one set of choices for another. Old habits must be broken, new habits must be formed. Step by step, choice by choice a person is redeemed. Think of the way in which a person loses weight. It is not all at once. Week after week passes, sometimes without weight loss. But as exercise increases, and difference food is eaten the person loses weight. Redemption is the same – God offers us a journey together with Him to work through process that step by step replaces the old ways of being and doing.

The power of grace

When a person is marred, marked, stained from a life of poor choices we should not demolish them. We should not greet them like rubbish, refuse to be discarded. But it takes a wholly different order of love and acceptance to enter into relationship with such a person. Grace – unmerited acceptance – must be extended to them. Usually a person who is run down, used up, tossed aside does not have the fortitude to come back into circulation. They feel rejected. God is the first one to extend grace to us, to all humanity through Jesus Christ. All we must do is come, broken.

“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave them.” (Psalm 32:5 NIV)

As we extend forgiveness (mercy), redemption (restoration) and grace (repair) it will be extended to us as well. This is so practical, so very much like the father of a family, so normal. I think the disciples walking to Emmaus could grasp this, and so can we.