SIGNS AND WONDERS ARE ALL AROUND US – PART 2

When you are a nervous flyer, you need all the help you can get: moral support, emotional reassurance, the odd reminder of how to breathe properly and even the more effective reminder that whether we fret or not, it is all in God’s hands anyway, so why waste energy worrying about what may or may not happen, right? Easier said than done, though. Phobias can be and often are totally irrational, but for those of us who suffer them, they are as real as the air that we breathe and often cause you to suffer in silence uncontrollably; they are as tangible as feeling your every heartbeat resonate so loud, strong and fast within your chest that your heart no longer feels like a heart, but instead a time-bomb which could explode at any moment; they are as evident as copious amounts of sweat running down the palms of your hands soaking whatever you touch. It certainly doesn’t improve things when you are surrounded by people who lack any kind of empathy or compassion and who put your phobias down as cowardice or a lack of courage, enhancing your already disproportionate sense of doom and gloom.

I always pray hard and often before boarding a plane, not just as I am sitting down in readiness for take off but on the days leading up to my departure. I pray that there is not much turbulence and that we have a safe and enjoyable flight. It is often said that when we pray, God does not answer our prayers so that we get what we asked for, but so that we get what we need to build up our character in order to fulfil our purpose during our journey on this earth. I have found this to be true, time and time again. There are however times when I strongly sense God sending me a life-line or some sort of encouragement to ease the fear of what I am about to embark on, literally.

On this occasion, that lifeline came in the form of Martin Freeman. Only God really knows the life-altering, redemptive and healing effect that The Crucible and Richard Armitage’s rendition of John Proctor had on me; only God really knows the deep and complex reasons why I feel my spirit is so akin to Richard’s; only God really knows the turmoil and heart-break I have gone through in these last few months as I have experienced first hand what it is to be hounded like an animal on social media for simply exercising my right to free speech and to expressing up-front my personal opinions with respect and honesty. Therefore, only God could have known how much was truly riding on this “holiday” and what would be the one and only occurrence which would put my fear of flying at bay; only God could have known how to take away my apprehension and replace it with ironic humour; how to put in front of me a sign that anyone else but me could have missed (indeed no one else but us queuing up to go through security, seemed to recognise Martin Freeman); only He could have been so attuned to me to give me the very timely and opportune reminder that though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for He is with me; his rod and his staff shall comfort me; He will never leave me, nor forsake me.

Think of all the actors in the world I could have bumped into at the airport; the very many days when I could have been at that specific terminal (compared to most I travel often and not just for pleasure but to visit relatives); the many hours in the day when flights take off; the many moments in a minute, minutes in an hour when I could have found myself in that exact queue right next to someone who is so emblematic of the very reasons why I was so desperate and in need of getting away at this point in my life. A miracle would have been to have Richard Armitage himself queuing up right behind me, but bearing in mind I was aware that he was in Vancouver or LA at the time, that turn of events would have been too obvious a choice of a miracle and not have required much faith on my part, would it?

To be continued in Part 3

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THE CRUCIBLE WITH RICHARD ARMITAGE AND HOW IT TOUCHED ME

THE CRUCIBLE AND HOW IT TOUCHED ME

Disclaimer: If you are here in the hope of reading a succinct, professionally, well written, well documented and informed review of The Crucible as currently performed at the Old Vic Theatre in London, you have come to the wrong place. This is the humble account given by a mere mortal of an experience which will stay with me forever for reasons that may not touch another person to the same degree or in the same manner.

On Saturday 26th of July I had the privilege of being able to see The Crucible at the Old Vic Theatre in London. My husband does not share my love for the English word or any of its manifestations and so I don’t go to the theatre as much as I would like. I am a 44 year old Spanish woman but have been living in England for 23 years. I studied English Philology at a Spanish University, a five year degree which covers subjects such as English history, literature, philosophy, linguistics amongst others, my favourite being: Literary Criticism. When I was at University, in my mind and in my heart I was heading to one day become a Literary Critic. That was my passion and I was very good at it. I always got the highest scores when I wrote my own review on a particular piece or book. I loved the power of words and how they convey different feelings and emotions to different people; how they can touch you in corners of your soul where nothing else can; how they can make the world go round and at times stop on its tracks. Life, however, often surprises us and veers us in a direction which we never suspected we might take or planned to take. I say life veers us, but in my own experience I now know it was not life but God closing some doors and opening new ones, protecting me from choices which may have made me happy for a time but in the long run would have driven me further away from knowing Him and from having a purposeful and meaningful life.

Going to the theatre and enjoying the entertainment industry in general can be an expensive affair, specially if you wish to get a decent seat where you can feel comfortable and actually be part of what is going on on stage, and so in order for me to make a visit to the theatre a regular ocurrence, I would have needed to sacrifice other parts of the family budget which seems like an indulgence to me in these days we live in. I tell you this so that you understand that this was for me a very special evening by the very nature of its rarity, and needless to say, by the prospect of seeing Richard Armitage act on a stage and of potentially meeting him afterwards.

Being the rare event that this was going to be and knowing it may not happen again for many months, perhaps years, I decided to make the most of the experience by actually getting up to speed with other people’s reviews, their take on the play, feedback and general impressions, which I find is a good way of getting the general gist of what to expect. Clearly, the best way will always be going to the source itself and so I also purchased “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller on my Kindle and read it over the course of a week prior to my visit to the Old Vic. American Literature was another of my favourite subjects at University, although this had more to do with gazing across the room at a very attractive teacher and not so much with the subject itself, but anyway, although we covered quite a lot, The Crucible by Arthur Miller was not amongst it.

Let me tell you first and foremost that I am a Christian or at least I try to be, I would like to be. It is a very tall order following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ and unfortunately, I don’t even come remotely close to even his sandals, but He is my focus, my North, my rock and the compass I use in my daily life to guide me in everything I do, say and think. More often than I care to admit, I keep Him out of the equation, but when I look for Him afterwards, He is always there to pick up the pieces of my wrongdoing, my insecurities, my prideful and selfish actions; to pick me up so that I can try and make a better go of things the next time.

The reason I tell you all this is so that you understand that choosing to go and see a play that dwells in the “taboo” subjects of witchcraft, the power of the devil and the controlling power, firm grasp and devastating results that legalistic religion at the hands of proud, control-driven and weak individuals can have on a person or a collective, amongst many other subjects, was not an easy decision to make or one I was going to take light-heartedly. I knew I was going to experience very strong emotions in an enclosed, relatively small space, full of people, at a stone’s throwaway from the actors themselves and with nowhere to run mid-flow, should my heart begin to beat so fast that no one can hear or sense anything else but the fear and anxiety running through my veins. For an spectator who is an atheist, an agnostic or a Christian in word but not in deed, a lot of what goes on during this play would go straight over their heads, but for me personally, I knew beforehand certain things I might witness during the play would make me feel terrified, nervous and very, very uncomfortable. Indeed, seeing the plot unfold was no different at various points of the play than standing in front of a mirror at home and coming face to face once again with the unwelcome but familiar ghosts named disappointment, betrayal, fear, lust, temptation, pride, unforgiveness and a number of demons which I battle with in my own personal day to day existence.

For me and for all Christians, there are two very distinct dimensions which co-exist: the natural (what we see, hear, feel, touch, smell) and the spiritual (those things which we cannot see, but often sense may be taking place, the forces of good fighting the forces of evil in the world or simply put: God versus the devil). This is as real to me as life itself. I have met self-declared Christ followers and I have met self-declared ex devil worshippers and I tell you that at their worst either of them can become extreme and cause as much hurt, devastation and pain as each other. What I mean is that pride, fear and ignorance can be a terrible thing and whether you act driven by any of those three elements, be it in the name of God or of the Devil, the results can be equally devastating.

This is something which comes across very clearly in the play as enacted by the current cast at the Old Vic. A village torn apart by suspicion, lust, pride, deceit and the willingness to sell our soul to the highest bidder when we find ourselves between a rock and a hard place. This awful darkness and sense of despair in a cruel and harsh environment such as it was at that time in Salem, Massachusetts, is beautifully contrasted by the light and tenderness, the redemptive thread that runs through and is brought about in the play so poignantly by the characters of John Proctor (Richard Armitage) and his wife, Elizabeth Proctor (Anna Madeley).

Both of them, but specially Richard Armitage, convey so vividly and humanely that moment in a person’s life most of us hope never comes when our integrity, our whole being, those whom we love, and care for, the God we worship, if any, and our very soul are at stake, that moment where the choice we make will bring either life or death, both in the natural and spiritual realm. Thousands of people around the world are being persecuted, tortured and murdered for their faith right now, and for them a moment like this which is so sensitively, intuitively, innately acted by Armitage and Madeley, is all too real. Indeed, for so many there is no choice to be made, because that choice has been taken away by those who play God to sustain and feed their greed, pride, fanatism, power, you name it.

This is a very timely play and a timeless one at that for the threads that underpin it are forces which the world has had to contend with for thousands of years, indeed the whole of humanity rests and has been built and developed upon the pillars of faith, good, evil, greed, world domination, control, lust, pride, integrity, freedom, love and so many other forces which are at war with each other and in a permanent battle to establish which one shall ultimately prevail.

As a Christian woman witnessing this play unfold, the final moments during the trial when Proctor has to make that choice as to whether to sell his soul in order to keep his life or to remain true to who He is, to those whom He loves and love Him and to God himself, is for me an all too believable, foreboding, almost prophetic moment in a society which is rapidly becoming secular and where the Christian Faith who was the Lion in the Human Kingdom is fast becoming the elephant in the room. There is a sense of acceleration around us made all too aware by how fast technology is developing, scientific and medical advances are progressing, and the sense of urgency and immediate gratification we all let our lives be ruled by. It won’t be long before as Christians in the United Kingdom we may have to be in John Proctor’s shoes and be wrongly accused of something we have not done, admit to something we are not by a society which is blinded by the power of evil, self-worship and a clear lack of a moral compass and integrity; we may have to make the impossible choice of saving our life by betraying our soul or confessing the truth and saving our integrity but signing our own death sentence in the process. For me, Richard Armitage, transmitted all these emotions in a spectacular fashion. He captivated the audience and not just by his manly, handsome presence but so much more so by the palpable dynamism in his performance of the co-existing traits in Proctor’s personality where love and hate, self-assurance and fear, aggression and sheer tenderness can co-exist in equal measure. This illustrates beautifully the peril the world is in today and has always been: good and evil in us constantly surfacing within us and battling each other, integrity versus conformism and resignation, honesty versus deception and betrayal, freedom versus bondage to others, our own passions or the devil himself.

Anna Madeley particularly captivated my heart on the night too. Not familiar at all with her previous work, I was deeply touched by her rendition of Elizabeth Proctor, a woman tormented by the suspicion of her husband’s betrayal and adultery and bound by the inability to completely forgive and cut the chains that hold him forever captive to guilt and a sense of failure, the chains that keep him walking on egg shells around her, extinguishing the flame of love one subtle but lethal blow at a time; a woman whose sheer loyalty, love and dedication has slapped her right back on the face and turned her heart into a heart of stone towards her husband, desperate to show him the love she still truly feels for him despite his betrayal, but selfishly holding on to the chains of guilt and conviction that bind him, in an attempt to protect herself from further hurt, destroying in the process the chance to rebuild complete trust between them and for unconditional love to resurface once again. Having personally experienced in my own life the betrayal and the lust for another within a relationship, I am all too familiar with how unforgiveness but also guilt can have a relentless grip on us to the point where we cannot function, where our freedom to be who we want to become is completely taken away and our every move, thought and word is nothing but the echo of the fear and the turmoil we are experiencing within. Again, from a Christian point of view, these are all incredibly relevant subjects which are dwelled into sensitively but very accurately in this rendition of The Crucible. I was truly moved by Anna Madeley’s performance. It was gentle, understated but at the same time confident and firm. Both Richard and Anna were in a league of their own and a Class Act!

Worth mentioning also is the role played by Jack Ellis who plays Deputy Governor Danforth. Great, powerful, utterly convincing performance as was that by Samantha Colley who plays Abigail Williams. Looking into Armitage’s eyes during his performance was almost an unbearable feat for me. His gaze and facial expressions so intense, his demeanour so full of underlying connotations of the raging battle going on under the surface of John Proctor’s imposing countenance but frail heart. But looking into Abigail Williams’ eyes was altogether a much more challenging experience for all the wrong reasons. She really put the fear of God into me by exemplifying so well how one can behave, the lengths a person can go to, how they can lose themselves when the devil and its minions get hold of your soul. Utterly bewitching performance and terrifying at the same time. Solid performance, unforgettable!

I could go on forever as it seems unfair to not mention the other actors and characters too for they were all so good as individuals and as an ensemble. I will just have to say that if any of what is written here has intrigued you in the least to go and see this play, then please follow that nudge and be truly entertained. I can assure you your mind will be stirred up and your soul in turmoil when you come out of that theatre, not to mention your heart will flatter and skip one or two beats if you have the sheer privilege of meeting Richard afterwards. He has one of those “beautiful” faces in the purest sense of the word, and eyes that can speak a thousand words and melt rocks with just one look. My kind of Lead man!

Richard and I

ON THE PRECIPICE OF ETERNITY?

I have often published on my site prophetic words given by Priscilla Van Sutphin. I used to be very sceptic about anyone claiming that they had “heard” from God and felt a burden to be HIS mouthpiece. Indeed, I still feel there are many charlatans out there, many deluded people, deceivers who fool no one but themselves.

However, I do believe with all my heart that this woman “hears” from God and though I have never met her or know anything about her at all, every time I read the messages she shares, I myself sense the presence of God around me in a tangible way. I feel comforted, encouraged and disciplined. I feel His Spirit right there next to me. The words hit me like the words of a best friend, and intimate relation who knows you inside out and can get to those places we all try so hard to keep out of sight from the world around us.

This particular word is an example of how the Spirit of God can make contact with us when we least expect it. It can get to those dark, hidden, secret, sheltered, delicate, sensitive corners of our heart that nobody else gets to see or know about. It can unearth our deepest longings, fears and our biggest regrets, our failures and the strongest desires of our heart which up to that point have laid dormant, numbed by a culture and an existence fast forwarded by commitments, responsibilities, worries, TIME.

Priscilla, if you ever happen to read this, please know that in the past when I have shared your messages here, often I shared them because I felt they would encourage someone else. Well, this time the message was for ME.

I sit here in floods of tears feeling like that person you speak of who feels they have been discounted, who no longer have a role in the Kingdom, is ME. I am the one who has personally been given this promise:

“but I promised I WOULD ARISE OVER YOU.  I promised I would be SEEN upon you.  [Isaiah 60] So do not fall to defeatism, and apathy, and the spirits of heaviness that are lurking in the shadows.”

I am the one who saw myself in a dream doing these very things, flying, being carried, sheltered under God’s wing:

“I’ve called you to soar on eagles’ wings Higher above their domain, to fly with ME in the heavenlies and to see things from MY perspective.”

I am the one who was personally told to:

“Keep focused on ME.  Keep focused on the WORD.  Do NOT get into bitterness and do not allow critical spirits in your heart.  Again I’m not telling you to stop being discerning, and I am not saying do not speak out, because I have called you to speak up against evil.  You are called to be an ARMY, not to be a pacifist apathetic sheepfold.  True justice is the heart of a prophet.  I put that sense of justice there for many of you who are prophetic.  I developed it in you through the sufferings you endured, that you would have MY HEART.  David was a man after My own heart I said.  I have many David’s who have been on the sidelines, participating, but who will now be drawn into direct battle, and into the spotlight to speak out the things I’ve given them to say.”

I am amongst those who have been given this promise over and over again in dreams:

“For I have promised a tsunami of My love for a long time now, and it is about to be poured out.”

I heard this promise too:

“Throw off all the discouragement and expecting of bad things to happen.  For I set a table before you in the midst of your enemies I said.  I AM Your Rear Guard!  I watch over My children like a good parent does.  I provide all that is needed for those who are called to My purpose.  So BELIEVE that I am FOR you and not against you.  Do NOT listen to the voice that makes you feel disqualified, or not good enough.  YOU ARE JUSTIFIED BY THE BLOOD OF MY SON.”

I am that person:

“He seeks always to steal from you your confidence in My love for you.  But it cannot be taken away.  My heart is ALWAYS FOR YOU.  My love is EVERLASTING and ETERNAL.  It is unconditional.  I never stop loving you.  So rebuke him and his minions from your presence and stay your mind on ME and My promises.  Speak them out and sing them out against his ploys.  Dance and sing, and dwell in My presence that you could hear My voice speaking to you in the quiet times.  REST in My arms and you will find all the peace you need.  FOR I AM the PRINCE OF PEACE.  My shalom is encompassing you as you worship me.  Even when you can’t FEEL it, I am imparting grace to you.”

The words: “You are called to be a LIGHT in the DARKNESS” have been given to me time and time again:

“Have confidence that My plans for you are for GOOD and not for evil to give you a future and a hope, that you can be the LIGHT OF THE WORLD you have been called to be!”

Oh! I am the one crying as His words unravel the complexity and the burden in my heart that no human around me is even aware of. He sees in me what no one else can or will see; He alone knows the dreams and promises He has laid on my heart; He alone sees me in the night troubled by visions of Tsunamis and earthquakes that shake the foundations of the Earth; He alone sees the tears I cry when those chosen and called to share the Good News, misrepresent HIM in such an abysmal and hurtful manner, and THAT is how I know this word is coming DIRECTLY from  my Heavenly Father to me.

Thank you Priscilla for being that vessel, that channel which brings this healing balm onto my soul and reminds me that HE WILL NEVER LEAVE ME, NOR FORSAKE ME.

http://www.hiskingdomprophecy.com/the-lord-says-were-on-the-precipice-of-eternity/

The Lord says We’re on the Precipice of Eternity!

“[So I went with him, and when we were climbing the rocky steps up the hillside, my beloved shepherd said to me] O my dove, [while you are here] in the seclusion of the clefts in the solid rock, in the sheltered and secret place of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.  [My heart was touched and I fervently sang to him my desire]  Take for us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards [of our love], for our vineyards are in blossom”   Song of Solomon 2:14-15 AMP.

“You’re on the precipice of eternity, and many are not aware of how close My coming is.  They’ve been lured asleep by compromise, apathy and complacency.  But I am asking you now to be ready for extraordinary change that is coming.  Nothing will ever be the same.  Life as you know it cannot be Counted on.  The things you have taken for granted in the past, cannot be taken for granted any more.

My coming is urgently approaching and so many are sleeping in the church.  Deep darkness has filled many people as the darkness has covered the earth, but I promised I WOULD ARISE OVER YOU.  I promised I would be SEEN upon you.  [Isaiah 60] So do not fall to defeatism, and apathy, and the spirits of heaviness that are lurking in the shadows.  The vultures are ready to pounce if you let them, but I’ve called you to soar on eagles’ wings Higher above their domain, to fly with ME in the heavenlies and to see things from MY perspective.

Keep your oil lamps filled to the brim, for ordinary substances that people count on are not being supplied.  There is a plot to starve out many, and to lay many to rest through cruel and unusual means.  PRAY these things do not come.  I will uncover it all if people will repent and seek My face in this nation.  Change is about to turnover many things they think are established.  You are on the precipice of GREAT CHANGE.  Not the kind some were looking for in last few years, but that which WILL change people’s hearts and expose the hearts of others.

Keep focused on ME.  Keep focused on the WORD.  Do NOT get into bitterness and do not allow critical spirits in your heart.  Again I’m not telling you to stop being discerning, and I am not saying do not speak out, because I have called you to speak up against evil.  You are called to be an ARMY, not to be a pacifist apathetic sheepfold.  True justice is the heart of a prophet.  I put that sense of justice there for many of you who are prophetic.  I developed it in you through the sufferings you endured, that you would have MY HEART.  David was a man after My own heart I said.  I have many David’s who have been on the sidelines, participating, but who will now be drawn into direct battle, and into the spotlight to speak out the things I’ve given them to say.

I am NOT the God of the new age.  I am not the God of the world, though I should be.  But I AM the CREATOR Who made heaven and earth and sent My Son to die for them.  Many have heard and rejected Me.  Many have spurned My love through My servants.  But many have not seen the kind of love I am about to pour out.  For I have promised a tsunami of My love for a long time now, and it is about to be poured out.  Ready your hearts to be enraptured with Your King!  For I AM READY and I see the plans that you cannot see.

I see the plans of the wicked behind closed doors, and I know all things about them, and about you. Do not hide yourself from Me now.  Come to me with your burdens and I will give you rest for your soul.  I will heal the hearts who are corrupted by the enemy.  I will do miracles upon miracles.  Startling miracles will be seen, and people will be in shock, including you, that I do them now.  Others will arise trying to mimic them, but they will be shown to be the frauds that they are.  Ask and you will receive.  Believe that I am GOOD, and that I have your best interest always on My mind.

Throw off all the discouragement and expecting of bad things to happen.  For I set a table before you in the midst of your enemies I said.  I AM Your Rear Guard!  I watch over My children like a good parent does.  I provide all that is needed for those who are called to My purpose.  So BELIEVE that I am FOR you and not against you.  Do NOT listen to the voice that makes you feel disqualified, or not good enough.  YOU ARE JUSTIFIED BY THE BLOOD OF MY SON.  Many continue making mistakes, sinning, but did I not know that when He died on the cross?  Did I not show you the parallels to Israel, and how they wandered for 40 years in the desert because they could not attain to the law, nor get all the unbelief and rejection and bitterness out of their hearts.  IT IS BY THE BLOOD that you have My righteousness, and I see you through that blood.  YOU are My precious possession, and I will make you My jewels.  So fret not, and do not take on the condemnation of the enemy.  Do not allow it in your heart.  He is a liar and the father of lies.

He seeks always to steal from you your confidence in My love for you.  But it cannot be taken away.  My heart is ALWAYS FOR YOU.  My love is EVERLASTING and ETERNAL.  It is unconditional.  I never stop loving you.  So rebuke him and his minions from your presence and stay your mind on ME and My promises.  Speak them out and sing them out against his ploys.  Dance and sing, and dwell in My presence that you could hear My voice speaking to you in the quiet times.  REST in My arms and you will find all the peace you need.  FOR I AM the PRINCE OF PEACE.  My shalom is encompassing you as you worship me.  Even when you can’t FEEL it, I am imparting grace to you.

Have confidence that My plans for you are for GOOD and not for evil to give you a future and a hope, that you can be the LIGHT OF THE WORLD you have been called to be!  I will remove the little foxes that spoil the vine as you worship ME and seek My face.  Don’t worry about the little foxes, just trust ME, that I will remove them as you seek Me.  That is why you find yourself crying in My presence, without knowing why.  I am healing your heart and plucking out all that the enemy has sown that is not from ME.  I love you My bride, and I am at the door, so lean on ME.  Lean on the everlasting arms for I am not weak as man is weak.  Trust me to bring you through anything that you have to go through.  For I am with you always, even to the end.”

MANIPULATION, DECEPTION AND CONTROL ARE ALL SUSTAINED AND FED BY LIES, SUBTLE LIES, BUT LIES NONETHELESS- PART 2

Continued from Part 1

“Today’s culture of independent individualism has created many spiritual orphans – “bunny believers” who hop around from one church to another without any identity, accountability, or commitment. Many believe it is possible to be a “good Christian” without joining (or even attending) a local church, but God would strongly disagree.”

Let’s take a closer look at the magnitude of the deceit that lies within these lines above. “Today’s culture of independent individualism”, so far so good. Reader is engaged by a statement that no one can deny. But then the author goes on to associate this independent individualism to be the direct cause of being “spiritual orphans”. Can such a type of Christian really exist? Not according to the Scriptures that I read, not according to the Father that loves me and promises me that He will never leave me nor forsake me. No term used by Church Leadership and Church Growth Gurus gets me more enraged than this one: “Spiritual Orphans”.

No person who accepts Christ to be Lord and Saviour in their heart and soul can be a spiritual orphan. This is a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron and proof that for the author of this devotional and all those who follow him and so many like him, when they call Christ Lord, that is where in their minds His lordship ends, because God, our Heavenly Father, is clearly not sufficient as a Father to anyone who comes to Christ, He is not the Head, the pillar upon which everything stands and has its being.  Christ is clearly not enough in order for God to act as our Heavenly Father who tends to our every spiritual need; putting his son on a cross is not enough. Membership in a church or even attending one is what is truly needed for us to be true sons and daughters of the LIVING God. Indeed, if not being part of a church family makes me a spiritual orphan, you are saying that God is not my Father, for orphans do not have one. Such a statement denies the very core purpose for which Christ died on the cross: the veil was torn, God’s wrath satisfied and the door now open for anyone who is in Christ to have direct access to The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Where in that can one come to the conclusion that anyone called a Christian who is not part of a church is a spiritual orphan? The deception and false teaching in this is so huge, so on your face, so obvious, that sometimes it is the very fact that it is staring us in the face, that makes us mistake deceit for truth, because our eyes are only focusing and our discernment is being impaired by what is seen and not by what is unseen.

The patronising, arrogant and insulting litany goes on as Christians who are not members of a local church are described as “bunny believers” who have no identity, accountability or commitment. Identity? I thought it was Christ and our faith in Him alone that defined our identity. Sadly, today being part of a local church only defines your identity as that of someone who supports this or that vision of a particular pastor or church leader. Accountability? Easy to be accountable to people who buy into what you are selling, who believe in your authority, because it is they who put you on a pedestal and even if you err from what is Godly and truth, you will not be made truly accountable, because it is easier to go with the flow and the flock than to be singled out and ostracised for being true to the voice of the One and Only Shepherd who deserves our sole worship and blind obedience, for trying to put a stop to the lies, falsehood and deceit.

Commitment? Commitment to what? To a set of rules and obligations I must abide by in order to comply with what is expected of me as a Christian individual who defines himself as a member of this or that Church Family? Yes, I have experienced that kind of commitment. The kind that puts a yoke round your neck and fills you with guilt if you do not pick up a chain and pull as hard as you can  in order to sell and market whatever it is this or that pastor is trying to sell to the world so that they can earn their claim to fame in Christendom and beyond. The kind of chain that makes you feel held and secure, a part of something bigger than yourself, something worthy, something lofty, only to then one day look down at your hands and feet and realise that what you are actually enjoying is an illusion of freedom, freedom  to sacrifice, serve and financially support the leadership and captain at the helm of that vessel you have been chained to. Then one day you finally pluck up the courage to stand up, be counted, demand your true freedom in Christ, seek after the Holy Spirit’s guidance to fulfil what it is you were called to fulfil in the sphere God has placed you in. It is on that fine day that your chains will be cut and your body and soul thrown into the open seas. Whilst evil intended for any shark to feed on the carnage that such fleshly crusades leave behind, God will use this painful experience to peel off the layers of bondage and deceit thrown upon you by the very ones who pride themselves in helping you to discover freedom in Christ. You will be immersed in abundant waters that will never run out; you will never be thirsty again and you will know what true freedom in Christ really is meant to be.

But here is the mother of all lies, la crème de la crème of deception which seeks to manipulate and control under the guise of passion, love and devotion: “Many believe it is possible to be a “good Christian” without joining (or even attending) a local church, but God would strongly disagree.”

Again, we must be reading scripture inspired by two different Gods. The one I read conveys there is no such thing as a “good Christian” for we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Can it be that the person who has written this has established this distinction in order to convince his readers that there are two camps within Christianity: the good and the bad ones, the godly and the ungodly, the saved and the unsaved perhaps? Not explicitly said but thrown in there as a little hint, a mere implied suggestion just to catch the attention of those who can be easily swayed by fear and the kind of truths that are made truth just because an ” important” and influential majority in a particular field has declared it so.

I think what the author is really trying to say here is “in order to be a genuine, true Christian” and not a “good Christian”, for again this term is another oxymoron. If there were good Christians as opposed to bad ones, wouldn’t that mean that the need for Christ in their life would become obsolete, that God gives them a special treatment just because they are good and where is that righteousness come from: them being in Christ or their own achievements and goodness? Again, statements like this one challenge the very pillars the Christian faith stands on, on a monumental scale, so I will not be the one to read something like that and swallow it whole in the hope that it will go down and produce the effect it was intended for. It is easily done, just put “God would strongly disagree” at the end of your statement and that will surely have the desired effect on the reader. Where is the grace, the non-judgementalism, the humility that surely should be so characteristic of those who ceremoniously like to label themselves as Christian Leaders or biblically put “servant to all”. Now there is an incredible contrast between what Jesus defined as “leading” and what church leaders have decided it should mean instead. Such utter violation of what is truth in Christ should send our alarm bells ringing, but do we listen? No, it is easier to go on as we are and pretend we have it all figured out.

I hope one day the person who wrote this article looks back and ponders on the question: Did my words bring freedom or bondage to millions of Christians out there who are not part of a church/church family? Did I transmit grace to those who do not share my views or did I cast them out as “not good enough” with my judgemental heart? Did I truly manage to convince non-church going Christians that they are in the wrong, that they are lost, without a compass or did my frivolous, obnoxious assumptions only serve to confirm the very reasons why they either broke loose from the Church system or stopped going to a particular church in the first place?

A rare but powerful and bright light in the ever pressing, ever suffocating darkness

COME OUT OF HER MY PEOPLE by Peter Whyte, Chapter 7, Part 2

Chapter 7, Part 2

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THAT I COMMANDED YOU; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:18-20)

Jesus does not instruct us to make church members of denominations, but disciples of the King and His Kingdom. Jesus does not instruct us to teach catechisms, homiletics, hermeneutics, psychology, the doctrines of our denomination, church history, the Bible, or anything else that the natural mind of man can invent.

Who has bewitched us that we blatantly disobey Him and neither do or teach what He taught? We must repent of our disobedience and restore the King to His rightful place as “the Head of every man”.

In His prayer recorded in John 17, Jesus clearly tells us that His words are the Word of God that He wants us to keep.

“I manifested Thy Name to the men that Thou gavest Me out of the world. Thine they were and Thou gavest them to Me and THEY KEPT THY WORD. Now they have come to know that everything that Thou hast given to Me is from Thee, FOR THE WORDS THAT THOU GAVEST ME I HAVE GIVEN TO THEM.”

(In. 17:6-8)

“I HAVE GIVEN THEM THY WORD.” (In.17:14)

“Sanctify them in the truth, THY WORD IS TRUTH.” (In. 17:17)

If we can break away from our habit of calling the Bible the Word of God, and refer to it as the Scriptures, many of our false concepts will be exposed. This will not alter the fact that every word of Scripture was inspired by God, and is of great value to us, but we will discern correctly THE WORD that is of paramount importance.

Jesus had to rebuke the religious leaders because they would not listen to Him, and preferred their own understanding of the Old Testament scriptures. It is an amazing phenomenon that religious Christians will likewise argue heatedly to defend their mind’s natural understanding of the scriptures, yet refuse to obey the true Words of Christ.

“And the Father who sent Me, He has borne witness of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form. AND YOU DO NOT HAVE HIS WORD ABIDING IN YOU FOR YOU DO NOT BELIEVE HIM WHOM HE SENT. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life, and it is these that bear witness of me, and you are unwilling to come to Me that you may have life.” (In. 5:37-40)

Devotion to the Scriptures and failure to believe Jesus Himself will earn the Lord’s rebuke. Until we grasp the truth that Jesus and His teachings are what the New Testament calls the Word of God, we will not correctly understand what we are reading and hinder our spiritual growth. Obedience to Christ is the only way to grow in the Spirit, and to be given increased faith by the Lord.

It is important and excellent to know the Scriptures, but mere knowledge of them does not make us more like Jesus. More of Christ in us equals more spiritual growth. We are to become conformed to the image of the Son, not merely a people who can quote Scripture verses.

The apostle Peter instructs us to “desire the pure milk of the Word”. When he wrote this letter there was no New Testament, so he was not telling us to desire the pure milk of the Bible, but more of the pure milk of the Words of Jesus. It is obedience to the Words of Jesus that brings spiritual growth.

Peter starts his letter by telling us that “we have been chosen to obey Jesus Christ”. (1 Peter 1:1, 2) and then he writes:-

“…fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born not of the seed which is perishable but imperishable, THAT IS THROUGH THE LIVING AND ABIDING WORD OF GOD (referring to Jesus). For all flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower falls off, but

THE WORD OF THE LORD ABIDES FOREVER, and THIS IS THE WORD THAT WAS PREACHED TO YOU.” (The Word of Christ) Therefore putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and slander, long for the PURE MILK OF THE WORD (Christ’s Message) THAT BY IT YOU MAY GROW in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord, and coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones are being built up as a spiritual house for a Holy Priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

(1 Peter 1:22-2:5)

Remember that the first recipients of this letter had all received teaching from the apostles long before they read this. True apostles of Christ do not disobey Him in their choice of foundational teaching, so we can be certain that the first readers of Peter’s epistles had been rooted and grounded in the doctrine of Christ. They immediately understood that the word of Christ’s message which had previously been preached to them was the pure milk of the Word.

Some of the many references to the Word of God, which in context can only mean the message, and not the bible are:-

“And the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, ‘It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables… But we will devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the word’… And the Word of God kept on spreading…” (Acts 6:2,4,7)

“Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent them Peter and John.”

(Acts 8:14)

“…Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence. This man summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the Word of God… Then the Proconsul believed when he saw what had happened, being amazed at the teaching of the Lord.” (Acts 13:7,12)

The New Testament contains two very important statements, made by Paul and John, which stress the importance of the Words and teachings of Jesus. Unfortunately they are generally ignored by those who claim to teach God’s Word.

1. Paul writing to Timothy instructs him in the essence of sound doctrine, which is teaching right attitudes and relationships, and he concludes:-

“Teach and preach these principles (referring to all he has already written). If anyone advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree WITH SOUND WORDS, THOSE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, HE IS CONCEITED AND UNDERSTANDS NOTHING; but has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of depraved mind and DEPRIVED OF THE TRUTH, who suppose godliness is a means of gain.” (1 Tim. 6:2b-5)

2. John warns us that anyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God, and he says we should not have fellowship with such people.

“Anyone who goes too far and DOES NOT ABIDE IN THE TEACHING OF CHRIST DOES NOT HAVE GOD. The one who abides in the teaching HAS BOTH THE FATHER AND THE SON. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting, for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.” (2 J n. 9-11)

Every bible-believing Christian who sincerely desires to become a disciple of the King and His Kingdom will do well to meditate carefully upon these two passages of Scripture, and measure his beliefs and doctrines by them.

May we all humble ourselves and repent of our failure to give our King who is the Word of God, and who brought us the Word of God, His proper place as Head of the Body.

COME OUT OF HER MY PEOPLE by PETER WHYTE – Chapter 7, Part 1

THE WORD OF GOD

Jesus Christ is the living and abiding Word of God. He came from heaven to bring us a message from God which is The Word of God.

It is both Jesus Himself and His teaching which is The Word that God desires us to hear and obey. To the early church “The Word” did not mean a book, but either Jesus Himself or His message. In the years which the New Testament describes, the New Testament had not yet been written, and so Satan could not deceive them into thinking that the New Covenant was also a “covenant of the letter” and not of the Spirit. When some of the Jewish believers began to think along these lines, Paul corrected them in his epistles. (2 Cor.3:6)

We must also remember that when the New Testament books were first written, each gospel, each epistle and then the book of Revelation, was read and understood as a complete entity in itself. When a letter was received from Paul, it was read out loud to all the believers, the church, in that place. It was read like any letter, from start to finish. There were no chapters or verses, and very few people could read, and so they did not compare New Testament scripture with New Testament scripture to understand the contents of the letter.

The 20th century mind-set of evangelical and Pentecostal bible believing Christians (of whom I am one) makes it hard to face this reality. Nevertheless in the early church, systematic theology and demands to be biblical did not exist, and their concept of sound doctrine was far removed from ours.

Apostles taught the early church to do what Jesus Christ had taught them. Paul states:-

“If anyone advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing…” (1 Tim. 6: 3-4)

What Christ had said to them was the Word of God in the minds of all the disciples. His message, the gospel of the Kingdom of God was The Word carried everywhere by His disciples.

When, therefore, a church received an epistle and read anything concerning “the Word of God” they immediately thought of Jesus and His Words, His teachings, NOT A BOOK. When James wrote “be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only” he was not exhorting us to “do everything the bible teaches”.

When his epistle was read aloud the hearers understood that he was exhorting them to be “doers of the Words of Christ”, and not just hearers who then did not do what He had said.

To His apostles, Jesus entrusted His message from God the Father to mankind, which is the Word of God. It took Satan many centuries to gradually draw our attention away from this simple truth, and subtly focus our attention on the Bible as “The Word”. By doing so he blinded our minds, so that our thoughts are programmed to replace the living Word, Jesus Christ the King, and His message, His teachings, His commands, with the Bible. The result of this subtle deception is that while we are fighting to defend the scriptures as the Word of God, we are unable to consider rationally anything that even remotely contradicts our mind-set.

Some who read this book will immediately assume that what I am explaining is an attack on the authority and inspiration of the Holy Bible, which it is not. We should all understand and believe that:-

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for teaching and forming God’s children, and preparing them for every good work”. (2 Tim. 3:16, 17)

The bible is totally reliable and we must depend on it in perfect confidence that God inspired its record for our benefit. However every word written in the bible was not spoken by God. He also wants us to be taught by its record of the failings, sin and ignorance of men, which it records, so that we should not fall into the same errors. When Job’s comforters gave him advice, they spoke out of their human wisdom, and were not speaking the Word of God. God was in fact angry at the ungodly advice that was being given, and said to Eliphaz the Teminite:

“My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right as my servant Job has.” (Job 42:7)

The book of Ecclesiastes contains many contradictions against what God has actually said. It includes statements that are true, others that are partially true and others that are totally false. (See Eccl. 3:18-20,6:6, 7:16,8:15,9:5, 10:19) Nevertheless God inspired it to be written and included in the Bible to show us how utterly futile it is for men to live only by humanistic understandings. Solomon, the writer, was once the wisest man who ever lived, yet as he aged he drifted away from God falling prey to the seductions of the world. He indulged his fleshly desires with hundreds of wives and concubines, acquired great wealth and had virtually unlimited power to enforce his will upon others. He wrote Ecclesiastes late in life and his conclusions that life is futile and not worth living are the result of his living “under the sun”, away from God and no longer being led by the Holy Spirit. Despite this, the Lord uses him to show us that his foolish conclusions are the tragic result of not living under the government of God, and that we should not be similarly deceived by human intellect. .

The record of David’s sin with Bathsheba is not the Word of God, but was recorded for our instruction, that we might understand how the lust of the eyes and flesh can entice and destroy us. God was very angry at David’s terrible sin so we know that we should not behave like that. It also helps us to understand the forgiveness of God when we truly repent. This is what Paul meant, when he wrote that all scripture is inspired by God, and profitable for us to learn from, in order that we might be trained in righteousness and equipped for every good work.

The bible is of incalculable value to us. Nevertheless it is unwise to call it the Word of God, for it contains history, the thoughts of men and the lies of the devil, as well as true words of God. Although God inspired its writings, we need to discern the difference between its recording of what God has said, and that which God has not said, but has been written for our example and instruction. Our God has given us minds, and we have a responsibility to use them.

For example, it is unwise of us, and insulting to God, to call the sayings of Satan “the Word of God” simply because those lies are recorded in scripture. Jesus himself stated that whenever the devil speaks he lies, for he is the father of lies.

When the High Priest accused Jesus of blasphemy (Matt. 26:65) he was not speaking the Word of God. This simply records a religious cleric angrily stating what his carnal, highly learned human mind honestly believed to be true, while trying to defend his misunderstandings of the Old Testament Scriptures.

The New Covenant was not designed by God to be a covenant of “the letter” but a covenant of the Spirit. Our Father desires us to come into a personal relationship with Him, in and by the Holy Spirit. He gave us the Bible as a tool or map to help us toward this end. The sons of God are led by the Spirit of God from within themselves, not by laws and regulations, backed by somebody’s interpretation of bible verses, which may or may not be correct.

We have no apostles today who lived with Jesus and heard Him teach, so we must rely on the Bible and the Holy Spirit to re-discover the doctrine of Christ. I say “re-discover” because I recall with amazement and no little horror, the book entitled “The Doctrine of Christ” which I was given when studying theology years ago. The book contained not a word of what Jesus had taught, but simply described the historical Jesus, who He was and what He did.

Some professional ministers, evangelical, Pentecostal or from the oldest denominations, look at me quizzically and enquire what I mean when I state that we must return to the doctrine of Christ as foundational teaching. Their incredulous question is, “What do you mean by the doctrine of Christ brother?”

The doctrine of Christ is the teaching of Jesus to his disciples both by word and example.

Since it is nearly impossible to find Christian leaders today who teach new believers to do all the things that Christ commanded, we who desire to give Him the first place, and live in His Kingdom totally, must re-educate ourselves.

We can begin with a red-letter edition of the New Testament and learn all His recorded sayings, and major on doing what He said.

The parables are all given to show His true disciples the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, and how it functions upon the earth. The Holy Spirit reveals their meaning to those who follow Jesus and obey His Word. Jesus promised that if we obey His Words, and thereby prove that we love Him, then both He and the Father would come and make their abode within us.

God gave us the scriptures that we might use them to guide us into the realm of the Spirit. The bible is not an end in itself but a means to an end. It does not teach us that those who know the Scriptures well are the sons of God, but it states clearly that it is those who are led by the Holy Spirit who are the sons of God.

Our minds must be renewed until we all have the mind of Christ, and our relationship with God is no longer in the natural, but in the Spirit. This is how it was with the first apostles, as Paul states in First Corinthians. We can paraphrase what he was saying about having the mind of Christ as follows:-

“We apostles discuss God’s wisdom with those who are spiritually mature. Things which the eye has not seen or the ear heard, (You cannot read them in a book or be told by another Christian) but things of God’s Spirit which are revealed to us apostles by the Spirit. And so we apostles discuss spiritual things in spiritual words which you Corinthians can’t understand because you are still spiritual babes, HAVING DIVISIONS AMONG YOU…

…We apostles have the mind of Christ, BUT YOU DO NOT BECAUSE YOU STILL HAVE JEALOUSY AND STRIFE AMONG YOU, FOLLOWING INDIVIDUAL LEADERS OF YOUR OWN PREFERENCE, showing yourselves to be still in the flesh and NOT SPIRIT MEN.” (1 Cor. 2:6-3:4)

What would Paul say to us today if he were to see the way we follow denominations and individual groups of leaders of our own preference?

Things of the Spirit can only be understood in the Spirit and are foreign to the natural mind. We must take heed of Paul’s warning to the Ephesian church, so that we do not approach the things of God intellectually, only in our natural or unrenewed mind.

“This I say, therefore and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer as the Gentiles who walk in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of their ignorance, because of their hardness of heart, and they having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way IF INDEED YOU HAVE HEARD HIM AND BEEN TAUGHT IN HIM, JUST AS TRUTH IS IN JESUS, that in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and THAT YOU BE RENEWED IN THE SPIRIT OF YOUR MIND and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Eph. 4:17-24)

The Gentiles or heathen are excluded from the life of God, and we must grasp the incredible fact that to belong to Christ means that we are chosen to share in the very life of God. We are IN Christ, He is IN us, and He is in eternal fellowship with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. We can continue to stumble along, living by the guidance of our souls until we die and go to heaven, or we can put on the new self and live out of our spirits, in continuous fellowship with the Lord.

Disciples of King Jesus and His Kingdom are “not to walk in the futility of our natural minds”. We are to have our minds renewed by learning and obeying the teachings of our Lord Jesus.

General Bible knowledge, while having value, will never conform us into the image of Christ, which is our Father’s objective. Unless Christ is being formed in us we can have perfect intellectual knowledge of the whole Bible, but fail to grow spiritually at all.

Our difficulty today is that it is hard to find other Christians who have heard Christ and been taught in Him. If you approach any ordained clergyman or devout church member for instruction, you will be taught all that they believe, according to the doctrines and traditions of their particular denomination, group or sect. They might claim that all their teachings are based on “the clear teaching of the Word of God”, by which they mean the Bible, and not Jesus Christ. The deception is that there are hundreds of different groups who do not agree on their understanding of “the clear teachings of the Bible”.

Without being aware of it, nearly the whole of Christendom is in rebellion against the King and His Kingdom, for we have failed to obey His basic instructions on what we are commanded to do and to teach.