A Christmas message

On December 24th, 1968, Apollo 8 made its final pass around the moon and the crew, in turn, sent home this Christmas message:

In the beginning God …

NASA-Apollo8-Dec24-Earthrise

Earthrise

As well as this awesome Christmas message, Apollo 8 also gave the world the most influential environmental photograph ever taken.  It was called “Earthrise”.

Looking at the Earth, the miracle of it all is the one who created this beautiful blue planet came to us as a baby.

Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, described Jesus as
“the rising sun come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
– Zechariah’s Song, paraphrased from Luke 1:76-69

May his light shine on you this Christmas.

But for you who revere my name, the sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in its rays.  Malachi 4:2 (NIV)

Happy Christmas to all of you on this good Earth.

Kingdom authority

Kingdom AuthorityLaughing I’d sprung up onto the horses back, waiting for my brother to sit behind me.  What a happy day, the day my father bought us the horse; a gleaming chocolate-brown mare called Lady.  I couldn’t wait to learn how to ride her.  Being the eldest I got to sit in front and hold the reins.  Unfortunately the joy didn’t last.

EPSON MFP image

The day we got Lady

The help’s children heard about the horse as soon as their mother got home.  They arrived the next day, all four of them.  I can still see them crossing the creek and running over the paddocks to our place.  I was a timid seven-year old and no match for them.  They were older, aggressive and mean – with a huge sense of entitlement.  The reins were snatched out of my hands as the usurpers helped each other onto her back.  I was left standing by the gate in tears, watching them ride our horse.

It was no good going to my mother.  She had her own problems – bipolar illness and a big family.  The big family wasn’t entirely her fault – after me and my brother were born she had two sets of twin girls.  After the birth of the last set of twins, she was completely unable to cope with us.  I’m not going to go there with the bipolar thing.  All I will say is the day the horse arrived is my only happy memory from that time.

My father hired Miriam, a woman of Samoan/Maori blood to help my mother in the house.  I know we got her and her family the same year as the horse.  I didn’t know Miriam was the help.  I thought she was a friend of my mother and her children were our “friends”, even though they seemed to look down on us.  I foolishly trusted her as an Aunty.  I didn’t know it as a child, but Miriam despised me because in her words “I was always crying”.

There is a proverb which says “A shrewd servant will gain authority over a master’s worthless son and receive a part of the inheritance.” Proverbs 17:2

I went into the house to ask the adults for help.  They told me I had to “share”.  Hearing this and knowing I had no authority as the daughter of the house, Miriam’s children sneered at me and assumed ownership of the horse.  At first I cried and became a victim – but I was a determined little kid.  I wrested control from them after I worked out how to bridle the horse, jump on her back and ride across the paddocks to my grandparent’s place.  I did this until they got the message about who the horse belonged to.

Still I felt worthless and powerless.  I wasn’t allowed to have boundaries.  I lost faith in people and felt I had no one to turn to.  Parents who don’t give their children boundaries send them defenseless into a world full of controlling manipulative people.

So how does this relate to the Kingdom of God?  What would Jesus have done?  He would have put the smallest children on the horse’s back first.  The children of the servant would have had to ask permission to ride.  If we had said yes they would have had to wait their turn.  The Lord is a firm believer in boundaries and treating people with respect.  Boundaries were the first things He helped me construct when He became my King.

https://kingdom777.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/chapter-21-stones/
https://kingdom777.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/chapter-23-rebuilding-the-wall/
https://kingdom777.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/chapter-39-mercy-not-sacrifice/

He gives power to the faint; 
and to them that have no might 
he increases strength.  
Isaiah 40:29.

God will help us in our weakness if we recognise His authority.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, 
for theirs is the kingdom.  
Matthew 5:3

There was once a powerful man who recognised his own sin and helplessness.  This man, a roman centurion, saw Jesus and recognised His authority;

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”  Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.  For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.  I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.  But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.”  Matthew 8:9

The Kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.  We haven’t been left as orphans.  Jesus has given us his authority.  We need to know our authority as sons and daughters of the King and walk in it.

I’ll leave you with a clip of some beautiful horses responding to their master’s authority.  These horses were originally bred as “war horses” in the days of knights and armor.  As armor got heavier, bigger horses were needed and the Friesian almost became extinct.  They are back, and are one of the most beautiful horses in stature as well as gait.   These horses are native to the Netherlands.

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/Y5XJbSqwriM?rel=0

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May you find your joy in the LORD, and may He cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land … (Isaiah 58:14).

Run

The kingdom of God – not a matter of talk but of power

“Who of you here are in ministry?” Chuck Missler asked everyone gathered at the auditorium last time we heard him speak in Auckland.  A few people put up their hands.  He then asked “Who of you here are Christians?”  Hands went up everywhere.  Then he asked again who was in ministry?  This time our hands stayed up.

I’ve never forgotten that lesson.  The trouble is we’ve been taught how to be led by priests.  We haven’t been taught how to be priests.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk 
but of power. 
1 Corinthians 4:20.

We carry the power, if we have the Holy Spirit.  To walk in it, we just need to step out, but that’s scary.  We have to be honest as well, and ask the Holy Spirit for His wisdom, guidance and power.   God promised that “as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name …” John 1:12

What does this power we carry look like?

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

My husband Bert pretending he can explode boulders. Taken at Moeraki Boulders, South Island, NZ.

This is a picture of my husband at Moeraki Boulders, pretending to explode rocks.  (I asked the Lord for a man who would make me laugh, and he does.)  This is what the power does not look like!

All joking aside, the power that God gives is grounded in His will, the authority of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.

I think we would all agree we need to know the Lord better.  This prayer to the Ephesians says it all;

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.  Ephesians 1:17-19

Did you know this power is the same power 
God used to resurrect Jesus?

That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,  far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.  Ephesians 1:19-21

The Servants’ Supper

Luke 12-37 lampBy the time I was born, the people on the English side of my family had been in New Zealand for generations.  I asked my Grandmother, who had been educated at a private school, where her ancestors came from.  “Oh, they had a big house in England” she replied.  I learned later on in life that her ancestors were servants from Ham House in Surrey.  Something got lost in translation!

ham-house

Ham House in Surrey

The seven servants of Ham arrived in NZ on May 18 1841 after five months in cramped conditions below decks on a ship called the William Bentinck.  Ann Howell, my Great-Great-Great Grandmother sat on the beach at the ends of the earth and cried, probably for a lot of reasons.  No longer would they be servants.

They did not know the New Zealand Company’s policies were designed to reproduce and export England’s capitalist class structure.  (I’m not saying capitalism is wrong – just the exploitative kind).

Ann could not read or write.  They had signed their marriage certificate with an X.  The schooling that the servants of Ham, and their children, received before emigrating was intended to impress upon them the importance of “knowing their place” in the British rural hierarchy.

Fortunately God got to New Zealand first.  The Christian Missionaries in New Zealand had encouraged a rapid uptake of literacy amongst Maori during the 1830’s, a decade before formal colonisation.  Early in 1842, the editor of Wellington’s Gazette contrasted Maori literate activities with that of recent labouring immigrants:  “They read with ease, and with far more rapidity than the poorer classes who have been taught at English charity schools.”

The British social class structure was challenged in the new environment where education was made available to everyone.  I grew up in a free country because of the foundation that Christianity had laid.

Sadly all the work done by previous generations over the last 200 years has been undermined by neo-liberal economic policies begun in NZ in the 1980’s and 1990’s, designed to benefit the top 10%.  It has affected our standard of living.  We now have a widening gap between rich and poor – because of our government’s foolishness.  Thieves in high places break in and steal.  As I write this, our arrogant government is subjecting us to the Trans Pacific Partnership – without telling New Zealanders what the details are.

“What can we do when the foundations are being destroyed?” Psalm 11:3

In these uncertain times, what should we do?  Jesus said ;  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Matthew 6

While I am sad at seeing my country wrecked, I have been investing in a different Kingdom.  Investing in the Kingdom of God will be different for everyone.  For us, we were instructed by the Lord to go back to college, gain a Diploma of Business and enter self employment.  Since then we’ve been able to support ourselves and help various Kingdom initiatives with the company we’ve set up.  It hasn’t been easy but it has been worth it.  If you read my story that chapter is here: https://kingdom777.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/chapter-78-the-seed/

One of our customers we have helped has set up a rice company in Papua New Guinea.  Another customer I help is an editor for a Christian Newspaper.  These are just some of the initiatives the Lord has bought our way.  And of course we have the example of the earlier work the Missionaries did in evangelising and educating the Maori.  God is at work and He invites us to join Him in that work.

The Master’s House

There is a bigger house than the one my ancestors came from.  What is “the house?”  I’ll start with what it is not.  The house is not the big mega-church with it’s rock star pastors who love to quote the scriptures about “bringing your tithes into the house”.  Run from them, they will only exploit you.

“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.  And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.  By covetousness they will make merchandise of you with feigned words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.”  2 Peter 2

A master who dresses Himself to serve.

The house the Lord speaks of is His Kingdom.  In His absence He has left us, His servants, in charge.

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.  It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.  It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak.”  Luke 12Luke 12-37

The master will return.  The signs of His coming are near.  Jesus is a servant leader.  For the servants He finds waiting for Him – He will dress himself to serve, have us sit at a table and He will come and wait on us.  Imagine that.  Actually, I can’t.  That’s out of this world.

Kingdom dreams and discernment

God_is_talkingMy Moslem friend Ishmael wanted to know how I could hear God.  I tried to explain that I could hear God through the Holy Spirit that Jesus sent us at Pentecost, in fulfillment of the promise He made;
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever– the Spirit of truth”.  John 14:16

He, the Holy Spirit was an alien concept for Ishmael …
“The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”  John 14:17

Unfortunately I was unable to convince Ishmael, who believed my book (the Bible) had been changed.  A God who seeks us out and speaks to us was outside his paradigm.  As for me, a God who doesn’t speak to us is a lifeless idol.  I have found that when the Holy Spirit speaks, He always agrees with the word, the Bible, and He always confirms what is heard.

How can God speak to us if we don’t read the Bible?  He has to resort to signs and speaking through other people.  He wants us to do more than hear about Him, He wants us to hear from Him.

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word”.  Romans 10:17.  The more the Bible is read, the more the Lord can say.  Faith grows.  Relationship grows.

joel 2_28 wallpaperIn the last days God promised He would pour out His Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your old men will dream dreams,
    your young men will see visions.
 Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days.” Joel 2:28 and Acts 2. 

With that, we have to test the spirits;
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.   1 John 4:1

We were at a church where the Pastors followed the Lakeland revival without checking it against scripture.  Anyone who disagreed with it was a “Pharisee”.  My husband and I tested the spirit and didn’t buy into it.  We were going over to Florida anyway to see family, and promised our friends in the church that we’d check the revival out while over there.

So we went to Lakeland one hot August night in 2008 with my husband’s Uncle and Aunt, and found we were right about the false prophets.  Todd Bentley wasn’t there, he’d been made to leave the week before after having an affair with an intern.  That didn’t mean the Lord hadn’t been active in Lakeland, I know God would have had mercy on the hungry and needy folk who had gone there.  Still it wasn’t a good look.  It misrepresented Jesus, and caused a lot of confusion for churches like the one we attended.  We have been wary of this sort of thing ever since.

We went to the Assemblies of God site to see if they had a statement about the revival.  They did.  Is Jesus Christ exalted, and is the Word of God proclaimed?  “The Holy Spirit to a mighty river, and the Scriptures to the banks of that river. Great harm occurs when the river overruns the banks, but that river does great good when it stays within the banks.”  – AG Statement on Revival.

If we dream a prophetic dream, what does it say in context with his word?  Anything else is slumber.  It’s time for us to awaken from our slumber, and show our Master we are waiting for His return.

Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak.  Luke 12:35-38

While we are watching and waiting for our master’s return, the world is watching us.  We are ambassadors for the King.  I talked in an earlier post about the two commandments Jesus gave us, to love the Lord our God and love our neighbour.  What would the world look like if we all did this I asked?

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 

CatsLet us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.”  Romans 13:9-14

Next time Jesus comes, He will be coming in power.  The Lion of Judah is not a tame lion.  Have you ever seen the movie about Christian the Lion?  Two guys in London raised him from a cub, and got Christian back to Africa to live out his life as a wild lion.  They reunited with him years later, and Christian remembered them.  Their joyous reunion is a beautiful thing to behold.

Could you imagine meeting that lion in the wilderness not having a relationship with him?
Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.  Isaiah 55:6
Seek him now and live, or bow down to Him later and die.

The Lion has roared

Amos3and8Lately the King has been speaking to me about a Lion roaring.  The Lion is associated with judgement.  I know his roar can make the earth shake.  Why would the lion roar? 

The lion has roared– who will not fear? The Sovereign LORD has spoken– who can but prophesy? Amos 3:8

Prophecy isn’t one of my top gifts, discernment is.  I discern signs and go to the Lord with what I observe.  I then read the Bible to see what He says, and I pray.  From the ends of the earth, I call to Him.  This is what I have discerned.

Have you noticed over the last ten years that western countries have made laws in opposition to God’s covenants?  To God, interfering with His covenants is a poke in the eye.

I’ll start with my own country, NZ.  There have been sweeping changes made by minority groups to the social and moral fabric of the nation.  Since then, we have had several earthquakes.

christchurch-cathedral-before-and-after

Christchurch NZ, 2011

The first quake struck Christchurch in September 2010.  Even though it was 7.1 on the richter scale, no-one was killed.  We called it a miracle.  It was a warning.

The first sign of judgement was the second quake that struck six months later in February 2011.  It was devastating.  The city is having to be rebuilt and it destroyed the Christchurch cathedral.  It’s not hard to see what the judgement is on. “Judgement begins with the house of the Lord.”  1 Peter 4:16

seddon-and-beehive

Seddon statue in front of the Beehive, NZ Parliament

The second sign of judgement was over the authority of the NZ government.  An earthquake struck in July 2013, on the eve of same sex marriage coming into law – another law that was passed despite public protest.  It was located in Seddon and felt strongly in the capital.  The town of Seddon is named after Richard Seddon, New Zealand’s longest serving Prime Minister.  There’s a prominent statue of him outside our Parliament Buildings.  Seddon has come to represent the authority of the government in NZ.

eketahuna-nz

Eketahuna, NZ

The third sign of judgment was over “real New Zealand.”  An earthquake struck Eketahuna, a little NZ town with a big Kiwi statue to represent that it is a stereotypical rural NZ town – “the real New Zealand”.  This was the third sign of judgement.

Britain is another country that brought same sex marriage into law, in the 60th year of the Queen’s coronation.  I noticed Prime Minister Cameron called the UK floods ‘biblical’ after the Thames burst it’s banks on 11th Feb 2014. 

There seem to have been a string of storms, beginning with the  St. Jude storm on 27-28 October 2013, which was also known as Cyclone ‘Christian’.  Why is it significant?

Jude was the brother of Jesus.  He urged the Church to contend for the faith, warning about certain people who have secretly slipped in among the Church; ungodly people, who pervert the grace of God into a license for immorality.  Jude 1:4.  When the Queen ratified the same sex marriage bill it into law, she broke her coronation oath where she swore to maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel.

Lion cloud

Lion cloud in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, May 2014

God was trying to get Britain’s attention.  After that, the Lion appeared in the sky during a storm in May 2014.

We need to be like Daniel for our countries.  Before Gabriel came to tell him about the end times Daniel humbled himself and prayed for forgiveness on behalf of his nation.
We need to pray like the prophet Daniel;

“Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land … ” Daniel 9.

I recommend praying the whole chapter, and substitute the name of Israel where appropriate for our own nations.  We have entered a time of judgement.  It’s time for the Church to rise up, be on alert, and pray.  This is what the Lord told me seven years ago; “We are born for such a time as this. We need the Isaachar anointing, to understand the days we are living in. The sons of Isaachar discerned the times, and knew what to do.  This is our time.  We need to humble ourselves, and seek God’s face.  May His Kingdom come.

The Amazing race

amazingrace2Have you watched the Amazing Race? Imagine you are competing in it.  Millions of people are watching you on TV.  The prize is $1,000,000.  It would change your life to win it.

You finish the first leg, and those watching you are excited about the way you’ve run the race so far.  The race organiser is there to greet you as you come up to the finish.   You’re still in the race.  He is happy to see you make the pit stop, and while you rest you think about the decisions you made, the risks, the trials, the challenges you overcame, the pitfalls and mistakes, the detours and roadblocks.

The Kingdom is like the Amazing Race.  We have to follow directions, search for signs, work out the clues, overcome the obstacles, and get through the road blocks and challenges.  Only at the finish will we know if we’ve won, and what we’ve won.

The Kingdom of Heaven is open for all, if you believe in the Lord and confess your faith in Him.  “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”  Romans 10:9-10.

But you still have to contend for the race.  There is an adversary, the devil.  If he can’t stop you from getting that precious ticket to Heaven, purchased for you by Christ, he will try and keep you from running the race.  He will find your weakness and attempt to ensnare you.

Ephesians6-12Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  Philippians 2:13

What you inherit when you enter the Kingdom of Heaven depends on how you’ve run the race here.  Not everyone gets a prize.  Many are called, few are chosen.  Matthew 22:14.  You have to overcome to inherit the promises, and they are great.

What you inherit is up to the Lord.  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.  Colossians 3:24-25

Get this, y
ou can lose your inheritance while still being allowed into Heaven.  Some people are going to get into Heaven with the smell of smoke on them and nothing else.relay

If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward.  If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.  1 Corinthians 3:14

“Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”  1 Corinthians 6:9-10

If you are in one of those ‘nor’ or ‘neithers’, have a really good think about what you stand to lose because of that sin.  This should make us intentional about how we live our lives; working out our salvation with fear and trembling.

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,  for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.  Philippians 2:13

Just like in the Amazing Race, where the competitors are gunning for the finish line, the prize in sight.

You may run the race alone or as part of a team.  For years I ran alone or with friends until Isaac came to join me in the race.

When I learned about inheritance, I found there was even more to the race than I first thought.  There are people who have run before who have a baton to pass on.  You will know if you are on their team.

Hebrews 11 speaks of people of faith, who believed in what God promised; “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for them so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

The baton can be promises to be fulfilled, victories to be obtained, or mantles to be taken up.

The Church fulfills its commission in telling everyone about salvation, but often it stops there.  I hope I’ve given you something to think about.  The next chapter of my story is about running the race.  I’m still running.  I’ve got a funny looking baton which you can read about in Chapter 79 The Year of Inheritance.

Here’s a good site I found that teaches on what I’ve mentioned here, in more depth;

http://remnantreport.com/cgi-bin/imcart/read.cgi?article_id=292&sub=25

Here’s “Stay strong” by the Newsboys.