A word for today
Good Bad Ugly
The stones will cry out
Forewarned Yet Forgiven
Coming up Trumps
Come to Israel
Learn from the mistakes
Attitudes to Women
1 Timothy 2:12
Early Church Buildings
Sitting at His feet
Gospel of John
Become the artist God wants you to be
Education is never "secular"
Sermon notes for a sermon preached at the Living Bread Church in Israel Sunday July 2011
After asking God about what message to share with you, I had seven dreams. Each about a different situation and I believe God wants me to pass on to you some strategies and tools for dealing with similar kinds of situations. They're not the only tools. God knows the full kit and you need to go to him for what you need in each situation but I'm going to share with you some that the Holy Spirit has prompted me to share with you. I will be using some of my testimonies and also John 8 to look at how Jesus dealt with some similar situations.
2 Corinthians 10:5 "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
- The first dream was about someone who witnessed a violent act and was running for their lives. If this is your situation then I want to tell you. Firstly you are not alone. There is a safe hiding place for you. Run into the safety of God’s care and stay close to Him.
There is a promise for you in Psalm 50:15 "Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will rescue you, and you will honor me." God has a safe hiding place for you. He is your safe place.
You may have witnessed some violent act that has filled you with dread or fear and you may not be literally running for your life but you have been unable to shake off the fear you feel when you think about what you have seen. God wants you to know that you can overcome feelings of fear, panic or terror.
I used to be afraid of the night until one day I asked God to deliver me from all my fears. I was about to have a baby and didn’t want to be afraid to get up in the night. God answered me I had no fear in the night and one day soon after giving birth I realised with amazement that I was no longer afraid of cancer either. The fear had left me.
Research has been done that shows that what we see does impact us.
When I was a young Christian I noticed that whenever I watched violent movies at night I felt afraid. I would close the curtains, lock the doors and feel afraid of the outside noises. I wondered if there was someone outside about to break in and harm me. I quickly learnt that I should not encourage a fearful spirit by watching horrific or violent things.
Many of our movies and shows present a worldview that does not include the power of God to shelter, protect and deliver. They leave us with our eyes on the terrible situation or the world’s way of dealing with the situation and that can be the very opposite of how God wants us to live. Even some computer games train the mind to react with violence.
1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind for your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour. We have a spiritual enemy with murderous intentions who wants people to be afraid and run away. So we need to "Be alert and of sober mind" as Peter exhorts us to be.
In John 8:58 we read of a violent situation that Jesus found himself in. He was saying
"I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!" At this, they picked up stones to stone him"
This was a situation filled with hate which opened the door for a murderous spirit to try and physically kill Jesus.
What did Jesus do?
Did he rebuke Satan? Not this time.
"Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds."
If we are in a physically hateful situation that results in violence, sometimes we need to physically get out of the violent situation like Jesus did.
If it is a spiritual attack that affects our mind or emotions with fear or terror, we need to hide ourselves in Christ. Run to the safety of our rock, our strong tower.
Psalm 32:7 "You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance."
He discovered and declared that God was his refuge and his strength. He also declared in Psalm 56:13 "When I am afraid I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?"
He praised God’s word and spoke to his own mind "I will not be afraid. I will trust in God". David thought about God’s word every day and used it in his songs and he used it to train his own mind so that he could "walk in the light of life."
2. The second dream was about a controlling spirit that took the form of a dice.
Now there are many kinds of controlling spirits.
The one I want to speak about involves a world view that is based on chance or luck. It may also operate as a fatalistic attitude that leaves a person ineffective, like a robot going through the motions but without feeling the range of emotions God has given. This "luck of the draw" or "que sera sera" world view robs people, making them feel powerless. It denies that God has a wonderful, fulfilling purpose for each person's life. It robs people of initiative and problem solving creativity and makes them feel that nothing can be done to change the situation.
Satan want us to think that we are powerless. Often we hear people say, "You are lucky." This word attempts to reinforce the worldview that leaves the blessings of God out of the equation, and gives no honour to the work people do. We are blessed by God, not lucky.
"Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years" (James 5:17).
Hannah - prayed and God changed her situation
Mathew 15: A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession. Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said. He replied, "It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs." "Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table." Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
James 5:16 "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."
I had just finished an art work that I named "Let the rivers clap their hands" and my husband and I went to visit our daughter who had moved into a farm cottage beside a river. It was a lovely spot.We walked down the bank where the river should have been. There were only a few ponds here and there. It was disappointing and I felt deeply concerned when I heard how the river had been dammed and water syphoned off. Our daughter was buying water in flagons. Many of the homes that relied on the water from the river were now up for sale. They were selling at bargain prices. We followed the river home and as I continued to feel disturbed I prayed earnestly that God would fill the river again. About two weeks later He did. It rained so much that the river raged and the rain took out part of the road. Nothing is too difficult for God and earnest prayer is not too difficult for us. It certainly wasn't for Elijah.
Another time I felt deeply for people who lived near volcanoes, so I prayed that God would give them enough time to get to safety. The following week a volcanoe erupted and I heard on the news that everyone got out of the area in time. So we have weapons against any word, argument, feeling or thought that wants us to keep us feeling frustrated, disappointed or hopeless.
3. An accusing Spirit that makes you want to respond in anger.
3. Challenged. False accusations.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
The Pharisees challenged him, "Here you are, and appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid."
Jesus answered, "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me."
The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone"
Jesus walked in the truth. He declared the truth and was the truth, yet He was challenged and the accusation against him was false.
What you say is not true.
What did he do? He wasn't lying.
He continued to speak the truth.
He did not get angry or frustrated.
He did not judge them.
He did not stand alone.
He stood with the Father, whom He acknowledged had sent Him. He stood in the authority of His commissioning. He didn't stand on his own word, but on the word of His Father.
Then Jesus used this situation to teach his believers he said:
"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Revelation 12:10 "The accuser of the brethren has been cast down."
Revelation 12:11 "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death."
We are saved by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. We are witnesses of God’s mercy and help and we can share with others from the point of our woundings, what we have come to know about God. Jesus continued to speak the truth and we need to continue to speak the truth too.
Another false accusation regarding who we are.
The Jews answered him, "Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?"
"I am not possessed by a demon," said Jesus, "but I honour my Father and you dishonour me.I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge.I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death."
I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is reliable, and what I have heard from him I tell the world."
Another false accusation.
You are not who you say you are. Are you a Christian are you? We don’t think you are. You are bad. You are not at all like God. Where are the fruit of the Spirit?
This accusation Jesus answered. He was not seeking his own glory. He declared the truth again and so can we in a similar situation.
Don’t let the enemy of your soul judge you. God is the Judge. Declare the truth "I am a child of God." God seeks to honour me, not criticize or put me down. I do honour my Heavenly Father. I bear the family likeness. I participate in the life of Christ because He shed his blood and paid the price needed for my life.
Jesus has filled me with the Spirit of God. I am not demon possessed I am possessed by God.
Romans 8:14 "For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God".
Jesus did not respond to their criticism with judgement.
Two attacks. One on Jesus and one on a sinner.
- Attacking with the scripture, using it legalistically in order to accuse.
- How to respond when our sins are exposed.
The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger, as thou he didn’t hear. 7When they kept on questioning him, he raised himself up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
11"No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
Using scripture legalistically to trap
He did not immediately respond. He paused.
He didn't take to heart or "hear" their word or their accusing hearts.
He took His eyes off the situation. He didn't even look at the sinful state of the woman. He bowed himself down. Perhaps he bowed himself down before his Father.
What wisdom did His father have for him for this situation?
He raised himself up facing those waiting to accuse him. And there are times when we too need to do something. To raise ourselves up. Sometimes we need to stand up and boldly speak out the wisdom that comes from above to counter the wisdom that comes from below or from the world we live in.
Jesus stood his ground and shared the wisdom God gave him.
And that wisdom is something we can use when the accuser tries to accuse us, or we think others are accusing us in their minds.
We can speak out Jesus words
"Jesus does not condemn me."
He does not condone our sin either but sends us on our journey "Go now and leave your life of sin."
We must leave the old baggage of our past sins behind.
Go and live a new and different life. This is the God who is not willing that any should perish.
Jesus was not trapped.
Now the woman’s response we do not know.
Did Jesus mention her sin? He didn’t need to, she knew what she had done and so did everyone else. She could feel their eyes on her possibly naked or partially naked body. She and her sin was exposed before them. She may have wanted to curl up and die of shame. But that was not what God wanted. God wanted her to continue her life journey- standing, walking and leaving the past behind her.
Then Jesus used this to teach saying "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
If accusing thoughts about someone come into your mind. You can rebuke them "Be gone you accusing spirit. Go into the hands of Jesus. Then you can fill your mind with the truth: "The accuser of the brethren has been cast down." God loves them.
4. A deceiving backstabbing spirit manifest through jealousy. Backstabbing or declaring words that do not line up with the way God views His children can physically hurt someone. Life and death are in the power of the tongue. (miscarriage).
If you find you have feelings of jealousy you can rebuke them "Be gone you spirit of Jealousy," but you also need to fill your mind with the truth: "I will prefer my brothers and sisters and give them the honour they deserve. I will love the church. Thank you God that you have good plans for me. You are the Lord who opens and closes doors for me."
If you lack any good thing, ask God who generously gives to all.
5. The next is not a spirit but the result of our daily walk. As we walk through the mud our shoes can become covered in mud and weighed down by it.
In the natural. Smelly feet from the dusty roads in Jerusalem? Wash your shoes!
In the spiritual. We want the fragrance of Christ, not the mud of anxiety weighing us down. Use the word of God to clean your feet daily so that you can maintain a peaceful mind. Get you eyes off the situation - where you are walking, and on to Jesus. God is able to do abundantly more than we even expect. Let the love and joy of God’s presence wash and fill you. Look up some bible verses on peace and speak them out. "God will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him"
Shoes shod with the gospel of peace - the antidote of Good news for bad reports. We need the daily shower, or sometimes 3 showers a day if it is hot, to wash us in the natural, and we need the washing of the Word of God for our spiritual life so that we can walk in peace and not live with the despair of unfinished business, incomplete works.
6. Looking at your self and your neighbour and seeing only the unfinished house that needs a lot of work.
It may be discernment gone wrong that results in criticism instead of love.
Having eyes to see should lead to prayer for wisdom to know what to do with what you see. Love. Sometimes you are not called to say anything about what you see, but to lovingly and silently pray about the matter. Each person is God’s workmanship, not ours. The stones are shaped by the workmen in the quarry, not in the house of God. When Solomon built the temple, no tools were allowed to be heard in the temple. The church is not a place for chipping away at what you think are someone else’s rough edges. We have an old nature and a new one. The new nature is complete and perfectly lovely and in Romans 6:5 we are told "that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin." If we view ourselves as covered by blood of Christ then we can see others as covered as well.
7. The seventh dream was about a woman who was wallowing in the water and muck of what should have gone down the drain. Her eyes were closed. She was alive but had the look of a dead person, didn’t she know or care about where she was and what she was doing?
It is time to wake up and pray. It is time to stop being ignorant and seek wisdom, knowledge and understanding. It is time to let go of past sins and not continue to think about them. Let the word of God wash you and then lead every thought captive to Christ.
It is time to wake up to put on the armour of God.
Ephesians 6:11-13: Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
But how do we put on the armour?
Confessing the truth in song, prayer, with a shout or in a dance.
Gaining knowledge and insight through studying the Bible and meeting together with God’s people. We are part of a body and need each other.
Avoiding some things that not helpful such as certain kinds of movies and always staying close to God. He has the answers and the wisdom we need for every battle.
Remembering Jesus, who He is, what He has said and done and what it is like being in His presence. If you do not know what it is like to be in the presence of Jesus -Jesus says "I am standing at the door knocking. Come." Now is the time to accept His invitation and welcome Him into your life.
"I accept your invitation Jesus. Come into my life Jesus. Make me a new person."
We who have welcomed Christ into our lives are alive. We have eternal life. We are a new creation. We are covered with forgiveness for our sins because of the shed blood of Christ.
For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten. Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun. "Go, eat your bread with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do.