Monday, July 14, 2014

SPIRITUALITY

Written by Allison Sylvester-Conliffe

Being spiritual, is a term that is used so loosely in today’s society.  We may have heard some people that say that they have to connect with their “spiritual selves”!  We would hear of famous and infamous “spiritual leaders” coming to our shores to hold seminars on spirituality and we are amazed when they perform “miracles” and “signs” because of their involvement in the spiritual realm. 

We may have even heard of persons who chant mantras that invoke a certain presence, even the presence of those who would have already died, and we would refer to that as an amazingly spiritual experience… and indeed it was.  As counterfeit as it was, it was manifested in the spiritual realm.  We burn stuff, hang stuff, chant stuff because we believe that we are being spiritual when we do those things. 

Each human is made up of a body, a soul and a human spirit.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7
The body is the outer casing that we see.  The soul houses our emotions and our spirit is what connects with our Maker as well as the demonic spirits if we open a door to them. 

Though we live in our flesh, we were made to worship God and to follow as He leads us … by His Spirit.
For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. Deuteronomy 7:6
We were made for God!  God is Spirit!!  He is not here in the flesh, therefore for us to know His leading and His purpose for our lives we have to connect with Him.  In other words we have to tap into His Spirit and not another.  We are able to do this after accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and by constantly reading the Word of God as it is written in the Holy Bible. Importantly though, we should not only be reading the Word but we must follow what it says to do, and abstain from forbidden practices as the Word instructs. 

God has left us His Holy Spirit to help us to achieve this.  He literally quickens us by witnessing to our human spirits, to remind us of what the Word of God says when we are faced with situations.  The Bible goes on to say this –
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Romans 8:14
We become sons of God when we have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, purpose to live by the Word of God and allow the Spirit of God to lead us!  This is what we call living in the Spirit. 

It is noteworthy that there are other spirits that exist in the spiritual realm beside the Holy Spirit.  As it is with the Holy Spirit we cannot see those other spirits but they are indeed present.  These other spirits, by whatever name they are called, are from our adversary, the devil.  Therefore we have to discern which spirit is operating when we see a manifestation of something supernatural or “spiritual”.  Jesus counseled us that –
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Matthew 6:16 
Whatever the Holy Spirit produces will always lead us to the true and living God!  The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth!  Truth is in God through His Son, Jesus … period!  Any other spirit that works contrary to this is from the devil.  The devil is the father of lies, and there is no truth in him.  He is a counterfeit and is destined for eternal damnation in hell! Remember the devil also operates in the spiritual realm and is a deceiver.

The following are some questions that you should ask yourself in order to determine whether your spirituality is counterfeit or not.
  • Is the focus on myself?  
  • Is the focus on the universe? 
  • Is the focus on another person who is flesh and blood like myself – be it pastor, bishop or guru?  
  • Is the focus on the atmosphere? 
  • Is the focus on an object or on a statue?  
  • Does my spiritual experience result in fear or anxiety?
God told us what fruit His Spirit produces, therefore any practice that bears contrary fruit is from the devil.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. . Galatians 5:22-23
As believers, our focus should always be on the Trinity who is – God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit!  Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life and He works together with The Holy Spirit as well as with God the Father. They are three persons but they are one God!  A Mystery! Jesus tells us that He does only what the Father tells Him to do!  We should do the same by following after His Spirit!
I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. John 5:30
We have entered the age of deception therefore we have to remember that everything that may appear to be good may not necessarily be of God!  Remember a counterfeit dollar note resembles the authentic one but the reality remains … it is counterfeit … false … no good! 
God gave us His Spirit to guide us into all truth
Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. John 16:13
So don’t be swayed by drama and hype.  Let us all as believers tap into the frequency of true spirituality and follow after the teachings of Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life of the Spirit of God!

…for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.  1 Corinthians 10:4

Thursday, July 3, 2014

HAS GOD CHANGED?


Written by Allison Sylvester-Conliffe

In the dispensation of God the Father as He appeared in the days of the Old Testament, we learn of His very Nature and Character as God!  As we read the Scriptures, we see a terribly awesome God who desired reverence!  This is documented as He appeared to Moses in the burning bush.
Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” Exodus 3:5
As God spoke with Moses, while introducing Himself as Father, the Scripture said that Moses was afraid to look upon Him.  Such describes the magnitude and power of God’s Presence! After seeing the Hand of God as He overthrew Israel’s enemies, Moses was compelled to exclaim… 
“Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders? Exodus 15:11 
God fights for His people – He is the ultimate Deliverer!  He is the ultimate Defender of His people … the people who are called by His Name!  This is God’s personality – His attribute!  He wants Christians to love, and He is the One who vindicates us when persons wrong us. Moses discovered and declared –
The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.  Exodus 15:3
Moses experienced the God Who won battles for him and as he saw God protect the Israelites from the evils that came up against them, he exclaimed -
“Your right hand, O Lord, has become glorious in power;Your right hand, O Lord, has dashed the enemy in pieces.And in the greatness of Your excellence. You have overthrown those who rose against You;You sent forth Your wrath;It consumed them like stubble. Exodus 15:6-7
God did not fight for the Israelites in Moses’ day alone, but as we read the Bible we see God fighting for His people through King David, through Joshua, through Jehoshaphat, through all those who He had appointed to lead them and who did so in the fear of God.

You may wonder why would God only fight for the Israelites?  This is because those were His chosen people.  He made the earth and all that it consists and He chooses His creation to will and to do according to His pleasure.
...for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Phillipians 2:13
So He chose Israel to be His people.

Whether they may or may not have known it, this mantle of being God’s chosen came with an awesome responsibility on Israel’s part.  God laid down some guidelines for Israel to follow.  These guidelines have been documented in the Holy Bible so that the generations that would follow would be in the know. 

God’s law stands for eternity.  He remembers His promises to His people and is Faithful to perform them.  If God’s chosen remain faithful to His Word then the benefit of the blessings will be theirs. On the flip side, God is also faithful to His Word if His chosen are unfaithful in doing what He says!

Read His promises to the Israelites in the Book of Deuteronomy chapter 28.  In short, God promised that if they kept His Word, meaning if they obeyed His Word, His blessings will follow them and even overtake them.  However, as you read on in that same chapter, you would discover that God also promised that if they disobeyed His Word, they will fall under some heavy curses. This law stands active for eternity.

He reminded Joshua as he walked in Moses’ stead -
Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.  This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. - Joshua 1:7-8
Should Joshua choose to do differently to what God had commanded, it stands to reason that his way would not have been prosperous and that he would not have good success.

God has a responsibility over His people to protect them and to nurture them but it does not stop there. His people also have a responsibility towards Him – to be obedient to His Word, observing to do it!

Jesus came as God’s Word, being God Himself, with a mandate to graft into the Kingdom of God people like us who are not Israelites. He came to perfect the law and to show us the way back to the Father after the Fall of Adam and Eve! Jesus is the Word of God.  Those of us who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour have automatically become a chosen people just like Israel is to God!  We now have the responsibility, as Israel has, to know or to observe God’s Word and to do it!  What we choose to do will determine whether we reap the blessings or the curses.

In the nation where I live, there is an outrageous spike in crime.  Murders occur on a daily basis. There are also strange deaths as well as gruesome carnage on the roadways, misbehavior in public office, the likes of which was never so evident in the society.  Multiplicity of prayers are continuously being prayed on behalf of the nation, but it seems that there is no end to violence.

This is not isolated to my nation, but across the nations of the world there is violence, unrest, murder suicides of different family members – in some cases entire families are killed by a family member in possession of a gun.  Believers in Christ may be very tempted to ask the question, “Where is the God of the Bible in the midst of this chaos?” 

My question is … Has God Changed?  Does this Great and Magnificent God still require for His people to live according to His Word?  Or does He require us to live by bread alone?  Does He require us to live by our rights, whatever right that is?

Jesus pronounced to believers –
“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4
Are we walking in obedience to that Word so that we can reap the blessings of God?  Or are we rather
living in a manner so as to reap the curses that God promised?  Are we loving one another as God commanded?  Not by loving in the manner that WE believe love should be – but are we loving as God says that we should love one another?  Do we love our enemies enough to be praying for them as He has instructed?

Read the Book of Matthew Chapter 5 and then Romans Chapter 12 and finally 1 Corinthians 13 in order to get an idea as how God commands us to love.  If we are faithful to do as the Scriptures say, then do you think that we will be cursed or will we be blessed?  From what we can see in our nations in this day, are we being blessed of God or cursed?  We cannot be partakers of evil and expect God to bless us!  Also, we must not join with partakers of evil, because they are our friends, or because we can achieve some gain, and expect to be blessed.

I notice that many nations around the world are passing laws which God calls blatant abominations in His sight!  He destroyed two cities because of those same practices.  Is God expected to bless what He does not condone?  In the Book of Numbers Chapter 26 the same God that fought for Israel caused the earth to open up and swallow some Israelites (His chosen people) together with all of their families as well as all their possessions, simply because of their disobedience to His Word!  Has God changed?  I still hear of what we now call sink holes appearing in diverse places today!  What could this mean?

God has promised that if we repent AND turn our faces from evil, He will forgive us our sins and heal our land.  Let us observe to do the Word of God so that we will have good success and bring glory to His Name.
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14


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