Sunday, February 28, 2010
Here is an example of how things sometimes work in churches today; a particular congregation sends missionaries to Asia, and I know that in Thailand life is not so hard so I say, ‘Because I study theology at the Waikato University, and in 3 years I will graduate, or in 5 years, I will have my doctorate, therefore I will be a pastor and I will ask my assembly to send me in mission in Thailand.” I have this diploma from Uni, but am I elected by God or not? The Holy Spirit doesn’t teach at school, the power of the Holy Spirit is not given on the Uni benches.
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
The Spirit gives these ministries. So one doesn’t study to become pastor, it is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Unless I was elected by God and I know that God has chosen me, and I know that God has given this ministry, and then I decide to learn more at Uni. In that case it’s Okay to study how to be a pastor.
In our world today if Michael is a dentist and in order not to ruin his surgery, he prepares Nathanael (his son) and he will also start leaning dentistry. Michael thinks that when he dies, Nathanael will take over his business. And this is the way things work today in God’s church also, like in an Empire: when the Emperor dies, the son will take over. It is now about the Holy Spirit, it is not about ministries and gifts, but about human conventions, human matters.
- E.g. “Steve, you know, there is a vacant position in our church, would you like to be a pastor? If we take Peter, we think he is too far from us. We don’t want him”.
So, who gave you the authority to choose the pastor for God’s church? Are you the Holy Spirit to choose? This is what we call blasphemy, because you take the Holy Spirit’s leading to choose people. You take the Holy Spirit’s place to give gifts to people, you make yourself in the place of God, equal to God. Remember Isaiah 12, when Lucifer made himself equal to God and what happened next. Let’s be careful with these things.
The pastor’s children must be well behaved and most parents nowadays say that in the twenty-first century, we don’t even have the right to tease with your child, otherwise the Police come. This is normal now. They forget what is in the Bible, it says you must do all you can to teach your child how to live.
Let’s take some examples in the book of Proverbs,
Proverbs 29: 15 & 17
15 ¶ The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
17 ¶ Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.
18 ¶ Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.
Proverbs 23: 13-14
13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. 14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
15 ¶ Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
These are little passages. There are many others in the Bible. But today’s pastors don’t mind their children’s behavior. They want to imitate what people do in other families, or what the world does. The world often discusses the children’s rights, and children must be like this and that.
But what does the Bible say? For us, pastors, do we obey this world’s law or God’s law? If I do this for my son, my neighbors will think I am not civilized and they will think I am a savage. Yes, they might but what will God say. You might think you love your child, and you spoil him but in God’s eyes you are destroying his soul because this child is in training to learn how to live. Matthew tells us chapter 18, verse 6
6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Amen! So most pastors make life difficult for their children, they lose their souls right from early childhood and they forget one day they will be accountable to God. Moreover, when the child is not well brought up, the pastor’s power lessens. When people see that they say, “The pastor’s children are badly behaved and if you can’t take care of your family, how will you take care of the church?” And this will make the pastor in a difficult position to please God. He will answer people that his children refuse to change their behavior despite all my efforts.
But it is your fault because right from the beginning you didn’t pray for them and you didn’t help them.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
A pastor is someone like you and me, who is employed to play a great role in the church of God.
The Greek word for pastor means shepherd and the shepherd must know all his responsibilities to take good care of the flock of the Lord. As Jesus Christ Himself said: “I am the good shepherd and I know my sheep’s voice and my sheep also know my voice”.
This is different with our pastors today, they hardly know the voice of their sheep and they even sometimes forget their names! This is terrible.
- Good morning Pastor?
- When did I see this person? Remind me, where have I met you?
and the Christian must start explaining.
- Pastor, don’t you know? I am a member of your church!
- Ah yeah! I remember now!
And this is a lie, because he actually doesn’t remember. He is lying, a hypocrite.
So because pastors don’t care enough for their sheep, they forget the essential. So if the pastor doesn’t know my name, how will he come to visit me? If the pastor doesn’t know me personally, how will he know my problems: he is not a good person because the good shepherd knows the sheep’s voice and I must know his voice too.
Jesus said: “When the wolf attacks the sheep, the shepherd will give his own life to his sheep.” Impossible to imagine that in our churches today.
- Pastor, do you know this brother/ sister has a problem?
- What can I do? It’s not my business. I also have my family and I am busy.
- So, pastor, where is God’s work? How do you take care of your flock?
1 Timothy 3: 2-7
2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre;
but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house,
how shall he take care of the church of God?)
6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall
into the condemnation of the devil.
7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
Last time, we saw that the pastor must be blameless, with one wife and his children must be believers, of good reputation and obedient. But you will see that today in the pastor’s house, the devil has set his foundations especially through the children. We will see that the pastor’s children are in complete contradiction with what their fathers do (who they are). Imagine I am a pastor, you will see that my children are not even Christians. But the Bible says in
1 Tim. 3:4 & 5
4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
This is what God tells us. If you can’t look after your own household, if you are not ready to help your children know who Jesus Christ is in their lives, how can you be able to look after 1000 people, for example.
Jesus says that if we are not able to do little things, it will be impossible to do great things.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
This is a topic dear to my heart. I love music. I love hearing instruments played. I love hearing people sing. I love to sing also. Look around you. Where ever you go music can be heard. In people’s cars, in shopping malls, in public toilets, in airports, at church, at sports events, on TV, on peoples phones, ipods, at your workplace, even as I sit here typing this I can hear cicadas chirping loudly outside. Maybe you whistle or hum without even realising it. So music is all around us. I am often amazed at how many songs have been written all over the world. There are only so many notes you can play but different songs keep being churned out every day of every week. Unbelievable. It’s like music is eternal. It just keeps going on and on.
If you analyse worldly music the theme that’s pretty popular to sing about is LOVE. Love that pampers the flesh and feels good in the moment. On the video clips are attractive and beautiful people which creates an ideal that love is only for those who fit a certain criteria. Outside of that I’m sorry, you don’t qualify for love. Praise God that we are children of God and have an unconditional love regardless of our looks, hair colour, skin colour, physic, dollars we earn, how much bling we wear etc… And tonight I want to focus our attention on music that is found in the Bible. So let us begin.
There are so many verses in the Bible that refer to music. Until I did my own study I really had no idea of how powerful music is in the Bible. Tonight’s study is really a small overview.
The bible first mentions musical instruments in Genesis. In the beginning was a man called Jubal. Genesis 4:20 says, “Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play the harp and flute.” That is pretty impressive considering they did not have the technology or machinery we have in the 21 century. They would have made their instruments from scratch. And if instruments didn’t exist before, how did they know to even make them or how they would sound. God was really with these people and guiding them. God gave them insight, intelligence, skills and material needed to make the first instruments.
David soothed Saul with his harp. God allowed Saul to have an evil spirit torment him. Whenever David took his instrument and made music, Saul’s soul would be soothed. I remember when I was a new graduate nurse in Ward 25 (cancer ward), I used to take my Hillsong music book into the ward. At the end of my shift, I would go and play the piano which was at the far end of the ward. Within a couple of minutes, the lounge where the piano was would start filling with patients and visiting family members. They had come to watch me play. It was a very humbling experience. They were attracted to the music that was coming from the piano. Some of the sicker patients would often comment on how much they enjoyed listening to the music and how soothing it was.
There is something about music that touches us deep inside. Music is something we can’t even see or physically touch. Our ears can hear it but it’s not something tangible. This is something that God created and is of great importance to Him as we will discover in this study.
There were people in the Bible who God dedicated solely to music. They were the Levites.1 Chronicles 9:33
Music in the Bible is found in every circumstance - in Psalms of lamentation or joy, it is used to comfort the deepest sorrows or to express the highest peaks of joy and victory. Music was there when Jesus was born and music is also in Heaven as we speak now. Music fills the courts of heaven as heavenly beings praise our Lord and Creator. When God created the world, the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy (Job 38:7). God created man in His own image, to be an instrument of praise. He gave humans the ability to sing and to make music with musical instruments to complement the voice.
Songs and poetry were also means to improve the memory, to help remember significant events or warnings. When they sang to God they really sang with all their might and with the particular instruments they had it must have been very loud -
2 Samuel 6:5 “David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums (a small u-shaped frame with a handle attached at the bottom of the curve. Pieces of metal or other small objects were strung on small bars stretched from one side of the sistrum to the other) and cymbals.
David sang to God a song that was in relation to God saving him from the hand of his enemies. It’s rather long so if you want to read it it’s found in 2 Samuel 22:1-51
Have we ever rejoiced so greatly that the ground shook? When Zadok the priest anointed Solomon the people went up after him playing flutes and rejoicing greatly so that the ground shook with the sound (1 Kings 1:39-43) Wow - imagine making the ground shake - that’s powerful singing!
Solomon’s songs numbered 1005! (1Kings 4:32)
Did you know there was a four thousand member choir in the Bible - 1 Chr 23:4 David said “…four thousand are to praise the Lord with the musical instruments I have provided for that purpose.” Wow - that’s a lot of voices singing together. How beautiful that must have sounded. When I am feeling a bit low spiritually, what helps me also is turning on a Christian CD that I really like praising God too. When the music and singing hits my ears, it’s like the breath of the Holy Spirit floods my soul and I immediately have that feeling of being in the presence of God Almighty. My soul feels encouraged to start speaking to Jesus or to start worshipping Him. I love worshipping God with music.
There is something very powerful in praising God with song and music. When we praise God we are giving Him the adoration that He deserves. Nothing else matters when we are consumed with worshipping Him in song. We are acknowledging his worthiness. In 2 Chr 5:13 it says “The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: “He is good; his love endures forever.” Then the temple of the Lord was filled with a cloud and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God.” Do we want God’s glory to be in our lives? Then worship Him. Acknowledge His worth ship in song and praise and in dancing and in raising of your voice and hands. Make a fool of yourself before Him and He will accept the fruit of your praise. (By fool I mean don’t care about who is next to you, don’t worry if you can’t sing in tune, just belt out those songs with a heart bursting with joy and express all that you can to God Almighty in song with your voice and body!)
If you are still not convinced that God wants us to praise Him, then look no further than the book of Psalms. The word Psalm means Songs! The entire book is primarily composed of songs and poems, songs of praise, of lament, of mourning, or thanksgiving. “Praise be to the Lord, O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever, sing joyfully to the Lord, yet I will praise Him, my Saviour and God, Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise…do these sound familiar? They are all in Psalms and of which I’m sure we have read many times! Do we really get what God is telling us to do? And that’s to praise Him, to tell Him of His awesome wonders, deeds and powers. It feels good to be acknowledged for things we have done on this earth; God is no different - He desires to be acknowledged also by those that love Him. Praise Him with the trumpet, harp, lyre, tambourine, dancing, strings, flute, cymbals… let everything that has breath praise the Lord! (Ps 150)
The rock stars of this world that play really great music, make loads of money and have a fabulous life think that they are untouchable, invincible and like being worshipped and adored by millions of fans worldwide. Unfortunately for them, their glory will be short-lived and only for this present earth because in Isaiah 5, God has some harsh things to say to these people.
Isaiah 5:11-12 says “Woe to those who rise early in the morning that they may pursue strong drink, Who stay up late in the evening that wine may inflame them! Their banquets are accompanied by lyre and harp, by tambourine and flute and by wine; But they do not pay attention to the deeds of the Lord, Nor do they consider the work of His hands.” Vs 14 “therefore Sheol has enlarged its throat and opened it mouth without measure…”
In other words, Hell will be full of people who did their own thing, who had a great life drinking, eating, having a merry party-of-a-time with no regard for their Creator.
Death cannot praise you. For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot sing your praise; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for your faithfulness. The living, the living - they praise you, as I am doing today; fathers tell their children about your faithfulness. The LORD will save me and we will sing with stringed instruments all the days of our lives in the temple of the Lord. Isaiah 38:18-20
There are so many stories in the Bible where singing/instruments were used in a powerful way -
Deborah and Barak (Judges 5)
King Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20)
Disciples sang a hymn after the Passover meal
The loving father celebrates the return of his wayward son
Paul and Silas sang hymns in jail and their chains came loose
At the sound of the trumpet the dead will be raised imperishable (1 Corinthians 15)
Only the 144,000 could learn to sing this song (Rev 14)
The great multitude sings the song of Moses (Rev 15)
The four living creatures and the elders worshipped God in heaven
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
We have come to the time in our service where we will take communion or the Lord’s Supper.
These simple emblems on the table, bread and grape juice, remind us that almost 2 000 years ago, on a hill outside the city of Jerusalem, the Lord Jesus Christ gave His life as a ransom for many.
The Bible says: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16
And what do we believe? We believe that Jesus was like a sacrificial lamb that was slain to pay for the sins of the world, your sins and my sins.
That if we believe this and repent, regret our sins and wrong doings and turn away from them, we will be saved from the righteous anger of a Holy God toward sin.
That if we confess or say out loud that Jesus is our Lord and try to live lives that please Him, then we will have passed from death to life, our sins are forgiven, our debt cancelled.
And that simple transaction means we are born again, born into God’s family and have the hope of eternal life with our God. We give our lives to Jesus in exchange for His perfect life and God remembers our sins no more. ‘As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us’ (Psalm 103:12)
So, for people who believe, these simple emblems of bread and grape juice are both a glory and a shame. A glory because through Jesus death and resurrection, we belong to Him. A shame because we are reminded of the way he died on that Roman cross almost 2 000 years ago, naked and abandoned by His disciples and abandoned by God, so that He said, ‘My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?’ (Matt27:46), but Jesus also said, ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30), because He had dealt with the problem of sin and death and our separation from God once and for all! Hallelujah!
And why do we remember Jesus in this way? It happened like this: On the night that Jesus was betrayed, He took the bread on the table, gave thanks for it and broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you, do this in remembrance of me’ (1Cor 11:24)
He didn’t say, remember me, I am El Shaddai, Lord Almighty, or El Elyon, the Most High God. He didn’t say remember me as the Creator God who brought everything into being. We don’t remember Him as the Healer, who healed the sick and raised the dead, gave sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf. We don’t remember Him as the Word of God who brings revelation and understanding. He is glorious in all these things but He said, ‘Remember my death until I come back again’
Let us Pray: Thank you Lord for this bread which is a symbol of your body broken for us. As we take this bread and eat it, help us to remember that you died for our sins. Thank you for this simple loaf of bread which represents so much. Will you bless it now in Your name, Amen.
In the same way after supper, He took the cup and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, do this whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me (1 Cor 11:24)
Let us pray: Thank you Lord for this cup which represents your blood of the new covenant. We are no longer under the law and subject to it’s penalties, but You have been victorious, your death was an acceptable sacrifice and You rose from the dead in victory and are alive for evermore. We also are raised to new life through You. Thank you for this cup, will You bless it now in Your Name, the name of Jesus which is above every Name! Amen.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
By Michael Bahjeian
“Jesus Christ is risen!” “Amen, He is risen indeed!” That’s how believers greet one another at Easter in the Eastern Church.
I don’t know much more about the Orthodox Church tradition, except the fact the Easter is definitely a very important event that is celebrated with grandiose ceremonies for a certain number of days, up to a week I think, and that many churches are called Church of the Resurrection. I remember a story from one of R. Wurmbrand books, where Christians in a prisoner camp would take incredible risks to be able to gather together in order to celebrate Easter, rejoice and pray and sometimes share some improvised food that looked very yummy although it was not exactly the real good food as we know it.
It is obvious for Easter Christians that Easter is more important that Christmas. Baby Jesus was the promise but Jesus risen from the dead was the accomplishment, the achievement of his mission on earth. Who could discern from a group of children at kindy those who will become a blessing for society and those who will become a burden? At the end of a life, there should be more to say than at the beginning. Although it is not always true for everyone, there would have been a lot to say when Jesus died, all the things he had said and done but everyone was in shock and silent, under the oppression of the prince of darkness who believed for an instant that he had finally won the battle against hope. But Jesus Christ raised from the dead and little by little, the meaning of his resurrection started to give life and hope to the new born church. And today, especially thanks to Paul’s revelations that are unveiled in his letters, we understand that Jesus Christ raised from the dead has indeed or should have a lot of meaning for our lives on earth and for the life to come.
Jesus death came as a surprise for his followers. Although Jesus has prophesied his death and as Paul said to Agrippa in his defence in Acts 26, the prophets prophesised that “Jesus would suffer, then once the first raised from the dead, He would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles", it hadn’t really sank in people’s mind because it was not that obvious, even in the scriptures.
Indeed, although it was prophesied by the prophets and Moses- as Paul says- not many people had understood or believed it. Indeed, there were hints here and there and it was not that easy to join the dots together. In 1Pet1:11, you read that the prophets were trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when He (the spirit of Christ) predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. You had to understand that the resurrection was part of these glories that were announced. The disciples themselves were not expecting it. So were the religious leaders of his time who were expecting a victorious leader who would deliver them from the domination of the Romans. Even after Jesus’ resurrection, few were the Jews who believed and Thomas wouldn’t even believe his fellow disciples without touching his side with his own hands. Eventually he believed without touching. However, he needed to see and was rebuked for that by Jesus.
Today, we face a new challenge. Do we believe in our own resurrection and what do we know about our own resurrection? The same way, Jesus’resurrection came as a surprise, our own resurrection might astonish us. You could tell me, “What’s the point? My salvation is not involved in the process of knowing about my resurrected body.” Maybe but as the quality of our resurrection will depend on our lives here – whether we’ve built with gold or chaff- our Christian lives here will be deeply related to the depth of our hope. And our resurrection should definitely be an important part of our hope.
Jesus was the first born from the dead the same way the first fruit are a little sample of an abundant crop. I Cor 15:20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. He was raised from the dead as a confirmation that one day, death it-self will be swallowed up (utterly vanquished forever) in and unto victory. 1 Cor 15:54 b Amplified Version.
This has not happened yet, but the mark that it has happened will be our own resurrection. And this resurrection that will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like Jesus’ glorious body will happen by the power that enables Jesus to bring everything under his control. Phil 3:21. Everything means everything, on earth and in heaven, the physical and the spiritual; everything will be transformed to come under Jesus’ power. Amen!
And there is something else that will happen when we resurrect. It is written in Rom 8:19-21 that creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
This creation involves the entire created world on earth and in the whole cosmos. This earth will be transformed and everything that is perishable will become imperishable.
Jesus’ body did not stay into the tomb. His resurrected body was issued from his perishable body. It was transformed. The same will happen to us: 1Cor 15:51b-52 says that we will be all changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Although we know that this whole earth will be destroyed by fire as it is said in 2 Peter3:10-12, we also know that in verse 12, there is the promise of a a new earth and a new heaven and both of them might derive from the old creation. The same way Jesus’ body disappeared from the tomb where he might have resurrected with a flash of light, this old earth and heaven might be transformed in the blinking of the eye, in a kind of an explosion into a new creation, the new creation of heaven and earth.
Our resurrection is our last expectation, our last destiny. We might go to heaven, and whatever beautiful and nice it might be, I think that it is only a temporary place for those who are saved, the same way hell is a temporary place for those who are lost. Being without a body is only for a time. But imagine, being in an incorruptible body, such a Jesus’one, in an incorruptible world were death will be no more and where 25The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent's food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,"
says the LORD. Isaia 65:25
To me this hope gives a better appreciation of what our future will be.
May God bless you.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Secondly, pastors must have only one wife, never have two. We didn’t say that the pastor will be a woman with one husband, so women can’t be pastors.
The pastor must be very careful and know that sin can be also in his thoughts. Let’s say that Peter is married, and a pastor. Peter sees Ange walking past, deep in his heart Peter loves Ange and the message God gave us in the Bible: “If you love a woman that is not your wife, you have already committed adultery”, Peter is disqualifies straight away and must confess and many pastors they don’t have 2 wives but in thoughts they commit adultery. They must control their thoughts and watch out carefully for sins.
The pastor must have one wife. Let us see the qualities required to a pastor’s wife.
In Titus 1: 7-9
The Bible says that he must not have a reputation of disobedience or bad behavior. He must also look after God’s business. And, I ask you, pastor’s wives to leave your husband alone and be busy with God’s business. Most wives resent their husbands being fully in God’s business because they feel forgotten by their husbands. Some wives tell their husbands they have the right to be with them all the time. Sometimes, pastors leave the house for 3-4 days, they go somewhere to pray: wives, don’t be worried, just acknowledge your husband serving God. Before belonging to you, wife, he belongs to God, I know how difficult it is but wives, you must be patient.
Pastors must be neither arrogant, nor quick tempered, nor violent, nor a drunkard. What is arrogance? What is it to be angry? What is it to be a drunkard?
If we take examples in the Bible, for examples John the Baptist and Samson: when their Mums were pregnant God told them not to drink wine. But nowadays, in pastors’ houses in the States for example, when you visit them, they offer you wine or spirits. They say that the Bible only asks Christians not to be drunk, but a little wine is okay. They serve you and themselves and invite you to drink together. Be careful! A servant of God, a pastor is forbidden to drink: not only to be drunk but not drinking at all. This is written in the Bible. The Bible says: “Woe to man who offers someone else alcohol.” So, pastors’ wives, watch out too, because you are the ones who serve visitors, you know exactly what is in your fridge and you go shopping! If you buy beer, know that you will be a stumbling block for some people, and that you will disobey God.
Pastors must not be violent.
When they speak, pastors must use soft words and must be soft in his behavior. The way he behaves must teach us about kindness. And he must also hate dishonesty with money. He must have true joy to have visitors at home but most pastors are good when they are at church and after the service they take off their pastor’s costume and leave it there in the church. They become someone just like us. Try to go to their place at 1:00pm (someone like me who suddenly feels like visiting Michael, without warning) and you will see. When I knock at the door, Michael first looks at his watch.
- This is my lunchtime, really.
He opens the door and looks happy to see Odon:
- Welcome. Come in.
And Sylvie in the kitchen:
- I wasn’t expecting him for lunch. His lunch is not here. Why did he come like that?
And she might even get angry.
- I can’t prepare for him.
Be very careful. These are little trials to confirm who you are. Remember this Mum in the Bible, who shared what she had: she used her little oil left to give to the prophet. God gave her back something great.
Pastors must be like that and shouldn’t worry even if Odon knocks at 1:00am. When I knocked at the door at 2:00am, at night, some people assume there is a problem. This is because his own will be there and the first question to ask you is if there is a problem. They ask it because they love their sleep.
- This is my sleeping time. You disturb me, Odon. He doesn’t say it but it is deep in his heart. This is what he really thinks:
- Go away now, it’s time to go not to talk.
Pastors must be patient and know how to welcome people at your place. When you welcome them do it the way it is written here: true love opens its arms and closes its eyes. Forget what you had and hug the person, welcome them and praise God for that because you don’t know what this person is bringing; it might be a message from God, it might be a blessing and your attitude will help them speak.
Pastors must love what is good and must be fair and sensible. Pastors must not make a decision influenced by people: if I say this it will be against Ange, and with the way we work together, this will shock her. So, because I am a pastor I will change my message, so I don’t want to give my message if Ange is present, she would be shocked. Be careful because the measure you use to assess others, God will use the same to assess you: this is not from me but it is written in the first 5 books of the Bible. If you use flattery, people will flatter you too, if you are a hypocrite, you will reap the consequences later.
With wisdom and kindness God gave you as pastor, you will get closer to the person and talk to them.
Because husbands and wives are one flesh, they are only one person, so pastors will start to tell their wives what is happening is other people’s lives. And this will be very bad.
Doing that will break the rule in Matthew 18:15
So if your brother has made a mistake, as pastor you go by yourself to see this person and talk to them. If you went and told your wife what happened and if this person discovers that later, you will be in trouble.
Keep quiet even with your own wife
So, even your wife doesn’t have the right to know everything. In our Republics, when a minister can’t do what he has to, the President of the Republic has the power to lay him off. In Zaire, you could be at home, watching TV, and suddenly you see: “FLASH, FLASH, FLASH” and they announce this minister is dismissed and the minister himself hasn’t been told. The minister might be at home watching TV and this is how he also learns he has lost his job, because he didn’t respect the standards of his work.
And the church of God must know this too, the pastor’s wife must know who her husband is. Do not force your husband to tell you everything they have discussed at the elders’ meeting. Do not force your husband to tell you what Guillaume or Odon said, otherwise you will do what Eve did for Adam and make him eat the forbidden fruit. Consequences will come and stay over the next generations. So avoid this. Pastors, you must also know how to keep a secret. Most people can’t, and when it’s heavy they try to get it off their chest.
- Michael, do you know what happened there yesterday?
And I start talking and say everything. You will do this once, and twice but the third time God will intervene and stop you. Nowadays, most pastors loose their authority and respect and they are like simple Christians, they have lost the anointing, because they can’t keep secrets.
Let’s stop now and next time we will talk more about pastors and also pastors’ wives. Thank you for listening.
Let us pray. We will pray for all the pastors and for those who are being prepared by God to be pastors: may God help them fulfill all of this. We will also pray for the evangelists so that God will help them have these characteristics of evangelists.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
A pastor is someone chosen by God to shepherd the flock. God chose him and found it good for this person to serve Him. A pastor must be without blemish, a role model, he is someone who makes the name of Jesus Christ respected, a person who must be respected, he must make the devil respect Christians, he must be a leader of the church.
In 1 Timothy 3:2
A pastor is someone who is a leader and is blameless, which is something nearly impossible with our pastors today. People always find reason to blame pastors for something; they are not humble and people declare it about their pastors. Pastors don’t think they should repent of their mistakes because they think too highly of themselves, they think they are above others, and forget they must take care of little children. If among us some are called to be pastors, before people blame them they should blame themselves, and know their weaknesses to make an effort to change. They must accept their conscience showing them the light.
Let’s take Job: he was a servant of God and went through every tough time, to the point that Satan went through his wife, and Job who loved his wife so much heard her advising him to curse God. If Job cursed God could we talk about Job today? Job realised that if he did, it would be a bad thing. He first rebuked himself before acting and cursing God.
So pastors must be very alert in each situation. When a pastor hears some advice, he must stop and think it over before making a decision, and put himself in the other person’s shoes, and ask God: “Do I deserve it or not?”
He is extremely blessed if God calls him pastor but not if men call him pastor. He is blessed if God calls him pastor among a little group of 3-5 Christians with all holiness rather than being called pastor among a big crowd and have a dirty heart. A pastor must not wait for people to show him his faults: when he is wrong, he must not wait for people to discover that, the light in him will show him there is something wrong over there. The pastor will go to Oscar, “Brother, forgive me because I’ve done that.” And Oscar will be surprised, “I didn’t know that.” “Yes, that’s it so I’ve come to say sorry.”
It is not just about Oscar forgiving him but Oscar will be taught that way, he will think about it: a pastor can lower himself and ask me for forgiveness, to someone like me. He will be impressed and will spread this testimony all around:
- This man is a servant of God. He is humble and there is nothing you can reproach him.
But other pastors do wrong and fly away and put themselves above everybody else:
- Who can speak about me? Read this, it is written… and here this is written…
And all the Christians are afraid, they feel put down, intimidated. What kind of shepherd will intimidate his flock?
I know in some families, when the Dad comes back from work at night, each child would look for the fasted escape. They were 5 people in a room, and suddenly they hear Dad’s car coming, people stop playing on the spot: it’s like a cat entering a house, each mouse tries to find an escape to find a refuge in the neighbor’s house. Some pastors are like that: their presence make people uncomfortable, they feel shaken inside by him.
- If I tell him something…
Pastor comes to visit me, and I lose joy:
- Why is this pastor coming here again? If I knew I wouldn’t be there.
This is terrible because the Bible tells us that pastors must be friends with his sheep. Nowadays, we don’t see that.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
An evangelist is someone who has been chosen to play his role in this ministry. This person is chosen according to God’s will and must submit in order to fulfill this task. This task is to evangelise the name of Jesus Christ to all sinners, so that anyone who believes in Jesus Christ will find eternal life. An evangelist goes and preaches the good news so that lost ones come back to Jesus Christ.
Let us see how we can recognize an evangelist. When we enter a church, we see many preachers and every Sunday there is a new one. How can we make a difference, and what are the signs to be an evangelist? It is not about saying you are an evangelist, but it is about knowing who really is. The Bible gave us a few signs for that, what are they?
- to do miracles.
- pray all the time and not worry about material things.
- leave wife and everybody behind and go for God’s work.
- be able to fast
- know the spirit within the people he is talking to.
- travels and everywhere he goes preaches the gospel
- cast out demons
- raise the dead
- what he says must match what he does
- love people
- spiritually alert
- be a student
- must know in advance where to go
- spiritually perfect
- must not fear death, or men
- can be sent to a place by the Spirit
- their voice often shout, speaks with authority
- John the Baptist
- never afraid to talk about sin, he preaches about repentance
There are many features, but the most important is that the evangelist never fears talking about sin. He will never say, because Odon is here I won’t speak about this particular sin.” You might get angry with him, up to you, but he will speak, and it is not even him who speaks but something in him urges him to speak. When he speaks he always gets to the weak point, where Christians always fall, where they need to repent.
An Evangelist is someone who travels, not for business but for God’s work. In Africa, there were evangelists who were given their visas, and took the opportunity to buy gold and ivory, diamonds: evangelism is just a cover up to do their business.
Evangelists have authority and when they speak crowds are attracted. When they speak each conscience wakes up. They also do miracles, they have power to cast out demons, heal the sick, heal those who paralyzed, or lame… they organize crusades. After praying for all of them so that they will accept Jesus Christ, they leave and call other ministries to carry on the work. But nowadays, most evangelists, after 5-10 crusades and they see a big crowd of Christians they decide to become pastor, saying: Ï have started this group so I must shepherd them.” This is a role that is not theirs. If you are an evangelist, when your mission is fulfilled, leave others do theirs. Their journeys must be organized by God and not by themselves.
Remember Jonah, when God told him to go a certain way and Jonah answered he would not go there but somewhere else. An evangelist can’t organize his journey without God agreeing. In Acts 8:26, we see what happened with Philip.
God gives the exact direction about where to go: if you must go north, He will say so, and if it’s South, He will say so.
So everything we talked about is the conditions God gave us through the Bible. You must not keep that as such but use it to recognize servants of God, when you meet people. Try to know what ministry this person has, so that you will know where you and him stands, their travels, their authority and so on: all of this have references in the Bible, they are not imaginary. The Bible is very specific, and I will ask you to look for all these signs with a verse in the Bible for next time.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
What is sin?
Deut 9:7, when we don’t obey God
James 4:17, when we know what is right but we don’t do it
Romans 14:23, whatever is not from faith
What is the consequence of sin?
Rom 6:23, Gen 2:17, death
1 Cor 6:9, shall not inherit the Kingdom of God
Hebrews 10:36-31, judgement
Is it possible to not sin?
John 5:14, 8:11, sin no more
1 Cor 15:34, 1 John 3:9, 5:18, born of God therefore we cannot sin
What are some practical ways to stop sinning?
1. Make a decision in your heart
2. Ask God for help
3. Meditate on what you are doing
4. Read the Word of God
5. Keep a diary and prayer notebook
We are on a road that leads to heaven, and this road is narrow. We must be strong and very thin to make it. Sin will make us weak and it will be like carrying a big awkward back pack on your back while you are caving. You will not fit in the cave and you will either have to remove this bag or stay where you are and never find your way out.
The first decision is in our hearts
What defiles our body is what comes out of it, from our thoughts and from our hearts. We make a decision in our hearts and our bodies will follow. Our body belongs to us and it’s up to us to decide, we can say no to sin, it just depends on our heart.
Satan only came to Jesus three times and then he left. Once we get mature, our sin will flee from us. Jesus had power against satan and anyone with a bad spirit wanted to flee Him (they would tremble before Him). Satan will also flee from us, once we are strong. If he comes, just resist him. If we are not strong, remember, God has the power to resist him. The first decision is in our hearts. Decide, I don’t want to defile my body, because my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. If I fall into sin, it’s because I didn’t decide in my heart that I wouldn’t do that.
When the sin is there, and your heart starts making bad decisions, tell your heart, “I command you to do this because I don’t want my body to sin.”
While Mary was carrying Jesus, she was in danger of being killed because according to that time, to be pregnant without being married is a sin. The religious people had the right according to their law to stone her. But God protected her. She was carrying Jesus in her womb and she did her best to protect Him. She understood that what she had in her was Holy and that she had to be careful to protect what was inside of her, from sin, so she protected herself from sinning. It’s the same with us, when we receive Jesus, He protects us and helps us to discover our sin and helps us to not fall into sin. So we must protect Him who is Holy (and who is in us) from sin.
Ask God to help you
Ask God to give you the strength so you cannot sin again. Jesus gave us the solution in John 15, the Father is the vinedresser and He prunes the branches that don’t bear fruit, He cuts them off and throws them into the fire. There are certain parts of our Christianity that don’t bear fruit, the Father cuts them off, they are burnt and they disappear completely. My weakness is anger or my weakness is my thoughts or my weakness is my mouth, I must go to Jesus and say, “I don’t want to sin anymore because this sin has lead me to slavery. I don’t want it anymore, cut it off.” Jesus will do it because people who would come to Jesus found healing and He would say, “sin no more.”
Meditate on what you are doing
When you are alone, meditate on what you are doing. In everything I do, is the glory of God in there, or not? If yes, that is good. If no, I must change. Observe yourself carefully because nothing is hidden from God. If you see something you don’t like, you must change.
Read the Word of God
God says that it’s through lack of knowledge that my people perish.
We know we must read the Word of God to get rid of sins. If anger is your problem, you must read all the verses possible about anger and compare them against your own personal life. If I fall into anger, what does anger produce? Anger produces death. Death is smelly, and so tell God, you don’t want to be a smelly rotten corpse before Him, and so He must help you. Anger will prevent you from entering the Kingdom of God, and so tell God that He must help because you don’t want to be left outside the gates with those who are gnashing their teeth.
If it’s your thoughts, or your mouth or lying, take the Word of God, find all the verses you can regarding that sin and use them to tell God reasons why He must help you. And use them to encourage you to be strong and not give in to satan.
If we use the Word of God in this way, satan will hear, “It is written,” and he doesn’t like it because he will see Christians applying what Jesus started 2000 years ago and he hates it.
Keep a diary and prayer notebook
All Christians must have a diary and prayer notebook. How do you know if someone has grown spiritually? By the change in his life. But you will not see the change in yourself. One good way to know, is to write everything down in a notebook. Every time you sin, write it down and at the end of the week, check the book, to see where you have improved.
Satan fears writing. Jesus said to satan, “It is written.” If we write things down, you can always say to satan, “remember what I wrote in my book, I had trouble with you, but I wrote it down and anger had a problem in me, but now it has no place in me.”
So I would encourage each one of us to start writing in a notebook. I try to do this as the last thing I do before sleeping. I examine the day and then write down where I sinned. At the end of the week I can see whether I have improved or not. If I have improved, I praise God. But if I haven’t it is obvious that I need help and the Bible tells us to confess our sins to one another and pray for each other. So if I have recurring anger, it is good for me to humble myself before my brothers and sisters and confess this sin, and ask for them to pray.
So, lets sin no more!
Monday, February 15, 2010
In the book of Ecclesiastes it says there is a time for everything, a time to give birth and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot what has been planted, this is life, it has its ups and downs.
Our God wants us to share and receive comfort about faith. Because everything has its time each one of us must think about what we are doing with the time we have right now. Yesterday won’t come again and we don’t know what will happen in 3 minutes, so while you are present take advantage of it to produce good fruit for your life. If you have something to share make sure you share it with others today, but woe to the man who doesn’t and finds himself gone tomorrow.
One day Jesus went to Capernaum. An officer came up to Him asking for His help because his servant needed healing. Jesus looked at him and said, let’s go, but the officer said no, I am not worthy for You to come to my place. Read Matthew 8 about the Centurion. The Centurion told Jesus who he was and then he asked Jesus, what about You Lord? I know You are the God who has power over everything; You are a God who has the power to cast out demons, You are a God that has the power to transform lives, and You are a God that can heal. And the Centurion believed that Jesus could heal his servant where He was standing. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
When we pray for someone’s deliverance we are praying for that person who has a problem. The Bible says that we must bear one another’s burdens, and if the eye is sick the whole body suffers. It means that if someone among us is sick then we must all feel that sickness, and now we are all going to come together to invite Jesus. I know that Jesus won’t come from heaven to be with us, because the day He comes back to earth will be the day when He takes His church unto Him. But we are going to ask our Lord to say only one word, because we also have the power to rule over the world and the power to cast out demons. If Jesus says just one word everything will be accomplished, amen.
Prayer is a battle, prayer is a fight, there are the forces of darkness and divine forces, and when we have to fight against these forces we have to wear the full armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-17). Being strong in the Lord doesn’t mean to be strong like a weight lifter or a rugby player. The secret is found in Ephesians 6:11, if you want to be strong in the Lord. Boxers use their fists and rugby players us their legs, but what about us Christians, what do we use? What do we need to fight the devil? Jesus gives us the strength without the hassle of having to warm up, all you have to do is believe in Him and follow a few steps.
I often compare the power of God to a match; once you light a match you get an instant fire, unlike our ancestors who had to rub wood together for ages to get fire. With Jesus it is just a question of 1 second and God acts. So remember that God is not far. Let’s read about this armour in Ephesians 6:14
Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with the truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness.
This verse talks about truth and righteousness. The truth is the Word of God, and the righteousness is to assess yourself to see how you’ve been walking during your day, and if you have sinned confess your sins to God, and that’s what it is to be righteous before God.
If you know any verses that can help you to pray don’t hesitate to use them because it is the truth. For example you might say, “You said Lord to ask and you will receive, I am asking you now Lord so I expect an answer, Your Word says that if you ask anything in Jesus’ name My Father in heaven will give it to you, and tonight I ask in Your name Jesus to give healing to this soul”. Tell God He is not a God who lies and His promises are true, and tell God to prove to the devil that He is a God that keeps on acting. Ephesians 6:15
And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace:
This verse talks about zeal and zeal means courage. Never be disappointed when you pray. Many Christians have doubts when they pray and when they lose control in their prayers they become easily discouraged. If you think that God is asleep wake Him up, as did the disciples in the boat. Ephesians 6:16
In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
This verse talks about faith, so don’t doubt what you are going to say to the Lord. Make sure that God will act because it is He who acts and not you. Then it goes on and talks about salvation. Tonight we are going to pray for the salvation of a brother, we are going to stand up together with joy and strength and we are going to invite Jesus to be with us like the Centurion said to Jesus. We will say, “Jesus come here tonight and be with us, show Your presence among us, we need to hear Your word and Your order to find a solution for the situation of our brother, You are not an old God who is tired but You are a very powerful God who acts immediately, so we really need Your power”.
Feel free to pray and open your mouth to speak, don’t worry about what people will think around you, if you can raise your voice as high as the sky then do it. When you sing invite God, raise your hands, do whatever you want, but invite His presence because the more you get closer to God the closer God gets to you.
So our first prayer subject is that Jesus may be among us to act tonight, and over this we are going to ask Jesus to give us only one Word, and that will be the order for the life of our brother. Let’s pray.
Now we are going to invite the Lord to touch the soul we are praying for, we are going to commit this soul into His hand and say, “You created this soul and you know him more then anyone else. Lord may Your will be done in his life because You made him in Your image, and the life that he is living now is not reflecting Your image Jesus. Manifest Yourself in his life Lord, not tomorrow but right now because You are with us now, and You are with our brother now, so manifest Yourself in his life right now Lord that He might know You are the real God and that something in his life might become simple. Touch him wherever he may be Lord because You said that every knee will bow and we want our brothers knee to bow before You, and that the power in him might bow also”, pray on.
Now we are going to ask again for God’s power to be with us. We are going to take authority and cast out any power that is not the power of God from our brother’s life. We are going to cast out any power that is not from God in our brother’s family, and tell God, “Lord You gave us the authority to cast out demonic spirits and to heal the sick. Lord our brother is sick physically and spiritually that is why we take authority right now Jesus to redeem our brother so that he may find life in You, and that his healing will be both spiritually and physically, right now we ask this Jesus because only one Word is enough for You”, lets pray.
Now we are going to pray for the salvation of our brother and for God to open all the doors so that He might touch his heart, and that he might turn to God’s grace, which is still available. So we will pray that God may give him the opportunity to change his life and that God may help the members of his family also to be transformed. Remind Jesus that He died for all sinners and for all men who live on earth, and our brother is among the men who live on this earth. So we are going to ask for complete freedom for our brother that he might find salvation. Also ask for Jesus’ blood to purify him so that he might be sanctified before the face of the Lord, pray on.
We are going to raise our hands now and bless our God. We are going to worship Him and really praise Him for His presence among us and for listening to our prayers. So we are going to thank Him, feel free to do whatever but be focused and not distracted to say, “thank you Lord because You’ve done something”.
From the depths of your heart give thanks again and meditate on what God has done for you. Thank God slowly from your heart because He has used you to pray for our brother, and that one day you’ll be paid for it. Thank God for all what He has done and open your heart to see how good the result will be. From your heart you will be able to see how our brother can open his Bible and share it with you, what a wonderful occasion, lets pray.
We are going to end our prayer with a song. Amen.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
“Father hallowed by Thy Name”
God says, ‘if you call me Father, that means you have brothers and sisters, who are they?’ You have to identify who is your family before to call me Father. And who is your Father?
Today we are here to pray for our spiritual family who are suffering and as they are our brothers and sisters it is important to remember that when we pray. Try to think of them in the same we you do of your biological family. I will try to imagine that it is my mum.
What does hallowed mean? Why do you want my name to be hallowed? You can’t pray for something that you don’t understand. If you don’t understand, ask God to help you.
Hallowed means to make God’s name holy. How do we make it holy? By being holy yourself. So what does holy mean and why do we want the Holy Spirit? In previous Bible studies we have learnt that if children are naughty people will assume it’s because of bad parenting and if children are good, people will know it’s because the parents are good. It’s the same with us as children of God, if our actions are holy people will know our Father must also be Holy and this will make His name to be called Holy.
Where? Where do we want the kingdom to come? God says, ‘I’m ready to bring my Kingdom into your life, are you ready to receive it and are you ready to accept me to lead you, are you ready to offer your body, soul and mind and let me be King of your life completely, 100%?’
I believe that if you are here today it is because you want God to lead you 100% and so let's ready to be led by him today as we pray, 100%. Don’t be distracted.
“Your will be done”
There are two ways God can answer us, either yes or no so when we pray we have to be ready to accept whatever God will answer. We also have to understand God’s timing. It is also hard when we are praying for the others because we can’t always see direct results but we can pray that God will encourage us with good signs so that we can have assurance that our prayers are being heard by God.
"Give us our daily bread”We must feed new Christians with our daily bread. We have to learn everyday from the Bible something to teach others with. This is the daily bread, it is eternal and it will never stop, it’s what you give to others so God’s Name will be Holy. What do you give to others or tell others so they can know God’s Name is Holy?
“Forgive our debts”
Have you forgiven your debtors? Have you solved all the problems you have with others? Count from Monday to Thursday and see how many sins you did. To be free in God you must repent your sins.
“Protect me from temptation”Do you accept God’s protection? If you want to be far from temptation control your body and mind so God’s name can be called Holy. If you control your mind you can control your tongue, we must think before to speak. In doing anything ask yourself, is God here?
“Deliver us from satan”
The power over satan has been given to you and you are stronger than satan. When you resist, he’ll flee from you. Today you will be attacked because satan is not happy when we try to destroy his plans so be ready for that attack and make sure to resist.
Remember that satan tried to tempt Jesus 3x and then he left so if you feel attacked, just persevere two more times and satan will leave you alone after that (or find a new tactic). So if you always feel tired before to pray, cast satan out and carry on, don’t give in to the tiredness and a couple more times of resisting will send satan on his way because he will see you won’t give in and he is wasting his time. Or if you feel distracted, pull your mind in. Or if you feel doubts, or if get phonecalls or sickness before to come, don’t give in to it.
What does Amen mean? God says, ‘everything that you ask of Me, if you agree with Me, it will be done as we said.
There are two ways of praying: with God which is in Spirit and in Truth or to recite a text which is without Spirit and Truth. We have to ask ourselves, does what I tell God have a meaning for me?
We must pray in faith and in truth which means we must be guided by the Holy Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit because Himself is powerful and without Him we won’t know which words to use. We have to ask ourselves is the Holy Spirit really acting in our lives or not? There is no formula to praying, just to be lead by the Holy Spirit. Because He is powerful, you will also be powerful but when you pray with the flesh, your prayer will be weak.
If you want your prayer to be really powerful you have to be humble and accept God’s help. Tell God, “I’m here waiting, I have no where else I can go to get help’.
Before to pray we must prepare ourselves, ask yourself, "am I ready to pray or not"? Even before to eat, when we say grace we must make sure we are pure to pray. We need to pray for people so they can see change and see God. Before to pray you have to understand what you are doing and saying. We need to know the secret of prayer. The power of prayer works together with promises, if you made a promise with God you must fulfil it. If you are not ready to fulfil it then don’t make a contract with God because He doesn’t forget.
God asked Israel to walk around Jericho seven times which is equivalent to walking around Hamilton every day for seven days. After God looking at their perseverance and determination He decided to give them an answer, ‘Just blow the trumpet and you’ll see the power of prayer’. That powerful prayer was escorted by determination.
Prayer is powerful and it is the biggest thing that God has given to the church for all situations; communicating with God, casting out evil spirits etc.
SUMMARY1. First understand what is prayer, who you are praying to, what you are praying
2. Then understand what God’s time is
3. Tell God you need to hear from Him
4. Pray in faith and truth, guided by the Holy Spirit
5. Pray with humility
6. Pray with determination and perseverance
7. Accept God’s answer
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Now is the time to fly. When God tells you to fly and if you don’t do it He’ll put pressure on you. You know the story of Jonah. On his journey God visited him. God allowed him to be free for a time but then put his foot down, “You must go back to where you came from”. Jonah was not able to tell the captain of the ship to turn back. The navigators probably thought Jonah was crazy to ask them to turn back the ship because of him. So God took back Jonah in a way that nobody could believe, to be in the belly of a whale is not easy, it is better to die. This is what happens when God takes you by force when He wants to use you for something.
So it is to accept rather than for God to use force. If you wait the situation will be worse. There was a king in the Bible called Nebuchadnezzar. Because he didn’t accept what God said God called him in a way which I appreciate a lot. He spent seven years in the forest eating grass. The Bible says he was like an animal. Imagine if he was your husband. People will laugh at you a lot. When you refuse to do God’s will it is not only you that suffer but also your family members. They will be shocked because of what you are doing.
When God told Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go, Pharaoh said no. The Bible testifies that God put a spirit of unbelief in him. Pharaoh did not accept anything and the consequences were on all Egypt. All the Egyptians cried and ended up going against Pharaoh, “why do we suffer because of your pride?”
We have to struggle and fly. If God calls us we have to accept and serve Him according to His will. Don’t hesitate, don’t think you are a spiritual baby, forget that. You have to tell others about the glory of God. Don’t think you’ll not good enough, whether it be praying or reading the Bible, no! God is able to help you. Timothy was young but he led thousands of people. So be prepared.
Matthew 4:10, Jesus said to him, “Away with you Satan for it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God and Him only you shall serve.”
Satan doesn’t have any room here, Satan doesn’t have any room in the people we have prayed for and Satan doesn’t have any room in the activities for the glory of God. The authority has been given to us to cast out the devil and the devil respects this. He respects us because he knows we are stronger than him and he knows we have more authority than him, so he must respect us.
If you are leading something for the glory of God you must be well prepared and have authority. What you are doing is what Moses did when he lead the people of Israel. You must know they are people you lead and that God wants their souls.
If you make one mistake everything will be on you. This is what it means to be a leader. You must pray before you start, whether in your room or not, ask God to help you have the ability to lead His people. Maybe some will come because they are curious, maybe they’ll be there to judge, but ask God to help you. Use the Bible when you pray. For example in Matthew it says, “When two or three people agree on something and get together, all that they ask the Father will be given. “This is why we pray to You Lord to help us lead Your people. May Your strength be with us and may it not be us leading but Your good spirit. Thank you God for the presence of each person”. Commit everything into God’s hands.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Persecution is not only physical. You can go to Vietnam and be persecuted. Jesus doesn’t need this persecution; Jesus needs you to be persecuted inside. It means to sacrifice your time for others and sacrifice your life for others. Accept to be humiliated for God’s glory, accept to pray for difficult people, accept to be friends with those who are isolated, accept to tell the truth to those who don’t want to hear the truth and you’ll see that you are nothing. People will mock you and humiliate you, this is persecution because your never have peace. If you don’t hold on you might flee where you live. So we must ask God to help us have the courage and to have perseverance, this is persecution. If you want the kingdom of God to belong to you accept to be persecuted.
Blessed are you when people insult and persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil because of Me. Let people think bad things about you, let people abuse you, let them persecute you, sometimes let them lie against you and through this Jesus will know that you are His disciple.
If you get angry for example, you prove you are not one of God’s disciples. If someone abuses you, praise the Lord and you’ll see that the person who abused you will be touched. If someone speaks falsely against, do not try to find what it’s about, do not even say what happened, just accept it. If you ask Peter what happened between him and Angela you risk to light the fire. You can break the peace between the two and cause physical or spiritual disaster. If God asked you whether you are His disciples or not, you’ll lack an answer because you didn’t accept to be abused and didn’t accept people to speak falsely against you. To be Jesus’ disciples we must accept these things.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for they persecuted the prophets also who were before you. We must be glad. We must walk on the same road as the prophets who were persecuted physically and spiritually. We must be careful and help those whom we are going to pray for.
The Bible says it is better to give than receive. Give your testimony, which you may have received from the prayer. I have a testimony. I praise God for giving us the opportunity to meet and pray together. It is our first time to pray together. It is good to see everyone raising hands and praying freely, I have never seen that while I’ve been with you. I was very happy to see that you asked for forgiveness in everything. To confess our sins to one another and those whom we have offended was something good. Also to sacrifice our time and pray for others for the glory of God is something that is very good.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Those who want to live according to God’s will they will receive abundance. Many Christians want to live a good Christian life. Everywhere people want to live a good Christian life, they want to be powerful in prayer, heal the sick and cast out demons, read the Bible and evangelise.
God says, “Blessed are those who have this desire, for they will get it”. Many people want a perfect Christian life but nobody helps them. In a few churches you’ll see that people are thirsty for the Word but can’t find it. They need someone who can explain it in depth to them. Many Christians are disappointed with their Pastor’s or Preacher because they don’t pray with them.
Maybe their Pastor doesn’t have the time to read his Bible in depth and because of this it makes his flock sick. Christians don’t know where to go to be healed. These people need the Word. Jesus says that, “people will look for the Word but will not find it”. People will be thirsty but will not find water and this is what we live today. You can read a verse in the Bible and you’ll see that it is something new, it is like you’ve never read that verse before and you will see how thirsty you are for the Word. Many people are like that today. Many people don’t even know one verse in the Bible. They may know it off by heart but they don’t know what it means. You can know the story Moses or the story of Jacob but that’s all you know, you still won’t know the spiritual meaning. May God give to those who thirst for righteousness.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. How many times are you merciful to others? This is the most important thing. Christians who want to grow and discover joy and happiness in Jesus Christ must meditate on this verse. To be merciful towards others is a necessity. Bartemaus didn’t ask Jesus to heal him but said, “be merciful to me son of David”. He knew that speaking about mercy he would receive mercy. How much time do we take to be merciful towards others? Let’s pray for my dad who is not saved for example and that is it. If you are not merciful to your dad and can’t see the danger for his eternal life then you’ll never be merciful. The Bible dictionary says this about mercy,
“The aspect of God’s love that causes Him to help the miserable, just as grace is the aspect of His love that moves Him to forgive the guilty, those who are miserable may be so by breaking God’s law, or circumstances that are beyond their control. God shows mercy to those who have broken His law or though such mercy is selective demonstrating that it is not deserved. God’s mercy on the miserable extends beyond punishment, which is withheld. Withheld punishment keeps us from hell but does not get us into heaven.
God’s mercy is greater than this; God also shows mercy by actively helping those who are miserable by circumstances beyond their control. We see this act of mercy in the life of our Lord Jesus. He healed blind men and lepers; these acts of healings grew out of His attitude of compassion and mercy. Because God is merciful He expects His children to be merciful.”
75% of this is correct. If you are merciful you can do anything. You will sacrifice your life for others. That is what Jesus did for us. He sacrificed His life for us because He was merciful to us. All mature Christians should pray to be merciful towards others. If you are merciful towards others you will pray for them, fast for them, you will sacrifice your time for them and you will give to them. If you are not merciful to them you risk becoming a selfish person.
Blessed are the pure in heart, because they will see God. The people we are going to pray for and sing with need some purity in their lives. If Jesus was to come back today, are you sure those people will go to heaven? You can see these people need purification because nothing impure can go to heaven, that is why we are going to pray for their souls so that God may help them find purity. If it’s God’s will for them to be saved then it will happen but if God doesn’t allow it then they won’t. But we must be merciful towards them and pray for them.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. I wanted to talk about this verse after verse 10 which is “blessed are those who are persecuted,” because verse 9 is the ninth commandment and has a secret. Anyway it doesn’t matter too much, we’ll talk about this verse. What is the ninth commandment? You shall not covet what your neighbour has, wether it is his wife or belongings. The ninth commandment teaches us something about God.
Our neighbour is the devil and our neighbour is sin. We are not allowed to covet what the devil has, even if it is his wife. Do you know the meaning of wife? The wife represents the church, which is you and I. The devil also has his church so we must be careful not to covet it. The devil has his belongings so we must be careful. We must be content with what we have. Because we are Jesus’ wife, Jesus is sufficient for us. So we are not allowed to covet what the devil our neighbour has. You must know that your wife, husband and children are not closer to you than the devil. When we walk the devil follows us like our shadow. He is just waiting for that little hole to sneak in. This is why God says, “be careful not to covet what our enemy has”.
The Bible says we must be in a watchful situation at all times and if we don’t open our eyes the devil will take us away and we’ll see what we have coveted. To keep us from this we must respect Matthew 5:9.
We must try to seek peace; Satan is not the God of peace but of fear. We must seek peace with everybody and with God and we’ll see that we will never covet what the devil has. What is peace according to the Bible? What is peace according to the world? No war, no crime, a good life and lots of money. This is worldly peace. Is there peace in New Zealand? On the outside it looks like peace but there is war. The Maori don’t agree with pakeha and this is cold war. For the tourists it looks peace but war is happening. There is war in our brains. When you go to some churches the white people don’t sit with the Tongans, and the Tongans also don’t sit with Pakeha. It is like a rule in this church, they are there but don’t have peace. The Tongans have their Pastor and the Pakeha’s have their Pastor, the Tongans have their counsellor, the Pakeha’s also have their counsellor. There are two types of faiths in one church.
It is like the Vatican, it belongs to Italy but has its own flag. This is happening in churches today and is written in the book of Revelation.
We must open our eyes to see what is happening around us and seek peace with those around us. Revelation 18:17 will reveal itself one day. People don’t have the time to seek peace. God has called us to be one as Jesus and the Father are one, but because of tribes we have spiritual divisions. These people need prayer, we must not criticise them but pray for them so that God can release them.
Woe to the Vatican and Italy for they will never be released. The example in Revelation 17 about the prostitute represents what we call today the Roman kingdom. We must be careful so that the seven hills God talks about (which are seven heads) may not be around us. People who have travelled to Italy know there are seven hills around Rome; everybody knows this and the prophecies say it. All the rivers are there; the ten horns are there. We must break these mountains.
Jesus said, “If you have faith you will tell this mountain to move”. If you have faith like a mustard seed you will move mountains. These mountains exist in many Christian lives because they don’t have peace because they don’t look towards Jesus. In Thessalonians it says we must seek peace with everybody. Peace is so important for our lives. Jesus said that in the last days there will be wars and famines. The war will not be in the world as people think. Jesus is talking about the war in churches, war between Christians. How many churches are in conflict today? Every church. War is everywhere. This Word is fulfilled.
Those who don’t have discernment are waiting for the Maori to fight against Pakeha. If you wait for this you’ll be left behind, war is everywhere. Even a pagan will tell you that there is war in the church. So who doesn’t know this? We have eyes but can’t see. We need peace. Jesus said peace will never be on earth. So what peace are we looking for if the Bible says there will never be peace on earth? Jesus talks about spiritual peace and worldly peace; this is the difference between them.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God
“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great: for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you”.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. To admit that you are poor is very important. In my country the poor are abused. If you call someone poor they might take you to court. People don’t like to be humiliated. But to admit that we are poor is very important.
Why? The poor need something. The rich are puffed up with pride and think they have everything. Every time you pray tell God you are poor and that you need His help because the more you ask for help the more the doors of heaven will be opened. If you do not ask God you will never receive. To be a member of God’s kingdom you must acknowledge that you are spiritually poor and that the only source of your provision comes from God.
If you are a Christian and you don’t admit you are poor, be sure that you will never enter the kingdom of God. This is high-level study for spiritually mature people. People think that reading the Bible will get them into heaven but to enter the kingdom of God we must admit that we are poor. This is very important. As you know you can enter the kingdom of God on earth because a lot of people say, “I belong to this kingdom and everything that is in this kingdom belongs to me”.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. How many times have you been sad in your life? Because we are gathered together to pray it is now time to feel a sadness in us for the souls whom we will pray for. When you want to pray for someone wear the shoes of that person and say, if I was Peter what would he be feeling? Meditate hard about the situation or think deeply about it, “If this happened to me what would be the consequences and where could I find a solution?” But because you are poor you can’t. So go to God who is rich. Tell the Lord, “As You can help me, also help my brother and come into his life so that he will find a solution both spiritually and physically. God will answer with a comfort.
Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. The reward for this is to inherit the Promised Land. Who can tell me what gentle (NASB) or meekness (KJ) means? Is Shari meek? Is Odon meek? Is Michelle meek? Is Sylvie meek? God’s meekness is not like mans meekness because mans meekness is based upon the appearance. If you see someone who has been created naturally meek you will think he is meek.
God’s meekness depends upon the spirit. Was Jesus meek? Physically people judged Jesus a lot. I remember when Jesus cast people out of the temple, turned over tables and rebuked them harshly. When someone asked Jesus a question He would answer with an arrow and everybody felt it stab his or her hearts. Was Jesus meek?
The Bible dictionary says, “meekness is an attitude of humility towards God and gentleness towards men, springing from the recognition that God is in control. Although weakness and meekness may look similar they are not the same, weakness is due to negative circumstances such as lack of strength or lack of courage, but meekness is due to a person’s conscious choice that is strength and courage under control coupled with kindness”. I do not agree with the definition 100%.
To be meek is to be controlled by God. All our acts must please God and not man. It is to be aware of what we are doing and to know that God is with us and that what we are doing pleases Him. This is what meekness is. If the Bible says to be meek, it means we should be at the level where God can lead us in everything so that God’s glory can be seen in our lives. People can say that this person doesn’t respect us, but if you respect God it’s better. It means that when you do something and you want people to discover that you are meek, you might risk being a hypocrite because you want to please people and not God.
This is one of the gifts Satan uses. Satan has this gift. Judging someone by his or her appearance is good for example; If Peter dresses nice does it mean he is meek? Does the way Odon speak determine if he is meek or not? The way Michelle smiles is she meek? Who told you that Michelle is meek? Who told you that Odon is meek? Only God can know this. You will only know if this person is meek if their lives live according to the Word. This is why we continue to pray for God’s church today, this is why we keep praying for Christians because the appearance can say they are meek but spiritually they are not. We need spiritual meekness.
I know a man whose appearance looked meek but he was one of the greatest killers in the world. So appearance shouldn’t influence you to judge. If you are a child of God do not look at the appearance, this is a teaching linked to discernment. Do not look at the appearance even if someone speaks like an angel. If someone is mild as oxygen do not look at that. A French proverb we have says that, “the clothes you wear don’t make you a monk”. When Peter wears his uniform to a Catholic church everybody will stand on his arrival, even if they don’t know who Peter is. His uniform will give him that authority and people will respect him. This is a spiritual error.
I served 1 year in the Catholic Church as a priest. As we entered the church the bell would ring and everybody stood up. Then they waited patiently to see what the priest would say. They don’t care where the priest came from and they don’t care who he was, but because of his robe I would just follow his every move. This is very wrong. When we accept physical appearance we can be easily mistaken. I can say Michael is meek but who proved he is meek? Live with him and pray for him. Ask your God “is the meekness I see on the outside really in the inside?” God will say yes or no. This is where you must have discernment to know wether or not Michael is meek.
Pray for people’s spiritual meekness so that God may give it to them. The Bible says that the meek will inherit the Promised Land. This will be the land that God has put us in. It is not the Promise Land Odon gives but what God gives. God has promised something for our little group, so pray for everybody to meek so they can benefit with what God has promised.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
This is written in John 14:16. Let us lift up our hands and ask for the Holy Spirit. Tell the Lord, “I have Your spirit in me and I know that Your power is in me, so use this power in me to pray”. Lift up your hands and open your voice.
We are going to ask God for strength over darkness. Ask God to give you the strength over thirst and ask God for strength to win over hunger so that you can fight for God’s glory. Ask God to take away all distractions so that your thoughts cannot escape from this house. Let’s pray.
We are going to hold hands and ask for God’s presence. Then we are going to praise Him. Tell Him all that you want so His name can be lifted up. He is a great God, He is a powerful God, so just tell Him, “Lord, You are a powerful God and I know it”. If He has done anything in your life or if He has done anything in your families’ life it is now time to praise Him, because the testimony you give to God is called praise.
Praising God is telling Him of all the testimonies He has done. If He has freed you from something then praise Him. After you have praised God then thank Him. Let’s pray.
Now pray for each one who is present and those who are not. Pray that God will transform each one. Lay hands on the person you pray for.
Now thank the Lord for the way you have prayed. Thank the Lord for the hands that were on you. Ask God, “may You do something in my life because I received something, so do not let me go back in my spiritual life”. Let’s pray.
We are now going to thank God for the few minutes we have been together. Thank Him for starting something and that we are now ready to begin our journey. Because everybody is healthy we are ensured that we will stay together until the end. Let’s pray.
Monday, February 8, 2010
The second point is from Jeremiah 48:10
“Cursed be the one who does the Lord’s work negligently, and cursed be the one who restrains his sword from blood"
The one who is lazy towards God’s work deserves a curse. We know that we are lazy. Nobody on this earth can say I do God’s work with 100% courage. As Paul said, “I want to do what is right but my body doesn’t allow me, when I pray my body is tried, I can’t find the time to visit others and I can’t even find the time to give the gospel to others”.
The one who doesn’t use God’s sword will be cursed. The sword is the word of God. The sword of the Lord is the truth and each Christian must have this sword. A sword is not a toy but something we use as a weapon because God needs to see the blood in the life of man. So we must use this sword to bring life. Others must be taken to the Lord so He may see them.
Tell the Lord, “Since I have been on the earth Lord how many times have I brought souls to You? How many times have I used Your sword to cut peoples lives so that You can find life in their blood? I’ve known Your word for a long time but I don’t use it to cut, so please forgive me Lord. I’m lazy; please forgive me for that because Your work needs strength. Please give me the strength to take away laziness and also teach me how to use Your sword”.
Those who learn how to use a sword have techniques. They are taught how to kill people with ease. Tell the Lord, “Teach me how to use Your sword so that blood can come out and that I will not be cursed because You are not a God who likes to curse, but You are a God who likes to bless. I need Your blessing of forgiveness in my life right now Lord”. This is the first step for asking God to forgive you.
So now we are going to kneel down and pray with what Jeremiah prayed to His God (Jeremiah 32:17-27 and Jeremiah 48:10 and ask God to forgive us. After this we will ask God to forgive us for our laziness, and once this prayer is over we will feel free.
Mark 11:25-26,“Whenever you stand praying forgive if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.”
“But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”
It is now time to tell the Lord, “I come before You to forgive all who have offended me. Each person that You know who has done something wrong against me please forgive them. As for me I forgive this person”. We must have this as a seal in our hearts and must not remember the sins which they have committed against us. Never remember the wrongs people have done against you so that God can do something among us. If you know the name of the person who has offended you and you keep it in your heart tell the Lord to take away what is in you so you can forgive this person. Tell God the name of the person but remember it is between you and God so do not let anybody hear you.
Now we are going to ask for purification. The bible says that if your sins are red like blood, Jesus’ blood can make them white as snow. Yes our sins are forgiven and we have forgiven those who have sinned against us. Now is the time for our hearts to be white. We must not use any bleach but Jesus’ blood, which doesn’t cost a thing. It will not cost you any money but you will tell Jesus, “I need You to purify my thoughts, purify my heart, purify my spirit, purify my soul and purify my body because I want Your presence in my life”. So ask for purification that you can be white as snow.
We are going to ask for sanctification. “God, may Your blood be with us, may Your blood sanctify everything in the house, may Your blood flow over our hearts and thoughts, and may Your blood work so that Your glory can shine in us so there can be spiritual unity”. Although some people who you pray with are physically far away, spiritually they are in unity. We are going to ask for sanctification for us present here in this house so that we can communicate spiritually. Although Michelle is in a corner and I am in another corner I will know what is in Michelle and Michelle will know what’s in me.
We are going to ask for Jesus blood to react, it is now time for the blood of Jesus to touch each problem in our hearts and thoughts. As we concentrate today we have one goal, that Jesus’ blood will touch our goal. Let us stand now and sing a song. Let’s praise the Lord. You can walk around, dance, do what ever you what, but show your joy to the Lord because He is now with us.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Remember the people who wanted to go into the Holy Place? They had to purify themselves and be clean. When I fast I think of being a priest, who wants to go into that Holy place? I must be ready accordingly. If a priest entered the holy place impure he would die! Because we have Jesus Christ in us, the Holy Spirit is like a bell. He is there to show you whether you ring or not. If the Holy Spirit tells you that you have a problem with someone, you must fix it.
If you have 500 fish and one of them is rotten all of the fish will be affected. We must be careful. We must practice what Jesus did. What did Jesus do with His disciples? He said, “The time is up so manage and watch”. Take your time; think of your life and if you have a problem with God or someone else fix it and then you will be ready to pray.
The first thing we must talk about is how we must pray. Sometimes we must forget who we are and forget about the world around us to concentrate on what we are doing. When I pray I find it better to kneel down, stand up or lift up my hands, but if you can’t do it find a position that is okay for you.
Our sins separate us from God and when this happens we cannot see His glory. The very first thing I do is to ask God for forgiveness. When I do this I do what Jeremiah did in chapter 32:17-27.
‘Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You. Who shows loving kindness to thousands, but repays the sins of fathers into the bosom of their children after them, O great and mighty God. The Lord of hosts is His name. Great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, giving to everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds. Who has set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and even to this day both Israel and among mankind: and You have made a name for yourself to this day. ‘You brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with signs and with wonders, and with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm and with great terror: and gave them this land, which You swore to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey. ‘They came in took possession of it, but they did not obey Your voice or walk in Your law: they have done nothing of all that You commanded them to do: therefore You have made all this calamity come upon them. ‘Behold, the siege ramps have reached the city to take it: and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldean who fight against it, because of the sword, the famine and the pestilence: and what You have spoken has come to pass: and behold, You see it. ‘You have said to me, O Lord God, “buy for yourself the field with money and call in witnesses”-- although the city is given into the hands of the Chaldean. Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is anything too difficult for Me?”
These verses encourage me a lot. When we ask for forgiveness we must acknowledge how great God is. Don’t ask the Lord to forgive me you without acknowledging who He is and why you are asking for His forgiveness.
Tell Him, “Lord, You are the sovereign God, You are my creator and the wonders You have done in my life are really great. Your loving kindness in my life is something special to me but I carry on sinning against You, I do not respect the commands You have given me. I know that You look very carefully at what I do and I know my behaviour was wrong, so please forgive me. You promised me a country where there is milk and honey. This country is Your word because it gives us life and strength. We need this word in our lives so please forgive me Lord because I haven’t acknowledged what You told me and now I have to bear the consequence of my sin. Satan also is moving towards me and I can fall into sin at anytime, I can offend You at anytime. I have leprosy and the one who is a leper was always cast out of the camp. Lord, You would heal those who had leprosy so heal me today so that my sin (leprosy) will flee from me so I can dwell in the same camp as You. I want to be very close to You because nothing is difficult for You”. This is what we tell the Lord and then we ask God to purify us with His precious blood because His blood gives us life”.