Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hard Hearts

There is no power, person or problem that can stand in defiance to the living God & overcome Him. Through His commands mountains move & worlds are formed. He has completely overcome the world through the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

This Awesome God, who has overcome the world, now lives within us. Therefore, there is no power, person or problem that can stand in defiance against us and overcome if we allow the Holy Spirit to reign and rule in our lives.

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost is about the Spirit of God residing within us, giving us the ability to overcome every power, person or problem. This is why the Apostle Paul so confidently encourages the Christian to live blamelessly within this world and to overcome all sinfulness that stands in defiance to the living God.

The Holy Spirit, who now lives within us, causes us to become more aware of His desires. He corrects, teaches, rebukes encourages, prompts & convicts the Christian of sin.

Without this working of the Holy Spirit in our lives we are unable to live this life in holiness and righteousness. We quickly return to behavior that looks more like the behavior of those who do not have the Holy Spirit.

But for many Christians, we have ignored the promptings of the Holy Spirit & have become more concerned for the things of this world. When He prompted us into works of service or simply to come away from the noise of the surrounds & be with Him, we ignored Him. When He convicted us of our sin, we hardened our hearts, so we could continue in sinful behavior.

The Holy Spirit has continually been working this way within us and we have repeatedly responded with hard hearts.

Before long our hearts grew calloused and the promptings from the Holy Spirit became less apparent to us. The conviction of sin became dull and those awesome moments in His Presence became rare – All because we hardened our hearts.

Now many of us have become like those who don’t have Spirit – We no longer have confidence in the power of God to transform our lives, marriages, children, ministry, finances, church and nation.

When the Holy Spirit was active in our lives we failed to respond adequately. He understood that we only wanted Him when suitable to us. Now many of us are left with a form of godliness that lacks any power to transform lives.

Soften your heart – find those calluses and remove them through repentance and obedience. Pray to be freshly filled with the Holy Spirit who enables you to overcome all things and obey Him when He prompts & convicts you.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

24 Things You Can Do To Stop Human Trafficking

1. Tell others- Expose the truth about modern-day slavery. Make sure everyone knows the 27 million dirtiest secrets. Research on your own at websites such as: www.faastinternational.orgwww.iast.net (initiative Against Trafficking)www.freetheslaves.netwww.state.gov/TIP

2. Invest in Change- Support those on the frontlines and enable them to make a difference. Help fund the most effective project to reduce slavery and care for its victims like:

3. Consume wisely- Hold businesses accountable and ask corporations to join the fight. Buy Fair Trade products like coffee and chocolate. Spend a little more on Fair Trade websites like:
www.greatergood.com or www.tenthousandvillages.com

4. Watch- Keep an eye out and don’t turn away. If you suspect slavery or exploitation, cal the national trafficking hotline: 888-3737-888

5. Write- Do you know any journalists? Encourage newspapers, magazines and television stations to publish or to write stories about modern-day slavery, and how to stop it.

6. Tourism Matters- Visit the Trafficking in Persons Report from the State Department (State.gov/TIP). Find out which countries are the worst trafficking offenders. Write a letter to their travel bureau and tell them you won’t visit the country until they address the issue.

7. Purchase- Buying products made by survivors helps ensure their self-sufficiency. Shop at the Emancipation Network’s

8. Make help available- Place coasters at bars and sleeves for coffee cups to promote the hotline (888-3737-888). In public places, disseminate posters, brochures and other materials about trafficking. Download them from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at:

9. Organize- Organize your community to address the issue. For tips, see

10. Advocate for change- call or write your elected officials. Tell them that you care about the issue of human trafficking and want stronger laws to protect victims. Keep telling them. Get news from
www.polarisproject.org on how to engage in political action and advocacy- P.O. Box 32489 Newark, NJ 07102. Tel- 973-624-5454; email- nj@polarisproject.org.

11. Give healthcare- Help collect and pack medical supplies and equipment to be sent to shelters for survivors. Check out Giving Children Hope-

12. Walk- Global March has freed over 60,000 slaves in India. Their marches promote education for children instead of forced labor and exploitation:

13. Cybervention- Make sure trafficking does not happen on the internet. Keep an eye on Craigslist and advertising spaces. Write to Craig’s list and ask that they stop allowing people to be sold on their listing.

14. Fight Sex Tourism- Ask travel agencies, hotels and tour operators to sign the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children in Travel and Tourism (

15. Prepare caretakers- Encourage healthcare providers and law enforcement officials to be aware of the signs of human trafficking. Download resource guides from
www.ach.hhs.gov/trafficking. Get the information to school nurses, clinics and urgent care centers.

16. Rescue victims- pressure for raids of forced labor and slavery situations. Lawyers can make a bid difference in advocating for legal investigation and prosecuting perpetrators. Have them join the team at International Justice Mission,

17. Go- volunteer with organizations caring for survivors. Help build shelters. Teach English. Provide skills training. Ask the organization how you can help.

18. Slave-Free Campuses- Start a group at your school or university, and make sure your campus is free of products made with slave labor.

19. Safeguard transportation- ask airlines to provide training manuals to all their flight attendants on how to watch for victims being trafficked. Find the manual at

20. Remember the facts- memorize the statistics about child and sex slavery. Tell people to memorize the National Human Trafficking Resource Center number: 888-3737-888.

21. Faith, Schools and Freedom- Help your faith community or school become an Abolitionist Organization. Find theses handbook in the action downloads section at:

22. Get insights from the UN- learn more and find expert advice in the UN’s toolkit to combat trafficking:

23. Do what you love- Use your talents to fight slavery. Do an art project and display it in a public place. Film a movie on the state of modern-day slavery. Write about the issue and post it on blogs.

24. Pray…pray…pray… “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.” Ps. 89:14.
(Source Unknown)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ever Increasing Glory

The book of Ezekiel gives us an extraordinary insight into the passion of God in wanting to dwell amongst His people. In Ezekiel Chapter 10 we see God moving throughout the Temple before reluctantly departing altogether. In a bizarre display, He moves from above the Cherubim within the Holy of Holies to the threshold of the Temple, then from the Threshold of the Temple back to above the Cherubim. Then from above the Cherubim again, to the East Gate of the Temple, before departing the Temple for the Mountain outside.

The prophet Ezekiel is at pains to highlight the reluctance of God in departing from amongst His people. God desires to remain amongst his people, but the reality is that the people continue their religious practices, unaware that the Temple is empty. Ezekiel highlights the heartbreaking truth that the people never noticed God when He was in the Temple and now, once again, the Glory of the Lord has departed. A Godless Temple makes a Godless people comfortable.

In chapter 47 the prophet Ezekiel describes in another vision a temple with water streaming out from under the threshold of the Temple and heading in an easterly direction. In the vision he measures the water which appears to get deeper & wider the further from the Temple it goes. When it finally enters the Dead Sea it transforms into a haven for living creatures. This ever increasing River of Life running from the Temple refreshes all that it comes into contact with. It flows deeper & wider the further from the Temple it flows and refreshes all who come into contact with it.

Almost 600 years later during the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus stands up and addresses the crowd in Jerusalem saying “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scriptures has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him, were later to receive”.

The Temple the prophet Ezekiel saw in his vision with streams of living water flowing in an ever increasing measure is the New Covenant believer. No longer does God dwell in buildings made of human hands, He dwells within people fashioned from the clay by the hands of God, and out of these people flows an ever increasing glory that brings life & refreshing.

In 2 Corinthians 3 the Apostle Paul describes the Glory of the New Covenant as an ever increasing Glory. There are no limits, it continues on without any bounds. From within the New Covenant believer flows this ever increasing Glory of the New Covenant!

My soul thirsts.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Dying to Sin, Self & the World

In the last few years I have been deeply impacted as I have begun to understand the significance of Christ crucified; Christ resurrected & our union with Him. After nearly 20 years of Church involvement, including Pastoring & Church Planting the Lord brought me to a crisis of Holiness as I begun to understand the Book of Romans.

I recognise that I have polluted every gift/talent/task that God has ever given me. The purity of the gift/talent/task that God gave me has been spoiled because of my ambition and self-importance. I enjoyed 'doing the work of the Lord' and being the person that could be relied on for the 'word of the Lord' because it fed and excited the sinful nature within me - Oh how my heart deceived me. Sin, seized the opportunity to deceive me and I was deceived.

'I am convinced that nothing good lives in me, that is, my sinful nature' & I am convinced that the sinful nature within me deliberately leads me away from God, every opportunity it gets. My dilemma is that it is not only my sinful nature that deceives and entices me away from the Lord; I am also enticed away by sin and the world. I recognise that my sinful nature, sin & the world are all battling against my desire to be holy and live intimately with the Lord.

For many years, I have recognised the terrible effects of my sinful nature, sin & the world upon me, however, I was unable to live free from their entangling effects and as a result I learnt to be satisfied with the cycle of sin-confession-forgiveness-sin-confession-forgiveness-sin-confession-forgiveness-sin......The high & holy standards of the Bible seemed beyond me, and beyond all those I turned too for Godly counsel.

I lived in this state for too long - A slave to sin while trying to be a slave/friend to God. Despite my failures, I continued to preach/teach the high & holy standards of God’s Word because I understood that I had ‘fallen short’ and needed to change, rather than God’s expectations were too high.

I was in a dilemma – I wanted to be holy and live a life free from wilful & deliberate sin but I was unable – my sinful nature, sin & the world kept getting the better of me.

Bible study, revival meetings, prayer meetings, fellowship groups, accountability groups, passion, evangelism, worship and self control all were an active part of my life but they all failed to restrain the sinful nature within me. I was still a slave to sin, despite my active and ongoing involvement in these things.

My ‘falling short’ was now increasingly grieving me.

During this time the Lord turned my attention to the Book of Romans which caused me further grief, particularly chapters 5 through 8.

The understanding of what Christ accomplished on the cross overwhelmed me. I discovered that:

In the same way I was ‘in Adam’ during his rebellion, I was ‘in Christ’ during his obedience that led him to the cross.

I easily recognised the results of being ‘in Adam’ during his rebellion – I was a slave to sin and unable to live free from wilful & deliberate sin. But the Word of God revealed to me that I was also ‘in Christ’ during his obedience that led him to the cross.

The reality of being ‘in Christ’ during his obedience that led him to the cross changes everything for me. When Christ died for my sin at Calvary, I was ‘in Him’ and I died to my sin. That death to sin has now put me out of sins reach and beyond its power. My death ‘in Christ’ has separated me from sin.

In the same way that I was ‘in Christ’ during his obedience that led him to the cross, I was also ‘in Christ’ when he was resurrected.

Because I was ‘in Christ’ in his death, I am also ‘in Christ’ in his resurrection. ‘In Christ’ I have entered into death and have passed through the grave into a new life’ ‘in Christ’.

This new life is not a resumption of the old. That old life has died ‘in Christ’. But rather it is a new and completely different life, free from the penalty and power of sin. The sinful nature, sin & the world can’t pass through the grave together with me, they ended at the cross.

I passed through the grave ‘in Christ’ and was resurrected into a position of righteousness before the Father (Justification). I died and it is no longer I that lives, but Christ who lives in me.

I am in ‘union with Christ’ to the point where we are inherently within one another.

The Scriptures teach that we are in ‘union with Christ’. It was my ‘union with Christ’ that kept me ‘in Him’ through his death & resurrection and it is that union that comforts, encourages and strengthens me in this new life that he has given me.

If I was ‘in Christ’ through death & resurrection I am confident that I am ‘in Christ’ through every circumstance in this new life. The depth of that union is emphasised in John 14 & 15 where Jesus reveals that He is ‘in the Father’ & the Father is ‘in Him’. In the same way we are ‘in Christ’ and Christ is ‘in us’.

The Father & Christ are inherently within one another – Christ & us are inherently within one another. Therefore, whatever circumstances are before me, I face them with the full knowledge & confidence that Christ who is in me has already overcome all things. I don’t face the circumstances alone, the Creator and Liberator of the Universe is ‘stuck with me’ – wherever I go, he goes, we remain in union – comforting & disturbing.

Because of my union with Christ, he enters into all my circumstances and suffers together with me. His responsibility is to either give me enough grace to pass through the circumstance or miraculously remove the circumstances from me. If he chooses to give me enough grace to pass through the circumstance then he passes through together with me – If I suffer, he suffers with me.

It is this understanding of my participation with Christ in his death & resurrection and the knowledge that we are inherently within one another that has transformed every area of my life.

I once attempted to imitate Christ with miserable results. I now rest in the knowledge that I died ‘in Christ’ to my sinful nature, sin and the world; I was resurrected ‘in Christ’ into a position of righteousness beyond the reach of sin; and I am now inherently in union with Christ.

This knowledge has produced faith within me that has significantly affected the way I live. I now understand what Christ accomplished and that accomplishment affects all my actions. When faced with sin, I recognise its powerlessness because of Calvary and I recognise the power & wisdom of the Son of God, who I am in union with.

In the Book of 1 Corinthians the Apostle Paul corrects wrong behaviour in the Corinthian Church by first correcting wrong theology. It was that wrong theology that allowed the believers to behave in a way that missed God’s intended purpose. Wrong theology together with a lack of theology will always lead to destruction.

The contemporary Church is no different from the errant Corinthians almost 2000 years ago. Our wrong theology & lack of theology has led us to a path that will ultimately end in our destruction.

Coupled with this understanding of what Christ accomplished for me in his death & resurrection, is also the knowledge that I need to embrace the cross daily & die to self. I recognise that each day I face new assaults from the sinful nature, sin & the world and if I don’t continue to die to self, I am in danger of resurrecting all that awfulness (me) that died ‘in Christ’ at Calvary. I will become a terrible contradiction – ‘in Christ’ & ‘In Adam’ – God forbid. I died to sin, how can I go on living in it!

Dying to self requires determinations like that of Jesus when he set his face towards Jerusalem & would not let anything distract him from making it to Calvary. For Jesus, it was a deliberate act. He committed himself to travelling the path that the Father had set before him & we likewise need to trust the Father to bring about His purpose, which is our dying to self on a daily basis.

My reason in writing this is because many within the contemporary Church have missed the basics of the Christian life and have become fascinated with matters that have the appearance of ‘deep spirituality’ but really are deceiving doctrines of demons. They have become deceived because they missed the basics of the Christian life and much of the fault is that of church leaders who failed to secure men & women in the Word of God. The wrong behaviour manifested amongst believers is the result of wrong theology & a lack of theology taught in the pulpits.

These men & women who have become fascinated with matters that have the appearance of ‘deep spirituality’ are undoubtedly slaves to sin. The sinful nature, sin and the world has deceived them and led them away from the Lord into behaviour that is offensive & betrays our Lord.

These men & women need to return to the basics of the faith and let the cross of Christ transform them, their marriages, families, friends, churches, finances, employment and ministry.

The extent to which a man or a woman, who has been redeemed, can have confidence that their thoughts & actions are holy & pure, is the extent to which that person has crucified the sinful nature. The redeemed man or woman who has learned to live together with their sin can never have confidence that their actions are holy & pure. They are a contradiction, living both ‘in Christ’ & ‘in sin’. They are a mixture, spoiling every gift/talent/task that God has given them.