Kimgdom, Cross, Church by Simon Ponsonby 

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 “And the Lamb Wins: Why the End of the World Is Really Good News” by Simon Ponsonby –

“KINGDOM, CROSS, CHURCH The kingdom arriving with Christ creates the church. The church is the community of those who have entered the kingdom by repenting and receiving the gospel (Mark 1:15) and been reborn by the Spirit (John 3:3, 5). The Holy Spirit applies the redemption and forgiveness purchased by Christ’s blood, transferring them from the rule of Satan to the rule of God (Col. 1:12–14). This church, living in obedience and holiness (Matt. 5—7) under the kingship of Christ as the outpost of heaven, is a kingdom of kindness, happiness, and righteousness (Rom. 14:17) where, through the presence of the Spirit and the power of the gospel, lives are restored into the image of God in Christ. Armed by the power of the Holy Spirit and the gospel of Christ, the church of God’s kingdom continually clashes with the kingdom of Satan, rescuing lives from his grip (Matt. 9:2; Luke 11:19) and advancing heaven’s rule on earth, even to the center of the Enemy’s kingdom (Acts 28:31). Wherever and whenever individuals or communities live under the royal rule, doing the will of that King, the kingdom is come. The true church, the elect body of Christ, preaches, practices, prophesies, and prepares for the kingdom, which will come in all its fullness when Christ returns and joins his bride the church (Acts 1:7). When he comes, the Lamb’s scepter will stretch over every person who has ever drawn breath, over every animal or angelic being ever created, over every place in every space, every star, galaxy, and universe—that is kingdom rule.”

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The Path To Healing

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“My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart.
For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.
Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.
Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.” – (Proverbs 4:20-27 ESV)

A godly life is a rewarding life. Godliness or holiness of the heart is not a major focus of much modern-day preaching. It seems that being culturally acceptable is our goal instead of counter-cultural discipleship. But God has always called his people to walk the ‘narrow road’ which requires us to ponder the path we are currently on. The right path  requires spiritual discipline – not legalism. We must learn to focus our thinking on “things above.”  Thinking spiritual thoughts produces peace and joy but requires grace empowered effort. Our thoughts and words help form who we are and influence our behavior.

True spiritual transformation only happens by the power of the Holy Spirit. After his accession to heaven, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to teach us God’s word, will, and his ways. And God’s ways are always holy.

If we are pursuing wisdom and instruction from our Teacher we must pay close attention to his words. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Pursuing God’s wisdom and healing should go hand -in- hand.

Dr. Michael Brown makes the point that healing in Proverbs 3:8, 4:22 doesn’t  just refer to spiritual healing but also our physical bodies. These verses indicate holistic healing. “Godly living and the fear of the Lord were expected to produce tangible results.” Brown quotes W. McKane saying, “Longevity and physical and material well-being…are important aspects of the man who keeps the words and saying of the teacher.”(1)

God is sovereign and we know that not every godly person is always healed in this lifetime, for a variety of reasons. But, that shouldn’t deter us from pursuing spiritual, mental, emotional and physical healing. King David under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in Psalm 103:2-3 said:  “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases..”

(1.) Israel’s Divine Healer, page 162.

 

 

False Prophets Vs. True Prophets

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False Prophets occupy prominent places in American Churches today. The true prophetic voices that refuse to be influenced by the spirit of the age, are few. Many preachers in America are afraid of offending their audience for fear of retaliation and rejection. But thankfully God still has true prophetic voices who are not intimidated by those who seek to silence them.

As Bible teacher Dudley Hall once said, “we can either become products of our culture or prophets to it.” If we decide to take up our crosses and follow Jesus, we will find ourselves at odds with many prevailing cultural trends.

The role of the Prophet is to declare the truth and to call the Church, and the world to repentance, even if he is misunderstood.

False prophets value fame and fortune and they misrepresent the nature of God while seeking the approval of the crowd. True prophets value the word of the LORD and embrace rejection as the price they must pay for telling the truth. They preach and live the narrow way, which is the way of holiness, not legalism.

As Michael Brown has written:

“Jesus warned His disciples against false prophets, reminding them that the way to eternal life was hard and the gate narrow (Matt. 7:13–20). He made clear that there were serious consequences for neglecting the truth (Matt. 7:21–27).

Paul warned Timothy that “a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths” (2 Tim. 4:3–4, NLT).” (1)

(1) “Jezebel’s War With America: The Plot to Destroy Our Country and What We Can Do to Turn the Tide” by Michael L. Brown
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The Prophet by Leonard Ravenhill

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“The prophet is violated during his ministry, but he is vindicated by history. He is the villain of today and the hero of tomorrow. He is excommunicated while alive and exalted when dead! He is dishonored with epithets when breathing and honored with epitaphs when dead. He is friendless while living and famous when dead. He is against the establishment in ministry; then he is established as a saint by posterity. “

A Reflection On Renewal

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We are living in a day that is similar to the time just before the first great awakening in America. In the 1700’s the Church in New England was declining both morally and spiritually. God used men like Jonathan Edwards, George Whitfield, and John Wesley to help as instruments for revival. But, unlike present day America, even during their spiritual decline, the colonies had a much stronger biblical foundation than we do today. In recent decades the Church in America has been guilty of excessive materialism and prayerlessness. And we have become biblically illiterate, and resistant to the work of the Holy Spirit.

Sadly, much of the western world is considered post Christian and it seems (looking at it through natural eyes) that this trend is irreversible. Much of Europe has only their great cathedrals to point to their past Christian heritage. And we in America point to a time when we had prayer in public schools and Christianity was generally accepted. Despite racism and other failures that are obvious to all.

But, I see what I call, pockets of resistance in Europe, Australian, and America, that are encouraging. God still has a remnant in the western world who have not bowed their knees to cultural idols. We must resist cultural Christianity and return to the faith of the early disciples.

Let’s pray for renewal in our churches so that we might see a spiritual revival in America and in the rest of the western world. God is using ordinary people in these days to pray and intercede on behalf of the Nations. We should all be challenged to pray for the greatest outpouring of the Holy Spirit in world history.

 

 

More Of The Holy Spirit: A Quote By Simon Ponsonby

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“The Holy Spirit does not want to be a marble statue at the entrance of our souls – he wants to fill every room, he wants to articulate himself, and he wants to distribute all his gifts to and through us. When I pray, ‘Come, Holy Spirit,’ or ask for more, I am not thinking of external visitation, but an internal total occupation and expression of the Spirit.” – Simon Ponsonby, More

Strangers In A Foreign Land Of Digital Delights

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I must admit that I’m happy in what author Mark Sayers calls “Non-Places.”(1) These are places where I have access to my digital world of music downloads, podcast, and my favorite T.V. dramas. Netflix, Amazon, and Facebook (even though Facebook can be stressful!) are ways to escape the harsh realities of the real world. Just give me a good book and a coffee shop and I’m content. I like to escape reality and retreat to my comfortable world. While these things can be good in moderation, they can also dry out our souls and distract us from God. The early Christians had to face the stark reality of death daily. The early Church, for the most part, was fearless. While I’m in no hurry to die and leave all my comforts – they lived like pilgrims, just passing through.

The  Church Father John Chrysostom said; “We are strangers and sojourners. Let us not grieve over  any of the world’s painful things. For if you come from a renowned country and from illustrious ancestors, and find yourself in a distant land, known to no one, having neither servants nor wealth, and then someone insults you, would you grieve as though these things had taken place at home? The knowledge that you were in a strange and foreign land would persuade you to bear all easily, and to despise hunger, thirst, and any suffering. So consider that you are a stranger and a pilgrim, and do not let anything bother you in foreign territory. You have a city whose builder and creator is God, and the journey is but for a short and little time. Let whoever wishes strike, insult, revile. We are in foreign territory, and live there in difficulty.“(2)

So instead of losing ourselves in this digital utopia we have created – maybe we need to let go of it – just a little. It might be a good idea to consider ourselves as foreigners in a strange land. And just maybe seek God for a heavenly and eternal perspective on life.

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” – Philippians 3:20 (NKJV)

(1) I recommend Mark Sayers book, Strange Days: Life In The Spirit In A Time Of Upheaval .

(2.) Learning Theology With The Church Fathers, Christopher A. Hall, page 198.

Politics And The Fear Of God

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“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” – (Proverbs 9:10) ESV

Many evangelicals in America have never had a significant encounter with the Holy Spirit. Some of us seem to be content with accepting Jesus as Savior and avoiding hell, without a real emphasis on spiritual  growth. I’m not saying that most Christian’s in the United States are not genuine believers. But, that we have embraced a form of godliness while neglecting the Holy Spirit’s transforming power. This has contributed to a carnal version of Christianity in our Country.

The removal of the supernatural element of our faith has produced many shallow and materialistic believers. And we have come to trust in and pursue political power over spiritual power.

“The fear of man lays a snare,
but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” – (Proverbs 29:25) ESV

We need to stop fearing the political left and rediscover the fear of the Lord. It’s not that we are to be afraid of God – but we must rediscover our awe and respect for him. We need to regain our  trust and confidence in His sovereignty.  I’m convinced there is no political solution to be found over this nations’ political divide. Christians must return to the spiritual roots of early Christianity,  when believers joyfully served God in a hostile culture.

Sadly, some evangelicals in America are more influenced by a political spirit than by the Holy Spirit. Our nation may never return to the way that many of us would like it to be. But, if we embrace the Kingdom of God (God’s rule) – we can walk in peace amid the political chaos of our day.

Remember the Kingdom of God is within us. And we take King Jesus wherever we go. Peace.

The Spiritual Nature Of Political Chaos

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” For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. – Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” – Ephesians 6:12-13 ESV

We are living in very dark times in America today. Political division is causing great anxiety in this country. Many in the evangelical community have lost sight of the spiritual nature of this battle. Social media and the news media has been weaponized and used to divide our nation.

We are now deeply entrenched in a political civil war that is the result of  cultural chaos. We could blame the Russians, the Chinese or middle eastern countries that hate us. While there are forces outside this country that want to bring us down; our biggest enemy is us.

We’ve allowed spiritual darkness into our Churches and our culture. In fact there is very little difference in the lifestyle choices of those of us who claim to follow Jesus and those who don’t.  I could give multiple examples of this, but I won’t in this post.

The fact of the matter is we live in a materialistic culture that understands very little about supernatural cosmic beings. And the consequences of opening spiritual doors through rebellion to God’s revealed truth and authority. This has given dark powers greater access to the very soul of our nation.

Quite simply, much of the cultural and political chaos we are now experiencing is the result of a anti-supernatural worldview in the American church. Many of us have been more focused on the political landscape than what is going on in the spiritual realm.

A return to prayer is desperately needed. And following Jesus’ example of blessing and serving those who hate us. I’m not saying Christians shouldn’t be involved in politics. But that we need to understand the ‘powers’ behind political ideologies on the right and the left. As followers of Jesus we must come to terms with what the Apostle Paul wrote, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood..”