Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Disrespecting God’s Presence

This past Saturday, one of our members was speaking to another member, sharing Scriptures after the service was dedicated to the Lord through prayer. Although it was appropriate, the gathering was handed to the Lord through prayer and we had to submit ourselves to the Lord by allowing Him to minister to us. This incident was very displeasing to the Lord and the member received a message of rebuke through Charis for disrespecting God’s Presence. This is the reason for the message I’m presenting to you today. The Lord told Charis that I should write an article about disrespecting God’s Presence.

Let me fall with the door in the house (Africans/Dutch expression meaning “getting to the point” or “being direct”): disrespecting God’s Presence is a common practice in the assembly of the brethren. This might be a well observed practice by the church leadership, but the individual members of the body are often guilty of being disruptive and noisy when either a prayer or word is being delivered. This practice was strongly rebuked by the apostle Paul (Acts 16:16-18). Our Lord also strongly rebuked and silenced evil spirits when they tried to disrupt His meetings (Mark 1:23-25). In both instances, these evil spirits confessed the truth. As truthful as they were, it is DISRESPECTFUL to disrupt someone when the WORD OF GOD is being delivered!

Ways of Disrespecting God’s Presence

We often hear and read that we must not grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). Have you ever considered how we grieve Him? We will look at some of the ways we grieve the Holy Spirit of God; this might not be an exhaustive list, but included the most common practices in the church. I am using the word ‘church’ in a broad sense and not necessarily pointing to a particular church or congregation. The apostles always used the word church to refer to the Body of believers wherever they are or meet (Romans 12:4-5; Ephesians 5:30; Colossians 1:18). In this presentation, church is simply referring to an assembly of believers in the name of the Lord. This includes your home church, your mega-church or your street assembly.

The Lord confirms this view of church by saying: “For where two or three are gathered in My name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20 NRSV). This is referring to the spiritual Presence of the Lord. Given to our unique experience with the Lord, I will also share a few examples of corrections that we received from the Lord.

Laughing during prayer: It is sinful and grieving to the Holy Spirit of God to laugh when someone is praying. We are gathered in the Lord’s Presence and through Christ’s sacrifice we have been granted direct access to God’s Mercy Throne (Hebrews 4:16). The Lord issued a stern warning to a member of our ministry for this oversight. You will be better served if you refrain from laughing while others are petitioning the Lord for Mercy.

Speaking during preaching: It is disrespectful and sinful to speak while a minister of the Word of God is delivering a message. I got a shocking rebuke myself for distracting someone from the message that was intended to foster an obedient loving relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Talking during Bible reading: One evening, during our family devotional time, someone was reading from the Bible while some of us were smiling at an incident and this was very displeasing to the Lord. He gave each one of us a warning, saying that this is disrespectful to God. Some might find this too religious; but consider how annoying it is to talk while someone is busy speaking to you. Again, the message being read is intended for your correction or edification.

Walking out during prayer or preaching: I have witnessed how services are being disrupted when people are walking in and out during the ministering of the Word and during prayers. This is especially common in large gatherings. This is disturbing to others and to God. We have been specifically instructed by the Lord to be still in his Presence during devotional times and to keep children away from our meetings during prayers, worship or any gathering in His name. Since children exercise very poor self-control, Satan easily makes them disruptive. This may not be a problem for you if have a separate prayer room where children are not able to interrupt. As a home ministry, we allow our children time of worship by themselves, but under supervision. We also allow children to pray by themselves, and during our devotional times we pray with them. When children operate in a group, some are disruptive while they are trying to draw attention to themselves. Similarly, there are some people who disrupt services by claiming to be led by the Holy Spirit; this is unscriptural conduct. God is not the author of confusion and our spirits are under our control (1 Corinthians 14:32-33).

We often think the Lord is not interested in our services; this is so deceiving! God wants to minister to us by directing the way we conduct ourselves in His Presence.

In conclusion, what we share with you is a first-hand experience with the Lord. We deliver our messages as eyewitnesses. The Lord is confirming Biblical truth and teaches us how to apply it. So, don’t be afraid of revealed truth, whether in vision or through an inspired utterance. The tests all revealed truth must stand up to are: Does a message or vision glorify Christ? Does it lead you to fear the Lord? Are you being corrected in godliness? And, does it compliment biblical truth?

This short article is with love from our Lord Jesus Christ to you. We have also added a new vision on despising warnings; kindly heed and reap the eternal benefits!

Have you been, in any way, disrespecting God’s presence? Here is a Prayer of Sincere Repentance. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Your brother in our common faith,

Glenn van Rooyen.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Undermining God’s Authority

The Lord Jesus Christ issued this statement: “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Luke 16:13-14 NIV). When the Pharisees heard this, they tried to undermine the authority of the Lord and His saving message: “The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering (Scoffing or mocking) at Jesus (Luke 16: 14 NIV).

What We Mean By “Undermining”

Before I present our message, let me clarify the word ‘undermine’. While many people are familiar with this term, we have also learned that people in other parts of the world may not use this word the way we, in South Africa (or certain sections of our society), do. This, however, is the word the Lord used when He gave Charis the message for me to write about. So, when we use the word undermine, we refer to “underestimate,” “disparage,” “challenge” or “subvert.” These synonyms are the closest to what we mean when we use the term undermine.

Truth is universal in application; it is cultures that alter the meaning of a message. This should not be the case in our articles; we might be vague in our presentation due to our cultural use of English, but the truth is substantiated through the relevant Scriptures which apply cross-culturally.

The Mistake of the Children of Israel

Without reciting the entire relationship between God and the children of Israel, Moses charged the children of Israel to “Be careful to obey all these regulations I am giving you, so that it may always go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is good and right in the eyes of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 12:28 NIV). When Moses recited the law to the children of Israel, the covenant between God and the Israelites was already in effect (Exodus 24:8). They were reminded to be faithful. This was a lasting covenant sealed with the blood of calves.

This type of covenant or agreement between God and man becomes binding to both parties and cannot be revoked. As the children of Israel moved further away from God and violated His commands, God in His Righteousness fulfilled what He promised – His blessings for obedience and punishment for disobedience (Joshua 14-16; Jeremiah 52). They undermined the covenant (agreement) and like all contractual agreements between people, if we fail to honour them, we would also have agreed to suffer the consequences. Likewise, the terms of benefits (Blessings) and loses (curses/punishment) were enumerated beforehand so that the Israelites could operate accordingly (Deuteronomy 28:1-68).

Through this unfaithfulness by His people, God moved away from this covenant and promised a new covenant (Hebrews 8:7-13; Jeremiah 31:31-34). Furthermore, as the first covenant had regulations, even so does the new covenant (Hebrews 6:4-8). I do not wish to go into a deeper discussion regarding the new and old covenants; the point I am making is that in both dispensations we undermine the value of our commitments through disobedience. In the Israelites example, God in His Mercy made repeated calls through His prophets for repentance and submission to Him and as the Israelites yielded to Him, He would bless them and grant them success (Judges 2:18-23). These were the terms of the covenant: blessings for obedience, and curses and judgements for disobedience (Deuteronomy 28:1-68). The Lord has not changed as we know it; He still requires obedience from His children in order to enjoy the benefits of obedience (Matthew 6:33). Today, many people live disobediently, and when we are being confronted through rebukes we cite God’s love and mercy to hide behind our sins. As a condition, this ministry has been brought into life by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He has ordained this part of His body to expose and speak out against sinful behaviour (Lamentations 2:14). We have shared our testimonies with you in great humility, showing you the sins the Lord exposed in us as a warning to you (See Life through experiences with the Lord Jesus Christ Part I and Part II).These examples express how deeply the Lord loves you, by sparing you the pain of embarrassment. We receive His sharp rebukes and we humbly share our pain with you for your correction. This is meant to make you fear Him and walk carefully.

The Common Mistake We Make

The church is in passive rebelliousness against the Lord. Some church leaders have gone to the extent of misrepresenting the Scriptures to justify certain Biblically forbidden behaviours. We are taught to make peace with sin by doing it because God is Merciful and Gracious (Exodus 34:6). God commands His great Mercy towards us to lead us to repentance (Romans 2:4). His Mercy provides for repentance, but our stubbornness and disobedience are leading us to store up wrath against ourselves (Romans 2:5; Exodus 34:7). The full extent of God’s love and mercy is better appreciated when our walk with Him is pure in humble submission. Remember: if His Mercy is available for our repentance, it means we receive back acceptance into His Presence; but our stubborn rebellious ways turn mercy into wrath!

I am going to share a short testimony on how I undermined the Word of God coming through my daughter Charis, and the Power of His authority. I accepted the words He gave concerning others, but I was in the habit of denying my own faults. I undermined His words even to the extent of mocking some of the messages He gave. A few days later, the Lord gave Charis an open vision when she was still awake and He said: Your father must watch his mouth! When she shared this with me, I was gripped with a deep fear for God and I repented and received His loving mercy. On another occasion, I was overcome with anger, which led me to sin and stubbornness. The following day the Lord brought me a SERIOUS message containing word “very” five (5) times. This in itself had me deeply, deeply, very deeply worried. I humbled myself and repented but this did not prevent the Lord from coming after me with a sharp rebuke. I was blasted, cut in pieces by the Words of His mouth through Charis (Hosea 6:5). In acknowledgment, what was said was all true; I lamented that rebuke many days thereafter and in His Mercy I was healed as I drew close to Him. I therefore encourage you, STOP your wilful sin and don’t undermine God’s messages to you. If this message through us, the Bible, or others, exposes your sins and encourages correction, then it is from God; please repent because it is for your own well-being. Let us not undermine our salvation and mock correction; God wants to save us from His wrath (Proverbs 3:11).

In conclusion, STOP criticising what is meant to lead you to repentance. If you do so, the Lord sees you as ungrateful and rebellious. He will visit you in judgement and your will be ashamed! I have read words of vitriolic/bitter criticism from Christians against other Christians. This is shameful! This undermines the grace of God and His command to love, pray and forgive our brethren (Romans 12:9-18). By allowing yourself to be corrected, you will live.

Have you been, in any way, undermining the Lord Jesus Christ, His Word or His Messages through His servants? Here is a Prayer of Sincere Repentance. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Yours in submissive love,

Brother Glenn.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Terrible Consequences of BEING FORWARD

Understanding Our Messages

Brethren, as you know by now, our Lord Jesus Christ is speaking to my daughter Charis every night. When He appears, her spirit leaves and she joins the Lord in our backyard to hear what He is going to say. We have no idea what the Lord is going to say unless He tells us the previous day what He is coming for. Previously, I used to pray about one week in advance what I was going to write about and then decide on a subject, until we committed this online ministry to the Lord. If we commit our work to the Lord, we relinquish all authority and control over that work (Proverbs 16:3; 3:5-6). Today, the Lord is providing messages every Monday morning on what we may share with you. This is extremely important for the life of this ministry and our messages. The Lord knows people’s hearts, and being our Judge, allowing Him to provide our messages is beneficial in every way to our walk with Him.

As for visions, this is also decided by the Lord. He gives visions but He also says which ones must be shared on the website. He reveals the visions as warnings and the messages as teachings so that we may do and bear fruit. Furthermore, the Lord has instructed that we take a Scriptural approach when presenting our messages. This is to align all messages to the Bible. We provide the Scriptural references so that your walk with God could be equated with a Biblical foundation. Also, the Lord is aware that there are brethren who visit this website only to read visions and dreams; this is not a mark of a humble and faithful Christian. A true Christian builds his life upon Word-based teachings and bears fruit. He will endure through faithfulness and obedience when the one who likes visions has long forgotten the visions. Our testimony and faith cannot be built on visions alone but the Word. The apostle Paul said the one speaking the Word is greater because he instructs others in right living (1 Corinthians 14:19). In conclusion to this matter, visions are great and awesomely inspiring when reading them, but WORD POWER is even GREATER and ENDURING! Let us desire both and the combination would be HEAVENLY!!!

Forward People in the Bible

The word "forward," as used in this article, refers to acting or doing something quickly and without thought or care. It can also mean being impulsive or rushing to do something without permission or authority.

Being forward is not a calling. When God calls us into His service it is first of all an honor, but most of all it is for God’s own glory and pleasure (Leviticus 8:12).

If we act forward we dishonour the Lord. Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu were consumed by fire for being forward (Leviticus 10:1).

The seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were brutally attacked by a demon possessed man for being forward and invoking the name of our Lord Jesus Christ without being right with God and authority from above (Acts 19:14).

The apostle Peter, being impetuous and forward, was granted mercy when the Lord prayed for him not to lose his faith after the betrayal incident (Luke 22:31-33).

“Uzzah reached out to the ark of God and took hold of it, because the oxen had stumbled” (2 Samuel 6:8 Holman CSB). This particular incident had many people talking more especially theologians who argued why God struck a man who meant well when he tried to steady the ark. When the ark returned from the Philistines it needed no guide, the men of Beth-shemesh were struck by God for looking into the ark (1 Samuel 6). Like Uzzah, the folks were forward and this caused them their lives.

In another incident, Korah, Dathan and Abiram rebelled against Moses. These men took 250 prominent leaders and confronted Moses and Aaron. In their forwardness, they incited rebellion and division in the Israelite camp (Numbers 16). Their end was disastrous!

What We Experienced As a Ministry

When the Lord first started speaking to Charis, we did not tell anybody except a few close people. Gradually, the Lord told us to tell some people about our experience with Him. This is when I started sharing some visions and testimonies. If we had acted forward, people would not have believed our testimony. There had to be some Supernatural revelation to provide evidence, and this was proven when I shared the account on how I got a job (see “Why do you have your shoes on wrongly?” article). Biblically, when the Lord sent out Moses, He gave Him Supernatural signs to prove the message of the Sender (Genesis 4).

Furthermore, we have had people who came to us and made various suggestions on how we are to conduct our services and even share the revelations coming from the Lord. The Lord tested us to see if we would do as we are being told or would we instead obey Him. These people as they persisted became frustrated and left our ministry. They were then allowed the opportunity to do as they advised and in their zeal they ended up failing like Korah and his followers (Numbers 16).

Some brethren, including myself, did not escape the Lord’s sharp rebuke for being forward. I was told point blank by the Lord, Your father must stop thinking he is the leader, and I AM the leader”. This rebuke stung me for many days, and as the wounds of these words healed I submitted myself to the Lord. I got this rebuke because I tried to change the children’s witnessing plan, going against the word of the Lord.

In another incident, a brother who was born again and delivered from demonic influences in this ministry, also tried to tell us how to conduct our services and spend the Lord’s money. When we asked the Lord on what he was suggesting the Lord replied exposing his greedy motives and he was subsequently expelled from the ministry. Although the Lord forgave him and allowed him back into the ministry, he decided not to return. This is the price of being forward.

Finally, brethren I am not trying to elevate church authority here. When we become saved, we are placed into the care of experienced believers by the Lord. This is done so that we may grow in the Word and start bearing fruit for service. As we grow, we start seeing the mistakes of the church and the Lord wants to use us right there to correct the leadership (1 Samuel 3).This was done because sin was practiced and God was displeased. Do not try to be forward like Korah who used rebellion to promote self-gain. We act forward only when rebelliousness is being encouraged against God.

Similarly, there is a countless number of ministers of the gospel who attempted and still do, to reveal the mystery of the Lord’s coming. Some have given certain signs, while others set dates and explain certain political events as possible ‘signs of the times’. These forward speculators accredit themselves of being long time Biblical scholars. In their long service and influences from their peers they are still getting it wrong. Our encouragements to our forward brothers and sister is for them to concentrate on soul winning, and leave the Lord God to unlock the mysteries at His proper timing. “It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority” (Acts 1:7 Holman CSB). If we act forward, we grieve the Holy Spirit, and like the examples above, we suffer the consequences.

The Lord bless you!

Brother Glenn.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Having a Caring Spirit

The Fruit of Our Faith is Obedience to God in Service to Others
Caring can be defined as “showing kindness to others who are unable to care for themselves.” In this article, we would look at the practical application of caring and from a Scriptural perspective. There are many fine theories out there about caring. Sadly, most of the approaches are academic and they lack in many respects the emotional appeal. There is a vast difference between helping someone who comes to us for help and truly being caring proactively. In my understanding, caring conveys the emotional connection and we care for the well-being of others.

Personally the year 2009 was the most trying time to me and my family. As a father and breadwinner, I was unemployed for a full year. Our bond or mortgage repayments ran high and we lived on hand-outs and the care of others. During this time, we learned that human care is selective and always wants something back in return. I had God in my life, but things were going tough. We were members of a local church, but the help of the church was invisible even though they knew about our situation. Please note, I am not mentioning this to discredit any ministry; instead, I am using this to provoke you to action as an individual member of the body.

As it is, things became so bad that I even thought this was going to adversely affect my marriage and my children. I pondered many options including selling our house. I praise the Lord those sleepless nights made me pray continuously. Some people avoided us because of our problem and this made us determined not to go bother them for help. My father, my sisters and brethren in the Lord turned their backs on us. The Lord was showing us that reliance on the arm of flesh instead of Him was a curse: “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe” (Proverbs 29:25); “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit (Jeremiah 17:5-8).This led me to turn to God. My wife and I committed to fast for seven (7) days for a job for me. By the third day into our fasting, the Lord Jesus Christ not only blessed me with a job, but He blessed us with the best and greatest gift: His message through my daughter Charis. He opened her spiritual eyes so that she may see His form and then He took care of all our problems (1 Peter 5:7). I briefly mentioned our full testimony in an article, Prayer: The Key to All Problems”. After our physical needs were met, He established this ministry as evidence of our testimony. In my experience with the Lord, if we show care to others, the Lord Himself will show care to us. As a Kingdom principle, God provides as we sow (Matthew 5:7).

In our recent article of helpfulness we pointed out that believers should practice open-handedness (Deuteronomy 15:7-11). This is a different Christian experience altogether; we sometimes help with little care, and sometimes to ease our guilt. This is not entirely wrong; remember helping is a Christian ministry to support the body and the needy around us (1 Corinthians 12:28). Caring mainly involves our emotional connection through some physical contact (Matthew 25:35-36; Luke 10:25-37). This is the Lord’s message of love to the person being cared for, if a believer acted from the heart. The recipient will feel it and give back love through appreciation, thanksgiving and praise to our Heavenly Father (2 Corinthians 9:11).

Caring: A Gift of God Through The Holy Spirit

The Lord once gave me a word through Charis to preach about the Holy Spirit. As I was preaching, I felt the fire on my tongue. I became totally controlled by the Holy Spirit as He spoke through me. During this sermon, the Lord revealed to me that His work is authenticated or proven truthful through the Holy Spirit. Our Lord Jesus Christ was identified as the Son of God with Power through the Holy Spirit (John 1:33; John 10:37). Therefore, if a gift is performed and it is from God, it has to be through the Holy Spirit and Christ must be glorified as God’s salvation to mankind (John 15:26). In addition, before the believers were sent out to preach, they were instructed to wait for the promised Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).

While this is not a complete teaching on the Holy Spirit, it is necessary to point to the Source of our ministry. The gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit is identified by those who have the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14-15). Thus, caring being an outward manifestation of the fruit of kindness gives meaning to the Christian message. The receiver of our care would in return like to acknowledge the Giver through thanksgiving and praise (2 Corinthians 9:10-15). Our Lord Jesus Christ, pointed to God’s glory and character by saying: “If I am not doing My Father’s works, don’t believe Me. But if I am doing them and you don’t believe Me, believe the works. This way you will know and understand that the Father is in me and I in the Father” (John 10:37-38).

Having said so, our Lord was referring to the outward manifestation of God’s care for mankind. The evidence of God’s love was demonstrated through various miracles, caring and healing of people (Acts 10:38). It was easy for people to identify love and the Source of it. The disobedient believer does not care about others; he is blinded by his own selfishness and what he can get. The Lord Jesus pointed to the evidence of His message, His works coming from Someone – God. Does your work reflect the fruit of obedience or are you just a talker? Is there evidence of God’s message in you through your fruit [works?] (Galatians 5:22). Does your care originate from self-praise or are we able to identify the Source who sends you so that we may honour Him? (John 9:36-38).

Experiences of Caring

In the Bible, we read the account of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Great parable! It is often good to hear some heart-warming stories and experiences about others; but can others tell a story about us? Also, when our Lord considered His future return with rewards for the obedient and punishment for the wicked (Matthew 25:31-46), He pointed to our works as individuals. The Lord is being referred to as having compassion on the needy, sick and the forgotten outcast of society (Matthew 9:36, 14:14, 15:32; Luke 15:20, 7:13). He did not just have compassion, but He actually addressed their plight. Christ, being the Creator of man, (Colossians 1:15-19) knew that people need an emotional experience, which is evidence of love and care. When a message has long been preached, the emotional touch remains. This is what people hold on to, something that appealed to an inner need. This gives people great peace and comfort and life is being celebrated in thanksgiving to God.

I always become emotional when I read this account, “Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt!” Jacob was stunned, for he did not believe them. BUT when they told Jacob all that Joseph had said to them, and when he SAW the WAGONS that Joseph had sent to transport him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. Then Israel said, “ENOUGH! My son Joseph is still alive. I will go to see him before I die.” (Genesis 45:26-28 Holman CSB).

Evidently, Jacob was moved emotionally when he said ‘Enough!’ He accepted the testimony of his sons concerning Joseph as truthful when he ‘SAW the WAGONS’ (witness to experience). In other words, Jacobs’s sons’ witness to their father that Joseph was alive and in testimony they produce evidence (works as witness). A question for you: when you bring your Christian message to people, do you bring something they can relate to emotionally?

Brethren, while I am aware that our message is filled with emotion to evoke guilt, compassion and care, I am referring to us giving ourselves over in service to others through our emotions in response to their situation. Similarly, we are aware that some people fake care through false emotions to fool and deceive. This can be easily recognised when we perceive that someone suddenly acts caring. They help because they have some personal interest and not the well-being of the cared person. When we care we give without expecting anything back in return, instead we carry the cost (Luke 10:35; Philemon 1:18). In a magnified way, Christ carried all our guilt at the cost of His life (John 10:15).

Does your work reflect the fruit of obedience or are you just a talker? Is there evidence of God’s message in you through your fruit [works?]. Does your care originate from self-praise or are we able to identify the Source? Who sends you so that we may honour Him? Here is a Prayer of Sincere Repentance. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Blessed Grace in His Care
Brother Glenn.