Monday, August 15, 2022

Persecutions

Christian persecution produces faithfulness and dependence on God’s Power (Psalm 40)




IMPORTANT NOTICE: Brethren, we would like to apologize for not posting any new articles lately. Brother Glenn has been traveling to ensure that his 89-year-old father, who is looking after about 10 orphaned children is being taken care of and assisted. Furthermore, kindly read all our articles on this blog as the automated email services have been discontinued.  As it is, new articles will be forthcoming in the next weeks. Please continue to pray for us as we are facing a lot of attacks and opposition.

Being a born-again Christian is one of the highest achievements in life. We are called to have an audience with our Creator. We are not called to be religious, but to imitate God in His Holiness. 

Truthful Conduct Results in Persecution

“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12 NIV). Please note: ‘godly’, as used above, means to be like God. God has opposition (Colossians 1:21). This verse declares that we become God’s enemies through sin. We choose to become enemies through our sinful conduct (Romans 5:10). God has extended the olive branch of peace through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ (1 John 4:10).

So then, what is persecution? Biblically, persecution is opposition to Godly conduct in exchange for ungodly behavior. For example Cain, like many of us, allowed sin to dominate him, and he murdered his righteous brother, Abel. If we are ruled by sin we despise truth and oppose those whose conduct is more righteous than ours(Genesis 4:6-10). Throughout church history, Christian persecution resulted from those who opposed its message of salvation through Christ Jesus. The Lord Himself was persecuted and killed (see Gospels). He rose from death to affirm and confirm that Truth has overcome all opposition. Ever since this great advent of Christ’s resurrection in human history, those who believe in Him and live in accordance to His teachings have been persecuted. We do not need to read and quote at length from history books to verify this truth. Persecution is even practiced in our homes (Genesis 4; Matthew 10:36; Genesis 37).

Why are We Being Persecuted?

We are being persecuted because we oppose ungodly conduct and we refuse to conform to wrong behavior, (Matthew 5:10). The persecutors or bullies are motivated by various intentions. Cain and Joseph’s brothers were motivated by jealousy, (see Genesis 4; 37). Others persecute us because of their love for money (Acts 19:23-25). Still others persecute us because our message exposes their sinful and wrong conduct (Matthew 10:11-34). Remember, persecution is an unjust application of punishment on those who uphold truthful and proper conduct in society. People persecute because of guilt and because of their unjust and ungodly practices.

As it is, “all men will hate you because of Me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22 NIV). We are hated and persecuted because of our association with Jesus Christ. This is not to be confused with tests and temptations. As Christians, we are also being persecuted because we proclaim a strong message against wrong beliefs and sinful conduct (John 14: 6; John 3:18-21). Our message appeals to those who love truth and those who choose not to live for themselves. Our message also says “I have come to do your will O’ God” (Hebrews 10:7b NIV). We are ready to endure this cup of unpleasantness, for therein is eternal life found. Walking narrow is not what we have come to sacrifice, but what we are called to be (Matthew 5; Colossians 3). We are CALLED TO BE humble in attitude and submissive in service to God and humanity. Oneness with Christ through the Holy Spirit cancels out any appetite for sinful behavior (1 John 3:9).

Persecutions are Not Temptations

As you may recall, the Lord Jesus Christ was tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1-11). This temptation that the Lord endured was aimed to causing Him to disobey God. Praise and glory unto God the Father, our Lord held on faithfully and our salvation was preserved. Satan’s motive is to encourage rebelliousness against God. He succeeded in this when he caused Adam and Eve to disobey God (Genesis 3). When we are being tempted, we are given the opportunity to choose whom we want to obey and our choices carry consequences.

From our Lord’s experiences above, temptations are brought about in circumstances of need or desire. The Lord was fasting and hungry, so the need for food was there (Matthew 4:1-3). Likewise, no temptation comes about if there is no need or desire for it. King David was tempted to commit adultery and murder because ‘he saw a woman bathing’ (2 Samuel 11:2b). The ‘desire’ was created after he saw her bathing. Like our Lord, David could have resisted, but he chose to yield to this situation. This resulted in judgment for him (see 2 Samuel 12). Also, Eve was tempted to eat the fruit from the forbidden tree because she ‘saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it ...’ (Genesis 3:6 NIV). Therefore, temptation is a need-driven or desire-driven entity that Satan uses as bait. He creates the evil desire so that we have a need for it (James 1:13-15). Being desire-minded, we always sacrifice obedience towards God above our natural needs. We have a continuous appetite for more even if it is forbidden (Genesis 3). Yielding to temptation is obedience to the desires of flesh and disobedience to God.
Obedience, the Key to Overcoming Temptations

Many of us quote this scripture and often out of context, “And God is faithful, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV). This scripture expresses God’s faithfulness in giving us strength when we have become weak. In other words, with the temptation comes a solution. Again, do we have faith and discernment to recognize God’s help during this time of testing? Well, the outcome would be determined if we obey to receive help as the scripture says or if we succumb to the craving of the flesh. As it is, Satan provides the temptation and it would always be things we need or desire. We in return must decide, like our Lord did, if we would obey or succumb to gratify that specific desire. Yielding to the craving does not only bring about the pleasure we would enjoy, but the price for disobedience brings about three changes; punishment, guilt (that deprives us peace) and that demonic spirit or craving (1 Samuel 16: 14-15; Genesis3; 2 Samuel 11; 12). I would like to explain it this way; prior to my conversion, I smoked and drank for many years and so I know the taste of these habits. Therefore, the craving for these things always hounds me. I am delivered from these habits, but the flesh responds to the cravings if it is a desire. I may not indulge, but the craving must be overcome with obedience and the attitude of a new mind (Romans 6: 11-13). Too often Christianity has been offered as ‘God does it all for you’ while we must do nothing. As far as our salvation, God has done it all for us. But as for our deliverance, we must maintain it through our faith and obedience. When I first came to the Lord, I was trapped in habits and I thought after someone prayed for me all my habits and problems would just disappear. Often the way we present the Christian message to people makes it appear as if we’re offering a magic wand solution. Soon after our presentation, some people would repent and follow but not long thereafter they backslide because their expectation of instant deliverance without faith did not take root. God requires us to participate in our salvation through faith and obedience (Colossians 2: 6-7).

This then is my reasonable service to the Lord, offering my body as a living sacrifice in obedience (Romans 12: 1). No one can claim that they are completely free from some cravings (Romans 7:15-25). As long as we are in the body, its passions will hound us (Galatians 5:16-21). We are free through Christ as far as our choice of obedience to Him. So, freedom from sin in the body is attained when we die (Romans 7: 7). Not that sin rules us but its desires intend to lead us into temptation and ultimately death (Galatians 5: 16; Romans 6:23). When you are born-again, you live a life of choice and obedience daily (Read entire Colossians 3; Ephesians 4:17-28). Meaning, we consciously and by faith choose to ‘crucify the body’ or put it to death to sinful cravings (Colossians 3: 5-6). In conclusion to this discussion, indulgence in something forbidden; it does not only bring the pleasure but also brings that demonic spirit, which brings us into conflict with it. If we have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, He forgives us and we must fight these cravings and evil desires with the spiritual weapons of faith, obedience and choice. In addition, choice is the principle we apply after we make our decision to follow the Lord. This choice becomes faith because we choose to live by it (Habakkuk 2: 4). As people, we are inherently evil. This conscious state is not taught but it is a spontaneous behavior. This cycle of evil is suppressed by the indwelling Holy Spirit whom we must obey through His convictions to help us fight (through our knowledge of the Word of Truth) and overcome this evil (Galatians 5:16-17; Romans 7:14-25). Therefore, obedience and humble submission to God through faith equals deliverance and a future hope of eternal life.

The Lord’s Forgiveness and Compassion

Beloved brethren, the Lord is all the time aware of our struggles that is why the scripture says, “He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV). Before I share some experiences of temptations and persecutions some of us in this ministry have had, it would be appropriate to share this scripture: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).

Every mature member of the Body of Christ knows that sin is undefeated in our flesh. The flesh craves wrong things, but our Victory is in Christ Jesus. He alone holds Victory over sin and death. Our acceptance of His redemptive work by faith gives us that sinless appearance (Colossians 3: 1-4; Ephesians 2: 8-9). I reiterate, our state in the flesh has not changed, but spiritually and by faith it has changed. This change is fixed by God. What I mean is this; we are saved by faith and not by works as the above scripture declares. We were saved even before we started working; this was achieved by our faith in the redemptive work of Christ. However, we are called to obey and “You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 3: 22-24). This categorically states that we must BE. The verse that says we are saved by grace has nothing to do with our faith obligation of obedience, especially now that we have put off our old self”. The putting on of the ‘new self’ is a changed course. If a changed course ‘to be made new in the attitude of your minds’ leads us to ‘BE like God in true righteousness and holiness’. When we have accepted this, our faith would stand on the working out of His grace in us and our obedience expresses our love for Him (John 14:23).

Finally, many of us in this ministry have committed some mistakes in the past as everybody does. The Lord as I alluded in our previous articles rebuked us. His rebukes led us to repentance. If we continuously commit the same mistake, He becomes angry and issues another warning, this time more serious. If it is serious then we have grossly disobeyed. The Lord is slow to anger and He always delays punishment in exchange for repentance and self-restraint (Psalm 145:8; Psalm 51).

Here are examples of persecutions we endured. For it to be a persecution, it must involve the GOSPEL. Now, just because the Lord Jesus Christ is speaking to us every night does not mean we are free or immune against persecutions. In fact, this has attracted a lot opposition. We lost very close friends not that I lament that; they just could not be around us to endure the truth. When I first told some people that the Lord was speaking to my daughter Charis they did not believe I was speaking the truth. The Apostle Paul’s testimony of his conversion and the fact that he saw the Lord was also not well received and believed by his Jewish persecutors (Acts 22). How could we ever go out and tell people lies about something so incredible. I was branded as being ‘mad and crazy’. Would I go out of my way to bring some much trouble on me? Now do I sound like a crazy man? Of course not! I went out in excitement and obedience to the believers first based on the Lord’s command to us. He said that we may tell some people what He was telling us. I never anticipated this command to drive people away from us. I am not trying to portray this as a loss; this has opened our eyes to see that many people did not have faith and that their walk with God was superficial and unsteady (Matthew 7:24-27).

We have had one woman, whose sister the Lord has called to this ministry. This sister used to attend worldly drinking parties even as a born-again believer. Although she herself would not partake in the drinking, but the Word says we are equally guilty if we condone the wrong conduct of others and do not rebuke them (Luke 17:3; James 5:19). The Lord started dealing with her through the messages she received and she stopped associating with them. For this, she was persecuted by her mother, her sister, her husband and other family members. This precious sister was radically transformed by Christ Jesus and all they could do to her was just yelling, screaming, accusing and cursing, but her faith and obedience to the Lord, that they could not take from her. Glory to God!

This woman’s sister threatened to come and burn up our house, because we had “brainwashed” her sister. Her sister wailed because of her changed attitude and said: “I want my sister back!” She is gone NEVER to return and no one would be able to rob her from the Love of Christ (Romans 8:38-39).

When she was persecuted, this sister panicked but the Lord comforted her. Persecution has not been taken out of the way; we must endure it and overcome it to prove our love and faithfulness to the Lord.

Also, when Charis and her two witnesses went witnessing on the Lord’s command, they were pelted with stones and mocked by children in their age category. Remember, the Lord commanded us not to accompany the children when they go out witnessing. He promised to protect them (See our article on Raising Godly Children). On another witnessing occasion, Charis and one of the girls were spanked with a belt by a security guard. That evening the Lord came saying they must forgive that man.

Furthermore, some of the women in our ministry have and are still enduring every kind of abuse from their husbands for their obedience and submission to the Lord. They have made their choice; to them the Lord comes first.

As a ministry, we have endured a great deal of slander, gossip and threats. I have no time to chronicle in detail every kind of persecution we have faced and endured, but it was not easy. To keep our faith, ministry and salvation alive, we share our testimony with you to encourage you to endure in faith and obedience.

The Lord has not changed since the New Testament times when Paul was persecuted and the Lord said: “Do not be afraid, Paul” (Acts 27:24). This was his encouragement during his hour of trials. We were also shown the same kindness by the Lord. He saw our hardship, but He would not have us pity ourselves for that we would get rebuked. In our most trying circumstances the Lord would comfort us by recognizing our faith and obedience with a promise of blessings. Days after these words of comfort, peace from every side is given. This made us forget almost everything we endured. I was in the midst of a very disturbing test so I enquired from the Lord and He said: I will never leave your father and I will never forsake your father(Hebrews 13:5). This re-assurance was all I needed; words of great comfort and peace. Be comforted with the knowledge that the Lord loves you always.

Be blessed in Christ,

Brother Glenn Van Rooyen

Monday, August 8, 2022

Being Faithful

Craving Worldly Things

“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14 NIV).

Today, I am being reminded of the life of a young man Silva (not real name) I met in the early 1990’s in the Lord. According to him, he had to endure a great deal of personal battles against the cravings and dictates of the flesh. Being a young man in his early 20’s he recalled how his eyes were opened to all the pleasures and lusts around him (1 John 2:16) and how irresistible all these were to him, and he greedily feast on all the lusts his eyes beheld (Ecclesiastes 2:10). However, the brother had to constantly remind himself that in the Lord he is a new creation and that although "I have the right to do anything, but not everything is beneficial [and] I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12). Right now in your life, are you allowing things to master you?


Furthermore, and as a known fact, every Christian’s innocence in the Lord is being tested and measured (Genesis 3:1-7; 22:1-2; 39: 1-10; Matthew 4:4), harsh as it may appear. Our fear, love and faithfulness to God must shine forth like some of these men including our Lord Jesus proved except for Adam and Eve. As it is, our inclusion in Christ through the re-born experience has placed a very high obligation on us to resist the devil’s advances and be steadfast in our commitment (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Readiness To Serve Equals Readiness To Meet The Lord (Vision Warning)

The Lord left us an example when He said that He came to serve and indeed we all know that He came to serve (Matthew 20:28) and His motivation was love to add meaning to our being. As we serve in the Lord, we give meaning to the value of our salvation giving expression to our faith and hope (1 Peter 3:15).

Recently, a very faithful brother in the Lord whom we know and enjoys a close relationship with shared with me how the Lord showed Him a powerful vision of the coming rapture. In the vision, he was shown in lightning speed or in a twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:52) the happening of the Rapture, it was so amazingly fast and without warning that by the time he realised the Rapture had happened he made a final attempt to repent but he realised it was too late and all he was left with was regret. Consequently, the brother vowed to continue serving and be busy in the Lord’s affairs as a faithful servant who waits upon the appearance of His Saviour (Matthew 24:46).

Being Steadfast

Additionally, not only are we encouraged to be ready for the Lord’s appearing (Matthew 24:42), we need to keep a faithful and pure heart at all times (Matthew 5:8; Psalm 51:10). Let us divide the Word of Truth rightly (2 Timothy 2:15), we all know of Christian brethren who are simply addicted and in bondage to bitterness and they disobey and end the day without making right with their fellow brothers and sisters (Ephesians 4:26) and sadly, the vision of the brother above could serve costly to such unprepared Christians. We thus encourage you, when you have sinned or made a wrong decision as a Christian and the Holy Spirit convicts you, own up to your mistake and repent right there why wait and walk away with the guilt to be caught unawares by the Lord’s sudden appearance (Acts 3:19; Matthew 3:2). Therefore, against all odds rally your faith and summon your courage, with the full measure of your soul’s strength revere the Lord, obey Him and attain eternal salvation at His sudden appearance.

The Lord is still near today and if you desire to accept Christ as Saviour and Lord we have a suggested Prayer of Sincere Repentance to get you started on a new way of life leading to Eternal life and for any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, you may please contact us.

Blessed Peace

Brother Glenn

Monday, August 1, 2022

Thinking About Yourself

“Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself.  Don’t just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing” (Philippians 2:3 NLT).

“For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 2:21 NIV).

This week, the Lord is reminding us that we should not think about our own interests, but about His interest. Being born again means …"You are not your own; you were bought at a price…" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV).  This teaching runs through the entire Bible, and many of us are reading this and many other similar passages daily, yet we ignore to live according to these commands of Scripture. The Lord told us that when we purposely ignore obeying His Word, He will also ignore us (Mark 8:38). Many Christians think that if they selectively do the will of God they are pleasing Him; this act is an abomination to Him. We please the Lord when we say like Paul “...I consider my life worth nothing to me...” (Acts 20:24 NIV). These were not just vain confessions; the apostle Paul walked the talk as is evident in his epistles and the book of Acts. He lived a yielded life to Christ.

The Example of The Lord and Other Servants of God

The life of our Lord Jesus Christ is vividly portrayed in the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). In a compelling account, the witnesses testified how the Lord lived out His zeal in service to our Heavenly Father (John 4:34; John 9:4).  Many of us would say, “Yes, but that was Jesus Christ”; true, He set the pace for His followers and others followed (1 Corinthians 11:1).  In sharing His life with us, the Lord held nothing back.  He lived every moment of time for the will of the Father. 

Similarly, Daniel and his three friends took their stand and refused to live according to the dictates of the King and the pressure from their peers (Daniel 3:18). Today, many Christians bow to pressure and compromise their walk with Christ to please their worldly and God-denying friends. They don’t l live yielded to Christ all the time; they live selectively, picking and choosing what is acceptable to yield to at the moment. Are we not being hypocritical and sacrificing our salvation to please our peers?  Are we not hurting the Lord when we deny Him in front of others?  When we do so, He turns around and looks at us with pain in His heart (Luke 22:61).

Also, just as Moses the servant of the Lord was called by God to serve His purpose, and his life was not devoted to self-serving, we have likewise been called.   Moses gave up his life and followed the will of God (Exodus 33:13). So did Joshua who assisted Moses in the Presence of the Lord since he was a youth (Joshua 11:28). These men and many others did not live their lives for themselves; they had no personal achievements except what God has done through them for the benefit of others.  They can only say “this is what God has worked through me for His own glory”, not “this is what I achieved”.  If we work for the Lord, why do we credit ourselves for the work He brought about through us? Are we not owned by Christ? (1 Corinthians 6:20).

From the above examples, we can see the outworking of God through the lives of these devoted servants in service to Him for the benefit of others. The self-servicing will always put their interest first.  In our serving, is our motive to gratify some personal longing or craving, or is it to serve God?  I have come across many self-serving people who do things in the name of the Lord, but God is nowhere seen in the decisions they made. If God was present in their work, we would see the fruit of God.  That fruit is evident in the obedience of people towards God, not the big churches and numbers.  We, therefore, ask, what was the outworking of God in people’s lives? (Philippians 4:14-18).  How has the outworking of God in believers impacted communities? If there is no evidence, then the work we did reflected nothing but ourselves. We did not lead from the front; we were instead coaches that sit and give orders from the bench. In Christianity, Christ left us an example by doing/action (in leading and serving others), and so did those who followed His way of life (Hebrews 5:8; Acts 5:41).

Do We Serve God or Ourselves?

The Word of God (The Bible) is for all people and it is good for everyday living. We are commanded by the Lord to take our daily instructions for obedient living from the Word (1 Peter 2:20; Matthew 4:4). If we live by the carefully formulated formulas we received from our church leaders, then we are not following the Lord, but man. When we serve and follow man, our work will be evident through our fruit. Those fruits are reflected in our attitude and the "evidence" of God in our lives. God is seen in us through our humble and serving attitudes (Philippians 2:5-11; John 13:1-17).

Furthermore, it is not how much we know and talk about God; do we see the outworking of God in us into the lives of others? Or are we just idle talkers who only complain? Or are we just trying to impress others by the witty sayings about God? Remember our actions build and change lives more than just our clever sayings (James 2:14-26).

We recently experienced an incident where the Lord rebuked an individual for selfish living. When I shared the Lord’s message with him, he cited his feelings, considering what he feels is more important than the truth of God. He considered taking someone’s part more important than the Word of God. If we do so we disqualify ourselves from the truth of God. Also, I have shared many rebukes from the Lord with brothers and sisters who were convinced they are serving the Lord by the work they were doing in His name, but in the end, the Lord judged them by showing that they were serving themselves. What was wrong with their work? There was no God-fearing fruit in the lives of those they are ministering to. They try to impact people’s lives by pointing people to gifts and man, more than to Christ Jesus who alone is worthy of praise and thanksgiving.  Let me caution you here in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: when you point people to man in the name of the Lord, are you not promoting idolatry and expressing your will? We express the will of Christ if there is no evidence of our own self-interest.

Finally, the Word of God says that "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all" (Mark 9:35 NIV). Also, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever Amen” 1 Peter 4:10-11 (NIV). The Lord Jesus Christ loves people and He is their Judge and He always works through His servants for the good of people, not only for the material good of people but that they prosper spiritually, which is obedience to the Lord (Deuteronomy 4:40; Ephesians 5:21).

In conclusion, the Lord recently encouraged a brother saying he must continue work of service for His sake. This is your calling, your life, and your hope; unite with Christ to establish His Kingdom (Luke 11:23). Remember the Lord measures us by the outworking of God in others through obedient service to Him.

Below is a short vision God gave Charis (January 12, 2014) afternoon. The Lord does bring an end to our selfish ways. This person is very, very dear to me, but I must share to warn others. If we stand in the way of God because we restrain others to serve our interest and not His, and when He wants to save a soul we will face His wrath like Elymas the sorcerer (Acts 13:8-12). This vision is a warning and a Judgement of God against someone who opposed God.

Vision of a Self-Thinking Person

Given to Charis on January 12, 2014

“I went to bed with a headache and while sleeping I had a vision from the Lord this afternoon.  I saw myself, Jaydeen and my cousin Elzette in a very, very large house with many rooms.  While we were walking down the passage of this big house, I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “…Brother B’s days are numbered and you must pray for him”.  After these words, I saw a very long straight thin rope with no beginning or end and big scissors appeared cutting the rope in the middle. In the vision, I knew this was referring to the words the Lord had spoken”.

We pray that the Lord delays His Judgement until this person makes his life right with God. God gives life and He has the power to terminate our lives (Daniel 5:23; Acts 12:23). The God we serve is a God of Mighty Judgement, no one trying to oppose Him can succeed (Proverbs 21:30). Help us pray!
Have you been living selfishly, thinking only about yourself? Have you been neglecting to live in service to God for the benefit of others?  Here is a Prayer of Sincere Repentance to get you started in victory through a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Regards,
Brother Glenn
You may read some of our visions here.