On Being Perfect—Yes!


The Word of the Lord came to us as we met together recently—as we joined the circle of disciples in Jesus’ discourse in Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 5.

The Lord told us so many ways he expected his people—us included—how to order our  lives in his kingdom, his good news rule,  which replaced the old Mosaic age system. Come and live in the new age of the Messiah, the New Covenant! Yes, we were discovering dynamic, head rockin stuff.

We staggered at the new standards of behaviour he expects from us–the highest of standards and expectations of Jesus for his disciples culminating in the amazing demand :  You must be perfect!

We then saw how different his new world order is compared to the old. Over and over he shows what the ancients had laid down and then surprised everyone who heard him with the repeated revolutionary phrase But I say unto you!

We saw how total are his commands for life under his government. Everything seemed counter intuitive, indeed impossible for his listeners and for us today –blessed the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the gentle, who hunger and thirst for righteousness, those persecuted for righteousness’ sake . . .  

We were bowled over by commands like when opposed, to rejoice and be glad (literally jump up and down) for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

What? Were we hearing correctly? Yep.

We reflected on our failures and those of Christendom in general. We began to feel despair and a growing sense of giving up following such demands. How is this all possible? He piles it on.

He’s come to fulfil the old law and the Prophets, though sounds like he’s abolishing them. He spells them out clearly, authoritatively. No question.

Pheew!

Some of us after hearing his majestic, firm but gentle, persuasive words, even began to feel condemnation and guilt. Every time I hear Jesus I feel condemned. Never expected this.  Pulls the rug from under my feet.

Then he reminded us of the immeasurable grace of God given us in this new age of Christ with us and the inbuilt power of the Holy Spirit to bear these good fruits within us. We began to catch a glimpse of the long range view Jesus was seeing for us all—we would have his Spirit here on earth and then be together with him in the kingdom of his Father! Forever. We don’t have to water down his words. We must not!

But, as we looked further into his words of love and grace and his open arms to follow him, obey him, we realised that there is NO condemnation as we find ourselves in him, in his embrace and his ‘easy yoke’ (Matthew 11:28-30). We saw that these words are given without any condemnation, but with grace abounding!

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

This life so beautiful, the Way so precious, nothing is worth standing in the way of it! Not even if you are the best Aussie Rugby player and stand to forfeit your $4m contract with RU! You would rather sever this from your life than miss this grand Good News and the joy that awaits and a transformed existence!

“A CALL to ACTION” by Andrew Strom

Let me start with a warning. This is to be a blunt and outspoken
piece. It is deliberately designed to be a challenge to our
complacency.

The Scripture tells us that, “From the days of John the Baptist
until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and
the VIOLENT take it by force.”  So why is it that so many of
us are passive and nullified by a kind of ‘fatalism’ that declares
“Whatever will be will be”? That is not true Christianity. True
Christianity has always been WAR and battle for the souls of men.

I have been guilty of this “fatalism” myself. And there are
some on this List who have been “waiting” for so long that
to get out of their peace-time mode would takes a lightning
bolt and a shaking far beyond what is healthy. I find it sad
that it is not just the CHURCHES that need a good “shake”
but some of us so-called ‘Revival’ types as well! There are
some here who are about as “violent” as marshmallows. It
is high time for that to change.

To those who say that we should still be in “waiting”
mode, I pose this simple question:  When does the ‘wait’
end? When entire generations have been lost? When
millions upon millions sitting in our churches are
eternally ruined?  Is the devil to “take the youngest” forever?

I love the Scripture from the story of David and Goliath
that says, “And David spoke to the men that stood near
him, saying, What shall be done to the man who kills
this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel?
For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should
defy the armies of the Living God?” (1 Sam 17:26). And
the record tells us that with no armour and with 5 smooth
stones as his only weapon, David RAN FULL-TILT towards
that Philistine, to see His God avenged and his people’s
reproach removed.

We hear a lot about people with “a heart like David” in
these last days. Let me tell you – David was a man of
WAR. A man of action. He would not put up with His God
being put to an open shame. I wonder where the Lord will
find His “Davids” today?

We live in one of the darkest hours in the history of our
planet. “As it was in the days of Noah and Lot” declares
the Scripture, and so it rapidly becomes. So where is
the light shining in this darkness? Is it you? Is it me?
Or do we slumber on?

Some of us have been “waiting” for 20 years for the
right time. Are we never to act at all? Do we just float
on, excusing our lack of urgency and burden with the
trite reply that we are “waiting on the Lord”? Will such
feeble reasonings ever find a hearing in the courts of God?

There is a battle raging. It has never ceased. It is the
battle for the hearts and souls of men. Let the
“spectators” and idle onlookers clear the field. Let those
without courage or urgency or burden retire from the
scene. It is time for God’s “mighty men of valor” to come
forth. The hour is late and the time will soon arrive when
no man can work. “In season and out of season” said
Paul, and it is time for us to heed his words. If ever there
was an hour for the “Gideon’s 300” it is now.

Years ago God spoke these words to me: “WHO DARES
WINS”. It is not enough to simply pray. For many have
prayed and yet not taken the kingdom. And neither is it
enough to prophesy. For many have brought endless
“words” and yet the kingdom remains undisturbed. The
phrase “Who DARES Wins” is the motto of the British
SAS – men of action who operate behind enemy lines
and who revel in courage and fighting spirit. So it will
be with the end-times servants of God.

If you don’t have the stomach for it, hang back and do
nothing. Nobody will notice.

But let those who have been prepared of God in the caves and
the deserts come forth. You have awaited a trumpet blast.
Do you not hear it?

Gird up your loins, you mighty men. Prepare for war.
Arm of the Living God, put on strength! The Lord is about to
arise and scatter His enemies. Can you not sense it?

Let the modern John-the-Baptists come forth.

Special blessings to all.

Andrew Strom.

Receiving Jesus

It’s all about a relationship. Not a religion.

Life is all about relationship with one another. Where does this come from? This is because we are created, designed in the likeness of our Creator, of the Lord God. “Let us make man in our own image!” We are designed for a relationship with God.

It is about relationship with the Father of Jesus of Nazareth who was killed because he dared to reveal his relationship with God—My Father. Killed by his own people, treated as rubbish, by whom the world and everything that exists was made. 

And he wants you and me to welcome him, to receive him. With open arms.

Friendship with God for us.

For Jesus has done what it took to bring us reconciliation with God by his sacrifice.

Done.

Some preachers are critical of those who speak of “receiving Jesus”. For example, they might say “no, you don’t receive Jesus because he is in heaven”.

They may say this as if it is a certainty, an absolute.

But they are only half right.

In their rush to be theology perfect—which is impossible— or to drive home some favourite doctrine, they almost forget that he is also “with us even until the end of the world” and that his Father and himself “will come and make our home in us”.

Did you get the force of that?

Now we must be very careful that in our efforts to maintain a certain dogmatic position that we do not reduce the gospel and its power to only one way of expression. The New Testament authors use a variety of expressions for what is an inexpressible and glorious salvation and eternal life in Jesus.

Let’s consider the following passages in the “gospels” where the Lord Jesus spoke of various people “receiving him”.

 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” Gospel of Matthew (10:40)

“Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me.” Gospel of Mark (9:37) and Gospel of Luke (9:48)

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” Gospel of John (13:20)

And what about this . . .

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” Gospel of John (1:12-13)

So if you receive Jesus, just look at what wonderful new start you have in him, with him, in relationship with him, in friendship with him, in union with him and with the Father. Your chance to leave behind brokenness and embrace wholeness, belonging, forgiveness and peace.

God with us, actually.

Paul wrote “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him”. (Colossians 2:6)

Receive him, ask him. And he will receive you.

HOW SHALL WE GATHER?

I believe that most of these religious institutions, though appearing divided and competitive, taken together are one unbiblical system, and thus not what God wants–it is all a human construct and centred on control, power over people, money, competition and industry. The system is sick and reflects the systems of control and apostasy which Jesus identified in his first coming and recorded in the Gospels. He came began to bring in His whole new concept of the Kingdom of God in a new covenant ‘in his blood’. Every act he did, every word he taught was bristling with new life and the soon-coming end of the old system, the old wineskin. He told the religious elite that they were dead and needed life which only he could give (John  5:40).

God has clearly shown us the model for our behaviour as we relate to one another: in Jesus. HE is the way, truth, life. ‘It shall not be so among you . . . love one another as I HAVE LOVED YOU’. Jesus is the model–the image of the Father, for us to see and manifest in our lives.

Any other way, idea and mode of gathering is bound to be scattering, divisive, arrogant, exclusive, and not ‘abounding in the work of God’.

We are his bride, getting ready for the wedding and the bridegroom is with us. He is WITH US! He calls us to Himself. To gather around Him.

We are a family who eat together and share our lives with one another around Jesus. This is a spiritual kingdom only entered into as a little child and by invitation of the Master through a tumultuous experience of being born all over again.

Either we obey Him or we don’t.

Instead of top heavy, mono-ministry and a sleepy compliant laity He has given us gifts, manifestations of the Spirit to bless and upbuild the whole body wherever it may be gathered—whether together in the New Jerusalem above or in the humble get-together of His friends and brothers.  Together we are a ‘chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellence of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: 10 who in time past were no people, but now are God’s people, who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

At the Gate of Something Great!

A word from the Lord through Veronika West: https://www.hiskingdomprophecy.com/at-the-gate-of-something-great/

There is a fierce battle that is raging over your testimony and destiny in this hour!

But I hear the Father say, “MIGHTY Warriors FEAR NOT, take courage and stand your ground.  Do not retreat.  It’s time to raise the sword and shield and dig your heels in deeper!”

Listen, the greater the impact of God’s power on the earth, the greater the onslaught of darkness and wickedness will be.

I see the fiery darts of fear, frustration, discouragement, despair and death flying by day and by night.

Satan is waging war over the testimony and destiny of many believers in this hour.

The enemy’s goal and agenda in this season is to distort, derail and destroy the faith, hope and expectation of God’s people.

Satan’s strategy is to divert our attention and indeed our affections away from the Father.  He comes to distinguish our passion and our pursuits for the Kingdom of God.

Satan is coming to weaken the witness of the son’s of God and cause us to retreat into places of obscurity and isolation.

I hear the Spirit say, “Warriors stand still, and do not be moved, for I have called and anointed you to guard.

Stand and defend the ground that you are standing on. 

Watch, for even now, My Spirit of power, strength and might comes to enable, empower and sustain you in the midst of this battle.

Beloved, trust in My Power to prevail and in My Wisdom to win.  Now is the time for you to take the land that I have given you.

Do not give in, do not give up, do not look back, and do not be afraid, son/ daughter!

You must stand and be still, greater is He that is with you than He that comes against you in this hour.

Now is the time to raise the sword and shield and dig your heels in deeper. 

Warriors, fear not, for My salvation and justice comes quickly,” says God.

I Declare!  Yes, it is time for me to dig deeper and defend the ground of destiny.

While praying for many of you this morning, The Holy Spirit quickened this story to me;

“And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite.  And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop where there was a piece of ground full of lentils: and the people fled from the Philistines.
But he stood still in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory,”   2 Samuel 23:11-12.

Here is what I hear Father saying to us today, in this Word, we see that Shammah wouldn’t move!

He stood his ground in the midst of the lentil field and would not give in, even though he was greatly outmatched and outnumbered.

It looked like an impossible situation, but this one man dug his heels in deeper and stood still against a troop of mighty soldiers .

Shammah guarded that piece of ground, he did not stand alone but he stood empowered by the Spirit of God, and he defended his ground.

Now what if he had given into the spirit of fear and fled the field?  Well the enemy would have come in and taken hold of his testimony and his kingdom destiny.

Shammah was a man who knew the power of God.  He did not shrink back, he did not run and hide, he did not give up, he did not look back but he stood his ground and looked straight into the face of great opposition and the LORD wrought a great victory. Hallelujah!

I Decree:  In this season, I AM AT THE GATE OF SOMETHING GREAT, I will not shrink back, but I will stand my ground.  I will lift my sword and shield and dig my heels in deeper to defend my field.  I am prepared and positioned for a great victory!

Blessings to you all.
~ by Veronika West

LONGING FOR GOD’S DESIGN FOR HIS BODY

As more people read the New Testament and see what it actually says about ‘church’ and what is God’s design for us in the New covenant in contrast to the Old they begin to long for something more authentic, more participatory–what God actually wants.

Many are leaving the religious institutions. Yet they have not left the Lord Jesus.

What is the alternative?

We are certainly not to abandon fellowship.

The Lord has clearly provided the most glorious pattern for us–the Lord Jesus, himself, his example, His commands, His works and His constant obedience to what the Father said.

If He was so obedient then so must we also. God will show the way.

Just ‘as Moses was ‘faithful in all his house’ so Jesus is faithful in His house which He is building and gathering, a house not being built by earthly hands. His Design originating in the heavenly places!

The believers we read about in the N.T., though not perfect yet obeyed the voice of the Holy Spirit and the instructions of the apostles found for example in 1 Cor 1, 11-14. They carried out the plan.

But since from as early as 2ndC (and even earlier as we see trends in some N.T. letters & Revelation’s 7 assemblies) men have had their own ideas and preferred them to God’s plan.

We have thought we could change from the word of God, that we could do better ourselves. Such arrogance. Such disobedience.

The result is sectarianism, pharisaic attitudes, false teaching, mono-ministry, programs, monetization, entertainment, the loss of supernatural power and authority, timidity, maintenance of buildings, open competitiveness . . .

There is such a need to simply repent, change our minds, humble ourselves, weep and begin to radically OBEY. To admit that we have disobeyed the plain teaching and examples of Jesus and His apostles.

This will require humility, the will and some searching to do only what the Father wants and to be willing to suffer reproach loss of friends and loneliness.

A decision must be made. Either . . .

  • You keep on disobeying the word of God by continuing this ‘church’ stuff founded on what men have decided is best and trying to get God to agree with it and to bless it, or
  • You change your mind (repent) to what God wants—be founded on the words of Jesus and his apostles alone and humbly seek His guidance in actually doing it.

Then being obedient to God, you will know you are asking God to do His will and you can expect to see Him pouring out His rivers of living water—the glorious work of the Holy Spirit.

WE´VE LOST CHRISTIANITY

 

by Andrew Strom

Despite the thousands in our megachurches today, soaking up the warm entertainment offered to them every week, I want to put it to you that we have lost Christianity. Despite the Christian books now found in every Walmart, and the “crossover” of Christian artists into the mainstream, and our Christian mega-stores and CD´s and DVD´s and Study-Bibles, I want to put it to you that we have lost Christianity.

Despite our lavish Cathedrals in the suburbs (`Charismatic or not) with their pastel hues and comfortable pews, their projector screens and $30,000 sound systems, I want to put it to you that we have utterly lost Christianity.

We left it behind somewhere when we shifted our churches from the inner city into the “comfortable” suburbs. We left it behind when we stopped welcoming the bums off the street into our meetings and started welcoming only the “respectable” people. We left it behind when we stopped preaching “take up your cross” and turned the gospel into a success formula – `Seven Steps to your Best Life Now.´

Somewhere in our comfortable suburban streetscape with its manicured lawns we lost the real thing. Somehow in our concern for “property values” and a better `dental plan´ we left it behind.

But that is not the worst part of it. The worst part is that we don´t know how to get it back again. Or perhaps we don´t really WANT to get it back again. The cost simply doesn´t bear thinking about, does it? And so, as we drive around in our nice shiny cars with our groovy plastic toys, and attend “church” as we know it twice a week for 2 hours;- As we live a life that is about as unlike Jesus as you can get, a life of comfort and coddling undreamt of by billions around the world;- a lifestyle in the top 10% of the earth today (-in debt up to our eyeballs all the while) – the fact is that we don´t really CARE that we have lost original Christianity, do we? We are too busy, man. Don´t bother us with that kind of talk.

It will all be OK, the preacher tells us. We will all make it to heaven in the end. We are all “decent” people here. We have “prayed the little prayer”. We have `given our heart to the Lord´.

But wait – what is this?

“Not every one who says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out demons? and in your name done many wonderful works?

And then will I say unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.”

-Mt 7:21-23.