The EU Partnership – do we really want this kind of relationship?

February 25, 2016

Consider a marriage relationship where the husband acted in certain ways towards his wife.

  1. More and more demands – hundreds each years on exactly how she must behave.Punishments/fines if she fails to comply.
  2. If she expresses a wish to do something he disagrees with she is told to think again and not do it.
  3. She is given small financial rewards as long as she obeys.
  4. The wealth she had before the marriage is stripped for the benefit of her husband.
  5. The man does so many things that she really doesn’t like but she has to put up with them.
  6. If she says she may consider a divorce he makes it clear she’ll pay a heavy price and he’ll ensure she suffers. He will break off relations with her, or only help her at great cost.

 

  1. EU directives – more and more red tape.
  2. Ireland voted no in a referendum and were told to have another vote – which had to be yes.
    Greece voted for a government against EU austerity and they were forced to accept the austerity package.
    When Italy’s government stood up to the EU they sacked it and put their man in unelected as President.
    When France voted against the constitution in a referendum, the constitution was renamed the ‘Lisbon [it’s not a constitution, honest guv!] Treaty’ and imposed on the French with no further democratic vote.
    Need I go on?
  3. There are grants to certain groups in the UK, but nowhere near the level that we pay in to the EU.
  4. Common Fisheries policy allows European fishermen to rape our ‘sovereign’ [illusory sovereignty according to Cameron] waters destroying our fishing fleets.
  5. The in crowd tell us there is much wrong with the EU – it’s frustrating and difficult, but we have to accept the rough with the smooth and work to make it better.
  6. We have all the scare stories of how the EU won’t trade with us if we leave and we’ll lose commerce jobs etc.

Frankly, if a woman was in a relationship like ours with the EU it would be classed abusive and everyone would want the woman to get strong, stand up to her abuser and leave. A weak fearful woman cannot face this and feels trapped. A strong woman – or one pushed that bit too far will try to leave – but history is littered with wives who have tried to leave and not been able to bear the consequences.

Personally I’d rather be poor and free [sorry Cameron – have an illusion of freedom] that wealthy but controlled and trapped.

 

 

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EVER-CLOSER EUROPEAN UNION

April 17, 2014

Being filled with the Spirit

January 2, 2014

Jesus said the Spirit was given Him to do the works of Luke 4:18-19, which summarise his mission to do good and bring the Kingdom of Heaven onto this earth. He said that he sends us in exactly the same way the Father sent Him in John 20:21.

And in John 7:38 he said that all of us who believe will have rivers of living water – the Holy Spirit flowing out of our heart. The purpose of this flowing has to be for us to bring the Kingdom, doing Luke 4:18-19 as this is the only purpose Jesus said the Spirit was given him. And clearly, as the Spirit flows out of us as rivers, we are filled.

So is it not the case that it will be as we fulfil our purpose and go out to take the Kingdom that we will be baptised in the Spirit, from within us, not filled with what we lacked, but filled with what we have already been given.

Forgiveness and the message of reconciliation

October 5, 2013

God has been teaching me about two scriptures regarding this. John 20:22, after giving the disciples the Spirit, Jesus then given them authority to forgive anyone their sins and, more scarily, if we withhold forgiveness of anyone, then it is withheld. And that despite Jesus never accusing anyone of their sins, but always forgiving.

So we can tell any ‘sinners’ that Jesus has given us authority on earth to forgive them, not based on their repentance or apology, but freely and without any precondition and without any care as to how bad or many the sins were. Jesus refused to accuse a woman who he knew had been caught red handed in the act of adultery, not because she apologised, but in his words because all her other accusers had left.

The bigger message is 2 Cor 5:17-21. Paul says that we regard no one according to the flesh, I other words we take no note of whatever evil things they have done, where they are living etc. God reconciled you and me to himself through Christ and has given us the message of reconciliation. (See Luke 4:18-19 anointed to proclaim the year of the he Lord’s favour and John 20:21 Jesus sends us in exactly the same way the Father sent Him.) That message is not one of conditional reconciliation subject to us turning from sins saying the traditional sinners prayer (that actually denies the gospel). It is the message that in Christ God was reconciling and therefore has already reconciled the world to himself. That God says even though unsaved, they are already reconciled to him. That God is not counting any of their sins against the and is not waiting for some prayer of apology.

We see this truth in the story of the prodigal son. Every day the father was looking out hoping that the son would one day return and, when the son arrives back, the father has no interest in the confession of sins. He ignores and and declares a celebration because the reconciled son is now living in the reconciliation that he did not realise he had.

God is making his appeal to the world through us as his ambassadors – God does not care about your sins, he dealt with them 2000 years ago. Jesus became sin for us and when he dropped down into hell he took all sin with him and left it there. In God’s sight all the sins and pains of the unsaved have been taken, carried by Jesus to hell and left there forever.

Jesus became sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. God is declaring everyone already clean. It is an unconditional gift. No repentance. No promising to make his best efforts to change. All of that is God’s job and Jesus has already done it. It is finished, not it is started, not I did my bit, now you have to do yours!

We need to bring our message of evangelism in line with Jesus’ practice and the truth of Paul’s gospel. Stop threatening the year of the Lord’s anger and start declaring that this is the time of God’s favour. Any message declaring less than God’s favour on all mankind denies the gospel and the work of Jesus.

Can sins be a blockage to healing

October 3, 2013

Many teach that when someone is not healed, it is often due to unconfessed sin, or harbouring unforgiveness against another. Can this be true, when Jesus never required either as a precondition for healing? I say no, but I must get my theology from the bible, so here goes.

Contrary to what many believe of me, I am fixated on knowing what is true and have no problem with changing my theology when I find I was in error. Since 2009, when I heard Steve Thompson preach a message about how Satan is called Leviathan, the twisting serpent, and how he twists scripture to turn truth into falsehood, my beliefs have changed beyond all recognition.

So I have been thinking about the question of how it is that when you take people through forgiveness of others or confessing, rejecting and turning from sins, they are healed. My problem with this is that Jesus never did it. And, the one time in the gospel someone is not healed, the disciples ask Jesus what the problem was. He does not point to either of the above but in Mark says this kind only comes out by prayer (fasting was added in later versions, but not the original) or in Matthew He says the problem was the disciples (ie the healer’s) weak or puny faith/unbelief.

But I have linked this thought to the story of the paralysed man let down through the roof. The man does not get to speak, so clearly has not confessed any sins. Jesus unilaterally and unconditionally forgives his sins prior to healing the man. Maybe the sin was a blockage here. We do not know and can only speculate. But if it were, Jesus’ way was for Him (the healer) to pronounce unilateral forgiveness, not to ask the man to confess.

Paul says in Rom 8:31-32 If God is for us who (Greek tis which can also mean what) can be against us? [So this could be saying is God is for us, can sin be against us – answer an emphatic no].  Paul goes on to say:  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

Not some things, but all things. John 10:10 makes it clear that ‘all’ here must mean things of life, not things that kill steal and destroy. So, healing being a ‘thing’ it is covered by this verse. It says we are given it graciously, ie by and with grace, and it is freely given us with Jesus, not conditionally given depending on our confession or forgiveness of others.

2 Cor 5:19 tells us that in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them. If God is not counting the unsaved’s trespasses against them, by definition they cannot be a blockage to healing. And if so for the unsaved, does God really begin counting them the moment you are saved. How about all your sins that you have done since saved either forgotten or not recognised as sin? We can never confess all of them. Is God selective, withholding the healing paid for by Jesus when he was whipped Is53 due to certain selected ones? That is simply nonsense.

Jesus became sin for us in order that in Him be may become the righteousness of God. 2 Cor 5:21. We are permanently seated with Jesus in heavenly places Eph 2:6. If sin is an issue at any given time, we cannot concurrently be seated in heaven with Jesus.

In John 20:22 Jesus gives us the authority to forgive anybody (believer or not) their sins and equally the authority to withhold forgiveness. Jesus never did the latter, so we too should not – be we can and often do. Is that what is happening here with the healing ministers? Are they withholding a forgiveness that God had given and only releasing the sick person following their confession? It would explain why people have to confess and forgive to get healed!

Does God use Christians to heal the sick?

September 24, 2013

If we say yes, what exactly do we mean?

If I ask you to make a cup of coffee for someone, and you do, who made it? You. Can it be said that you used me to make the coffee? Well, not without some linguistic gymnastics that will make the one claiming it look extremely foolish.

We have three parties. The one who will do the work (A), the one who Makes the request (B) and the one who drinks it (C) So, if the A says to the B, ‘Please ask me to make a cup of coffee’, in what circumstances, if any, can the request be said to be such a part of the making that the A says ‘I used the request of B to make the coffee’. The whole proposition seems doomed to foolishness, unless we suggest that there is some protocol that prevents A acting without the formal request of B.

Whilst I am convinced that God has chosen to put man in charge of this earth, to rule over all of it and all things on it (Gen 1:26,28), I cannot quite conceive that God is totally prevented from any and all action in the absence of our prayer.

To come back to the coffee, even if the request were in some way required, it is highly unlikely that A would claim that he used B (as opposed to the request of B) to make it.

My conclusion is that one could claim that God uses our prayers to free Himself from His self imposed straight jacket, but to say He uses us to heal the sick it really total nonsense.

Can anyone who believes otherwise explain in the context of the coffee, how it is that A used B?

Acts 3:12 following the healing of a crippled beggar, Peter asks ‘Men of Israel, why are you staring at us as if by our own power of holiness WE have made him walk?’

Note that here Peter claims that it was they who did it, not God. Peter goes on to say that they did it it he name of Jesus, but again, he clearly fails to say that it was Jesus who did it.

In verse 16, Peter expands that it was His name that made the man strong -specifically by faith in Hs name, so again it was the two men who used the faith and thus did it. In the same verse it goes on to say that it was the ‘faith that is through Jesus’ that healed the man. Who had this faith? Peter and John. So we conclude that it was they who did it and the method they used was faith in Jesus’ name. What did the faith do? It released the healing work that Jesus had already done when He was whipped and by Hs stripes they were healed Ps 53.

Now, if I go to the hairdressers and get a haircut, it is clear that the scissors did cut my hair. But…will I recommend the scissors or the stylist? I think all normal people will agree that the stylist does the work and the scissors are used by the stylist.

So the final conclusion has to be that Peter and John used God to heal the sick, rather than the other way around.

Do not get drunk with wine – NOR with the Holy Spirit.

August 31, 2012

Eph 5:18-21
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart,  giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,  submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
ESV

This scripture is often taken and added to Acts 2:13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

From this is brought a theology that we should seek to get drunk on the Holy Spirit. But is this a reasonable teaching to draw from these two verses.

Let me give a few bullet points to shed doubt on the teaching of drunkenness and then expand a little.

1. Jesus never got drunk on the Holy Spirit and He is our example.

2. We have two and only two verses to support the teaching.

3. Rom 12:3 tells us to think with SOBER judgement – that you cannot do when drunk.

4. 1 Thess 5:6-8 So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober…

5. So we have two scriptures for being drunk and two for sober. The second sober scripture expressly says that we are of the day and do not get drunk. Here Paul could have done what John Crowder would definitely do and encourage what he calls Holy Spirit drunkenness. BUT Paul does not.

So, what can we conclude. Well, in Acts it was only the mockers who accused them of drinking. So not a credible witness group. Peter then says in verse 15 that they are NOT drunk. Again, Crowder and others would be shouting to Peter – TELL THEM ABOUT BEING DRUNK IN THE SPIRIT. But Peter was silent on this. I think it only reasonable to conclude that Peter did not say it because he did not believe or practice it!

In fact, if you compare a video of one of these drunken preachers in action with Peter, it is clear that there is no comparison. Peter was not drunk on anything. He was sober and rational. He spoke clearly with logic and argument and by the power of the Spirit.

So this first scripture clearly disowns the holy drunken teaching.

Then look at Eph 5:18. On examination it becomes clear that the sentence started in verse 18 does not end there. It goes on all the way to verse 21.

Verses 19-21 explain the behaviour Paul is instructing as an ALTERNATIVE to going out to get hammered. It is clear to an impartial reader that this is an ALTERNATIVE not an EQUIVALENT.

To clarify, I could say to my teenage son – don’t go out on the piss tonight – go to the football game. Or go get a nice meal and take in a movie.

I am not telling him to get drunk on football or food. Not even to get drunk on a movie! I am clearly giving him alternatives. Alternatives that will give him pleasure fulfilment and satisfaction. At the football match he may even act in some ways similar to drunkenness. Showing excitement and strong emotion. But it is altogether different.

In the same way, being filled with the Spirit of God is altogether different from getting drunk.

Two people can go out for an evening. One to get bladdered/hammered/pissed/slaughtered etc. The other to enjoy a few beers or maybe some good wine.

For the one the alcohol really doesn’t matter. It’s just a means to the end of getting drunk. To the other the alcohol is everything and if they happen to get drunk, it is just a side effect not a goal.

This travesty of ‘Christian’ teaching, encouraging ‘drunken’ behaviour, is doing the former. It makes the pleasure of being drunk the goal and the means to it just something to be used. It places all the emphasis on the effect, not the Effector. That in itself should make us suspicious.

Now, why did Jesus have the Holy Spirit. Acts 10:38 says the result of God being with Jesus was that he went around doing good healing all oppressed of the devil. It fails to mention that Jesus was in a drunken stupor whilst doing it!

Luke 4:18-19 tells why the Spirit was upon Jesus. In essence to do good to people. It does NOT say that the Spirit was on Jesus do he could dance around and have a drunken party.

We should be like Jesus and use the gift of God the same way Jesus did. Sure we’ll get excited sometimes.  We’ll laugh and cry and rejoice. We may even act a bit wild or exuberant sometimes. But these are a symptom of the joy inside us at seeing God’s Kingdom come on earth.

I suggest that if Jesus intended us to enjoy drunkenness as a key value, then it would have warranted a short phrase in the Lord’s Prayer. This covers all the key issues of our lives, but is silent on this doctrine. NO this is not the linchpin of my argument – just a minor addition bit of evidence.

The 1 Thess 5:6-8 should be the final nail in the coffin of this teaching as it takes the issue of drunkenness, exactly as Eph 5:18 does – and shows clearly that we are not of those, as drunkenness is of the night and we are of the day – so be SOBER. Again, were this teaching true, Paul would have not told us to be SOBER but to be DRUNK on the christian equivalent of booze.

Now, if we remember that one of the names for the devil is Leviathan, which is the twisting serpent and that the first time we meet this serpent in the bible it twists the words of God, we will be on the lookout always for religious teachings – teachings that have the appearance of being good – but are actually twistings of the bible. And this will SCREAM out to us as a twisting.

Why? Well, drunkenness is listed by Paul in Gal 5:19-21 as one of the works of the flesh. Something which wil prevent those who practice it from inheriting the Kingdom of Heaven.

So, let’s see how many of the works of the flesh can be substituted into Eph 5:18 and sound good.

Do not be sexually immoral, but enjoy sexual relations with the Holy Spirit.

Do not gossip, but gossip with the Holy Spirit.

Do not be debauched, but get debauched on the Holy Spirit.

Do not envy, but envy in the Holy Spirit.

Do not have orgies, but have Holy Spirit orgies.

Do not have dissensions, but have dissensions with the Holy Spirit.

Avoid sorcery, but enjoy Holy Spirit sorcery.

Avoid impurity, but be impure with the Holy Spirit.

Does this make the point? You cannot take works of the flesh and make them ‘good’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul’s Thorn in the flesh

August 3, 2012

What was Paul’s thorn in the flesh? It’s a well kept secret in the church – don’t want too much truth out there spoiling our religion.

We say you’re a pain in the neck. That doesn’t mean discomfort just above the shoulders. In England we say for heavy rain ‘it’s raining cats and dogs’. 1000 years from now some historian may think that we used to have literal dogs and cats falling from the sky!

It’s in the Hebrew culture..

Num 33:55-56
But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land where you dwell.
Judg 2:3
I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you.

Both talking about a people group who are your enemy causing trouble.

So it’s clear that thorn in the flesh or thorn in the side is a Hebrew saying, not to be understood literally.

If we accept that Paul’s thorn in the flesh was a people group who were his enemy it seems clear to me that this was what he called the circumcision party. The religious Jews who were infiltrating the church to bring it back to having to obey Jewish laws.

God said He wouldn’t stop that religious spirit in the church. He wants us to fight it. Why you may ask? Well, Jesus never cast out a religious spirit. He cast out every other kind, but not that. Actually, Satan’s fall when He was Lucifer was a religious fall – he wanted to be worshipped along side God.

Adam and Eve’s fall was also religious. They had been made already like God, but the temptation was that if they ate the fruit they’d BECOME like God. So they wanted by their own works to become that which God had already made them, which is at the heart of religion.

Why are some not healed?

July 31, 2012

The only explanation you’ll find in the bible is from Mat17 Mark 9. The problem is weak faith in the healer [oligopistia] or in some manuscripts unbelief [apistia]. This unbelief is like the father in the story – Lord I kind of believe (I believe you can do it for other people in other places or at other times, but I am struggling to believe that you can do it right here right no for me). So the meaning of apistia is very close to oligopistia – a weak though willing faith.

Jesus’ offered solution in Mark is prayer – ie bring the boy to Jesus which is what they had done. I haven’t quite figured out how that works for us, as is seems that the prayer still requires the faith that I lacked.

The solution given by Jesus is having the right kind of faith. Faith like a mustard seed. That means faith that may start small, but it is a living growing faith that puts down roots to take nourishment from the soil and leaves to photosynthesise energy from the Son [of God} and grows into a sapling and in time into a strong tree. [Parable of the mustard seed].

This is the only explanation the Holy Spirit chose to put in the bible. The only occasion where this question is asked in the bible. So, though the answer may be unpalatable to some or seem incomplete to others, I cannot find any further explanation in the bible, so I reject all the other answers given.

All of that being said, there were times when it was the faith of the sick person that healed them, not Jesus’ faith. So clearly the faith of the sick person has a part to play. I do suspect that fears or unbeliefs in the sick person could be pulling in the opposite direction of our faith as healers, making it more difficult for us to get the healing into them.

For example, if a person is drowning, thrashing around trying to save themselves, and a lifeguard comes up to save them, the drowning person needs to relax and entrust themselves to the lifeguard.

If they do not, they may prevent the lifeguard getting hold of them to save them.

If the sick person does not trust the healer or has fears about the healing process or what may happen if they’re not healed – or healed, maybe that makes it harder to get them healed.

This opinion has been formed from personal experiences plus stories I have heard told by others.

I put this thought forward like Paul did – I do not say it is from the Lord. It is my opinion, and I think I have some wisdom in it.

Why does it work that when someone is told they need to forgive in order to get healed, healing gets released to them following forgiveness?

I think that it is NOT the forgiving that makes a difference. It is the faith released in the sick person who believes that when they do this they will be healed.

Curry Blake teaches that it is not the method that matters, but faith. Wigglesworth had faith in the method of punching out devils. I say others have faith in the method of looking for roots. They find a root and then faith for healing is released.

The place of persistence in healing ministry

July 31, 2012

Sometimes persistence is needed when healing does not come so quick. Check Mat 8:24. Jesus spits on a blind man’s eyes, lays hands on him and asks ‘Do you see anything?’ Answer – I see men like trees walking – in other words I have vision but without focus – a partial healing.

Word of Faith teaching would say that Jesus here acted in unbelief!!!! Because the ‘correct’ answer would be for Jesus to tell the man to ‘confess’ a full healing. WOF does not allow a second ‘prayer’ or action. Jesus broke WOF rules here! Jesus did not make a positive confession. He accepted that the man WAS NOT FULLY HEALED.

May I make a plea that when people are not healed, we follow Jesus’ example, not WOF or similar doctrine. According to Jesus, the man was not healed when he was still partially blind. So don’t go around say sick people are already healed, or were ‘healed 2000 years ago’.

Accept, like Jesus did, that they are NOT healed and DO like Jesus did – treat a second time.

Now, Jesus with perfect full grown mustard TREE faith, acted twice. I think therefore we can reasonable expect sometimes to have to act more than twice.

As an example, consider hammering a nail into a wall. The strength and skill of the builder are key to how quickly this nail will go in. So is the weight of the hammer! If the wall is particularly resistant, one may have to hit the nail dozens of times.

I was in a slate mine in North Wales recently. They had to drill holes by hand to place dynamite to get the slate out.

Some holes would take an average 4 hours of solid work to finish, but bigger ones would be 10-12 hours.

Five minutes into the process, progress would be almost impossible to measure and they could give up saying this is having no effect. But it was having a small effect. Persistence in the correct method produced eventual results.

With modern tools and machinery, the same job can now be done in a fraction of the time.

So when you have ministered and think you see no change, it may just be that you cannot measure the change.

Of course, to return to the nail analogy, it does matter that you are hitting the nail! Persistence will not help if you keep missing the nail. And if you are using a screwdriver instead of a hammer, persistence will not help. So it is best to ask the Holy Spirit if you’re using the right tool for the job.

As an example from my ministry experience, I had a woman come to our booth at a New Age Fair. Her problem was back pain. So the first thing I did was check her legs. One was about 3/4″ short/long. So I commanded it to grown. NOTHING. Again. Nothing. So I asked another of the team to help me. Again nothing!

So I got them to stand up, laid hands on the back an commanded healing. Pain reduced. I them got them to sit down again. Legs were still uneven. I commanded growth and almost instantly the leg grew out.

So it seemed that there was an issue to deal with in the back to release the leg to grow,

Later that day another person came with back pain. This time I started on the back. NOTHING. I tried everything that usually works. Nothing. So then I got them to sit. Uneven legs, so I grew out the short leg. It responded quickly and easily.

When she stood up, her pain was a lot less and a command of healing finished the job.

So on this occasion it was the uneven legs that had to be dealt with first!

In both instances I think it would have been pointless ‘persisting’ with the initial treatment.

Conclusion. If one thing isn’t working, try something else. And if all else fails, ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to treat the condition!