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Isaiah 45:9, ‘Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker – an earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, “What are you doing?” or the thing you are making say, “He has no hands”’?
530 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, God’s people, the Israelites, were in captivity in Babylon due to their rebellious ways. Cyrus, the king of Persia, was the monarch under whom the Babylonian captivity ended. In the first year of his reign he was prompted by God to decree that the Temple in Jerusalem should be rebuilt and any Jews who wanted might return to their land for this purpose.
Cyrus was a great military leader and led several military campaigns against the most powerful kingdoms of the time, including Media, Lydia, and Babylonia.
God uses people who do not know Him to perform His will. Who are we to argue with God whom He wants to honour and use to fulfil His plans?
by Marlene Anne Morphew
Once we believe and receive Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord and decide to follow Him we have the freedom to overcome; to conquer. We have the freedom in trials as we enter an oasis of Freedom.
What destroys this freedom? Making choices and decisions that reflect what we desire. Are you free enough to say NO to a burning desire?
Are you free enough to change? When Peter, a simple fisherman heard the voice of Jesus, he walked away from everything familiar to follow Him. His settled existence behind him.
The authority of full heaven spoke and Peter’s whole life was changed.
The messenger was changed. The message does not. ‘And Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”’.
Freedom GROWS when believers serve one another in love; bringing an explosion on the inside.
Are you free enough to grow in the freedom God intended? Increase the level of truth you live and you will increase your freedom to have the freedom God intended.
(Inspired in part by Nathaniel Woods preach, “A Freedom that Changes Things”.)
WHEN JESUS PASSES BY… Sunday Sermonette by Marlene Anne Morphew
Any turncoats among us?
Someone who has shifted allegiance from Jesus Christ back to the ways of the world, betraying or deserting the original cause of Christianity and switching to the opposing side, the enemy’s camp? Someone who may not be aware of what has happened or someone who has intentionally decided to be a turncoat? Someone who makes the mistake of devaluing God and His anointed servants?
2 Samuel 15 and 17 tell the story of a man filled with intelligence and natural worldly wisdom but foolish in action. Ahitophel was a counsellor of King David. During David’s son Absalom's revolt he deserted David (Psalm 41:9; 55:12–14) and supported Absalom.
Ahitophel had recommended to Absalom an immediate attack on David's camp at a time when David was weary and vulnerable. David heard about it and sent his friend Hushai to Absalom, in order to counteract the counsel of Ahitophel. Hushai recommended delay while a larger army was assembled to counter David's alleged strength.
Amazingly ‘for the LORD had purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahitophel’, Hushai's advice was accepted. Seeing that his advice against David had not been followed, Ahitophel apparently surmised that the revolt would fail. He then left the camp of Absalom at once. He returned to Giloh, his native place, and after arranging his worldly affairs, hanged himself.
Judas was a turncoat. He was an apostle, a follower of Jesus for three years. Yet he chose to be the betrayer prophesied in Zechariah. The insulting rejection of Christ for the small sum of thirty pieces of silver, was a reflection of his attitude toward God Himself (Matthew 26:15, 48-49). As the Lord said through Zechariah (11:12-13) that the money would be returned to the Jewish leaders, the custodians of “the house of God.” Matthew’s record reveals that Judas, in a swoon of regret, brought back the coinage to the chief priests and elders then went out and also hanged himself (Matthew 27:3-5).
Neither Ahitophel nor Judas understood the ways of God.
Suicide in shame and regret is not necessary.
Yes in the first chapter of Isaiah when the prophet exposes the Israeli leaders as turncoats (v23), he warns them what God will do – all they hoped to gain from their selfish rebellion would be taken from them. However since we now have a saviour Jesus Christ who freely died to pay the price for our sin, the good news is for the one who repents, turns back to God, the love and forgiveness bought by Jesus on the Cross flows freely as Father God opens His loving arms to receive the rebellious one who is willing to return.
A FIERY FURNACE WITH DOORS HUNG WITH ICICLES
Sunday Sermonette by Marlene Anne Morphew
Reflection on the Book of Revelation
Sunday Sermonette by Marlene Anne Morphew
The book of Revelation tends to scare both Christians and those who do not believe in the One living God. Mainly because it is a book of prophecy concerning the events of the end of all things on earth and the judgements to come for all peoples and only God can prophecy truth (Isaiah 46:9-10).
But if we break the book open to a level of understanding for all people especially believers we find it:
- brings stability in chaotic times (1:8),
- unlocks the mystery of history (11:15) and
- brings sense to our suffering here on earth (21:4)
Instead of being frightened about the true dramas of the end times, we need to fill ourselves with the hope of Jesus returning.
God is not sitting in heaven wringing His Hands and wondering what He will do next. The Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit never meets in emergency session. God’s plan laid out in Revelation may not be a road map but is definitely a compass direction. He knows the future and we can get to know Him and that is enough. However we all want to have the assurance of where we are going when this body gives out. Anyone who says they don’t care is deceived or a liar. The book of revelation does just that – provides the assurance of what we hope for.
The book is not a conglomerate of revelations but REVELATION of the One TRUE God, Jesus Christ – the spotless glorified Lamb of God. Father God is saying, here is the full unveiling of My Son who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (19:11-16).
What is very important for all mankind is that Satan’s doom, though prophesied in part in the first book of the Word of God, his doom is realized in the last book of Revelation as he appears on earth for the last time (20:7-10).
As the world begins to wind down towards the end evil and wickedness hot up, we must not look for what will happen though we are told to be aware of the sign of times (Matthew 24:3-31). But we must be looking for the SOMEONE who is to come whose name is JESUS…
Jesus second coming will be different from His first. He came as a baby, fully human, fully God with His glory veiled. He came as a servant and to a crucifixion. When He comes again he comes in all His glory and splendour; to a coronation to His rightful throne as sovereign. When Jesus was here the first time He stood before Pilate but at His second coming Pilate will stand before Jesus and be judged (2 Corinthians 5:10).
All believers who bow their knee to Jesus have such assurance of what will happen after death, can concentrate on the present and the mandate to lead people to a personal relationship with Jesus, and help others live a victorious Christian life.
“And the Spirit and the bride say COME. And let the one who hears say COME. And let the one who is thirsty COME, let the one who will take the water of life freely, COME.
Want to be ready when Christ comes? Then
HEAR WHAT IT SAYS (13:9) and
HEED WHAT IT SAYS
A BOOK THAT IS NOT A BOOK
The devil has the world fooled by calling the book of Christianity, the bible. Bible simply means biblia, or in the Greek New Testament biblos. It refers to the inner bark of a tree – a sheet or scroll of writing – book. A book in almost every language on the globe. It is used to signify other books apart from Christianity.
Some Christians would claim all we need is the bible but this requires some clarification for the Christian bible is full of ordinary people who went to impossible places and did wondrous things because they decided to obey God. It is a supernatural book and can only be understood by supernatural means; through the power of the Holy Spirit of God.
When the bible becomes just another source of guidance, rather than the final authority on human relationships, people are bound to embrace error and sin.
So what is the difference between using the word bible or WORD? Sin will keep us from reading the bible but the Word will keep us from sin. 1 John 1:1, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God’.
The Word is a means to bring people to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, delight in His presence, taste and know the inner sweetness of God Himself in the core and centre of their hearts. This can only be achieved through the illumination of the Word by God’s Spirit of Holiness. The Holy Spirit brings life to the written word. Otherwise the bible is simply literature and at worst it is bondage, producing legalism.
The devil does not want the world or believers to start using the WORD instead of the word bible for obvious reasons. The word bible has no power by itself, even when we add holy in front. The WORD has power and authority over the devil for it is the name of Jesus.
THE MULTIPLICATION FACTOR - SUNDAY SERMONETTE
‘And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And He answered and said to them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of thekingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.“’Matthew 13:10-11.
Jesus main parable topic was the kingdom of God. In Matthew 25:14:30 we come to the parable commonly titled “the talents”. This naming is obvious and shallow; missing the mark.
• not about performance,
• not about being a good steward or person,
• not about being wise or foolish,
• not about being a clever business person,
• not about being an entrepreneur,
• not about adding to our own prosperity or wealth,
• not about simply being productive or fruitful,
• but about MULTIPLICATION within the kingdom.
SUNDAY SERMONETTE by Marlene Anne Morphew
The blood brings people out of darkness into the glorious Light. It speaks, saves, heals, delivers, frees, covers and protects.
The blood lifts us above our circumstances; out of distresses and pressures of the world.
The blood carries us to heavenly places in his presence where we find our eternal Hope.
The actual physical blood of Jesus body was shed from seven places:
His sweat in the garden before the crucifixion (Luke 22:44)
From His head and face (Matthew 27:29-30).
From His back (Matthew 27:26).
From His hands and His feet (Psalm 22:16; Matthew 27:35).
From His side (John 19:34).
Yet the blood is alive! For believers serve the only living God. We who know and have witnessed the fountain of his cleansing blood is ever flowing; ever alive.
Wherever the blood is honoured in faith or preaching, there the Spirit works and where He works He always leads people to Jesus Christ. This is one of the most powerful mysteries of God.
The evil one can fight us at every turn but when we apply the blood, God’s power comes alive.
Acts 20:28, ‘Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.’
Apply the blood unto salvation (Hebrews 9:22).
Apply the blood unto reconciliation with Father God (1 Peter 3:18).
Apply the blood unto cleansing and forgiveness (1 John 1:7-8).
Apply the blood unto overcoming and conquering (Revelation 12:11).
Many years ago, a group of missionaries and other believers in New Guinea were gathered to observe the Lord’s Supper. A young man began to shake uncontrollably. When asked what was wrong, he replied, “The man who just came in was a head hunter. He killed and ate the body of my father. I did not know if I could endure his presence but then I realised he is forgiven and cleansed in the same precious blood.”
The prophet Sandie Freed says, “When we are covered by the blood we are hidden in Christ, completely concealed, kept secret. It is a place of safety. The devil cannot touch us. This protection provides empowerment, authority and dominion in Christ. It is a place where the hidden things of God are revealed; divine strategies to overcome the enemy are birthed and where we possess our blessings (Colossians 3:1-4)”.
Just as Rahab must have smelt the blood of the Lamb when she welcomed the two spies in peace, it still brings protection, deliverance and draws others to believe (Joshua 2:1, 3; 6:17-25; Hebrews 11:31).
No movie can portray the power of the blood of Jesus Christ. As He was resurrected so was His blood.
There is power in the first move
This veil was estimated to be the height of a six storey building or more and about four inches thick. The Old Testament (Exodus 25:40) teaches that this thick veil was fashioned from blue, purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen. The size and thickness of the veil make the event of it’s tearing at the moment of Jesus death significant. ‘And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of thetemple was torn in two from top to bottom’ (Matthew 27:50-51a).
‘Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were closed. For to this day the same veil remains at the reading of the old covenant. It has not been lifted, because only in Christ can it be removed’ 2 Corinthians 5:12-17. Yes, the veil is torn. Jesus is now our mediator. Believers don’t go through a person or rituals anymore. Jesus made a new and living way available for all to reach God. And God no longer dwells in structures but in all who obey and keep His commandments.