A GOD THING! THE WAY ALSO FEATURED IN THIS ISSUE: >>C:VIEW A GOD THING! CONFERENCE >>FAITH IN THE BLOOD BY MARK HANKINS >>GOD THE ENCOURAGER BY RICK BEZET >>THE OLD MADE NEW BY GERRI DI SOMMA >>SEEDS BY MICHELLE DI SOMMA >>AIMING YOUR CHILDREN FOR SUCCESS BY GERRI DI SOMMA >>AND MORE...
SERVICES Sat 19.00HRS Sun 09.00HRS SuN 11.00HRS CONTACT CARMEL:CENTRE 817a Bath Road, Brislington, Bristol BS4 5NL T: (0117) 977 5533 F: (0117) 977 5678 W: www.carmelcentre.org ‘He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.’ Luke 9:2 EXECUTIVE EditorS: GERRI AND Michelle Di Somma, PRODUCED BY: WWW.CRE8ION.CO.UK Printers: Yeomans Press Bible quotations are from the New King James Version unless stated otherwise. Full
c:view latest news 3
M HANKINS TEACHING
G DI SOMMA TEACHING
R BEZET TEACHING 7
M DI SOMMA TEACHING
All teachings in this edition are abridged. versions are available to order on CD or DVD.
G DI SOMMA TEACHING
DECEMBER Wed 9
A large part of our focus in this issue reflects upon the recent aGODthing Conference ‘THE WAY’. The Conference opened the way for much of what God is saying to us and through us as a church, to be expressed in a much wider forum. Connecting with the speakers and being led and inspired by the Spirit has enlarged our vision and opened opportunities to widen our ministry influence both here and elsewhere.
Sat19, Sun 20
EW Vision Breakfast
Both of Pastor Gerri’s articles restate fundamental truths. In a day when Christians are increasingly faced with challenges to their lifestyle and beliefs, a reminder of these truths seems particularly necessary. No less important, Pastor Michelle’s article addresses the need for our hearts to be ever ready to receive God’s Word so that there may be an increased harvest in our lives individually and as a church.
CARMEL: VISION SUNDAY
Night Prayer Vigil
Christmas is with us with its hopes, expectations and seasonal excitement. However, the Word made flesh, our Lord Jesus Christ, must remain pre-eminent in our lives as we rejoice, fellowship and celebrate the occasion. Our Christmas morning service is always full of what the Season is all about. Join us there.
Gerri and Michelle Di Somma
A partner is a sharer, an associate, one who engages with another in business, one who plays on the same side as another.
8.30am 9.00am, 11.00am
FEBRUARY Sat 13
Promise of Purity – Introduction
Thurs 18-Fri 19 Youth Conference
‘But Now I See’ Maranatha Productions
Night Prayer Vigil
MARCH Fri 5 to Sun 7
Exceptional Women’s Conference
9.00am SunDAY Lindie McCauley
Night Prayer Vigil
POP Seminar and Ceremony 9.00am, 7.00pm
Account Details: United Kingdom Bank of Scotland Carmel Christian Centre Sort Code: Account No: 80-11-00 06085191
APPROX. 4 MILES TO BRISTOL CITY CENTRE
Should you wish to donate by Gift Aid please contact the church office. South Africa Anchor Ministries International First National Bank, Cresta Branch Sort Code: Account No: 25-49-05 51440080590
carmel: ministries international is a registered charity (Charity No. 1094052) with Luke 9:2 as its mission statement. All finances sown go into the work of establishing God’s Kingdom through evangelism and preparing labourers for the harvest.
IBAN: GB67 BOFS 8011 0006 0851 91
Partnership in sharing – The whole ministry of sharing is to give oneself in the areas of love, time, talents and finances.
9.00am to 10.00am
Partnership in caring – We are instructed to watch over and take care of the partners in our charge (Acts 20:28).
Christmas Day Service
Partnership in prayer – We believe it is vital for every partner to develop a strong personal prayer life, and to pray for the leadership for godly wisdom and direction from the Lord.
Partnership is important – It releases power to get the job done. We can accomplish the Great Commission together in unity.
Wed 23 to Fri 1 Carmel Offices Closed
BRISLINGTON PARK & RIDE
from Bath Follow A4 towards Bristol, bypassing Keynsham, to the Park-andRide (on your left) on the outskirts of Bristol, just before traffic lights. At these lights proceed straight (in outside lane) for approx. 150 yards (McDonald’s on your right). HSBC Bank follows on your right. Immediately before the Bank, take the driveway along its right, between the buildings. carmel:centre is behind HSBC. from M4 J19 Proceed towards Bristol along M32 to J3. Leave M32 at J3 heading left onto dual carriageway, following signs for A4 and Bath. Approach next roundabout in left lane and continue to follow signs for A4 Bath, to traffic lights. Proceed straight on and over a high level bridge, descending to another roundabout. Proceed straight on, in right hand lane, to next roundabout. Leave this roundabout to the right with Sainsbury’s on your left. Keep in left hand lane and go straight on at next two sets of lights which come a short distance apart.
catch up on the latest happenings at carmel: by visiting our website www.carmelcentre.org or emailing us on email@example.com
A GOD THING!
CONFERENCE Hosted by Pastor Gerri Di Somma, the aGODthing! Conference ‘The Way’ proved to be a time of prophetic inspiration, vision and spiritual enlargement. Prepared in prayer, the Conference experienced the flow of the Holy Spirit’s anointing and the life changing power of God’s Word. Mark Hankins from the USA, who, in his entire world-wide ministry, spoke for the first time in the UK at Carmel, opened the Conference with a message based on the joy of the Lord. The previous Sunday at Carmel, he had brought a message on ‘Faith in the Blood’ which in its presentation and insight seemed like an advance notice of the good things to come. Jim Schmitt, a missionary from the USA who has established the World Outreach Christian Centre at Limerick in the Republic of Ireland, centred his message on why God’s people need to pursue holiness. John Grunewald from the USA and now based in Germany, spoke on finding the purposes of God. The Thursday of the Conference was completed with a message brought by Paul Brady from Northern Ireland who spoke about starting, staying and continuing in the Holy Spirit. Pastor Michelle brought a message on how to continue living victoriously when challenged by the routine of our daily lives and Matt Beemer from the USA spoke about the fellowship of the Spirit and its importance in the life of the local Church. Pastor Gerri concluded the day with a message about great faith and how it comes from a relationship with God and not a methodology derived by man.
The focus of Saturday morning was towards leadership, and Kevin Fletcher spoke on being faithful in another man’s ministry and the Holy Spirit in leadership, much of which had come from his experience working alongside leaders of a major ministry in the USA. Pastor Chris Lodewyk from South Africa was the speaker at the second session. Speaking on the why, when and wherefores of leadership, his simple yet profound word gained particular authority as he shared anecdotes from his international involvement with leaders, Christian, political and secular. The evening’s message was brought by Rick Bezet who has established a very large church in the USA. He spoke about God as our encourager and gave special emphasis to the need of approaching God with sincerity in our hearts. The Conference was attended by people from many churches in the UK as well as Europe and beyond. It was an opportunity to share in the goodness of God and experience the work of the Holy Spirit as nearly everyone was prayed for at different times in the Conference. Though the theme of each message preached was different, there was a great sense of God’s presence and revelation of Himself. Sometimes in silence and sometimes in joyous laughter, praise and worship, the experience of the event greatly encouraged the Conference to reach toward God, make more room for the Holy Spirit and allow Him to direct their lives.
Rick Bezet 3
THE BLOOD BY MARK HANKINS
Scripture talks to us about having faith in the blood of Jesus. Paul wrote about Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. Romans 3:25 KJV.
Scripture teaches us that the only way to be right with God is by faith. The just shall live by faith. (Hebrews 10:38.) We are reconciled and restored to fellowship with God by faith in the blood. By faith we are positioned for the favour and blessing of God. We have forgiveness of sins, the penalty and guilt being removed from us. Your meeting place with God The Amplified version of Romans 3:25 links the ‘mercy seat’ with the propitiation through Christ’s blood. The significance of this comes from when God met with the Israelites in the Tabernacle in the wilderness. In Exodus 25:22 we read: And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat. The mercy seat was where the blood was applied by the High Priest once a year. This was a physical location, but now, through the blood of Jesus, it’s a spiritual location. This means that any time you exercise your faith in the blood, you meet with God at His mercy seat, His throne of grace. (Hebrews 4:16.) God meets with you when there’s faith in the blood of Jesus. Faith has two major ingredients There are two key parts to faith. The first is knowledge: you can’t believe beyond your actual knowledge of the Word of God. While you’re meditating and feeding on the Word, faith comes. (Romans 10:17.) Also, if your knowledge of what the blood of Jesus can do for you is limited, then your expectation and results will be limited. Second, faith must have application in two ways: through speaking the Word and acting on the Word. When the 4
destroyer passed over the people in Egypt at the first Passover, the Israelites had to apply the blood with a bunch of hyssop to the doorposts of their houses in order to be saved and set free from captivity. (Exodus 12:22.) In the New Testament the ‘hyssop’ with which you apply the blood is your tongue. You must speak the Word to apply your faith; then you must act on it. The just shall live by faith. The perfect sacrifice for sin makes you perfect When the sacrificial system was in place, to deal with sin an Israelite would bring to the priest one male lamb in its first year without blemish. (Numbers 6:14.) The priest examined the lamb to see if it was without blemish. If it was, the worshipper would be accepted. Here we need to note that the priest examined the sacrifice and not the worshipper. It is the sacrifice that purifies the worshipper. This is followed in the New Testament. Christ died once and for all so that you can come to God and say, “Father God I come through faith in the blood of Jesus.” He then examines Jesus as the male Lamb and says, “He’s without blemish; you’re accepted.” (Ephesians 1:6-7.) You are then in perfect fellowship with God and can enter His presence with a conscience free from sin. So if you want to fellowship with God, there must be blood. How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Hebrews 9:14. Did you notice that the Holy Spirit is in there working with the blood? When you exercise faith in the blood, you’ve got Christ’s blood sprinkled all over you, your spirit, mind, body, family, finances and so on. It’s over everything.
There’s no such thing as ignorant or silent faith Faith will move your mouth. The moment you have faith in the blood, you’ll start talking, singing and lifting your voice about it; and the devil’s in big trouble. You’ve gone from knowledge to speaking and you’ve got the hyssop of your tongue out. And they overcame him (the devil) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Revelation 12:11 KJV. The Holy Spirit will give you fighting words whenever you’re facing a challenge. Here’s what He once gave to my wife: “God is on my side. The blood has been applied. Every need shall be supplied. Nothing shall be denied. I have passed the test. I enter into rest and always get God’s best.” You see, we’re not fighting for victory, but fighting from victory. Jesus has already got the victory. We’re champions in the ring when the devil challenges us. If the devil or anyone says, “You don’t deserve God’s best”, remind them of what the blood of Christ has done, and say: “My faith is in the blood of Jesus.” The blood covers everything Andrew Murray said: “To receive this blessing nothing is necessary except faith in the blood. The blood alone has
done everything.” His blood has done everything. My faith, my confident expectation is in the blood of Jesus. Use your words as hyssop and sling the blood of Jesus everywhere. Smith Wigglesworth said: “As we study the blood we can see there’s not one thing in us the blood does not cleanse.” If the devil gives you a hard time, tell him what the blood of Jesus has done. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us … that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Galatians 3:13-14. Through the blood of Jesus we are redeemed, He’s purchased our freedom. We don’t have to be cursed, sick, poor, depressed, guilty or ashamed any more. That means Christ has already done His part. Guess whose move it is now? Yours. Your faith is going to have to move because there’s no ignorant faith, no silent faith and no passive faith. Faith by definition requires action. The simplest definition of faith is to act like the Bible’s true. Through the blood of Jesus heaven has been opened up for us to enter there and meet with God. God provided a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh. Hebrews 10:20. With His own blood Jesus entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. Hebrews 9:12. The blood must be applied in two places The blood was applied in heaven by Jesus, but the blood must also be applied in your heart by faith, because even though heaven’s open, if your heart’s not open, you won’t receive. So how do you open up the heart? Apply the blood to your heart by faith to purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God. (Hebrews 9:12.) Apply the blood and He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9.) Then you can have full and free fellowship with your heavenly Father. Open your mouth and speak out Here are four faith confessions you can speak out and confidently apply because of the blood of Jesus: “The blood of Jesus purges me and cleanses me from every defilement of the enemy.” “The blood of Jesus prevents deception and aborts every attempt of the enemy to deceive me.” “The blood of Jesus guards my mind day and night and is my divine covering and protection.” “The blood of Jesus perfects what concerns me and reconciles everything in me to the perfect will of God every day.” 5
Through the blood of the everlasting covenant God makes us complete in every good work to do His will, working in us all that is well pleasing in His sight. (Hebrews 13:20-21.) Now you’re mixing faith with the blood, lift up your voice as soon as you get up in the morning, and say, “God’s on my side, the blood is applied!” In the same way, plead the blood in any and every place the devil may try to get at you. You may be going on a journey, or being threatened by sickness. Resist Satan by pleading the blood. By the stripes of Jesus we are healed. (1 Peter 2:24.) God’s grace will work for you as you humble yourself under His hand. So resist the devil and He will flee from you. (James 4:6-7.) If you’re having financial challenges, plead the blood of Jesus. Tell the devil to take his hands off your money. The blood of Jesus has many applications Like the latest mobile phones which have an applications button, the blood has many applications. However, a lot
of people go to church and just want their sins forgiven so they don’t go to hell. They want the bare minimum application. But the blood’s got a lot of applications. It’s not just good for when you die and go to heaven. It will work in your spirit, mind, soul, body, future, children, prosperity… there are many applications. The blood alone has done everything. To receive God’s blessing, nothing is necessary except faith in the blood. That’s why there is a fight of faith, because the devil will do everything he can to get you out of position. But the minute you get in there with knowledge and application, the blood applied, the first thing it does is bring you into a meeting place with God your Father so you can fellowship with Him. The second thing is, you’re restored to favour and the blessings of God. Then you overcome the devil. God’s on your side for the blood is applied. Every need shall be supplied.
PASTOR GERRI’S NEW BOOK... GET YOUR COPY TODAY!
LIVING FREE FROM DECEPTION PASTOR GERRI DI SOMMA REVEALS HOW SATAN USES DECEPTION TO TRAP, THEN BLIND PEOPLE TO THEIR DANGEROUS PLIGHT. HE WARNS HOW THIS AFFECTS EVERY AREA OF LIFE, DESTROYS FAITH, DAMAGES RELATIONSHIPS WITH GOD AND OTHERS, THWARTING GOD’S PLANS AND PURPOSES ON EARTH AND FOR ETERNITY. Living Free from Deception is for those honest enough to admit that at some time in their lives they have been deceived. It is for those who recognise they believed they were right when they were wrong; who know that not all their good ideas were God ideas; who acknowledge that their plans sometimes usurp God’s instructions. This book is for those who will accept the challenge to examine their own attitudes, beliefs and understanding in the light of God’s Word and ways.
Available from: www.carmelbookshop.org
Whatever the reader’s natural or spiritual age, this book is life-changing. Questions after each chapter facilitate personal or group study. Inspired teaching and godly wisdom help identify and redress belief in falsehood and disbelief in truth. Spiritual principles and clear illustrations guide and equip the reader to overcome and avoid deception, experience spiritual growth and change, and enjoy exactly what it says on the cover: Living Free from Deception.
THE WORD OF GOD ON AUDIO CD EVERY MONTH God’s Word is the Sword of the Spirit and ‘A Word in Season’ is God’s vehicle for proclaiming the power of the gospel to the nations. ‘A Word in Season’ monthly message on CD is available for you today. Contact the ‘A Word in Season’ office at carmel:centre. You can also view our catalogue online at www.carmelcentre.org/awordinseason 6
Our intimacy with God is developed in prayer and out of that intimacy faith flows. The experience of those who see God at work in their lives through prayer and faith is a source of encouragement to us all, and in Prayer Works we can share in their blessing.
Sean McKenna bought something he needed on the internet. When it arrived, he found he was being charged far more than expected. So he returned it, asked for a refund and that his account be closed. However, the company continued to debit his account. When attending his mentoring group at Carmel, he asked them to pray, and they did, asking God for debt cancellation. Two weeks later he was able to testify that the money had been refunded and that prayer works.
The evening was dark and cold when Alison Shelper parked at a fast food outlet to meet with some friends. A few weeks later she received a £50 penalty notice for parking there too long. She knew that there was a serious question mark concerning whether, despite the signs recently put in place, the company had given its customers adequate notice, so she challenged the penalty notice. As time went on it looked like there would be a negative outcome. She prayed and joined with others in prayer that there would be a favourable outcome. Alison said: “It took four appeals and lots of prayer, but after seven months, I received a letter to say that they had cancelled the charge against me. Prayer does work.”
At birth, Liam was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, one of the consequences of which was that, as he grew, his muscles were pulling his hip joints apart. A major operation on his hips when Liam was six included his legs being deliberately broken, and he was in body-length plaster for six weeks. Annie was told that her son would probably have to have the operation again when he was ten. So she prayed and asked God for a word from Him on which she could build her faith. That word was in John 19:36: None of His bones shall be broken. Liam’s tenth birthday came, and shortly after they met with the surgeon to determine what would happen. He examined the X-rays and smiled: “Liam’s hips are perfectly aligned. His spine is very straight. He’s making excellent progress. He doesn’t need that operation.”
Lynne was dismissed from her job, and after four hearings with her employer the dismissal was upheld, but she knew that it was based on falsified evidence. But to challenge this in a tribunal would be very expensive and overwhelming. So she called on God for help and wisdom. Lynne decided to go to tribunal and act on her own behalf because of the cost of professional assistance. Others came alongside to help, particularly Lyn Birdsall, but it was her fellowship with God in prayer which carried her through. To the very last moment as the case was heard it seemed as if everything was going against her. However, she said that the Judge, “uncovered evidence we didn’t even know existed and which proved my innocence beyond all shadow of doubt. Prayer works.”
LIAM AND ANNIE WALKER
LYN BIRDSALL AND LYNNE QUINN
THE ENCOURAGER BY RICK BEZET
KNOWING GOD’S LOVE IS LIKE WALKING WITH HIM IN THE COOL OF THE DAY, AS ADAM AND EVE DID. BUT DISCOURAGEMENT ENTICES US TO WITHDRAW AND HIDE FROM GOD, AND TO NEGLECT OUR CALLING. When I finished Bible School, I left to go back to professional golfing. Ministry did not attract me, until the Lord told me to encourage His discouraged people. This is something we are all called to do, so let’s look at some of the ways God encourages us. 1. GOD ENCOURAGES US IN OUR APPROACH TO HIM Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus… let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:19, 22 NASB. As Christians, we are to have confidence to enter the holy place. Do you really believe that God loves you? The Holy Spirit speaks to you with a still small voice so you will come up close to Him. If you do not have confidence to enter, in what way don’t you think He loves you? Love gives life, religion kills and destroys. Both Jesus and the Pharisees wanted the adulterous woman to sin no more. (John 8:3-11.) The Pharisees’ solution was to put her to death ‘according to the Law’. But the Son of God wrote with His finger on the ground as He had once written on tablets of stone at Sinai when giving the Law, knowing that the Law could only be fulfilled through love. So He said
to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” Our sins are forgiven so we can come with confidence into the holy place. 2. GOD ENCOURAGES US IN OUR DREAM Some people, when they get to heaven and see God for who He really is, are going to look back with regret that they didn’t pursue their dream. They will realise they could have prayed big prayers; they could have dreamed big dreams. There are: A. Those without a dream. They look backwards instead of forward. Life is predictable, repetitive, boring and meaningless. B. Those with a low dream. Their prayers, beliefs and dreams drop to where their faith’s dropped and they limit God. C. Those with the wrong dream, like Samson who once had a God-dream but ended up with the wrong dream, the wrong person, in the wrong place doing the wrong thing.
TEACHING D. Those with God’s dream. They dream about souls and win people to Christ. Life has purpose and everything they do is focussed on fulfilling their dream. 3. GOD ENCOURAGES US IN OUR APPROACH TO OTHERS
However, God had not finished sorting me out. My wife and I had been ministering to a girl over a long period of time who was very depressed. I became convinced she had no real desire to get better, and I told her so. All she said was, “Oh, really?” and went home and blew her brains out.
It is all too easy to be intimidated by other people. We need to believe that if we do what God has called us to do, we’ll be protected and empowered. Because God is with us we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:6. Don’t be ashamed to follow Jesus. Don’t be afraid of the challenge of being His disciple, like the rich young man who walked away from eternal life. (Matthew 19:16-22.)
Afterwards I felt so far from God because I knew I was faking it. I knew when to say, “Praise the Lord, Hallelujah,” even though I was near dead on the inside. I had covered it up so well that not even my wife knew just what state I was in.
4. GOD ENCOURAGES US TO BE SINCERE TOWARD HIM
5. GOD ENCOURAGES US TO ENCOURAGE OTHERS
God’s invitation to draw near is one of the joys of the Christian life, but He wants us to draw near with a sincere heart. Not only that, our fellowship with each other is to be with a sincere heart. Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart. Hebrews 10:22. They ate together every day, with glad and sincere hearts. Acts 2:46.
We need encouragement so we can encourage others. This is something the Holy Spirit enables us to do. (2 Corinthians 1:4.) When we are baptised in the Holy Spirit it is so that something can flow out of us to others.
In the Bible School I attended, they taught us to act as if all was well, even when it wasn’t. They said you can’t afford to have any close relationships. After all, you are God’s servant, set apart to Him. That continued until one day I became very angry with my wife and shouted at her to shut up. She was shocked and hurt. She forgave me, as did God, but He told me to tell the congregation on Sunday what had happened. I was shocked. I thought that being sincere would cost me everything, that I would be thrown out of the church. There were about ten thousand people in the service and as I preached, the message fell flat. I knew it was because I hadn’t obeyed God. So I stopped and told them what had happened. Then I said, “Some of you are struggling and nobody knows. You’ve become expert at faking it, but God wants sincerity.” I was not escorted off the platform as I had feared. The Holy Spirit moved and there was a powerful anointing on the meeting.
Thank God I can now be truly sincere with God and that there are people with whom I can be really sincere.
When a man in our church was committing adultery, his friends didn’t just stand by and gossip. They sat outside his house so when he came home in the early hours they could tell him how much they loved him and cared about what was happening to him. The next time he was out with the other woman and came home, they were there again, but this time he fell on his knees and sought their help to put things right. A leader in our church became addicted to gambling. One day when our paths crossed, he tried to hide from me. However, the Spirit showed me that he was running because I didn’t really care what happened to him. So, when I caught up with him, I told him how wrong I was, and that I was sorry and I would help him get free from his addiction. He soon came back to the Lord. Many people run away from God because of us. Let’s love and encourage people and make it hard for them to fall away from Him.
“SOME OF YOU ARE STRUGGLING AND NOBODY KNOWS. YOU’VE BECOME EXPERT AT FAKING IT, BUT GOD WANTS SINCERITY.”
BY GERRI DI SOMMA God. God’s thoughts and ways are far higher than man’s intellect or religious ideas. (Isaiah 55:8-9.)
2. God’s kingdom culture supersedes all other cultures
The change that God brings about in us when we are born again is often misunderstood and we do not experience the power of the Christian life as God intended. Paul describes the reality of the new birth this way: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 CoRINTHIANS 5:17.
We see many cars on the road looking as if they need a visit to a garage to get patched up or rebuilt. How great it would be if they could become new as when they first came off the assembly line. That’s what it’s like when you were born again. God did not renovate or rebuild you, but made you completely new.
1. The natural man cannot know God There is a great divide between the natural man and the spiritual man which cannot be crossed without God’s intervention, because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:7-8. Whatever has made you what you are today - your education, achievements, family connections, culture, traditions, philosophy, good works – without Christ you have no connection with God and cannot please Him. Your mind will always defy the principles and the precepts of 10
God’s Kingdom culture is quite different from our natural cultures. God does not sanctify our cultures, traditions or ethnic conditioning. He gives us a new culture which embraces all who come to Him. Paul wrote: For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:27-28. This is a fundamental new creation reality. The old has passed away, behold all things have become new.
3. The reality of the new creation a. You must be born again A lot of people come to God because they want their sins forgiven, but unless God’s nature dwells in them, they’re not born again. The truth is that God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. John 4:24. Nicodemus was intellectually, physically and culturally a Jew. He knew Jewish teaching inside out. His initial response to Jesus was based on his understanding, which, as with all who lived by the Law, resulted in an inability to attain God’s righteousness. He needed to be born again. (John 3:1-9; 5:38-40.) b. God’s in you to will and do His work The day we were born again, we entered into a relationship with God by which He lives in us. Jesus said: “At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you … If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” John 14:20, 23.
“When God looks upon you, He doesn’t see you as someone panel beaten into shape and resprayed. He sees you as an original, created by Him with His perfection within.” The original ‘you’ that rebelled against God passed away. It wasn’t a case of moving from one ideology to another, but until God works in you, nothing can change. Without there being a new creation, there is no eternal life. (Philippians 2:13.) c. You have the power to live in victory to the glory of God When you receive Christ into your life, you have the power to keep the laws of God and live in victory. God said, speaking forward to the day of the new birth: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you … I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” Ezekiel 36:26-27. The reason we don’t live in victory is because we think in terms of renovation instead of recreation. We are not renovated, but have become a new creation. When God lives in you, you become the temple of the Holy Spirit. You are no longer your own, but belong to God because of the price He paid when He redeemed you. By living life on this basis we glorify God. Our conversation with other believers becomes endued with God’s love and true Christian unity becomes a reality. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 4:24-25; John 17:22-23.) d. The perfection of God is revealed in you When Jesus spoke about the righteousness of God, He said: “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48. Because God is in you, He can perfect your life according to His plans and purposes for you. You have the ability to live according to
His will because of His righteousness. (Colossians 4:12; Ephesians 4:13; Romans 8:10-11.) When your spirit man is recreated, it makes it easy to aspire to the things of God. Though in the world, you’re not of it, because now you’re a citizen of heaven. (Philippians 3:20.)
4. Don’t struggle to be who you already are A lot of Christians struggle to attain God’s perfection because they don’t realise they’ve been made perfect. It’s like someone pushing a car, not realising it has an engine. God’s engine is on the inside of you. It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13. You no longer live on the basis of your past, but on God’s promises concerning your future. Life is no longer a series of do’s and don’t’s, but you are led by the Spirit.
5. Your uniqueness is preserved by God’s power God does not change your personality, you are unique. You’re not a clone, but an original creation. Your uniqueness is within God’s plan for your life and is kept by the power of God. (1 Peter 1:3-5.) The destiny that God’s got for you is way beyond your wildest imagination. When God looks upon you, He doesn’t see you as someone panel beaten into shape and resprayed. He sees you as an original, created by Him with His perfection within. This is God’s grace working in us through faith. Left to ourselves, we would achieve nothing and our efforts to gain God’s approval would be dead works, but because of our recreation, we fulfill our destiny if we reverence and obey Him. (Hebrews 6:1; Romans 4:16; Ephesians 2:8-10.) Repent from your dead works and live by faith in the Son of God. At your new birth, you were not revamped or renewed, but recreated. Let this be your confession: I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20.
THE HARVEST OF GOOD SOIL AS CHRISTIANS, WE KNOW THAT OUR LIVES MUST BEAR FRUIT. THE PURPOSE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT DWELLING IN US IS THAT THE NATURE OF GOD BE FORMED IN US AND HIS LIFE WORK THROUGH US TO REACH INTO THE WORLD. SO IT’S IMPORTANT TO ASK THE QUESTION AS WE HEAD TO THE END OF ANOTHER YEAR, WHAT KIND OF HARVEST WILL WE BE REAPING THIS TIME NEXT YEAR?
If we think our harvest will increase by doing things the way we have always done, we will be very disappointed. A farmer who wants a better crop from his fields will give close attention to the soil in which he sows the seed. He will do whatever is necessary so the soil is in the best condition for the seed to grow. The seed will produce if the soil is right. God’s Word is living and active and always produces what is within it. It is like seed. Therefore our concern must be for the condition of the soil. In Matthew 13 we find a parable where the soil in it represents a person’s heart and the seed is the Word of God. Since the Word of God will produce, we must ask, what kind of soil does that seed find in our lives? What is the condition of your heart? In Proverbs we read: My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart. Proverbs 4:20-21. So let’s look at the parable and have a heart check-up. 1. THE WAYSIDE When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. Matthew 13:19. The wayside is where the hard and uncultivated ground is found. It grieves God to find a person irresponsive to His
Word through hardness of heart. (Mark 3:5.) The reasons for the hardness may be many, self-righteousness and religiosity being major ones. Unforgiveness is another. A lack of the fear of God is yet another. Bad experiences which have been allowed to fester and solidify breed resentment and hurt. If there’s hardness in your heart, it needs digging up and sifting to remove anything that would resist the Word. Your heart must become tender and receptive so the seed doesn’t lie on the surface where the enemy can steal and destroy it and you’re left untouched by God. 2. THE STONY PLACE But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Matthew 13:20-21. Many people get excited when they hear the Word preached and all it can do for them, but when they are challenged in their life and conduct they respond as if they never received the Word. And that’s exactly what has happened. The stones in their heart didn’t allow the seed to take root. There’s no substance for the seed to get hold of because of the issues continually dominating that person’s life. The ground needs to be cleared. If this is you, get before God and deal with your sin, your attitude, your lack of love, offence and fears. The world outside of you will always present challenges, but when the Word has found good soil in you, you have what it takes to face those challenges. 3. THE THORNY GROUND Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. Matthew 13:22.
“A FARMER WHO WANTS A BETTER CROP FROM HIS FIELDS WILL GIVE CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE SOIL IN WHICH HE SOWS THE SEED. HE WILL DO WHATEVER IS NECESSARY SO THE SOIL IS IN THE BEST CONDITION FOR THE SEED TO GROW.”
Thorns compete for the soil, demand space and make harvesting unnecessarily difficult. Their root networks disrupt and damage the seed. Our anxieties come from our perception and response to the world we live in and can suffocate our lives. However, the cares of the world are removed as we focus on God’s Word and kingdom purposes in our lives. (Matthew 6:24-34.) Our anxieties dissolve as we grow in our relationship with God and renew our minds to His Word. (Philippians 4:4-9.) Remember, you cannot have two masters. Being a Christian is about being devoted to God so that He lives in and through you. If not, your life will be full of turmoil because you are trying to do what God said you cannot do. Your anxieties will result in a poor harvest. Christianity is not ‘another way of life’. For the believer who knows God, it is ‘the only way of life’. (Matthew 6:24.) 4. THE TENDER HEART But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” Matthew 13:23. In talking about ‘the tender heart’, we’re not talking about being soft, but about being responsive, receptive and able to reproduce. In that way a well prepared soil is ‘good ground’. This person has not only heard to receive the knowledge of the Word, but the Word has become deeply embedded in them so it has become part of their life’s spiritual substance. They have understood and therefore will bear a good harvest.
This is a work of the Holy Spirit: The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17. To the human life this is quite unnatural and requires a supernatural work of God. It starts with being born again and filled with the Spirit. It continues as we are led by the Spirit moment by moment, day by day, and is worked out in our lives through obedience to His Word. As a result, we are clothed in His righteousness and He reproduces in us integrity, virtue, pure living, uprightness of heart, correct thinking, feeling and acting, and all those things which express the nature of God. The Spirit also brings peace, a life exempt from havoc, disorder and disease, which manifests harmony with others and an abiding contentment with who we are in Christ. And the consequence of these is always joy, the expression of supreme delight in God for who He is and what He’s done. This is not generated by our feelings. Our feelings cannot even remotely compare in their response with the pleasure found in God by the Spirit. How is the soil of your heart? Are you someone in whom God’s Word produces a good harvest? Where the ground in you is unprepared, repent toward God and ask Him to help you make it good. The size of the harvest may vary from person to person, but the important thing is that your life is uncluttered and provides fertile ground for the Word to grow and influence the world around you. The harvest of your life will produce more seed for an even greater harvest.
AIMING OUR CHILDREN FOR
There is an established principle in the Scriptures, that the way a child is brought up will determine the course of its life: Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6. Whether they are Christian parents or not, the truth remains, the way you’ve taught them will be the way they go. The future lies with young people The newspapers constantly remind us how today’s youth are living in a crisis of social and personal chaos and in so doing are generating a more critical future for those who follow. Government legislates to patch up the problem, but a lasting solution moves further away all the time. The youth of today will, in one way or another, determine our future. With this in mind, when we have a children’s dedication service at Carmel, it is not to name the child, but to dedicate the parents to the responsibility of raising their children in the fear of God. As scripture says: Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4. If parents fail in their responsibility, they will raise their children to produce the results that we see today through the neglect of God’s Word.
God’s Word is our final authority Much Government legislation is going against the family, but our final authority is God’s Word. This world needs a revived church where God’s presence is manifest. Unless the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. Psalm 127:1. Through us God builds His house. The facilities we provide at Carmel are all designed to help parents fulfil their responsibilities as stewards of the children God has given them. The framework of God’s house is His moral law. Being a disciple of Jesus means you are taught and empowered by the one who fulfilled the law, and to Him it’s still in force, and we are to teach it. (Matthew 5:17-19.) As born again, Spirit filled believers, it is God’s presence in us that enables us to love and keep His law. Ordering your lives to your child’s agenda, or always responding to their wants, means you are teaching your child that they are the centre of the universe. That is completely opposite to what the Scriptures teach. It is for the parents to set the agenda and order family life according to the Word of God. Ignorance is no excuse; example is paramount The problem we have these days is that parents don’t know God’s Law, and if they do, it is not the framework of their lives.
TEACHING “Jesus is the target at which we aim our children. We’ve got to shape those arrows; we’ve got to aim them for success. That means aiming them toward Jesus all the time.” A father who takes his employer’s stationery home with him for himself should not be surprised if his child is caught shoplifting. The son has learned from his father that stealing is no big deal. If you don’t spend time in devotions with God, don’t be surprised if your kids don’t want to know anything about God. Children learn from their parents’ example. The Law is about living an abundant life both now and for generations to come, and teaching it is to be a way of life: You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. Deuteronomy 6:7. Principles of discipline Though God’s Word may conflict with the laws of the land, it’s God’s Word that gives life, and that we obey, particularly when it comes to discipline. We do not use our hands to smack a child because the hand is a symbol of love, but there must be corporal discipline. Some parents use a wooden spoon as their rod. He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly. Blows that hurt cleanse away evil, as do stripes the inner depths of the heart. Proverbs 13:24; 20:30. Since this is God’s Word, that’s the way it is to be. It’s not negotiable. If we really love our children, if we want them to be successful in life, then there is only one way and that’s God’s way. Parents are stewards, not owners of God’s property
you both now and as you get older. They are a ‘heritage’ from the Lord, which means they are the inheritance God’s given you for the generations to come.
Children are arrows in the hand of a warrior. Children are for your protection and, if well trained, will have authority to stand against the enemy. A warrior knows the value of his arrows; his life depends on them flying true to the mark. For this an arrow has to be carefully fashioned for accurate flight. This means you will have to cut and scrape the ‘branches’ God gives you.
Know what’s going on in your children’s lives. Don’t apologise for shaping and scraping them. Know what goes on in their lives, what they’re playing around with, who they spend time with. Don’t allow them access to their mobiles or the internet in the privacy of their bedrooms. The world is seeking to entice them into its ways as Satan aims to destroy the family and captivate their minds. Parents, you are responsible for what goes on in their lives and you need to set the boundaries of God’s Word in place from the day they’re born.
Jesus is the target at which we aim our children. We’ve got to shape those arrows; we’ve got to aim them for success. That means aiming them toward Jesus all the time. Out of their relationship with Him will flow all the other things that pertain to life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:2-5.) But the shaping of the arrow begins with Mum and Dad setting the example and disciplining themselves to make the Word of God the lifestyle of their house. Applying that Word is how parents truly love their children.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3-5. Our future and the future of society is dependent on the training we give our children. The success of this church and the success of the mandate that God’s given us pertain to the generation that’s following us. That’s why we have a Christian school. It’s important that from a young age our children are born again, Spirit filled, tongue talking and operating in the gifts of the Spirit. This provides a secure foundation and a certain hope for the future. 1
Children are a blessing. To think otherwise is to start on the wrong foot. They are from God and God’s gifts are always good. With God’s help and following His instructions, His ‘blessing’ can become a great joy to
BY GERRI DI SOMMA 15
EXCEPTIONAL WomEn’s Conference
5th - 7th March 2010
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
FOR MORE INFO OR TO REGISTER: WWW.EXCEPTIONALWOMEN.CO.UK Registration fee £5 at the door. Offerings will be received.
Mr A Sample Sample Place Sample Town Sample City Sampleshire SA1 4MP
If undelivered please return to carmel: ministries international 817a bath road brislington bristol bs4 5nl