A MAGAZINE PUBLISHED BY CARMEL: MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL
THE GENESIS PRINCIPLE ARTICLE BY PASTOR GERRI DI SOMMA
WALK OF LOVE
TEACHING BY PASTOR MICHELLE DI SOMMA
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HE SENT THEM TO PREACH THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND TO HEAL THE SICK. LUKE 9:2
At the halfway point of 2012, we are delighted to report on all the marvellous things that God has been saying and doing at Carmel Centre. Our annual Youth and Women’s Conferences earlier this year were powerful times of ministry through the Word and Spirit of God (see Conference overviews on pages 4-7). Pastor Gerri’s main article, ‘The Genesis Principle’ parallels the relationships in a natural family to those in a spiritual family. He shows that Christians are responsible to mature as ‘sons in God’s house’ in order to leave a spiritual legacy. In his second teaching, Pastor Gerri emphasises the importance of intimacy with God in winning the battle of our will. ‘The Walk of Love’ by Pastor Michelle Di Somma shows how God’s love is part of a Christian’s dna, and as such, should be expressed to others. Pastor Mauro Girgenti, our guest speaker featured in this issue, exhorts all believers to realign their beliefs about God, as he reveals from scripture that God is a ‘God of abundance’. We are pleased to announce that we are re-launching this magazine in September with the new name: Carmel: Life. This new look and feel publication will continue to bring you our latest teaching and news. Thank you for being faithful readers of 24-7; we trust that you will continue to be part of our journey through Carmel: Life.
GERRI AND MICHELLE DI SOMMA
Fri 15 – Sat 16 Sun 17 Mon 18
Valiant Men’s Conference Fri 1.00pm Sat 9.00am Father’s Day Service 9.00am & 11.00am Carmel Bible College Open Day
Carmel Bible College Graduation Ceremony
Guest Speaker: Terry Savelle Foy
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The Genesis Principle by Pastor Gerri Di Somma
The Walk of Love by Pastor Michelle Di Somma
Sun 29 – Fri 03 St Revolution Youth Camp
Where The Battle Is Won by Pastor Gerri Di Somma
SEPTEMBER Sun 02
Dunamis Gospel Choir
Exceptional Women’s Breakfast
Carmel Bible College Registration
Please note some of the dates and times of up-and-coming events may be subject to change. See Carmel’s website for all the latest information.
Youth Conference Exceptional Women’s Conference
God of Abundance by Pastor Mauro Girgenti
C:VIEW: YOUTH CONFERENCE
YOUTH CONFERENCE When associated with stereotypical adolescent behaviour, young people can be regarded negatively. But whatever is said or thought about the younger generation, this year’s Youth Conference saw an undeniable passion from youth at Carmel and other Churches to worship Jesus and live for Him. These young people gathered for the annual Conference hosted by Carmel’s youth department, St Revolution. It was a Conference that displayed the talent, creativity and originality of the St Revolution team. The opening night began with a huge back-screen projected video and skillful solos from the electric guitarists. Over the two days, the creativity continued with impressive lighting and atmospheric smoke. Saturday evening’s meeting featured a UV banner, stating, ‘Jesus is the One, we are His legacy’. During each session, gifted and anointed musicians and vocalists led times of praise and worship. God’s presence was tangible and hearts were made ready to receive His Word. With the theme, ‘The One Legacy’, Conference speakers Pastor Daniele Forte and Pastor Gerri Di Somma spoke about the legacy that Jesus left and the part Christians play in continuing His legacy. ONE WITH GOD “We are not brought back into a relationship with God by human methods, but by the blood of Jesus,” said Pastor Daniele (1 Peter 1:18-21). The youngsters were taught that Jesus’ blood breaks every man-made tradition that takes the place of God. Traditions such as culture, fashion, food and mindsets were highlighted as areas that can prevent them from personally experiencing God. Pastor Daniele explained the difference between following a religious tradition handed down through generations and a living relationship with God. Pastor Daniele testified that the blood of Jesus destroyed traditions in his life, making him one with God, united with the Father. He prayed for the young people who also wanted to become one with God by allowing Jesus’ blood to break their traditions.
CONSECRATED CHRISTIANS Pastor Daniele addressed the youth leaders regarding the importance of living a consecrated life. He used the biblical account of Daniel to illustrate how a life set apart for God may not be free from difficulties, but will result in favour from God and man (Daniel chapters 1-2). Youth leaders were exhorted to follow the biblical example: to know their identity in Christ and to keep themselves undefiled from the world. God favoured Daniel because of his consecrated lifestyle, giving him wisdom, knowledge and influence. Pastor Daniele said, “There are no limits. God exalted Daniel to sit in the presence of kings.” LEGACY LEAVERS Pastor Gerri concluded the Conference by urging the youngsters to leave a ‘spiritual legacy of faith’. He used the Apostle Paul’s teaching to Timothy to show how Paul left a spiritual legacy and gave Timothy a plan to continue it: the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 2 Timothy 2:2. The young people were taught the importance of making right choices to continue the legacy of faith. Pastor Gerri encouraged them that these choices would enable them to fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith (2 Timothy 4:7). He explained the three elements involved: a soldier learns obedience though self-denial, an athlete is motivated through self-discipline and a farmer is faithful through self-sacrifice. Many youngsters responded positively to the Word of God and were exhorted not to turn back in their Christian walk, but to continue in the footsteps of Jesus. The Conference also included team building games, forming relationships between the young people from different Churches, setting foundations for the St Revolution Youth Camp in July.
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C:VIEW: EXCEPTIONAL WOMEN’S CONFERENCE
LOVE IS IN THE AIR EXCEPTIONAL WOMEN’S CONFERENCE The theme for this year’s Exceptional Women’s Conference was LOVE, based on the scripture: Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7. During the two-day conference, its host Pastor Michelle Di Somma and guest speakers Yvonne Brooks and Marion Meyers unpicked what it means for women to love God, themselves and their ‘neighbour’. The Spirit moved powerfully throughout the Conference: right from the opening welcome to the worship and the Word. IF HE CAN LOVE ME, I CAN The Friday teaching session focussed on the importance of loving oneself and was delivered by Yvonne Brooks, first assistant Pastor at the New Jerusalem Apostolic Church in Birmingham. She explained that in Matthew 22:39, Jesus likened the second commandment – “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” – to the first – “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37. God presupposes that His people already love themselves. “God, the king of heaven and earth, loves us!” Yvonne exclaimed. “He has set His love upon us.” Pastor Yvonne explained that people deflect their negative feelings onto others, making them appear ugly because they feel ugly themselves. Her great sense of humour came through in her teaching, which was incredibly powerful. She joked that since
she started loving herself, all the ugly people have disappeared. On a serious note, though, she advised the listeners to face their ‘unlovable’ parts, deal with them and move on. Matthew 19:19, Luke 10:27 and James 2:8 reiterate the importance of loving one’s neighbour as oneself. When Scripture refers to something over and over again, it means that it’s a subject that is close to God’s heart. The Word makes it clear that people cannot love their neighbour if they do not love themselves. “We need to see what God sees when He looks at us,” Pastor Yvonne said. “Satan will give you many good reasons why you shouldn’t love yourself; he’s your enemy. But God has given us the victory again and again.” She claimed that if women can learn to love God, themselves and their neighbour, all the other commandments will be covered. LOOKING FOR LOVE IN THE WRONG PLACES Following on from this, Marion Meyers, who is the co pastor, with her husband Michael Meyers, of The River Church in Devon, explained how she once took a play therapy course that talked about a ‘love tank’. She told her two children that when they were hungry or thirsty, they had a little tank that mummy would fill.
She also told them they had a ‘love tank’ that mummy would fill with hugs any time they needed love. However, where children’s needs were unmet by their parents, she said that they grow up unaware of how to fill their love tank. As a result, it gets broken and leaky and never feels full enough. Pastor Marion quoted from the book of Jeremiah indicating that people’s lives can become like “broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:13. Pastor Marion said that God is too gracious and merciful to allow people to remain broken. His response is to provide a fountain of living water that never runs dry and permanently quenches their thirst for love (John 4:7-19). “My joy, peace and happiness do not rely on anyone else loving or being nice to me. When we are filled up with God’s living water there is nothing more satisfying,” Pastor Marion affirmed. She added that looking to others as the source for self-esteem is tantamount to idol worship. Like the woman at the well with the six ‘husbands’, women who look for love in the wrong places will be constantly unhappy, vulnerable and tormented; they will always struggle to comprehend the love of God. The solution, she said, is to come to know the love of Christ personally and to forgive the ‘old you’. BAD LOVE Carrying on from her Friday session, Pastor Marion introduced her Saturday slot by talking about being rooted and grounded in love and knowing the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19. She played a clip from Lady Gaga’s song, ‘Bad Romance’, the lyrics of which say: ‘I want your ugly, I want your disease; I want your everything, as long as it’s free; I want your love’. As the song shows, some women would rather have bad love than no love, and this means they allow themselves to make excuses for the people in their lives who treat them badly. “Love and bad can’t go in the same sentence,” Pastor Marion said. “Love is empowering and accepting; it wants you to fly. It doesn’t squeeze you into a box and keep you locked up.”
Pastor Marion stated that God is into “swapsies”; that He trades beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness. Isaiah 61:3. And if people allow this to happen they will never thirst again. “Love yourself and you won’t accept bad love,” she concluded. As Solomon said: A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet. Proverbs 27:7. PUTTING THE FUN INTO FUNDRAISING On Saturday afternoon, an auction took place to raise funds to help people in need. The money this year was allocated to: Knowle West and Hartcliffe Community Projects; the Tiny Lives Campaign (Southmead Hospital); Carmel Christian School; Eastwood Park Women’s Prison; Breast Cancer Awareness; the Stop Sex Trafficking Project 125; the Iris Project (Mozambique); and the Sibongile Centre (South Africa). Although the women did not lose sight of the reason for the auction, there was a great deal of fun. The hosts and auctioneer maintained the pace and momentum, while controlling the noisy audience with commendable skill. “NEITHER DO I CONDEMN YOU” Pastor Yvonne took the final session on Saturday evening, basing it on the story of the woman caught in adultery. In one sentence Jesus silenced and disarmed the woman’s accusers: “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” John 8:7. If anybody could have judged and condemned her, it was Jesus. But He didn’t even entertain the idea, and neither should anyone else. “God won’t listen to anyone’s accusations about you,” Pastor Yvonne said reassuringly. “Now is the time of grace.” Pastor Yvonne said that Jesus came so the woman could be free, justified and live outside the shadow of her past. After coming face to face with Jesus it is very unlikely she went back to her old life, and neither should believers today. “It’s not about how much you can do; just listen and obey.” She said that if you can do those two things, you’ll get it right. Towards the start of the conference, Pastor Michelle quoted Smith Wigglesworth: “The Holy Spirit can do in five minutes what you have tried to do in five years.” Many women can testify of this truth; the Holy Spirit certainly did a mighty work!
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ARTICLE: BY PASTOR GERRI DI SOMMA SUCCESSFUL FAMILIES HAVE A COMMON DENOMINATOR: A VISION TO LEAVE A LEGACY
THE GENESIS PRINCIPLE ARTICLE BY PASTOR GERRI DI SOMMA
Church leaders have a responsibility to train and guide Christians to be what I call ‘sons of the house’. Believers then have an individual responsibility in His house, to mature as His sons. GOD’S HOUSE God the Father is the head of His house, which is made up of spiritual families. All born again believers are His children. Scripture tells us that as temples of the Holy Spirit, believers, not the building, are the Church (1 Corinthians 6:19). However, as God’s children, we gather in a building, which is also His house, the Church.
There the spiritual family corporately worship, pray and receive instruction from God’s Word. God exalted Jesus to be head over all things, including the universal Church (Ephesians 1:22-23). Jesus places under-shepherds, called pastors or elders, to oversee local families of believers. God gives His vision for every local Church through the Senior Pastor. The vision’s focus may vary, but should always involve leaving a legacy. Without this vision, a Church will be hindered in its success because it exists for itself, not for others.
Haggai warned God’s people against building their own houses and neglecting God’s (Haggai 1-2). The Psalmist warned: unless the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain who build it.’ Psalm 127:1. BUILDING GOD’S HOUSE THROUGH LEAVING LEGACIES
The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy concerning functioning correctly in the house of God, which is the church of the living God. 1 Timothy 3:15. The spiritual legacy depends upon ‘sons of the house’, sons in God’s family. VISITOR OR SON?
Let us look at how God’s house should be built. Successful families have a common denominator: a vision to leave a legacy, something with material, financial, sentimental or spiritual value that benefits others after the benefactor’s life has ended. A legacy is measured by three generations: a good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children. Proverbs 13:22. The family’s success in the longevity of the legacy requires involvement from every family member.
All believers are God’s children, but not all believers are ‘sons’ because they don’t submit to a local Church family. Sons, whether male or female are born again Christians who are involved in a spiritual family in a local Church. However, ‘visitors’ simply attend Church without contributing to the family’s welfare or vision. They are welcome guests who receive from the family, but give nothing back.
The vision of leaving a legacy gives the family purpose, compelling them to plan, prioritise and make decisions in line with fulfilling their vision. This principle applies to both natural and spiritual families. Therefore, natural and spiritual families alike leave a legacy, but their legacies differ.
Conversely, a son is actively involved in Church family life. He hears, understands and participates in the vision of the local Church. A son knows his role and responsibility within the family, investing time, money, resources and talent towards the God-given vision.
God is the creator. He created and designed all families to operate within the same boundaries, for their safety and success. The roles and responsibilities of natural families are paralleled in spiritual families. However, natural families are related by blood and through marriage whereas spiritual families consist of born again Christians united by their faith in the blood of Jesus.
Those who don’t submit as sons of a local Church family become what I call ‘spiritual vagabonds’. They often wander from place to place, never fulfilling their potential, nor being part of God’s greater vision for the nation.
A natural family’s legacy is usually material, financial or sentimental. God’s definition of a family is revealed through the first family, Adam and Eve: one man and one woman, within the covenant of marriage, reproducing and becoming parents. The Bible tells us that the husband is the head of his wife, children are to be obedient to their parents, and all should submit to each other in the fear of the Lord (Ephesians 5:21 & 23; 6:1-3).
A son is faithful: to God, in God’s house and to his Christian testimony (Hebrews 3:1-6). Our conduct as Christians should identify us as belonging to God’s family. When a Christian behaves immorally or irresponsibly, it brings God’s name into disrepute. However, a son who is faithful to God and His house will produce a testimony that glorifies Him.
A son grows in holiness and works in unity with fellow believers (Ephesians 2:19-22). Holiness is God’s perfect order. For Christians it means actively and aggressively resisting sin. Joseph is a biblical example: despite the trials, temptations and persecutions that came his way, Joseph refused to sin against God. Joseph determined to be holy, and God promoted him from the pit to the second most powerful person in Egypt at that time. (Genesis 39:7-9; 41:39-44).
In recent decades, many factors have resulted in several re-definitions of the family. However, God’s definition and design for the family have not changed. Failure to function within His confines will hinder the family’s success. A spiritual family’s legacy is spiritual. It is to increase God’s kingdom through salvations and Christian influence within communities, cities and nations.
ARTICLE: BY PASTOR GERRI DI SOMMA
GOD HAS CHOSEN AND CREATED A PLACE FOR HIS SONS. THAT PLACE IS THE LOCAL CHURCH WHERE GOD’S PROVISION FOR MAN IS FOUND.
A son is a pillar of truth within the Church and society (1 Timothy 3:14-15). The world’s truth is changeable; Bible truth is unchanging. Christians must be pillars of truth within their community, upholding uncompromisingly the Bible’s authority in word and action.
THE GENESIS PRINCIPLE The book of Genesis is the book of beginnings, revealing everything mankind needs to know to live successfully. It reveals God’s principles relating to every area of our lives. God only works with His principles, because they are absolute. It is our responsibility to discover and apply them, which will result in our security. The Word reveals four principles relating to the family (Genesis 2:8-9 & 15-17). These help us to function correctly within God’s family as ‘sons of the house’: 1. God establishes a place. The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. Genesis 2:8. God created the place where He positioned Adam. Likewise, God has chosen and created a place for His sons. That place is the local Church where God’s provision for man is found. It’s where man finds fulfilment in God’s plans and purposes for him and achieves his greatest accomplishments. The place that God created for Adam had clearly defined structures (Genesis 2:16-17). Structures help a family feel secure, for example when everyone knows their role, responsibilities and who
is in charge. God gave His instructions to Adam, the head of the natural family. It was Adam’s responsibility to guide, guard and govern his family by effectively communicating God’s instructions. God didn’t speak to Eve, but to one man, Adam. Church structure correlates with the family structure in the Garden of Eden. Although every Christian should receive from God a personal vision for their lives, God gives the Senior Pastor, as head of the spiritual family, the vision and direction for the local Church. He is responsible to hear from God and communicate God’s vision to the rest of the family, the Church congregation. The Bible reveals that God always speaks through an appointed leader to bring direction. God raised one High Priest for the temple, one prophet for the nation and the judges were raised one at a time. The local Church is a theocracy, not a democracy. The danger in democracies is that numerous voices bring differing opinions, which often produces man’s results, not God’s. 2. God places the people He wants. Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. Genesis 2:15. God gave Adam a place to belong, something we all desire. God created the Church for His sons to belong to a spiritual family where they can be loved, respected, and encouraged to develop. God has specified a Church family for us, and He places us there; it’s not by accident (Acts 17:24-27). Sometimes we may not like the Church family we have been placed with, but it doesn’t give us
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permission to leave and join another family. Every Christian in each local Body of Christ is necessary for it to function as God intended. Rather than allowing differences to cause family divisions, our differences should help us mature into Christ-likeness. Spiritual families focus on the eternal. Natural families focus on the temporal and therefore sometimes attempt to stop us from doing God’s will. In these instances, our spiritual family should take precedence. We must listen and obey our heavenly Father’s voice above the voices of our human relatives, as did Jesus (Matthew 12:46-50). 3. God gives us responsibilities. Adam was given the responsibility to tend and keep the garden (Genesis 2:15). In families, everyone has responsibilities; it’s what it means to belong to the family. Involvement is a requirement. In a natural family responsibilities are delegated based upon age and ability, but nobody is exempt. The Church family is no different; we are all responsible to the family and house of God. Four areas of responsibility to the Church for ‘sons of the house’: •
Be teachable (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
Attend Church regularly (Hebrews 10:25).
Provide what is right for the house of God (Malachi 3:10).
Serve each other in the house of God (John 13:34).
4. God gives us principles to live by. The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17. All families have core values and traditions. When adhered to, they help keep focus, prevent distractions and enable others to know what the family believes. Family members are identified because of these values; there is family resemblance. A spiritual family’s core value is to help Christians mature into God’s image and likeness (Ephesians 4:11-16). God created man to reproduce His nature, to bear His family’s image and likeness. It was corruption of nature that affected man’s character and broke his relationship with God. To bear God’s image we must submit to God as His sons so our nature is changed and character restored.
It is crucial to be a ‘son of God’s house’. The reason you exist it to expand God’s kingdom. God wants people born again, set free from sin, healed, delivered, living a fulfilled life and telling their story to others. Be part of God’s vision for your nation. Commit to being a faithful son of God’s house. Take up your responsibilities towards Him and your spiritual family and leave a spiritual legacy for generations to come.
TEACHING: BY PASTOR MICHELLE DI SOMMA
THE WALK OF LOVE TEACHING BY PASTOR MICHELLE DI SOMMA
God’s love towards us is unconditional. It is the highest and purest form of love which always seeks the highest good of another. It gives freely without asking for anything in return. God not only wants us to experience His ‘agape’ love but also to express it towards others. However, God is Spirit and God’s love is given to us through the Spirit, so we can only understand His love through submitting to the Holy Spirit and not on human terms. God’s love has been poured out or shed abroad in the hearts of born again believers by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). As new creations in Christ, this love is now part of our dna. ‘Shed abroad’ implies a continuous supply, not poured out by measure. It is not just for the times when you are doing well or feeling good but continually. The more you depend upon God’s love, the more you will be supplied with His love by the Holy Spirit.
Agape love towards others is a selfless, self-sacrificing love that is expressed through choice and not based on feelings. WALK TO MATURE IN LOVE Walking in the Spirit produces the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Galatians 5:22-23. As we walk in love we will demonstrate the character and nature of Christ our Saviour. We cannot walk in the love of God in our own strength. It is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us; He is our helper who grows and matures God’s love in us. He helps us learn what it means to walk in love. Every day we face opportunities which test our walk of love. Sometimes we pass the test and express God’s love; at other times our actions reveal that we need to learn and grow more in God’s love.
WALK IN THE SPIRIT
WALK BY CRUCIFYING THE FLESH
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Galatians 5:25. ‘Walk’ means: to walk orderly, to stand in rank, to follow rules, to go on a journey.
And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:24. Mastering the walk of love through the Holy Spirit requires us to crucify our flesh. This means we mortify or put to death our passions and weaknesses, our desires, lusts and carnal appetite. We do this by nailing the flesh to the cross so it no longer has power over us. It cannot dominate or tempt us out of love because we have put it to death.
We must choose daily to walk in the Spirit, to walk with the Holy Spirit, to be led by the Holy Spirit and to be sensitive to His leading. If we do not, we will quickly be led away by our own feelings and desires. Walking in the Spirit is a moment by moment, day by day decision. Learn to listen to the Spirit and become sensitive to His voice. There are times when we hear the Holy Spirit tell us what to say or do, how to behave or think. Instead of obeying, we often choose the way of the flesh over the way of the Spirit. We must keep practicing so that we will become mature and expert in our love walk. Walking in love needs to start now, right where you are. Don’t wait until you think you’re good enough or spiritual enough before love can be exercised in your life. Your walk of love needs to begin in the mundane, in the things that irritate and frustrate you, in the relationships and situations you find challenging in your everyday life.
We cannot do this in our own strength, for then we would fail again and again; we can only do it through the help of the Holy Spirit. The more we yield to Him, the greater our walk of love will be impacted and the less of flesh will remain. When your flesh becomes hidden in Christ, all that remains is the fruit of the Spirit. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
WALK IN GOD’S LOVE
WALK IN HUMILITY
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:7-8. With God’s love in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, we will become aware of God’s love and abiding presence. We should have a continuous awareness of His care and concern for not only our own lives, but also for those around us and those in need of salvation.
There is a warning to us: Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:26.
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Galatians 5:14-16. The Apostle Paul urges and reminds us to love one another. For without an abiding awareness of God’s love toward us and others, we easily bite and devour one another; we easily irritate, displease, annoy and provoke one another with our behaviour. Do you allow your flesh to dominate you instead of walking in the love of God? When we lose control, we say things we ought not. We’re often unaware of the damage we do to those around us or the lasting pain our words will cause.
As we grow and mature in love, there will be a temptation to fall into pride, to think that we are super-spiritual. But we must guard our hearts so that no sin enters in. We need to keep walking in the Spirit. We must never forget the journey we are on, where we have come from and where we are heading. We are not called to ‘show off’ in the Spirit, but to walk humbly in the Spirit. A conceited person desires vain glory; they want to be admired by others. We need to remember that our walk of love is to please God and not man. When we provoke, we irritate and offend others. When we envy, we covet and are not content with what we have. Don’t look at and judge another person’s walk but concentrate on your own. Purpose in your heart to walk in love daily. Choose to live motivated and led by the Holy Spirit. Love from the centre of your heart and allow the love of God to shine through you.
TEACHING: BY PASTOR GERRI DI SOMMA
WHERE THE BATTLE IS WON TEACHING BY PASTOR GERRI DI SOMMA THE BATTLE IS WON WHEN WE ARE ONE WITH GOD Oswald Chambers wrote, “Our battles are first won or lost in the secret places of our will in God’s presence, never in full view of the world. The Spirit of God seizes me and I am compelled to get alone with God and fight the battle before Him. Until I do this, I will lose every time. The battle may take one minute or one year, but that will depend on me, not God... Nothing has any power over someone who has fought the battle before God and won there.”* THE BIGGEST BATTLE We all confront challenges in life and often blame the devil when things go wrong. Although the devil is a real enemy, he only has authority in our lives based upon the decisions we make and the beliefs we hold. The biggest battle we face is with ourselves, in particular, our will. The will is the faculty where we make choices. It is within the faculty of our will that we choose whether to be dependent upon ourselves or dependent on God. This is the battle. Will we choose to trust in our self-sufficiency orGod’s sufficiency? Even Jesus faced this battle. The devil challenged Jesus regarding His identity and ability, attempting to persuade Him to depend upon His own efforts (Luke 4:1-13). However, Jesus had won the battle before the challenge was made; His will was completely surrendered to God in everything. Therefore, when the time of His death approached, Jesus trusted God’s ability
rather than His own, saying, “Not My will, but Yours be done.” Luke 22:42. ABIDE IN THE ALMIGHTY Psalm 91 gives insight regarding our responsibility to abide continuously in God’s presence, the place where we choose to yield our will to Him. This Psalm teaches that trials cannot hurt us if we are one with God, submitted to Him. He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1. The ‘secret place’ is a hiding place, a place of protection (Psalm 32:7). A simple example of something that hides and protects us is mosquito repellent. It doesn’t repel mosquitoes but hides us from them, disguising our presence to them. This is the same with God; He hides us in His presence. When we abide in God, we are hidden from the enemy and he can’t touch us. However, this is not automatic, we must first choose to submit to God and make Him our dwelling place.
CHOOSE GOD Moses, the author of Psalm 91, chose God. He said: I will say of the Lord, “ He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him, I will trust.” Psalm 91:2. ‘Refuge’ in the original Hebrew means hope, shelter or trust. When trials come do we abide in God, so that our hope and trust is in Him? Whenever we stop depending on God, we attempt to gain value from other sources, such as food or drink, instead of looking to God, the One who gives us value. Jesus said, “If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” John 15:7. Jesus’ promise is conditional: If we choose to dwell in God’s presence and allow His words to live in us, then we are assured of the promise. We must be rooted firmly in God’s Word. We must choose to believe and act on what the Word says, not allowing ourselves to become distracted by circumstances, people and other things that take God’s place in our lives.
Like Isaac, we must choose God’s will. We must abide under God’s shadow, where we can stand firm on His promises, knowing that He will be with us, deliver us and answer us. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer Him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honour him. Psalm 91:15. As we submit to God and honour Him, He will satisfy us with long life and show us His salvation (Psalm 91:16). KEYS TO WINNING THE BATTLE: 1. Submit to God. The woman with the issue of blood had tried to resolve her situation without knowing Jesus (Mark 5:25-34). Her trust had been in her own ability to pay doctors. When she made the choice to trust Jesus to help her, she was made whole. Her healing was guaranteed once she had submitted and positioned herself in dependence upon Jesus’ ability.
ABIDE AND TESTIFY
2. Stand in the gap for others.
The choice to submit our will to God and abide in His presence may not be easy. Determination is required because it is painful for us to deny ourselves. However, Psalm 91 highlights many benefits of choosing to abide in God’s presence: providing rest in God’s shadow, refuge in His fortress, reliance upon His promises, retribution upon our enemies, reinforcement from angels, rescue from danger and requests answered.
Jairus’ daughter was sick, on the verge of death (Mark 5:22-24, 35-43). She couldn’t travel to seek healing from Jesus. Jairus knew he couldn’t heal his daughter, but he knew Jesus could. Jairus ‘stood in the gap’ for her, making the request on her behalf. He was willing to make a difference in someone else’s life.
As we abide in God we become a witness to a world that doesn’t know Him. God’s presence, power and provision are demonstrated through Christians who choose Him. This distinguishes us from people who are captivated by the current economical crisis, and our lives testify of God’s goodness. God wants His children to stand out and be attractive, so that others will question why we are not affected by lack or afflicted by sickness. This will happen when we make God our refuge and dwelling place (Psalm 91:9-10). The Patriarch Isaac was living in Canaan when famine ravished the land. He could have relied upon his own solution by relocating to Egypt where there was plenty. Instead, Isaac chose to trust God’s solution to remain in Canaan. God prospered Isaac because of his obedience, and he reaped in the same year a hundredfold. Genesis 26:12. Isaac’s submission and obedience to God protected him from the famine around him.
3. Make your resources available to God. The boy with the five loaves and two fish didn’t have a need, but seeing the need of others, he offered what he had (Mark 6:34-44). When we honour God by investing in His work, there will be rewards. God doesn’t need our money, but it takes finances to spread the Gospel to the four corners of the earth. Experience God’s blessings and fulfil your God-given destiny. Choose to submit your will to God, stand in the gap for others and make your resources available to God. In doing so, your personal needs will be met as well as those of your family and others. Now is the time for the global Church to stand out and make a difference in the world. Choose to abide in the secret place under the shadow of the Almighty. There you can win the battle of your will. There you will find eternal promises and rewards. *My Utmost for His Highest. 27th December
TEACHING: BY PASTOR MAURO GIRGENTI
GOD OF ABUNDANCE TEACHING BY PASTOR MAURO GIRGENTI
The Bible contains unchanging truth concerning God’s character and nature. God, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, wants us, His children, to understand His eternal character. In doing so, our trust in God will increase, which in turn will deepen our relationship with Him, giving us access to all of His promises. THE DECLINE OF TRUTH Following the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, Christianity spread despite hostile persecution. But history records that during the fourth century, Roman Emperor Constantine had a vision that caused him to decree religious tolerance in Rome. Christians who had been persecuted could now worship God freely. In 380AD, Theodosius declared Christianity the state religion of Rome. It wasn’t the triumph for Christianity that this may appear. Under the state religion, anybody who attended Church was deemed a ‘Christian’; being born again was no longer believed to be a requirement for salvation. Over time, further biblical doctrines were discarded: the baptism of the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, healing, and praise and worship (John 3:7; John 14:16-17; Acts 2; Mark 16:17-18; John 4:23-24). As a result, belief in God’s ability diminished and God’s power was no longer evident in His Church. GOD’S CHARACTER SLANDERED Absolute biblical truths became diluted and distorted, impacting the Christian message and creating wrong perceptions about God’s character and nature. For example, abandoning the doctrine of divine healing resulted in the false belief that God is the perpetrator and source of sickness, or at
best, that God heals some people, but not all. However, the absolute truth of the Bible states that God is our healer and that He desires to heal (Exodus 15:26; Matthew 8:3; Acts 10:38). The truth of God’s perfect nature has been distorted; He is now often perceived as evil, instead of our loving Father (Isaiah 5:20; 1 John 3:1). As a result, for centuries numerous false beliefs concerning God’s character have been taught in Churches worldwide to the extent that many Christians confuse the character of God and the devil. Mark’s Gospel records Jesus’ warning to the Pharisees that man-made doctrine and traditions nullify the truth of God’s Word: “making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down.” Mark 7:1-13. It is vital to re-adjust our beliefs about God. Incorrect beliefs deceive us, causing us to deceive others. They also restrict us in our Christian experience, hindering us from relating to Him in a loving and trusting relationship. JESUS REVEALED THE FATHER AS A GOD OF ABUNDANCE To know God’s character, we can look to Jesus, the express image of God (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus only did and spoke what He saw the Father doing and
speaking (John 5:19). Thus, He could declare, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” John 14:9. Jesus revealed God’s nature and represented God’s will for mankind. Studying His life can help correct distorted beliefs that have infiltrated Christianity.
Psalm 23:5 shows the amount that God provides for us: You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. The term, ‘cup runs over’ means having more than enough for what is needed. It exemplifies God’s abundant nature. He doesn’t merely fill our ‘cup’, but causes it to overflow.
A particular truth that has become distorted is the fact that God is a God of abundance. It has been incorrectly taught that God doesn’t want to bless His children and that we must be poor to serve Him. However, Jesus highlighted the difference between Satan’s destructive nature and God’s generous nature: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10. Jesus, who revealed the Father, showed that God desires to give us life. Not just ordinary life, but abundant life.
2. Luke 5:1-8.
Having an abundance means to have a superabundant quantity or superior quality of something. It means having more than enough, overflowing, having excess. In His abundance God gave His best gift, His only Son. God lacks nothing and gives abundantly. Many well-known scriptures testify of God’s abundant nature and have been taught in Churches of all denominations. Yet, due to false beliefs about God’s character, the biblical truth contained within them has been missed. Let us look at three instances where Jesus revealed God’s abundant nature: 1. Psalm 23. Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd.” John 10:14. He was referring to Psalm 23:1, The Lord is my shepherd. Jesus revealed God as a good shepherd to us, His sheep. Misrepresentation of God’s character has led many Christians to believe that God uses His rod and staff to beat His sheep. However, a shepherd’s rod is used to protect himself and his sheep from danger. It’s also used to discipline wayward sheep, in order to keep them within safe parameters. The shepherd’s staff is used to bring sheep together and to guide them in the right direction. The verse continues, I shall not want. This signifies that because God is a good shepherd, He will take care of our needs and we will not lack anything. The Amplified Bible says, The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack.
Simon Peter, later known as Peter, was a fisherman. Luke records when Jesus taught the multitudes from Peter’s boat. After Jesus finished speaking, He told Peter to cast his nets into the sea, to catch fish. Peter responded, “We have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” Jesus’ instruction defied logic. However, Peter’s obedience was rewarded with a miracle: they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. The sheer number of fish caused two boats to sink: So they signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. Jesus provided such an abundance of fish that it would not only meet Peter’s need, but could meet the needs of many others. 3. Luke 9:10-17. The multitudes had followed Jesus to a deserted place where He taught and healed the sick. Towards the end of the day, Jesus’ disciples suggested that the crowds be sent away so they could find lodging and food. Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.” The disciples, who had five loaves and two fish, reasoned that it wasn’t enough to feed the multitudes, approximately five thousand people. Jesus was not perturbed. He instructed His disciples to organise the crowds into smaller groups. Jesus took the loaves and fish, thanked God, and gave them to His disciples to distribute to the people. Verse 17 records the miraculous outcome: So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them. Not one person went hungry; each person ate and was filled. After feeding five thousand there were twelve baskets of leftovers. This speaks of abundance, more than enough. When we correct our thinking, and see God as a God of abundance we will receive His blessings and be able to bless others from our overflow.
TESTIMONIES FOUND HEAVEN
Painful childhood experiences can cause strong negative emotions. Children are not emotionally mature and therefore not equipped to deal with these emotions. As a result many children grow up hating God or themselves. This was the case for Ian and Clare. God was not the instigator of their personal pain, but their stories show how God used their circumstances to make a way for them to know Him. Both have now experienced God’s complete healing in their lives.
nts divorced, but when my pare ol, ho sc at ll we ager I started inging and did was evil. As a teen nightclubs. He at I had a good up br th e ov pr to nted ing to I blamed God and wa drinking alcohol, taking drugs and go o the road but ht. I walked away int fig a in ed olv inv t and go the air and hit the I was out one night reen, flew through n, sc ee nd ht wi e eig s th d wa I he n as Whe ken to hospital and er. I sm protected. I was ta d I was knocked ov ing an , be s ing bruise. wa ch I oa if pr as , ap r ed my body, not even a y life. and cocoon to fe didn’t see a ca e sa ag lt m fe I da e no nc s rie wa m ut this expe wever, there s a turning point in concrete. Througho ponding injuries. Ho d happened. This wa ha cle ira m checked for corres a at th e I knew . They exhibited peac who are Christians d ds an en s, fri su ily Je m to fa g life y itin , I was vis bed, I gave m in ng lyi t . ils on wh rs , A few months later ht pe d. That nig me a new and joy, which I lacke God’s peace and joy into my life. I beca I received now I serve to be a soldier, but ed nt wa d ha I , up king drugs. owing yle of drinking and ta nal hope. citing adventure. Gr st ex life y an m is n ed tia inu ris nt Ch co Life as a tian, I would have uldn’t have an eter dn’t become a Chris seemed good on the surface, but I wo in God’s army. If I ha ve n Ministry. Life might ha rtment and the Priso pa De s ion iss M e th ing at Church within ried and I enjoy serv ar m ily pp ha w no I’m
As a teenager I started smoking, drinking, stealin from my peers. Af g and taking drug ter being date-ra s to gain accept ped, I became bu and guilt consum ance limic and anorex ed me; I hated m ic. Shame, fear, yself. condemnation I graduated from university as a te ac her and emigrate beach. When I aw d to Spain. Whilst oke, I could still vis there, I had a drea ualise the man’s my boyfriend. I wa m about a man on eyes. Upon return s serious about hi a in g to England, I met m, but I also want despair, and I wa a man who beca ed to find out abou s desperate for a me t God. Everything way out. in my life had led I told my boyfriend me to , “I need to find Go d.” He said he felt I was looking into th e same way. At th the same eyes as at moment a veil the man from m “Does anybody wa y dream. Together lifted from my ey nt to know God?” es – , we went to Chur My heart flooded we both gave our ch . The vicar asked, wi th relief that I wo lives to Jesus. uld be introduced to God. That day, We married and attended Bible Co lle ge together. Life never dared to be now is completel fore. God has fre y different. I’m liv ed me from addi lifestyle and belie ing the dreams th ctions and negativ fs would have ca at I had e emotions. With used me to beco ou t Jesus, I believe me institutionalis I’m a full time mum my ed . . My husband an d I serve pastoral ly within our Chur ch, and I’m fulfille d in all that I do.
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A GOD THING! CONFERENCE 2011 AT CARMEL CENTRE UK GUEST SPEAKERS
MICHELLE MARK TRINA GERRI HANKINS HANKINS DI SOMMA DI SOMMA WED 19TH – SAT 23RD OCTOBER 2011 If undelivered please return to carmel: ministries international 817a bath road brislington bristol bs4 5nl
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