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Saturday, 25 June 2016

The seventh letter from Jesus, shared by Aije Barnes. June 4, Issue 1, Vol 6

Here is the final letter from Jesus found in the book of Revelations, written to the seventh church in Asia in a place called Laodicea. 

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”” ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭3:14-22‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Okay, I put my hands up! The last few ministrations I shared on the letters from Jesus, were pretty lengthy and I hope you were faithful to preserve and read them to the end. This one is not going to be as long!

Well done too, if you have faithfully read all the other six letters! If you haven't, you will do well to do so. They are from Jesus to you!

The message of this last letter is: there is no room for mediocracy. It is Jesus' way or no way. Remember, He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father but by him.

The sad situation of this church was, they had assumed a position in their lives where they thought they were okay just the way they were, when in actual fact, they were wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

Jesus' introduction of himself at the beginning of this letter, gives us an insight into how this church got into this unacceptable state.

Jesus said he is the Amen (so shall it be), the faithful and true witness and the ruler of God's creation. Therefore, as Jesus is the Word of God and the mirror which reflects the standard required of the children of God, we can clearly see that this church no longer accepted Jesus as the Amen standard of their lives. They chose their own way. They ignored the faithful and true witness and had their own ideas for how they felt they should follow him. They became the rulers of their own lives, refusing to submit to his Lordship. They practically shut the door on him! The scary thing is, they don't even know that they are doing all this!

Let us examine our lives in the truth of God's word. Are we hot, cold or lukewarm?

What do you want most of all? Your way or his?  Do you think you are okay as you are? Or do you hunger and thirst after righteousness?

This is a message of two doors - the first one that Jesus has opened and is beckoning us to walk through; and the second one we have shut, on which he is knocking, so that if we let him in, he can show and help us how to live in the right way that will honour God. We hold the handle of the second door - through our choices or decision to either hear his voice and open the door or ignore him.

The decision is yours. The outcome of your decision, whatever this is, is clearly set out in the opening scripture.

I choose to open my door and let Jesus in, to dine with me and I with him.

You will do very well to follow suit.

Shalom

Monday, 30 May 2016

The sixth letter from Jesus, shared by Aije Barnes, May 5, Issue 2, Vol 6

The Faithful Church 

“And to the angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Philadelphia write: These are the words of the Holy One, the True One, He Who has the key of David, Who opens and no one shall shut, Who shuts and no one shall open: [Isa. 22:22.] I know your [record of] works and what you are doing. See! I have set before you a door wide open which no one is able to shut; I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept My Word and guarded My message and have not renounced or denied My name. Take note! I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say they are Jews and are not, but lie–behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and learn and acknowledge that I have loved you. [Isa. 43:4; 49:23; 60:14.] Because you have guarded and kept My word of patient endurance [have held fast the lesson of My patience with the expectant endurance that I give you], I also will keep you [safe] from the hour of trial (testing) which is coming on the whole world to try those who dwell upon the earth. I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one may rob you and deprive you of your crown. He who overcomes (is victorious), I will make him a pillar in the sanctuary of My God; he shall never be put out of it or go out of it, and I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which descends from My God out of heaven, and My own new name. [Isa. 62:2; Ezek. 48:35.] He who can hear, let him listen to and heed what the Spirit says to the assemblies (churches).” ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭3:7-13‬ ‭AMP‬‬

What a promise to those Christians who hold fast to God's word! 

The secret to a victorious walk with God is to guard and keep God's word of patient endurance. This is a powerful word and carries a lot of weight. For me it reads that your endurance needs to be patient. That is, in your suffering or troubles, be patient. Don't give up. 

This letter of Jesus to the church in Philadelphia is as relevant to us now as it was to them then. 

You will note how Jesus introduced himself to this church. He said he the Holy One, the True One, He Who has the key of David, Who opens and no one shall shut, Who shuts and no one shall open: 

Jesus also said that he knows their work and what they are doing. These were not lazy Christians; they were busy doing the work of God. You will also note that this was not trouble free. They went through difficult things and times that sapped their strength and challenged the core of their faith. But they did not deny or denounce Jesus's name. They continued to believe in him and stood their ground. 

Jesus, Who is the Holy One and the True One, has called us to holiness and to hold fast to him who is the Truth. He knows and is fully aware of our struggles and the challenges we face as Christians both internally and externally, spiritually and physically. This is why he gave us his word of patience and endurance. Patience, because it will take a while to walk through the door he has already opened for us and endurance, because that walk is not trouble free.  Jesus said he has the key of David. When I wondered what that meant, I remembered God referring to David as the man after His heart. I remembered also how David's walk with God was not trouble free either. I have never known a king who has had so much trouble in his life like King David. Yet what was his response? 

He drew closer to God. He trusted in God; he longed and yearned for His presence; he knew the God he served and saw God's deliverance and faithfulness come through for him time and time again. When he sinned, he didn't give up; he repented and returned to God. When the answers to King David's prayers did not come straight away, he hung in there, worshiped God continually, and encouraged himself in the Lord knowing the what God says, He does. David knew that God is faithful to those who put their trust in Him. God saw King David's heart and attitude to Him and loved him greatly and still does. Through patience and endurance David, the little shepherd boy, who was anointed King of Israel as a child, was eventually crowned King of Israel in the place of King Saul who had tried several times to take his life.  David held fast to God's word and was victorious. 

The Lord also reminded me of Ephesians chapter 6, where we are asked to put on the whole amour of God. Here it is: 

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—”‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:10-18‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

If we hold fast to our faith in God's word, Jesus has promised that he will keep us safe from the trouble that is coming on the whole world to test the world. Jesus said he will come quickly and we must 'hold fast what we have, so that no one may rob us and deprive us of our crown. He who overcomes (is victorious), I (Jesus) will make him a pillar in the sanctuary of My God; he shall never be put out of it or go out of it, and I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which descends from My God out of heaven, and My own new name.'

This is a call to all children of God to have patient endurance. 

May the Lord give us the grace to be faithful to him just as King David was,  so much that acquired him the name 'a man after God's heart' 

He Grace is sufficient and His strength is made perfect in our weakness.  Hold fast. 

Shalom

Sunday, 15 May 2016

The fifth letter from Jesus shared by Aije Barnes, May 3 Issue 1, Vol 6

“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ‭Revelation‬ ‭3:1-6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

This letter is entitled 'The Dead Church' in the New King James Version bible. 

This letter was addressed to the church in Sardis and is just as relevant to us today. What struck me is what Jesus said towards the end of this letter Jesus answers the question that I have heard bounding about in the church today. The question is 'once saved, always saved?' Well, Jesus shows us that it is possible for one, whose name was written in the book of life, can have their name blotter out. 

The reason for this? Being found spirituality dead. 

Jesus introduced himself at the beginning of this letter as the one who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. In the introduction of the first letter to the churches we learnt that the seven stars are the Angels to the seven churches. These Angels are messengers from God. 

The seven spirits of God as referred to as the sevenfold Holy Spirit, is spoken of in Isaiah 11:2:

“And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭11:2‬ ‭KJV‬‬

1) the spirit of the Lord
2) the spirit of wisdom 
3) the spirit of understanding 
4) the spirit of counsel
5) the spirit of might
6) the spirit of knowledge; and
7) the spirit of the fear of the Lord 

Let me take you through a few scripture to show you under some subtitles, the demarcation between spiritual death and spiritual life:

From death to life 

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” Ephesians‬ ‭2:4-5‬ ‭KJV‬‬; and 

“buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,” ‭Colossians‬ ‭2:12-13‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Life in the Spirit 

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

This tells me that the Spirit of God in our lives enables us to live as children of God. 

So, if the church in Sardis was called the dead church, how did they die? 

The death referred to here, is spiritual death. Not all of them died, however, these were few in number. Some were dying, while everyone else was dead though they had the reputation of being alive. 

The answer to the question,  I believe, by reference to how Jesus introduced himself to this church, is, they no longer lived or walked in the Spirit. They were carnally minded. 

“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:6-8‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Instead, they have become 'religious' by putting on an act that gives the impression that they are alive, where in fact, they are dead. This can come in various forms, like attending church just to look good; singing songs nicely but not meaning anything they sing; saying prayers but not from the heart; putting on a good show in church for people to see to gain the praises of men rather than to glorify God. 

The bible warns us saying:

“Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:26‬ ‭KJV‬‬

When we do not live in the Spirit, we become soiled by the sin we were once delivered from. It is not good enough to start the Christian race clean, only to go back to where we were, getting soiled and not completing race, clean. Jesus warned in his letter that we must 'Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die...'Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent'.

As children of God, we must not only live in the Spirit but also walk in the Spirit. 

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:25‬ ‭KJV‬‬

“But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).” Galatians‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭AMP‬‬

When we become a Christian, Jesus lives in us by his Spirit. Now if the sevenfold Holy Spirit rests on him, the same lives in us too, and equips us to live in him. Therefore we must keep ourselves clean and abide in him. 

Let us examine our lives in the light of God's word, and make sure we walk and live in the Spirit and also after the Spirit. By this, I mean be led by the Spirit, because if we don't, condemnation awaits us and we face the risk of having our names blotted out from the book of life. 

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:1‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Shalom

Saturday, 30 April 2016

The fourth letter from Jesus, shared by Aije Barnes, April 5, Issue 2, Vol 6

“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works. “Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. But hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations— ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’ — as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” 
‭‭Revelation‬ ‭2:18-29‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

This fourth letter from Jesus, is entitled 'The Corrupt Church' in the New King James Version.  

What made her corrupt? The thing Jesus did not like about this church, was their tolerance of Jezebel who calls herself a prophetess and by her doctrine, teaches and seduces His servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. This is a nasty doctrine purported and promoted by this wicked woman who in the name of religion seemed to have captivated the hearts of people of God, who should have had nothing to do with her in the first place. She appeared to have used a form of religion to appeal to the sensual lust of the flesh and an indulgence in indirect idolatry. She has been sly in her approach by using seduction which usually works by camouflaging the hidden poison she is presenting, with religious quotes and making indirect idolatry feel 'not so bad, as long as you are not actually bowing down or sacrificing to the idols directly' when this is just as bad. 

What Jesus sees in all of this, is the  state of the heart of everyone - the one that tolerates Jezebel and her doctrines; the one who is allowed to be taught by and seduced by her; Jezebel herself who refuses to repent; the children she has produced; and those  who refused to be drawn in by her and her doctrine. 

The moment we begin to turn away from God's word and begin to have itching ears to hear or want to know  what other people teach or permit outside of His word, or even tolerate it in your hearts, is the moment we allow the devil to have an opportunity to lead us astray.  We must guide our hearts and minds from hearing anything other than the voice of Jesus and do only what as He says. 

Jesus is coming for a bride without blemish. So let us be faithful to Him  and not commit adultery by giving ourselves back to the world, driven by our fleshly desires. Or commit   idolatry, by allowing anything else take His place in our lives - directly or indirectly.  Let us always give Him our total devotion in body and mind. 

In the last few verses of the scriptures above, Jesus knows that this is not easy for us and the devil will use all kinds of means to distract us from Him, through our eyes and minds. But Jesus said: ' I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works...'  '...hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations— ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’ — as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” 

The sad truth is, we are not all ready for Jesus' second coming. We, the bride of Christ, need to redeem the time, be wise and be ready, and do his works until the end because His coming is near. 

Finally, I shall leave you with this scripture:

“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:14-18‬ ‭KJV

Shalom

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Letters from Jesus - the third letter shared by Aije Barnes, April 2, Issue 1, Vol 6

The third Letter from Jesus:  

“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it. ” ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭2:12-17‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The heading of this letter from Jesus to this church in Pergamos  is entitled 'The Compromising Church' in the New King James version (NKJV). 

If you have read the first letter from Jesus to the church at Ephesus, you will note that in that letter, Jesus hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans and commended the church of Ephesus for hating their deeds too. Again, in his letter to the church at Pergamos, Jesus again mentioned his hatred for the doctrine of the Nicolaitans but this time, he was expressing his unhappiness over this particular church accommodating people who practiced this detestable doctrine amongst them as well as those who held the doctrine of Balaam, which as described, is also detestable. 

The doctrine of Balaam as described by Jesus in the opening scripture, was one which was indirectly implemented by Balaam through Balak - who was a known enemy of the people of God (Israel). Balak had previously enticed Balaam to curse the people of God and God had warned him not to go with Balak's messengers and also not to curse His people. Because of Balaam's greed of the reward offered by Balak, he disobeyed God.  However, God did not allow him to curse His people but rather made him bless them three times. But Jesus clearly revealed that Balaam used an indirect method to corrupt Israel, His people through this known enemy - Balak. From the tone given in the above scriptures, the weight of the offence was laid upon Balaam who should have known better as he communicated directly with God. 

I carried out some research on the Nicolaitans and in summary, found out the following:

The Nicolaitans were spiritual descendants of Nicolas, who was a deacon of Antioch and one of the seven first ordained deacons of the early church. 

Nicolas was reported to have been non Jewish. He was first converted from  paganism to Judaism, then from Judaism to Christianity. My research revealed that Nicolas taught the doctrine of compromise by allowing the intermingling of paganism and Judaism with Christianity. Jesus is against this doctrine. 

Jesus introduced himself at the beginning of this letter as the one who has the sharp two-edged sword. In Hebrews 4:12, the scriptures described the word of God as being sharper than two-edged sword. It is with the sword of His mouth that Jesus  warned that he would used to fight against those who practice such horrid doctrines and He asked that we his people, should repent and no longer accommodate those who practice them. We must not also  adopt any of these evil doctrines and be very careful of who and what we listen to in the name of religion. We must search the scriptures for ourselves asking and trusting the Lord to lead us by His Spirit into all truth. We must then practice, preach and teach God's untainted pure and holy word as he has given it. No compromise - either directly or indirectly. Jesus' promise to them who overcome remains. He will give to us some of the hidden manna to eat and a white stone with a new engraved on it from him for our individual knowledge only. 

Let us take heed to what Jesus is saying to us in these last days. 

Shalom 

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Letters from Jesus - 2nd letter shared by Aije Barnes, March 2, Issue 1, Vol 6

A fortnight ago, I shared with you on the first letter from Jesus.  If you have not read it, you will do well to do so. 

The second letter from Jesus was to the church at Smyrna. Here it is:

“To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.”
‭‭Revelation‬ ‭2:8-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

This message of Jesus is to the persecuted Christians. The Lord is telling them that he is there with them and knows what they're going through now; their afflictions and poverty (which in the spirt realm has made them rich); and what they are going to go through later, which he describes as suffering even to the point of death. He is letting them know that he has passed through death and come back to life again.He encourages them not to be afraid but to be faithful to the end. His reward for those who are faithful, will be the victor's a crown of life. Even the second death shall not hurt them at all. 

Jesus is the First and the Last    ‬‬

Jesus the First 

The scriptures says: “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:20‬ ‭KJV

So we know that Jesus is the First fruits of the people of God who had died 'slept' because through his death and resurrection he brought us who believe in him and receive him, eternal life. Because of Jesus, we who believe and receive him as Saviour and Lord and have passed through the waters of baptism, have become alive in him having shared in his death through baptism. See what the bible says:

“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:” Romans‬ ‭6:3-5‬ ‭KJV‬‬. And;

“Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭6:8-9, 11‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Remember Jesus said in his letter that we shall not be hurt at all by the second death. Jesus later revealed that the second death is when death and hell are cast into the lake of fire (Revelations 20:14) which is the same place where the list of people mentioned in Revelations 21:8 shall also be thrown. 

I have also known from the testimony of many that when Christians face death through persecution, they don't feel the pain and pass through peacefully into eternity where the victor's crown of life is waiting for them. 

There's therefore hope for the faithful in Christ as they will take part in the first resurrection:

“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭20:6‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Jesus the Last

There is no other sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin after him. He is the Last sacrifice. God's commandment to the Jews to offer up sacrifices of lambs for the forgiveness of their sins, which actually did not wash it away but rather covered it, was perfected in Jesus who is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world - the Last sacrifice , “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:10‬ ‭KJV‬‬. 

If you have not yet accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, this is your opportunity to do so. There is no other way by which you can be saved except through him. 

As Christians, we will go through different types of trials, afflictions, tests and tribulations. What Jesus is saying to everyone of us going through these things, in this letter is: I know your afflictions and poverty; I know the slander (a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report: a slander against his good name; don't be afraid; be faithful even to the point of death and  I will give you life as your victor's crown 

Shalom 

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Letters from Jesus - the First letter, shared by Aije Barnes, February 4, issue 2, Vol 6

A fortnight ago, I shared with you on the topic called 'virgins' and my reasons for sharing this. If you have not read it, you will do well to do so, as today's  topic and the next six, follow on from that. I admit, it was a long read, but it is one which was given in due season. 

Around the same time I felt I needed to share with you the story of the 10 Virgins given by Jesus as shared in my last ministration and the importance and relevance of it today, I also felt I needed to remind you of the letters Jesus asked John to write through their Angels, to the seven churches that were in Asia, as a direct message from him. 

The same messages are relevant to the church - the virgins, today. 

Here is an excerpt of the first letter from the book of Revelation - the last book in the bible:

“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. “ Revelation‬ ‭2:1-6 ‭NKJV‬‬

Looking closely at the résumé or summary of the lives of Christians in this church, before Jesus told them what he was not happy with, they looked like pretty cool, top notch, no nonsense godly people of God. And they were! However because they had left their first love, they had fallen and needed to repent and return to God in this one particular area of their lives or else Jesus would remove their lamp stand from its place. 

Now this is serious stuff here! Just before I go on, in chapter one, Jesus explained that the seven golden lampstands were the churches and he was standing in the midst of them. Each church had an angel assigned to it and it was this angel that stood in the right hand of Jesus and through who Jesus sent his message to the churches. So Jesus was telling the Angel of the first church to let them know that he knew all the good things they were doing but if didn't remember from where they had fallen and repent by returning to their first love and do the first works, he would remove them from their place. 

By this, I believe, Jesus was telling them that they were things in their lives which, because they loved him so much when they first became Christians, they they did, but now they had stopped doing them because that flame had either diminished or gone all together. However they continued doing other godly things which Jesus was pleased with, but this was not sufficient to sustain them and were in danger of being removed from their place. 

In my heart I feel their first love may have been the desire to seeing other people saved and sharing God's love with them by telling them about him and perhaps their devotion to him was no longer how it used to be.  I remember when I first gave my life to Jesus, I was so happy and in love with him that I wanted everyone else to know him and be saved too. I wanted my life to reflect his beauty and delighted in getting to know him more by reading my bible regularly and also praying not just words but from my heart. 

If I am honest, I struggle with some of these areas of my life because of some other pressures in my life but I fight on and will never give up doing my best for Jesus. 

So stop for a moment and remember what your first love for Jesus was and  ask yourself whether it is still there. Does your flame for him still burn brightly or has it dimmed or gone out completely? What did you used to do that demonstrated your first love for him? Are still doing it with the same passion or is it now just a mundane routine done just to tick a box or make you feel 'self righteously good'? Or have you stopped doing it all together?

How many of us have become present in the house of God but absent from His Presence? 

If you have fallen from your first love and left all the works behind that accompanied it behind, let us repent and do the first works with the same passion and love that we first had for our Lord. 

Sometimes it is a big struggle, but Jesus said: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” Revelation‬ ‭2:7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Shalom