Tree of Life Blog

Engaging Culture with the wisdom and power of Christ!

Tag Archives: History

You Have A Destiny (Andrew Wommack)

0

Dear Benjamin,

You were not created by accident. You are not a mistake. Your presence on this earth at this time in history was preordained. The way you look, the talents and gifts you possess, and the personality you have been given is all part of God’s plan.

He made you the way you are for a very specific purpose, and no one can ever replace you. But, if you are ever going to fulfill that purpose—your destiny—it begins with believing that you have one and that you must cooperate with God to bring it to pass.

Psalm 139:16 says, “Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”

Jeremiah 1:5 reads, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

And in Galatians 1:15, the Apostle Paul writes, “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace.”

I know that many believers never let the Bible get in the way of what they believe. But these three verses, and there are many more, should be enough to convince any skeptic. They are written proof that God knew you even before you were born and that He has a very specific plan for your life that no one else can fulfill. He has a destiny designed just for you.

The word destiny is defined in the America Heritage Dictionary as “the inevitable or necessary fate to which a particular person is destined. A predetermined course of events.”

However, I believe that definition is wrong. It implies that your destiny cannot be avoided or prevented. That is not scriptural and therefore just not true. It’s true that your destiny is preordained, but it is not inevitable.

Whenever I teach this, it always brings up questions about the sovereignty of God. There are some who teach the sovereignty of God in a way that leads one to believe everything happens for a reason and that God is behind it all. If this is true, then you have to be prepared to blame God for every evil and bad thing that happens on the earth. That means every catastrophe, every war, every murder, every rape, or anything else you can name must be God’s will. If that were true, then God has not done a good job of running the world.

I believe this teaching is the worst heresy in the body of Christ today. And it’s very destructive because it takes away the will to resist evil. You need to live with a sense of destiny. It’s important not to go through life doing your own thing and then asking God to bless it. It’s the reason so many believers are experiencing a lack of success, of fulfillment and satisfaction.

There is a power and an anointing that only comes when you are fulfilling God’s plan for your life. Every person has a preordained plan for their life, but God is not going to make it come to pass. God will speak to you, and He will woo you. He wants to reveal His plan for you more than you want to know it, but it’s incumbent upon you to find out what it is. As long as you are asking God to reveal His purpose while you are on your way to doing something else, you’ll never learn what it is.

Jeremiah 29:13 says, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” When you finally reach the point where you can no longer live without knowing His will, I guarantee you’ll find it. However, it doesn’t happen without your pursuit. Deuteronomy 30:19 makes it very clear that God has given you the power and the freedom to make your own choices: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” God does not force His will or His plan upon anyone.

So, is He sovereign? Yes, if the correct definition for sovereign is used. Sovereign means supreme in power or rank. We all would agree with this definition, but I totally disagree with the way religion today uses “sovereign.” God does not make His will for our lives come to pass. We have to submit to God and resist the devil (James 4:7). We have responsibility.

The best example of this is in the Great Commission: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16). The Apostle Peter said in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

You would have to have help to misunderstand these scriptures. It’s not God’s will for people to perish, and yet they do because His will is not automatic. Maybe the person who was called to preach didn’t obey, or maybe the one hearing the message rejected it. In either case, God’s will did not come to pass. Your destiny will not come to pass automatically either.

Whatever God is calling you to do, it is not based on your natural talents and abilities. I am not saying that there is no connection between those natural gifts and God’s plan for your life. However, many times God will call a person to do what they seem totally unqualified for. He will call you to do the very thing you can’t do.

If you would have told me at eighteen years of age that God was calling me to be a minister, looking at my natural abilities, I would have said no way, no way, no way. But you know what? Looking back, I can see that everything in my life was pointing toward exactly what I am doing now. God has a destiny for you, and He wants to reveal it. But He is not going to run you down. He is not going to steamroll you or force it upon you.

That reminds me of Romans 12:1, which says you are to present yourself as a living sacrifice. A living sacrifice is a volunteer. If God were to force your destiny upon you, it wouldn’t be a sacrifice; it would be slavery. For whatever reason, many believers have been sidetracked. When I teach on this subject at churches or conferences and ask how many know that they know what their destinies are, few ever raise their hands. When I ask those to stand who would like prayer regarding this, it’s usually eighty to ninety percent of the audience. This is not what the Lord intended. Regardless of where you find yourself today, God is so awesome that He can plot a course from right where you are to where He planned for you to be.

It’s like a GPS navigator. When you go the wrong way, it says “Recalculating,” and in an instant, it has a new route planned to get you to your destination. It doesn’t matter how old you are or what has happened in your past; it’s never too late to recalculate. Just believe that you have a destiny, and determine in your heart that you will not take another step in life until you know what it is. Then, just start doing what God is telling you to do. He won’t necessarily give you the entire picture, but He will give you the next step.

As you take that step, you will find that there is an automatic anointing that comes to help you accomplish it. It would be unjust for God to call you do to something and then ask you to do it in your own strength. Everything God asks you to do is supernatural. He will always lead you to do something that is beyond your own natural ability so you will have to be dependent on Him. If it’s not supernatural, it’s superficial! God wants your life to be supernatural!

A Call to Prayer by Andrew Wommack

0

I think all Christians would agree that we should be praying for our nation during this critical time in our history. Judicial activists are no longer interpreting the law but attempting to legislate from the bench. By using these activist judges in our courts, the ungodly are systematically attempting to remove all reference to and influence of God in our society. It’s even become politically correct to discriminate against Christians. Christianity is also the only religious influence that can be prohibited by law. We need the intervention of God to turn this situation around.

Prayer is a powerful weapon. But, there is a right and a wrong way to pray. Just like any powerful weapon, without the proper instruction, it may be useless or someone could get hurt. Wrong prayer is not only ineffective, it can also release the power of the devil. I’ve experienced this firsthand.

In the beginning of my walk with the Lord, I listened to a teaching which used an example of a teenager who felt very ineffective in witnessing for the Lord. This young man prayed and asked the Lord to do whatever it would take to use him as an effective witness in his high school. He specifically asked God to give him cancer and take his life if that was the only way he could show others the power of God in his life. The next day he came down with leukemia. At his funeral, four of his classmates accepted the Lord because of the way he had dealt with his terminal illness.

At that time, I didn’t know that God had redeemed us from sickness. I had been taught that in God’s sovereignty, He controlled everything that happened to us. So, I bought into this teaching “hook, line, and sinker.” I then gave this tape to a close friend of ours. She also accepted it as truth to the point that she prayed this same prayer. The next morning, she was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with leukemia. At her funeral, four people accepted the Lord also.

Since then, I have learned the truth. God did not answer those prayers by giving two teenagers leukemia. Certainly, God received a measure of glory when those eight people accepted the Lord, but God doesn’t kill one of His children so that others can be saved. Satan is the killer; it was Satan who took advantage of the open doors these wrong prayers created. That’s why it’s important to know how to pray.

On this National Day of Prayer, millions of Christians will be praying for God to move in our nation. Typically, they will be pleading with an angry God to turn from His impending judgment and have mercy. That’s wrong praying. And as I’ve testified, wrong praying can open the door to wrong results.

There is a right way to pray for our nation. But first, we need to recognize that God isn’t angry any more. The war between God and man is over. That’s what the angels proclaimed at the birth of Jesus. Luke 2:14 says,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

These angels weren’t saying that from then on, peace would reign on earth and wars between people would cease. That certainly hasn’t happened. They were proclaiming the end of the war between God and man. Jesus paid a price that is infinitely greater than the sins of the whole human race. God loves the world, not only the church, but the whole world. He’s already paid for their sins as the Scriptures say in 1 John 2:2,

“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Therefore, His mercy is now extended to all man not the judgment we read about in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, God’s punishment was poured out on individuals and entire nations. In the New Testament, God’s judgment was poured out on Jesus. Now, God’s mercy and grace are ours.

Through His mercy, we avoid getting the bad things we deserve, and through His grace, we receive the good things we don’t deserve. The nearly-too-good-to-be-true news of the Gospel is that we don’t get what we deserve, we get what we believe. Jesus has made all that God is and has, available to us, and it is through faith that we access that grace (Rom. 5:2).

So, the typical Christian is making intercession to an angry God, asking Him to turn from His fierce wrath, but that’s the wrong way to pray. I can just hear someone say, “But that’s exactly what people did in the Old Testament!” That’s true, but there is a major difference between the Old and New Covenant. That difference is Jesus. Jesus has forever changed the way we approach God and how we appropriate His favor.

Let’s look at an Old Testament example of intercession that will be used by many as the benchmark for the way we should pray on this National Day of Prayer. Moses was pleading with God for the nation of Israel. The children of Israel molded a golden calf and had an orgy as they worshiped it. The Lord became so angry that He told Moses he would destroy those people and make a new nation through Moses’ seed. Moses told the Lord in Exodus 32:12,

“Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.”

It’s amazing that a mere human being had the audacity to speak to God this way! What’s even more amazing is that God allowed Moses speak to Him this way and actually repented (Ex. 32:14). This example will be held up all across this land as the standard we are supposed to emulate.

However, this is not the way that we, as New Testament believers, should approach God. Galatians 3:19 refers to Moses as a mediator. The dictionary defines a mediator as “someone who seeks to resolve differences between two or more conflicting parties.” It was appropriate for Moses to act as a mediator because Jesus had not yet come, and the atonement for man’s sins had not yet been made. God and man were not reconciled.

But now, because of Jesus, God has been reconciled to man. All that is left is for man is to be reconciled to God, and that should be our message (2 Cor. 5:19-20). To approach God as an adversary who is ready to destroy us is to approach God without Jesus. It doesn’t honor the mediation that Jesus purchased. First Timothy 2:5 says,

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

When Jesus became our Mediator, He put all other mediators out of business. In the days of Moses, it was appropriate and necessary for him to act as a mediator and intercede for his nation, pleading with God to turn from his wrath. Why, because Jesus had not yet come and taken His place as the only Mediator. Now that Jesus has come and has paid for the sins of the whole world, it is wrong to continue to pray the way Moses did. It’s against everything Christ accomplished. In other words, it is anti-Christ. I know those words are strong, but they are the truth.

How then should a New Testament believer intercede for their nation? Start by praising God for what He has already accomplished through Jesus. Then take your place in what Christ has already done, and use your authority as a believer to speak God’s blessing over your nation instead of the curses that Christians so often pronounce. It’s really that simple. There is tremendous authority given to us if we will use it, and there is awesome power in our blessing.

Before I learned these truths, I used to say that God would have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah if He didn’t judge America because we are just as deserving of judgment as they were. But now that I know the truth, I say, “If God does judge America, He will have to apologize to Jesus because Jesus satisfied God’s demands of justice.”

That doesn’t mean that America is safe from the consequences of continuing on its current path. God won’t judge America; He has already judged Jesus on our behalf. But the farther we walk away from the Lord, the farther we get away from His protection. God won’t force Himself or His blessings on us. We have to pursue them and obtain them through faith. Without a change in the hearts of the people and a change in the direction we are headed, we will forsake our own mercies (Jon. 2:8) and reap death instead of life (Rom. 6:16).

Jamie and I encourage you to be a New Testament intercessor on this National Day of Prayer. Honor Jesus by approaching a loving God who has already made every provision for the revival this nation so desperately needs. Speak words of faith that release the goodness Jesus has so graciously provided. And then, do your part in sharing this good news with your friends and neighbors.

Most of America will be praying for a move of God, but I will be praying for a move of God’s people. God has already done His part. It’s up to us to take this good news to the world. God isn’t mad anymore. He’s not even in a bad mood. God loves us. Glory to God in the highest and, on earth, peace, good will toward man

The Normal Christian Life, chapter 3 (Watchman Nee)

0

I consider that this chapter, beautiful illustrated and explained will aid as you seek to learn from and understand Romans 1-8:

Our old history ends with the Cross; our new history begins with the

resurrection. “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things

are passed away; behold they are become new” (2 Cor 5:17). The Cross

terminates the first creation, and out of death there is brought a new

creation in Christ, the second Man. If we are `in Adam’ all that is in Adam

necessarily devolves upon us; it becomes ours involuntarily, for we have to

do nothing to get it. There is no need to make up our minds to lose our

temper or to commit some other sin; it comes to us freely and despite

ourselves. In a similar way, if we are `in Christ’ all that is in Christ

comes to us by free grace, without effort on our part but on the ground of

simple faith.

But to say that all we need comes to us in Christ by free grace, though

true enough, may seem unpractical. How does it work out in practice? How

does it become real in our experience?

As we study chapters 6, 7 and 8 of Romans we shall discover that the

conditions of living the normal Christian life are fourfold. They are: (a)

Knowing, (b) Reckoning, (c) Presenting ourselves to God, and (d) Walking in

the Spirit, and they are set forth in that order. If we would live that life

we shall have to take all four of these steps; not one nor two nor three,

but all four. As we study each of them we shall trust the Lord by His Holy

Spirit to illumine our understanding; and we shall seek His help now to take

the first big step forward.

Our Death With Christ A Historic Fact

Romans 6:1-11 is the passage before us now. In these verses it is made

clear that the death of the Lord Jesus is representative and inclusive. In

His death we all died. None of us can progress spiritually without seeing

this. Just as we cannot have justification if we have not seen Him bearing

our sins on the Cross, so we cannot have sanctification if we have not seen

Him bearing us on the Cross. Not only have our sins been laid on Him but we

ourselves have been put into Him.

How did you receive forgiveness? You realized that the Lord Jesus died

as your Substitute and bore your sins upon Himself, and that His Blood was

shed to cleanse away your defilement. When you saw your sins all taken away

on the Cross what did you do? Did you say, `Lord Jesus, please come and die

for my sins’? No, you did not pray at all; you only thanked the Lord You did

not beseech Him to come and die for you, for you realized that He had

already done it.

But what is true of your forgiveness is also true of your deliverance.

The work is done. There is no need to pray but only to praise. God has put

us all in Christ, so that when Christ was crucified we were crucified also.

Thus there is no need to pray: `I am a very wicked person; Lord, please

crucify me’. That is all wrong. You did not pray about your sins; why pray

now about yourself? Your sins were dealt with by His Blood, and you were

dealt with by His Cross. It is an accomplished fact. All that is left for

you to do is to praise the Lord that when Christ died you died also; you

died in Him. Praise Him for it and live in the light of it. “Then believed

they his words: they sang his praise” (Psalm 106:12).

Do you believe in the death of Christ? Of course you do. Well, the same

Scripture that says He died for us says also that we died with Him. Look at

it again: “Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). That is the first statement,

and that is clear enough; but is this any less clear? “Our old man was

crucified with him” (Romans 6:6). “We died with Christ” (Romans 6:8).

When are we crucified with Him? What is the date of our old man’s

crucifixion? Is it tomorrow? Yesterday? Today? In order to answer this it

may help us if for a moment I turn Paul’s statement round and say, `Christ

was crucified with (i.e. at the same time as) our old man’. Some of you came

here in twos. You traveled to this place together. You might say, My friend

came here with me’, but you might just as truly say, `I came here with my

friend’. Had one of you come three days ago and the other only today you

could not possibly say that; but having come together you can make either

statement with equal truth, because both are statements of fact. So also in

historic fact we can say, reverently but with equal accuracy, `I was

crucified when Christ was crucified’ or `Christ was crucified when I was

crucified’, for they are not two historical events, but one. My crucifixion

was “with him”.[3] Has Christ been crucified? Then can I be otherwise? And

if He was crucified nearly two thousand years ago, and I with Him, can my

crucifixion be said to take place tomorrow? Can His be past and mine be

present or future? Praise the Lord, when He died in my stead, but He bore me

with Him to the Cross, so that when He died I died. And if I believe in the

death of the Lord Jesus, then I can believe in my own death just as surely

as I believe in His.

Why do you believe that the Lord Jesus died? What is your ground for

that belief? Is it that you feel He has died? No, you have never felt it.

You believe it because the Word of God tells you so. When the Lord was

crucified, two thieves were crucified at the same time. You do not doubt

that they were crucified with Him, either, because the Scripture says so

quite plainly.

You believe in the death of the Lord Jesus and you believe in the death

of the thieves with Him. Now what about your own death? Your crucifixion is

more intimate than theirs. They were crucified at the same time as the Lord

but on different crosses, whereas you were crucified on the self same cross

as He, for you were in Him when He died. How can you know? You can know for

the one sufficient reason that God has said so. It does not depend on your

feelings. If you feel that Christ has died, He has died; and if you do not

feel that he died, He has died. If you feel that you have died, you have

died; and if you do not feel that you have died, you have nevertheless just

as surely died. These are Divine facts. That Christ has died is a fact, that

the two thieves have died is a fact, and that you have died is a fact also.

Let me tell you, You have died! You are done with! You are ruled out! The

self you loathe is on the Cross in Christ. And “he that is dead is freed

from sin” (Romans 6:7, A.V.). This is the Gospel for Christians.

Our crucifixion can never be made effective by will or by effort, but

only be accepting what the Lord Jesus did on the Cross. Our eyes must be

opened to see the finished work of Calvary. Some of you, prior to your

salvation, may have tried to save yourselves. You read the Bible, prayed,

went to Church, gave alms. Then one day your eyes were opened and you saw

that a full salvation had already been provided for you on the Cross. You

just accepted that and thanked God, and peace and joy flowed into your

heart. Now salvation and sanctification are on exactly the same basis. You

receive deliverance from sin in the same way as you receive forgiveness of

sins.

For God’s way of deliverance is altogether different from man’s way.

Man’s way is to try to suppress sin by seeking to overcome it; God’s way is

to remove the sinner. Many Christians mourn over their weakness, thinking

that if only they were stronger all would be well. The idea that, because

failure to lead a holy life is due to our impotence, something more is

therefore demanded of us, leads naturally to this false conception of the

way of deliverance. If we are preoccupied with the power of sin and with our

inability to meet it, then we naturally conclude that to gain the victory

over sin we must have more power. `If only I were stronger’, we say, `I

could overcome my violent outbursts of temper’, and so we plead with the

Lord to strengthen us that we may exercise more self-control.

But this is altogether wrong; this is not Christianity. God’s means of

delivering us from sin is not by making us stronger and stronger, but by

making us weaker and weaker. That is surely rather a peculiar way of

victory, you say; but it is the Divine way. God sets us free from the

dominion of sin, not by strengthening our old man but by crucifying him; not

by helping him to do anything but by removing him from the scene of action.

For years, maybe, you have tried fruitlessly to exercise control over

yourself, and perhaps this is still your experience; but when once you see

the truth you will recognize that you are indeed powerless to do anything,

but that in setting you aside altogether God has done it all. Such a

revelation brings human self-effort to an end.

The First Step: “Knowing This…”

The normal Christian life must begin with a very definite `knowing’,

which is not just knowing something about the truth nor understanding some

important doctrine. It is not intellectual knowledge at all, but an opening

of the eyes of the heart to see what we have in Christ.

How do you know your sins are forgiven? Is it because your pastor told

you so? No, you just know it. If I ask you how you know, you simply answer,

`I know it!’ Such knowledge comes by Divine revelation. It comes from the

Lord Himself. Of course the fact of forgiveness of sins is in the Bible, but

for the written Word of God to become a living Word from God to you He had

to give you “a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him”

(Eph. 1:17). What you needed was to know Christ in that way, and it is

always so. So there comes a time, in regard to any new apprehension of

Christ, when you know it in your own heart, you `see’ it in your spirit. A

light has shined into your inner being and you are wholly persuaded of the

fact. What is true of the forgiveness of your sins is no less true of your

deliverance from sin. When once the light of God dawns upon your heart you

see yourself in Christ. It is not now because someone has told you, and not

merely because Romans 6 says so. It is something more even than that. You

know it because God has revealed it to you by His Spirit. You may not feel

it; you may not understand it; but you know it, for you have seen it. Once

you have seen yourself in Christ, nothing can shake your assurance of that

blessed fact.

If you ask a number of believers who have entered upon the normal

Christian life how they came by their experience, some will say in this way

and some will say in that. Each stresses his own particular way of entering

in and produces Scripture to support his experience; and unhappily many

Christians are using their special experiences and their special scriptures

to fight other Christians. The fact of the matter is that, while Christians

may enter into the deeper life by different ways, we need not regard the

experiences or doctrines they stress as mutually exclusive, but rather

complementary. One thing is certain, that any true experience of value in

the sight of God must have been reached by way of a new discovery of the

meaning of the Person and work of the Lord Jesus. That is a crucial test and

a safe one.

And here in our passage Paul makes everything depend upon such a

discovery. “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the

body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to

sin” (Romans 6:6).

Divine Revelation Essential To Knowledge

So our first step is to seek from God a knowledge that comes by

revelation — a revelation, that is to say, not of ourselves but of the

finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. When Hudson Taylor, the

founder of the China Inland Mission, entered into the normal Christian life

it was thus that he did so. You remember how he tells of his long-standing

problem of how to live `in Christ’, how to draw the sap out of the Vine into

himself. For he knew that he must have the life of Christ flowing out

through him and yet felt that he had not got it, and he saw clearly enough

that his need was to be found in Christ. `I knew’, he said, writing to his

sister from Chinkiang in 1869, `that if only I could abide in Christ, all

would be well, but I could not.’

The more he tried to get in the more he found himself slipping out, so

to speak, until one day light dawned, revelation came and he saw.

`Here, I feel, is the secret: not asking how I am to get sap out of the Vine

into myself, but remembering that Jesus is the Vine — the root, stem,

branches, twigs, leaves, flowers, fruit, all indeed.’

Then, in words of a friend that had helped him:

`I have not got to make myself a branch. The Lord Jesus tells me I am a

branch. I am part of Him and I have just to believe it and act upon it. I

have seen it long enough in the Bible, but I believe it now as a living

reality.’

It was as though something which had indeed been true all the time had

now suddenly become true in a new way to him personally, and he writes to

his sister again:

`I do not know how far I may be able to make myself intelligible about it,

for there is nothing new or strange or wonderful — and yet, all is new! In

a word, “whereas once I was blind, now I see”….I am dead and buried with

Christ — aye, and risen too and ascended….God reckons me so, and tells me

to reckon myself so. He knows best….Oh, the joy of seeing this truth — I

do pray that the eyes of your understanding may be enlightened, that you may

know and enjoy the riches freely given us in Christ.'[4]

Oh, it is a great thing to see that we are in Christ! Think of the

bewilderment of trying to get into a room in which you already are! Think of

the absurdity of asking to be put in! If we recognize the fact that we are

in, we make no effort to enter. If we had more revelation we should have

fewer prayers and more praises. Much of our praying for ourselves is just

because we are blind to what God has done.

I remember one day in Shanghai I was talking with a brother who was

very exercised concerning his spiritual state. He said, `So many are living

beautiful, saintly lives. I am ashamed of myself. I call myself a Christian

and yet when I compare myself with others I feel I am not one at all. I want

to know this crucified life, this resurrection life, but I do not know it

and see no way of getting there.’ Another brother was with us, and the two

of us had been talking for two hours or so, trying to get the man to see

that he could not have anything apart from Christ, but without success. Said

our friend, `the best thing a man can do is to pray.’ `But if God has

already given you everything, what do you need to pray for?’ we asked. `He

hasn’t’, the man replied, `for I am still losing my temper, still failing

constantly; so I must pray more.’ `Well’, we said, `do you get what you pray

for?’ `I am sorry to say that I do not get anything’, he replied. We tried

to point out that, just as he had done nothing for his justification, so he

need do nothing for his sanctification.

Just then a third brother, much used of the Lord, came in and joined

us. There was a thermos flask on the table, and this brother picked it up

and said, `What is this?’ `A thermos flask.’ `Well, you just imagine for a

moment that this thermos flask can pray, and that it starts praying

something like this: “Lord, I want very much to be a thermos flask. Wilt

Thou make me to be a thermos flask? Lord, give me grace to become a thermos

flask. Do please make me one!” What will you say?’ `I do not think even a

thermos flask would be so silly,’ our friend replied. `It would be nonsense

to pray like that; it is a thermos flask!’ Then my brother said, `You are

doing the same thing. God in times past has already included you in Christ.

When He died, you died; when He lived, you lived. Now today you cannot say,

“I want to die; I want to be crucified; I want to have resurrection life.”

The Lord simply looks at you and says, “You are dead! You have new life!”

All your praying is just as absurd as that of the thermos flask. You do not

need to pray to the Lord for anything; you merely need your eyes opened to

see that He has done it all.’

That is the point. We need not work to die, we need not wait to die, we

are dead. We only need to recognize what the Lord has already done and to

praise Him for it. Light dawned for that man. With tears in his eyes he

said, `Lord, I praise Thee that Thou hast already included me in Christ. All

that is His is mine!’ Revelation had come and faith had something to lay

hold of; and if you could have met that brother later on, what a change you

would have found!

The Cross Goes To The Root Of Our Problem

Let me remind you again of the fundamental nature of that which the

Lord has done on the Cross. I feel I cannot press this point too much for we

must see it. Suppose, for the sake of illustration, that the government of

your country should wish to deal drastically with the question of strong

drink and should decide that the whole country was to go `dry’, how could

the decision be carried into effect? How could we help? If we were to search

every shop and house throughout the land and smash all the bottles of wine

or beer or brandy we came across, would that meet the case? Surely not. We

might thereby rid the land of every drop of alcoholic liquor it contains,

but behind those bottles of strong drink are the factories that produce

them, and if we only deal with the bottles and leave the factories

untouched, production will still continue and there is no permanent solution

of the problem. The drink-producing factories, the breweries and

distilleries throughout the land, must be closed down if the drink question

is to be permanently settled.

We are the factory; our actions are the products. The Blood of the Lord

Jesus dealt with the question of the products, namely, our sins. So the

question of what we have done is settled, but would God have stopped there?

What about the question of what we are? Our sins were produced by us. They

have been dealt with, but how are we going to be dealt with? Do you believe

the Lord would cleanse away all our sins and then leave us to get rid of the

sin-producing factory? Do you believe He would put away the goods produced

but leave us to deal with the source of production?

To ask this question is but to answer it. Of course He has not done

half the work and left the other half undone. No, He has done away with the

goods and also made a clean sweep of the factory that produces the goods.

The finished work of Christ really has gone to the root of our problem

and dealt with it. There are no half measures with God. “Knowing this,” says

Paul, “That our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might

be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin” (Rom. 6:6).

“Knowing this”! Yes, but do you know it? “Or are ye ignorant?” (Rom. 6:3).

May the Lord graciously open our eyes.

Who Is Pastor Ben

0

Ben became a Christian in 1996 at the age of 16. He attended church as a dare, having never been to church in his life. He found out that Jesus Christ was a real person who died, rose again and that He was still alive today. Ben trained at Regent’s College in Nantwich for 3 years having a BA(Hons) in Theology.

He has preached across Europe, and in India and in Ghana. He preaches a practical message of how to live by faith in the Word. He has a passion for every Christian to know God’s Word for themselves and to move in spectacular miracles.

This is his retelling of his salvation story.  How he was water baptized and baptized in the Holy Spirit will be in a later post:

I grew up without any religious upbringing. One day in 1993 when I was only 16 years old, a girl from my school dared me to go to church. I had a reputation for never resisting a dare. So I did. I went to a Presbyterian church because that was the one I was dared to go to – I had never been to a church service even once before.

I was the youngest person in the church by a clear 40 years. I sat down at the back and two old ladies told me off for sitting on their pew. It was their pew – they bought it, and they threw me off it. I would have seated about 10 people, but it just sat those two. I had to go and find an unbought pew and sit on that. I was sitting there bored stiff through the out of tune singing of hymns I knew nothing about and cared even less about. I sat there watching the old ladies of both genders standing up and sitting down and thinking about how selfish the two old ladies had been. All my preconceived ideas of Christians were being fulfilled.

Then the preacher preached. He was old school and preached a very clear gospel message about how Jesus bore my sins. I was captivated. I went back not because I was dared but because the message about Jesus captivated me. Everything Jesus did and everything Jesus said fascinated me. For two months I went to two services a Sunday listening to the simple gospel.

After two months I became a Christian. I repented of my sins and decided to have faith in the gospel. Even though I was only 16, within three months my younger brother became a Christian because I changed so much in my attitude towards him.

I read the Bible voraciously. I loved reading about Jesus. I love reading about how He spoke, how He acted, how He treated people. I read the gospels and Acts over and over. I decided I wanted to be water baptized.

I spoke to my minister and he said that his church would not baptize me but would sprinkle water on me. Well – I wanted it the Jesus way, and I said so. The preacher told me I should find another church.

So I went home, opened the Yellow Pages and looked through Churches. Some churches were called Baptist churches. I thought I bet they will baptize me, so the following Sunday I went to the closest Baptist church.

Tree of Life Church – Our History.

0

In July 2007, we were in Sweden attending Ulf Ekman‘s church Livets Ord for a week’s conference. At the end of the conference, we travelled across Sweden from Uppsala to Gothenburg where we were flying back to the UK from.

We reached Gothenburg in the early evening, and our flights were not until 10am the next day. All day the Lord had been speaking to my wife and telling her that we were not to sleep until we knew what the next step in our destiny was to be. We looked around for a bed and breakfast to stay in for the night but every time we went somewhere the Holy Spirit let us know not to go there.

Eventually we prayed and asked the Lord what to do because He was clearly leading us somewhere. He spoke to the two of us – and our eldest son – and told us to go straight to the airport. So we obeyed. We arrived at the airport and didn’t know what to do so we just sat there and waited. At 10pm, they closed the airport for the night and we going to kick us out. We didn’t know what to do – surely we had heard God correctly? We looked for a taxi but they had all gone. Did God want us to spend the night wandering the streets around the airport?

Then a gentleman approached us – he was the airport manager. He said he had to hang around all night to finish his work. He took us to the VIP lounge and we stayed there for free. It was luxurious. He also fed us, and obtained some ice creams for our children.

In the morning, there was no rush to check in – we were already there. But when the children went to sleep, in the airport, I held God to His Word and I did not sleep and I started praying in the Spirit and in English, eager to know what the next step in my walk with Him was to be. After two or three hours of praying, the Lord spoke to me. I knew I was in the middle of a blessed provision, and the Lord provided not just a bed but a direction, a destiny and a destination. Praise His Name forever.

The Lord told us as a family to move to the east end of London. He told us to start a church. He told us it had to be unashamed about the fact that it loved the Word of God and knows the Word is the answer to every question humanity has. He told us it had to be based on cell principles – that everyone has to be equipped to minister in the supernatural.

He told us to hire a hall and start having healing meetings by the end of September 2008. He told us that this church had to be planted in the place where my father grew up.

We moved to London. It has not been an easy move – we have been attacked in ways we could never imagine. We started the first meeting in September 2008. I contacted the council and asked to hire a hall, after every church in the area turned us down, as did every school. They let us rent in the local library – which turns out to be around the corner from where my father grew up.

One person turned up at our first service. Some services we have had more than 10 people. Others I have preached to my wife.

Since September 2008, we have seen several miracles. Since then, we have seen people come in off the street. Attendance has not been large, and has not been regular, but this work is a new work, and we know God is the God of increase. We know that God is the God of multiplication and the hardest thing to do is to push the canoe into the river. Once it is in the river, people will jump in.

While praying in December for the Lord’s will for the 2009, the Lord started showing us some very exciting things. We are going to lay down the meetings in the library for four months, having cell meetings in our house instead. The Holy Spirit has said to turn the meetings over to Him, and He will reveal great and glorious things to us in those house meetings. We are looking forward to this a great deal.

In May 2009, we are going to re-launch the meetings in the library, this time as a more church-like meeting. God has told us to expect a worship-leader to come, to expect praying people to come, to expect a nucleus that wants to live the Word in an uncompromised manner, to follow Him no matter the cost, and to see His kingdom established in London. We will not stop. We will not quit. This is the revelation of God.

When we have a nucleus of about 12 people, we will start a cell group in our house on a Sunday evening. We believe this will be up and running by the end of 2009. We believe it will have multiplied to two house cells by the end of 2009, or be just about to multiply.

Once we have two or more functioning house cells, we will start looking for a venue for Sunday morning church. A celebration service of the life of God, where the worship is exquisite, the preaching is anointed and the people of God can enjoy the God of the people.

That is our future. That is Tree of Life Church. We value your prayers, we value your encouragement. When we moved to London, in the natural we thought it had enough churches, but the Holy Spirit told us: London needs more churches. We are not the answer, but we know we are part of the answer.

Blessings,
Ben

%d bloggers like this: