Give Faith a Focus

What are you believing for? What are you seeing with your spiritual eyes? What is motivating you?

So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. (Luke 17:6)

A seed has a purpose, but a seed not planted will never achieve its purpose. Faith begins as a seed. The believer sees a need and speaks forth a seed. Those circumstances that need changing will respond to the seed of faith (words spoken with authority). They will obey a superior authority.

When you see a need and you know you have the authority to meet the need, you instantly have a vision of how and you move into action. Jesus spoke to sicknesses, to storms, to demons and to the devil himself. His superior authority gave birth to vision. Vision gave birth to faith. Faith gave birth to words, and the circumstances obeyed the words.

Jesus saw suffering and brought forth healing. He saw lack and brought forth abundance. He saw danger and brought forth peace. He had a vision. His spiritual eyes motivated Him. His words released His authority. Things that were out of order had to submit to Divine order.

Jesus said to His disciples, “If you have faith…you can say….and it would obey YOU! Jesus expects us to walk as He walked. He expects you to give faith a focus.

It is important that our faith have a focus. We should always be looking beyond ourselves and realize that that we are ambassadors of a message that all men need to hear. The more we focus our faith on the needs around us, the more we will see God’s provision in our own lives.

Where is your faith? What is it doing today?

Barry Bennett

The 2019 Graduation in Heidelberg, South Africa took place on Tuesday, October 29th.  The rural, tight-knit farming community as well as the love that Carlynne, Bets, Bets’ husband Deon, and Alfred have for their students really stood out. The students’ excitement and genuine care for one another was palpable during the ceremony.

The number of students who completed their first-year:

12 Full-time, On-campus
5 Hybrid

The number of students who graduated second-year:

18 Full-time, On-campus
9 Hybrid

The number of students who graduated third-year:

6 Full-time, On-campus
3 Interns

In 2006, a few farmers from Heidelberg, South Africa came together for regular Bible studies when a Pastor decided he wanted a Bible College in Heidelberg. The Pastor gave the congregation freedom to decide which ministry to contact in order to make this happen. One of the farmers had already discovered Andrew Wommack’s teachings. They contacted the AWM UK office and soon began a weekly correspondence group. Charis Heidelberg was originally established in 2010.
After spending three decades as a physiotherapist in South Africa, Carlynne Kotze sensed the Lord prompting her to move to the U.K. At the age of 52, Carlynne obeyed and moved away from the country that was always home to her. She was scared and felt completely out of her comfort zone, but everything fell into place. She found a place to stay, transportation was taken care of, and she loved her new job at the hospital where she worked.

Wondering why God sent her to the UK, she one day came across a woman who spoke her native Afrikaans language. The woman gave her Andrew Wommack’s You’ve Already Got It! cassette tapes. Carlynne knew that this was why she had come to the UK!

From there, Carlynne began to attend some conferences in Walsall and she eventually enrolled in Charis Bible College Walsall. During her second year in Walsall, she was invited to go to Heidelberg, South Africa for her Missions trip where they met up with these same farmers. For her third year, she was able to lead the Missions trip to Heidelberg and she knew she would return some day.

Carlynne was eventually made Director of the Heidelberg location, and she was able to move back to the native country she loves. Currently, there are 3 staff members at the Heidelberg location – Carlynne, Charis Director; Bets Janse van Rensburg, Charis Administrator; and Alfred Rademan, Dean of Students. Although Carlynne’s journey has not always been easy, the Lord has made her path straight. She says that after 10 years, she is still enjoying the love, goodness, and blessings of the Lord. Today, she enjoys watching her students grow in boldness and in love and seeing the fruit of their labor in Christ.

Vertical and Horizontal

I often refer to the vertical and horizontal aspects of our relationship with God. The love of God, His unconditional grace, righteousness, freedom from guilt and fear, etc., are the reality of our ‘vertical’ relationship with Him.

The horizontal aspect of our faith deals with our relationship with the world. The Great Commission, gifts of the Spirit, forgiveness toward others, giving, serving, sowing and reaping, etc., speak of the expression of God’s love and grace through us to others.

While our actions in the horizontal world do not impact God’s love and grace toward us, they can have their own consequences. For example, though our sins are not being imputed in the divine sense (God’s grace), they may still have consequences in the natural sense. Drunk driving yields the same potential of disaster to both believers and non-believers. Sowing to the flesh still reaps corruption in the horizontal, though it is forgiven in the vertical.

Though God has blessed us with all blessings (Eph. 1:3) in the vertical sense, many do not enjoy those blessings due to lack of wisdom as to how to receive them in the horizontal world. Though there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ, there can be self-condemnation for those who do not understand grace and forgiveness.

Sin is not imputed or judged by God because He poured out all judgement for sin on Jesus, but sin carries its own seeds of destruction in the natural realm that can produce a harvest of corruption.

When we don’t understand these two dimensions we can easily get confused and even distressed at the seeming disconnect between the glorious truths of redemption in the vertical sense versus the realities of life in the ‘horizontal’ world. Jesus healed all men by His stripes in His redemptive work, but Christians still get sick and die prematurely. Why? The vertical reality of redemption may not get applied by faith to the horizontal circumstance of sickness. Lack of understanding can be fatal.

Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Mt. 6:10) This pattern can be found throughout the New Testament. A revelation of the vertical blessing of redemption should equip us for a victorious life in the horizontal world.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men (vertical), teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age (horizontal). (Titus 2:11-12)

Barry Bennett

Are You Walking By Sight?

For those with well trained dogs, a simple command brings forth instant obedience. Dogs can understand verbal commands, hand signals and even body language and inflections in the voice. The owner of a well-trained dog has faith that his commands will be obeyed. In many cases he doesn’t even have to see the obedience. He knows the dog will carry out the command.

However, the same owner who confronts a strange dog may give the same commands and signals but will only be able to judge the outcome by what he sees. With a strange dog the human must walk by sight. The dog may not obey at all. There is no assurance because there is no relationship. Without relationship there is no authority established.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb. 11:1)

Faith is the evidence of things not seen. Only in the realm of relationship and authority can we be certain of that which we don’t see. An instruction to a teenaged son to mow the yard while the parent is away should result in a mowed yard by the time the parent returns. If the relationship is strong and the authority of the parent has been established, there is no need to be concerned for the outcome. In the mind of the parent, the yard is mowed the moment the instruction is given.

In the same way, our faith walk with God is based upon our relationship with Him and our understanding of our delegated authority. God has given us authority over sickness, our emotions, our words, our thoughts and actions and within our sphere of influence. We were created to have dominion in the earth. We should be able to walk by faith, not sight, calling things that are not as though they are.

We should know that in the world of the Spirit, our words have authority. Demons tremble, sicknesses wither, favor surrounds us and blessings overtake us! But if we are unsure of who we are in Christ, we will continue to walk by sight. We will be ruled by circumstances and our own feelings and doubts. We may try to exert influence over the things that come to steal, kill and destroy, but we will only know if we are successful by what we see. Life can be like a big dog that we don’t know.

Faith begins with relationship with God. Relationship will reveal our authority in Christ. Like the Centurion we will be able to say, “I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” (Mt. 8:9)

Barry Bennett

What is a Wilderness Season?

I have heard some believers describe times in their lives as a “wilderness season.” Words that are used to describe this include loneliness, spiritual dryness, lack of hearing from God, lack of spiritual energy, lack of faith, and basically whatever else you want to throw into the bag. It could also include giving into temptation and indulging the flesh.

“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” (Mt. 4:1)

Jesus most certainly had a wilderness season of 40 days at the end of which He defeated three temptations of the devil. However, I see no comparison between this and what modern believers are referring to. Jesus spent 40 days with the Father, being nourished by the words of God. “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Mt. 4:4) “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone;” (Jn. 8:29) Jesus didn’t give into temptation. He defeated it because He had been with the Father. His wilderness season was a divine demonstration of the power of a sinless life over the lusts of the flesh and the temptations of the enemy.

When I hear believers today talk about going through a wilderness season, I see it as excuse theology to cover their desire to indulge their emotions and feelings. Paul said that through much tribulation we enter the Kingdom (Acts 14:22), and the author of Hebrews said that by faith and patience we inherit the promises (Heb. 6:12). We live in a fallen world, so the opportunities to give up are always there. If we want to call something a wilderness season (something the New Testament doesn’t describe for believers), then we must be honest and recognize that it is of our own choosing.

Our roots should always be going deep into the Lord. There should always be fruit in our lives. The tests of life are all around us and will always be with us. It is not a wilderness season. It is life.

As I look back on my life in the Lord (47 years), I can find seasons of dumb and dumber, but never a wilderness season from God. I created my own messes. As I kept pressing in, I kept getting wisdom and knowledge. I have learned to lean not to my own understanding. God is always with me, and His Word is always alive. It never becomes dormant. We should always be learning and growing.

“nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine” (1 Tim. 4:6)

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that God has put you in a wilderness season, and somehow that means you are on your own. That kind of wrong thinking can lead you astray. He will never leave you or forsake you. Stir yourself up and return to your first love!

Barry Bennett

What if I told you……

that if you are born again you have changed kingdoms?
that you are just as righteous as Jesus?
that your spirit is a new creation?
that you are seated with Him in heavenly places?
that you are filled with His Spirit?
that you are adopted into His family?
that His love was poured into your heart?
that you are called to reign in life?
that God wants to give you abundant life?
that He has given you every promise in order to escape the corruption of the world?
that you have the God kind of faith inside of you?
that you can hear God?
that you can see the unseen?
that you can pray believing and receive in His Name?
that you can submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee?
that as He is, so are you in this world?
that you have the keys to His Kingdom?
that He will freely give you all things?
that the gifts of His Spirit are for you to help others?
that healing is your covenant right?
that Job isn’t your example, Jesus is?

If you are born again and I told you all of this, it would simply be basic Christianity. It is the message of freedom from guilt and condemnation. It is the message of victory, joy, peace with God and love. It is a message that knows God is not schizophrenic, moody, mysterious or cruel. It is a message of the Father’s love for mankind and His provision for every need. It is the simple gospel.

Barry Bennett

Are you Independent or Dependent?

Most struggle through life because they have knowingly or unknowingly chosen independence from God. Independent thoughts, words and actions lead to confusion and loss. Independence unleashes all of the corruption that is in the world. We were not created to live independently from God.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who remains in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit. For without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

Man was created to live in harmony with God; to think His thoughts, speak His words, do His works and fulfill His purpose in the earth. This is true life and light.

For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light. (Ps. 36:7-9)

Nothing is more fulfilling than to discover your true identity in Him. When you can see yourself as He sees you, you will experience His joy which is your strength. In Him is the fountain of life and the light that will guide you in this world of corruption.

“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Jesus is the Light and the Life that has been given to the world. Dependence on God can only take place if we are dependent on the life of His Word.

“It is the Spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit and are life.” (Jn. 6:63)

The longer we choose independence, the more we will struggle.

Barry Bennett

What Motivates You?

 

Every morning we all get out of bed and draw upon strength and energy to make it through the day.  We must choose from where we will draw our strength and energy.  For some, their energy comes from obligation rooted in boredom.  For others, their energy may come from the excitement of new challenges.  How many of us actually face each day drawing from the life of God within us?

 

He gives power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increases strength. (Isa. 40:29)

 

If you are a born again believer, you have an infinite supply of God’s grace within.  His grace includes His provision, His strength, His equipping, His wisdom and His vision.  We can choose to face each day by drawing on our own limited strength and resources, or we can stir up the grace of God that is within us, give thanks, speak words of life, and step into all of the possibilities that exist in that day.

 

Realizing how much more potential I had in Christ, versus my very limited future without Him has only made me hungry to be fully given to His purpose in my life.  His resources are continually available to me if I will only choose them.

 

I’ve had days of low energy just like everyone, but now I understand why.  I was facing those days in my own strength, with my own limited vision, and meditating on my own limited resources.  No wonder I dreaded those days.

 

If that sounds like you, it is time to realize that you have a hidden energy source.  The Greater One lives in you!  You don’t have to dread the day.  Choose to trust in the grace of God within you and approach the day as a conqueror, not a victim!

 

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.  (Isa. 40:31)

 

Barry Bennett

The Secrets of Abundance

 

God has revealed the secrets of increase and abundance in His Word.  “Seek first the kingdom and things shall be added,” “give and it shall be given unto you,” “be faithful in that which is least,” etc.  God desires our prosperity on every level.

 

Jesus demonstrated 3 keys of abundance when He fed the 4,000 in Mark, chapter 8.

 

So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and they set them before the multitude. They also had a few small fish; and having blessed them, He said to set them also before them.  So they ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets of leftover fragments. (Mark 8:6-8)

 

When reading this one day I felt impressed to spend some time meditating on three key phases of this story.

 

  1. Jesus gave thanks for what He had.Rather than complaining about the obvious lack, He was thankful.  Thankfulness is a prosperous attitude.  Thankfulness is faith in action.  A thankful lifestyle and attitude is the first key in turning a life of lack into a life of abundance.

 

  1. Jesus used/gave what He had.He put His resources to work.  Many never prosper because they hold on tight to what they have.  They see what they have as lack, and they won’t let go of it.  Fear controls them.  When Jesus began giving the bread to His disciples, the multitude was still hungry and the resources were still insufficient.  But that act of using/giving what He had brought the increase.  Everything is seed.  Everything.

 

  1. Jesus blessed what He had.Far too often we are guilty of cursing our lack, cursing our possessions, our boss, our job, our car, our bills, etc.  We must learn the power of blessing.  Words are the most powerful force in existence!  Bless what you have.  Speak life over yourself, your resources and your future.  It is a key to abundance.

 

Abundance is available to you.  The power is within you.

 

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.  (Eph. 3:20)

Barry Bennett

The Most Beautiful Words

 

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (Isa. 53:4-6)

 

Certainly these are some of the most beautiful words ever written.  The Spirit of God inspired Isaiah and revealed the depth of God’s love for man, a love so profound that it was willing to give His Son (and the Son was willing to give Himself) in order to restore us to our original place in Him.

 

Jesus understood our grief, sickness, pain and trauma.  He understood the devastating power of sin that has created darkness and suffering for humanity.  Not only did He understand, He came to walk among us and demonstrate His love and compassion for the hurting.  But He didn’t come only to see and touch man’s need,  He came to take upon Himself the curse of our separation from God and all its manifestations.  He took the iniquity of every person on earth, every person who would ever be conceived.  He took our physical pain and sicknesses.  He took our depression, sadness and fears.  He took the full weight of every curse of sin.  In fact, He became a curse and He became sin as He hung on the cross.

 

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  (Mt. 11:28)

 

The invitation is for all.  Rest and peace are for all.  Healing is for all.  Deliverance from every trauma and grief is for all.  Jesus did this for you.

 

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.  (Luke 4:18-19)

 

Take time to let your spirit feed on these verses.  Hear Him speaking.  See Him healing you.  Let Him restore you and give you life, peace and joy.  That is the gospel.

 

Barry Bennett

Choices

 

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like had you made different choices in the past?  How does our present reflect the choices we made in the past?  What if you had skipped that event, answered that phone call, studied harder or reached out to that hurting person?  It is amazing how seemingly insignificant events can literally change the course of one’s life.

 

Like us, Paul was continually making choices.  In Acts 22, Paul recounts one particular moment in which a choice saved his life.

 

Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I was in a trance and saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me.’ (Acts 22:17-18)

 

Paul chose to go to the temple to pray.  He could have chosen to go to the local coffee shop or work out at the gym.  But, he chose prayer.  That choice gave God the opportunity to warn him to flee Jerusalem.  What if Paul had not chosen to pray that day?  That small choice may have changed Paul’s future forever.

 

Our lives are constructed of choices.  There is nothing wrong with coffee shops and gyms, but can you see that every choice you make has the potential to change the direction of your life?

 

To be led by the Spirit means listening to the Spirit as you make choices.  Being sensitive to the voice of God is the path of victorious life.  Many of our struggles are the result of choosing to do our own thing and not allowing Him to lead us.

 

Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left. (Isa. 30:21)

Barry Bennett

God is kinder than you think

 

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (Rom. 8:32)

 

What if our lives are mostly a reflection of how we see God?  If you see God as easily angered, condemning, stingy, unwilling to let go of His blessings, or always wanting to test you, you will live like the slave of a temperamental master.  You will never know if you are good enough.

 

What if God is kinder than you think?  What if His reputation has been ruined by men who didn’t really know Him?  Let’s look at some verses that paint a different picture.

 

Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water. (John 4:10)

 

– The gift of living water.

 

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)

 

– The gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.  (Rom. 5:17)

 

– The gift of grace and righteousness.

 

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,  (Eph. 2:8)

 

– The gift of salvation by faith.

 

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:17)

 

–  Every good gift.

 

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  (Luke 12:32)

 

– The gift of the Kingdom.

 

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you  (John 14:27)

 

– The gift of His peace.

 

“And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.” (John 16:23)

 

– Whatever we ask in His Name.

 

as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,

4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:3-4)

 

– The gift of His promises and all things that pertain to life.

 

Do you have enough faith to believe in his goodness?  Faith begins when God’s extravagant goodness is embraced.  All you need has already been given.  He is that good!

Barry Bennett

Legalism is not……

 

…Faithfulness.  If it is, then God is a legalist:  “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

 

…Self-control.  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (Gal. 5:22-23)

 

…Diligence.  “And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end.”  (Heb. 6:11)

 

…Good works.  “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  (Eph. 2:10)

 

…Regular giving.  “For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.” (Phil. 4:16)

 

…Holiness.  “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Cor. 7:1)

 

Legalism IS…keeping the Law of Moses in order to be righteous.  For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.  (James 2:10)

 

A sincere relationship with the Father will bear the fruit of faithfulness, self-control, diligence, good works, generosity and holiness.  These are not the traits of a legalist.  A true legalist is one who will only do what they are told.

Barry Bennett

Come and join us for our Open days on the 21st & 22nd January 2019 at the Charis Bible College, Heidelberg WC. All are welcome!