Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Foundational Truth of Baptisms by Ian Clayton

The Foundational Truth of Baptisms 
(an extract from Ian Clayton's new book “Realms of the Kingdom Volume 1)

Hebrews 6: "Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let's go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God; of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment; And this we will do if God permits” (Hebrews 6:1-3).

All these truths are basic foundational truths that every believer needs to know about. We need to get to grips with them and understand what they mean. There are many different baptisms mentioned in the Bible, but the following eight are the main ones:

  1. Baptism into the Cloud of Glory: the ‘preparation for relationship’.
  2. Baptism of Repentance for the Remission of Sin: the ‘preparation for restoration’.
  3. Baptism of Water: the ‘preparation for a renewed life’.
  4. Baptism in the Holy Spirit: the ‘preparation for revival’.
  5. Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Fire: the ‘preparation for renewal and refreshing’.
  6. Baptism into His Death: the ‘preparation for resurrection’.
  7. Baptism of Unity: for the ‘preparation of the release of blessing’.
  8. Baptism into the Father: to ‘identify with the Nature and Character of the Father’.

Commonly, only two or three of these baptisms are taught, but every one of them is vitally important. The first and last on the list above are the least taught:

1) Baptism into the Cloud of Glory: This is the Preparation for Relationship "All were baptised into Moses in the cloud” (1 Corinthians 10:2 KJV). This is baptism into the Cloud of Glory. It is immersing yourself into that cloud. The baptism into Moses is a baptism into the marriage celebration, the marriage covenant and the marriage lifestyle with the presence of God. When the glory of God came down onto the mountain, the Bible talks about a cloud that formed over the mountain (Exodus 19:16). In Hebrew the word for ‘cloud’ or ‘covering’ is ‘huppah’. It was a round cloud that came onto that mountain and sat like a bridal huppah. The Bible says the mountain shook and that the Israelites were terrified of what they saw (Exodus 19:18; 20:18). It says: "...all the people saw the thunderings and the lightnings..." (Exodus 20:18 KJV). Then God told Moses not to even let them come near the mountain because if they touched it they would die. Barriers were put around it so not even animals could go there, because God had come down and was asking them, "Will you marry Me?” Moses went into that huppah (or cloud) and the Israelites were terrified by the lightning and thunder that was coming out of the mountain. The Hebrew interpretation of lightning is "glorified fire"; you can see it. You cannot see thunder, but the Bible says all the people saw the thunderings and the lightnings. The Hebrew understanding of thunder is ‘glorified voices of fire’. So when they came to the edge of this mountain they saw glorified fire and glorified voices of fire. It is important to understand that in Hebrew the voices of fire were saying, “Will you marry Me?" We do not teach He continues to create all the time. The mountain is forever growing because of Who He is. He is forever creating, so it just grows! Shaking and earthquakes often happen, and so diamonds fall off the mountain. So there is a cascade of diamonds coming off the mountain and the oil of the presence of God flowing off the mountain, so you get diamonds and oil mixed together. The Bible talks about the River being as clear as crystal. It is as clear as crystal because there is crystal in it. But you cannot see the crystals until you jump in! There are jewels in the River. You can pick them up and put them in your belly!.
8) The Baptism into the Father: To Identify with the Nature and Character of the Father.
(On one of Ian’s visits to heaven he meets with Enoch on the side of a river in heaven): 
Enoch is amazing! He does not waste words or mince about with what he says, because he has walked with God for so many years. He said to me, “Don’t we have a triune God?" and I said, "Yes, hallelujah! We have a triune God." What do you say when somebody makes a statement like that? He said, “We have a triune God, great! Tell me who you have identified with?" About now I started to feel like there was a shark chasing me! I said, "Well, I have been baptised in water and I have identified with Christ; and I have been baptised in the Holy Spirit and I have identified with Holy Spirit.” He said, "And?” I said, "Well, I have been baptised in the Cloud.” He said, "No, no I am not talking about the experiences. I am talking about the relationships with the people you have been baptised into, because when you get baptised into a person you get baptised into His nature and His character." Then he made this statement to me, "You have identified with Holy Spirit and you have identified with Jesus in the waters of baptism and in the natural world on the earth. What have you done to identify with the Father?” I came back to the religious, “There is no doctrine about doing anything like that. You show me that in the Bible."He said to me, "Don’t you think there is a River in Heaven for a purpose?” You get these slaps (in the Spirit) when you try and justify yourself! It is the flesh, even in Heaven you still try and justify yourself! I said, “Yeah, I have been in the River down there in Eden." He said, "No, I am talking about the River here, which flows pure as crystal.” He said to me, "You need to immerse yourself in the River, because the River comes straight from Him. The only way you can identify yourself with Him is to immerse yourself in what comes from Him.” I had experience of the River that runs through Eden and by then it is watered down a bit and there are many tributaries of the presence of God that run into it that bring other things into that River, which make it what it is. In the River in Eden all the diamonds are on the bottom and the water runs clear as crystal. It runs clear like water, although it is like oil and like water. My expectation was that it would be the same.

So I said, "Let me at it!” I have been in the River of Life down in Eden. The Bible says it is as pure as crystal when it flows out of the throne. It is pure water when it gets into Eden, but when it comes out of the throne it is crystal. I did not know that and jumped into it, doing what I call a bomb dive. As I jumped into the River I sank into this honey. I went down into this honey, into this ‘quick sand’ substance that is flowing out from under the veil of the curtain, where the throne of God is, thinking, “I am going to die, but I can breathe in water.” I had to make the choice to give myself in surrender to God. 

Baptism of any kind is about absolute surrender. As I sank in I was breathing pure diamonds and oil into my nose, my mouth and my body. I stayed there for about half an hour thinking, "Lord, I am identifying with You, I am identifying with Who You are, in the baptism of the River of Glory.” I stayed there because I wanted to know what it is to be one with the Father, as Jesus talked about in John 17. The amazing thing about the river is that it goes straight through you. It does not push you like the water we have here. There is no resistance in Heaven, because everything is alive there. You are alive and because you are as one with it, the River just goes through you. I was sinking, even as it was moving, crashing loudly out of the Throne. I was thinking, "Hallelujah! This is thrilling! I do not know what is going to happen!" I was trying to get into all my past experiences, thinking, "I am in the river of Ezekiel (Chapter 47) and, Father, this is going to be okay.” I did not really know what was going on. Nobody had ever taught me about this, but I did not really care, because suddenly I was finding that I was changing on the inside without having to do anything. I was beginning to immerse myself in the very nature of the One who made me. I have taught about the skin of God. The reason there are diamonds and oil that flow as part of the River is because God is Who He is. What sheds off Him is the residue and the residue makes a river. It cannot be controlled, it just flows out under the curtain and then it becomes a raging torrent of His glory to the earth. When I came out of the River, just like honey sticks to your arm, my skin was covered with oil and diamonds and my skin looked like the skin of God. I was covered with oil and little diamonds allover my body!

Enoch looked at me and he said, "Now you can relate and identify with the Father because you have been in His nature and His character, because His nature and His character are in the River." I did not know what else to do, I just shouted, "Yahoo - Hallelujah! This feels so good - in fact I do not want to go home!" (But I have a job to do, so I had to come home).

In water baptism we get ourselves immersed in the natural environment in water. When you get yourself immersed in water baptism you are immersed in the new nature of Jesus Christ, the new resurrection power and all the doctrinal things. The same is true with the Holy Spirit because you get yourself immersed into the nature and character of the Holy Spirit. So, suddenly I found that inside of me it was so easy to talk with God as a Friend and as a Father. I could talk with Jesus from my past experience with Him. Previously, however, it was kind of hard to relate to God as my Father because I did not have that immersion process accomplished in my life where I had chosen wilfully to go down and be baptised into the River of the glory of God.

The Bible says there is more there than just a River. I had identified with God and I had this experience of being connected and immersed into the nature of the presence and the person of God. There are other things in that scripture regarding the River flowing out. One of them is the trees and how they cast off their leaves and the leaves are for the healing of the nations. I was busy looking at Enoch and looking at these leaves. If these leaves are for the healing of the nations (Rev 22:2) then I wanted some! I was looking at him and sometimes you do not have to say anything, they know the intents of your heart because it shows on the …………………

Agreeing with Heaven

When heaven and earth agree is a great teaching by Dr. Jim Richards

It is interesting that when the scripture talks about two agreeing on anything, it does not necessarily mean two people, but when we agree with heaven/God about a situation, that is when things change. This is why we are commanded to pray that "God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven".

The other interesting point is that "binding a loosing" does not necessarily apply to spiritual warfare and binding the devil. It actually was an idiom used in those days and means "to declare something forbidden/unlawful or declare something allowed/lawful". 

Binding and loosing therefore means that when we pray, we should be declaring what is forbidden and declaring what is allowed.

How do we know what is forbidden and what is allowed?

Understanding what Jesus accomplished on the cross makes it clear.

If Jesus took our infirmities and carried our diseases (Isaiah 53, Matt 8:17), then it means that when sickness attacks our bodies, it is forbidden or unlawful. The bible says that by His stripes we were healed. Therefore this is what is lawful or allowed. So we must declare "By His stripes we are healed". We must declare this, even if our bodies are sick and hurting because the Kingdom of God operates by faith. 

We see this principle in Abraham's life when God said to him that Sarah was going to have a child. The Bible says he did not consider the deadness of Sarah's womb, Abraham believed that what God said would come to pass. In other words Abraham simply agreed with God and not Sarah's situation at that time. Sarah, however did falter on this aspect of believing God's Word, she laughed out loud when she what God said. (most of us would probably have responded like Sarah did because our world view is usually an earthly or natural perspective of what is possible. When God or someone gives us a perspective of what is possible from a spiritual or supernatural perspective, we might laugh or say it is not possible, but this perspective is not governed by natural laws. The spiritual dimension is a higher dimension. A word spoken in faith is how we operate in the spiritual dimension and can bring about a change in this lower or natural dimension). After several years of Sarah still not conceiving, Sarah decided that God needed some help, so she handed Hagar, her maid to Abraham and said he must sleep with her. This act of unbelief resulted in a lot of problems. 

The bible says that Abraham did not waver in unbelief, he agreed with God and called things that be not (Sarah's ability to conceive), to be as God had said they will be. Abraham is thus called the father of all who believe (Romans 4:11). 

God told Abraham that Sarah would conceive a child and he would become the father of many nations. There was however a period of several years that went by before Sarah eventually conceived. This obviously was difficult for both of Abraham and Sarah and they had lots of opportunity to question God's word to them. The Bible says that Abraham did not waver in unbelief Romans 4:20 "Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. also faltered since he went along with Sarah's plan, just like Adam did with Eve's. But the bible does not record him as wavering in his faith. We can be encouraged by this because though at times we may falter, we simply need to get ourselves back on track and start believing again and then we will be considered as righteous and our sin of unbelief will be forgotten by God. (Unfortunately, we often still have to deal with the consequences of our unbelief as Abraham and Sarah had to deal with Hagar and Ishmael)

The principle of speaking out the result before it is visible can be seen right at the beginning of Genesis when God spoke and the world came into being. This is confirmed by Paul in several places in the New Testament such as 2 Corinthians 4:13 "It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak,"

2 Corinthians 5:7 affirms the principle that faith is not dependant on seeing something first "for we walk by faith, not by sight".   

We are commanded to live by faith: Romans 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."

And Hebrew 11:6 tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God: "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."

And then the bible definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

So to be able to come into agreement with God we have to walk by faith and we also need to know what the bible says we are allowed to believe for. Our faith can only be established on God's Word to us.

If the gospel is the good news to the poor, what does this mean? If the bible declares that poverty is a curse and we have been redeemed from the curse we should not be permitting the curse of poverty.

If the bible declares that a man can be saved by believing in his heart and confessing with his mouth that Jesus is Lord, then this is what we must declare.

What the bible declares is what heaven declares or what God declares. We simply need to come into agreement with what the bible says and then it will be done for us in our own lives.

We dont need to beg God to do what He has already done. Jesus said "It is finished". He has done all He needs to do in order to accomplish our salvation, healing, redemption from poverty. 

Agreeing with the bible when we pray is very different to begging God to do something. We must see ourselves raised up and seated in heavenly places with Christ. We declare the word of God with authority. What we declare will come to pass. Life and death are in the power of our tongue. Our tongue will declare our thoughts. We need to guard what is in our heart for out of it (our words) flow the issues of life. Our tongue is the rudder that steers our life. Our conversation needs to always be aligned with what we declare in our prayers. If our conversation contradicts our prayers then our prayers are meaningless.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Azusa Street Revival

I have found the book "True stories of the miracles of Azusa Street and Beyond" by Tom Welchel to be a fascinating read. Here is a sample:

God was preparing Brother Fox for great and mighty works in India. One lesson he was taught by the Spirit was that you didn’t have to heal people one at a time. He recalled when a sign language teacher brought his class of totally deaf people to the meeting.
“If you want to teach them to sign, why did you bring them here? You’re going to be out of a job because these people are going to be healed tonight.” Brother Fox took the teacher by surprise. The teacher, obviously unconcerned about job security, responded with apparent disbelief, “You’re talking like they are all going to be able to hear.” “They are! They all are going to be healed!” Brother Fox spoke, emboldened by God’s Spirit.
This was a group of around thirty-five deaf people. Without wavering, Brother Fox gestured and told them all to join hands and form a circle. He looked at the teacher standing nearby, and told the teacher, “Evidently you don’t have much faith, so stand off to the side.”
“Now, I’m going to lay hands on this man and start with him.” Immediately, Fox realised that they couldn’t understand a word he was saying, and the teacher was laughing at him because he too understood that they couldn’t hear him. Without hesitation, Brother Fox simply whispered in the first man’s ear and told the spirit to come out. The miracle was immediate. As soon as the once-deaf man could hear, he got excited. When the others saw his excitement and that he could hear, they started getting healed one by one like a line of dominoes—in just a few minutes all of them were healed and the teacher was jobless. Fox had only touched the first man in the circle. From that point on, God took over and allowed His power to flow through the connected hands touching each and every one gathered in the circle. I sat and listened to Brother Fox tell his stories both about Azusa and India and the mighty miracles God used him to perform. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Taking the next steps

After accepting Jesus as my saviour and being born-again that night on the 1st April 1981 I can remember having the desire to have a bath. Later that evening after having spent some precious time with a dear Christian pastor, Vic Pearce, I headed straight for the bathroom in res and ran a bath. The thoughts going through my mind were "need to wash the sin away". Little did I know that this was the Holy Spirit impressing on me that I needed to be water baptised.

I had grown up in a Catholic home and been through all the rituals of christening as a baby, altar boy, confirmation as a teenager, attended catechism, sang in the choir in church etc. However, none of these rituals had brought about the transformation that I had now experienced. 

My parents thought I had gone mad and kept inviting the priest over to speak to me. One evening my mother organised for a whole group of young seminarians to come and speak to me together with a few priests. We had long debates, by this time I had been attending Bible studies at the YMCA at UCT and had learned a few things about the bible. I had been introduced to Josh McDowel and his book, Evidence Demands a Verdict. I remember having intense discussions with one of the seminary students about the fact that Bible was the only standard for biblical truth and not church tradition as taught in the Catholic church. This seminary student became quite aggressive and was very rattled, but he was also desperate for truth and he asked me if he could borrow Josh McDowel's book which I gladly lent him. I never saw that book again or the seminarian but I trust that he found what he was looking for.

I became convinced that infant baptism was meaningless and unbiblical and that I needed to be baptised by full immersion as the Bible instructs. I had heard of Hatfield Baptist Church in Pretoria and went and found them and signed up to be baptised. 

I can remember how I had a new found hunger to read the bible. I had never owned my own bible, but now I had one and was devouring it daily. There were lots of things I did not understand and I was crying out to God to help me understand it better. It seemed that there was something missing but I could not place my finger on it. After being water baptised at Hatfield they took us to a room and explained about the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I had never been taught that this was something I could and needed to receive. I was game for anything that would help and bring me closer to God, so I stood in line for prayer. I did not feel any different afterwards and wondered why. They had said that you can speak in tongues after being baptised in the Spirit, but this did not happen to me. That whole week I cried out to God to baptise me and let me speak in tongues. The following Sunday I went through to Rhema in Jhb and after the service they called people up to be baptised in the Spirit. I ran forward and an elderly lady came to pray for me. She must have been a real prayer warrior, she gave me some instruction and then prayed and it happened, I began speaking in tongues. I was excited and spent hours over the next few days praying in tongues. Now when I opened the Bible, it was like the words on the page were leaping off and I could instantly understand what was written. It was such an amazing experience to be able to read the Bible and make sense of it all. I could not put it down and read it through from cover to cover. For the next month whilst I was at home on my university vacation, I spent the entire month studying the Bible for up to 8hrs a day. I knew now what it meant to be a "new creation" and have the Holy Spirit in you. I began to experience the gifts of the Holy Spirit and I felt such an incredible joy, peace and love pulsing through me. I had no desire to do the things I used to do that were not pleasing to God. I longed to please Him and be in His presence.

Its 32 years later and I still feel the same. Yes, I have been through some ups and downs, I have fallen here and there, but God's grace is sufficient - if we confess our sins He is righteous and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1John1:9). An important lesson I have learned - God does not forgive excuses, we must not make excuses when we sin. We need to acknowledge when we do, do not excuse it because everyone around you is doing it, acknowledge your sin, repent, ask for forgiveness and move on. Dont live with guilt, once you have confessed your sins, you are forgiven and cleansed. 

32 years ago I was born-again today

On this day at 9pm in 1981, I gave my heart to the Lord - 32 years ago. I was an engineering student at UCT, staying in College House. My close friend Bernard Klingenberg, who always kept a bible next to his bedside, led me to the Lord.
It was a Friday evening and we had machine drawing prac on a Friday. We had finished our usual steak, egg and chips supper in the res dining room and I had returned to my room to work on my engineering drawing homework. This weeks drawing had been a particularly difficult exercise and together with my maths, applied maths, physics and chemistry, work was piling up. It was set to be a long hard working weekend. I had discovered that studying engineering was a tough choice, but I was determined to press on. Hitting a road block with my drawing, I went to Bernard's room for help. The bible on his bedside table seemed to draw my attention. Then I heard myself saying to him, I want to be a Christian like you. Bernard looked up at me from his desk, smiled and suggested we go for a walk outside where it was quieter. There was a lot of loud music and partying going on as usual in our res, after all, it was Friday night.
We walked towards the Elma football field. Reaching the field, it was quiet and no one was in sight. We walked onto the field and as we reached the middle of the field, knelt down to pray and ask God to forgive my sins and repented. With Bernard's help, I asked Jesus to become my saviour. When I stood up, I looked across the field towards the trees around the edge, everything seemed brighter, the stars, the moon, the trees, the grass, my vision seemed to be enhanced. The burden I had felt lifted and now feeling light, almost as if I could float, a supernatural peace and joy filled my heart. I knew something had changed. These scriptures in Titus describe what it was:
Titus 2:11-14 (TLB)
For the Grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn away from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.
He gave His life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.
Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other.
But when God our Saviour revealed His kindness and love, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.
He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out His Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Because of His Grace, He declared us Righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.
The following daily reading from Bill and Marsha Burns is also so apt as it encourages us to press on with our walk with the Lord daily:
Faith Tabernacle
April 1, 2013
I would have you, My people, to understand that resurrection power is available to you – the power of the kingdom to bear. The power of the authority of Christ has been given to you; use that authority; use that power. Fight the good fight of faith. Overcome all the works of the enemy that are against you. Live in freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of your joy in the kingdom of an Almighty God, who has made the way for you. All you have to do is walk in the way that has been prepared. Walk in truth. Walk in the glory of a great salvation. Walk in My presence day to day remembering the price has been paid. Do not forget the benefits that you have been given. For, the Lord says, what I have acquired and what I have laid hold of, I did for you. Get it spiritually. Press on! Never give up, never sit down, and do not allow yourself to be discouraged. I say, push toward the mark of the high calling in Christ, the Lord of glory.
Draw close to Me. Let us be one, with no separation or division between us. My desire is that your heart and mind would come into complete unity with Me, says the Lord, for this is the place of absolute righteousness and peace. You can choose to position yourself to be in this perfect union so that you are never in opposition to My will. John 17:21 That they all may be one, as you, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.

God is faithful and I love this scripture from Jude 1:24
New International Version (©2011)
To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy--

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Security of a Believer

While there exists a real danger of falling away as a Christian, God has given us promises in scripture, gifts of the Holy Spirit, empowerment of the Holy Spirit and the wonderful blessing of being able to confess our sins, repent and be forgiven when we fall. To benefit and appropriate these, they all require an act of our will - we need to do something - they are not automatically conferred. Furthermore, God is watching over us and He promises that no temptation too strong will come upon us, without there being a way of escape. The wonderful thing that we need to be aware of constantly is that God intensely loves everyone of us. He does not want to lose a single soul. Jesus is at the right hand of God continually interceding for us. The saints in heaven, the great cloud of witnesses, are cheering us on. We should imagine in our minds that we are running a race and that the grandstands are full of the saints who have passed on. They are cheering  us on. The Holy Spirit is along side us and giving us a helping hand. In fact, He is inside us, giving us strength to keep running. If we get side tracked and take our attention off the goal, we will stumble and fall. The Holy Spirit, Jesus and the Father will be there waiting for us to confess our sins, repent, get up and start running again. This is how the grace of God works. There is enough grace and forgiveness, the blood of Jesus is sufficient to cover all our sins, it will not run out, provided we keep confessing our sins when we fall. Then the blood of Jesus can cleanse us from all unrighteousness and put us back into the position of having the righteousness of Christ. The longer we stay in the race and keep running, the more we will have the mind of Christ. The more we think in the way God wants us to think, the more victory we will have. It will become easier and easier to overcome sin. But we need to understand the principle of sowing and reaping. If we sow to the flesh, we will reap corruption and spiritual death. If we sow to the spirit, we will reap eternal life. We must be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We need to stay connected to Christ, we are the branches and when we draw off the Holy Spirit's power, we will bear beautiful fruit. God the Father is wooing us, He is romantic, He wants us to spend intimate time with Him on a daily basis and then stay connected throughout the day. We can see in the book of the Song of Solomon, how God desires us to be His bride. He intensely loves us and does not want the enemy to pull us away from Him. However, true love has to be a choice. A robot can never show true love. That is why God had to take the risk of giving us a free will. He wants us to choose Him continually. It is when we start substituting our desire for God with other things (idols) that we start to fall away and if we don't be careful, we can eventually fall so far as to lose the salvation that was freely given. The warning of falling away is clearly cited in several places in the scripture. Paul encourages us to run the race, to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, to have a reverential fear of God, recognising that He could send us to hell if we do not obey, we must hate sin, keep repenting when we fall, cling to God, don't become over confident, lest we fall. If we keep a contrite heart, humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, resist the devil, he will flee from us. The devil is prowling around seeking whom he may devour. We must not be ignorant, we must be on our guard, we must take up the whole armour of God and recognise that we are fighting a battle. This is not a dress rehearsal or a computer game, this is a matter of life and death. We have to take our walk seriously, we must be aware that there are wolves in sheeps clothing seeking to deceive us. We have to become so familiar with the truth of scripture that we will immediately detect error creeping in. If we remain close to God, if we choose to abide under the shadow of His wings, He will protect us, His angels will watch over us and no weapon formed against us will prosper. But if we choose not to abide under His wings, we will not have His protection and will become a target and we will fall. So again, we must realise that the most powerful thing we have as humans at our disposal, is our freewill. We must choose to allow the Holy Spirit to empower us, we must choose to repent when we sin, we must keep fellowshipping with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as well as other believers. We need to stay in the word of God and absorb it as food for our souls and spirits. We need a healthy meal of the Word of God each day to have the strength to deal with what we will face that day. If we ask Him for enough grace for today, He will supply what we need. If we don't ask, we won't receive. God wants us to ask HIm for His grace every day. He wants us to ask Him for His wisdom, for His understanding, for His insight, for His love to fill our hearts, to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit each day, each moment. We need the Holy Spirit to empower us to enable us to overcome. He desires to give us all we need, we must just cooperate with Him. Then if we keep running this race, everyday, never giving up, but persevering to the end, we will enter His Kingdom and He will say "Well done, my good and faithful servant".

So in conclusion, we can have assurance of salvation if we choose to stay close to Him after we have been born again, we can know that we are born-again and destined for heaven if we have truly repented and put our faith in the saving work of Jesus on the cross. We can have that peace that passes all understanding. We can have the confidence that nothing shall by any means be able to separate us from God's love. Neither death, nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow - not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. No power in the sky above, or in the earth below - indeed nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39).