• Retah McPherson

If you love Me, obey My commandments

Today is my last day at the beautiful Lake Tahoe near the West coast of America. Tomorrow I will be leaving for Illinois and then Texas.  Many people have travelled from far to meet up with me here in Lake Tahoe – and the wonderful news is that Holy Spirit never disappoints us! Everyone who attended the meetings was touched, including me. There is nothing so wonderful as being in the presence of the Almighty God. I know I am so privileged to see firsthand how God is transforming people’s lives and being a part of that.

Holy Spirit keeps on pressing onto my heart how we as humans struggle to understand and even misunderstand the reality of the spiritual realm where He wants us to live in. When we think of the first church that lived through the times of the book of Acts, we can see for ourselves how we are supposed to live in this heavenly reality. Holy Spirit was so tangible in their lives, that everything Jesus preached and stood for became a living reality in their lives – everyone who believed experienced this power of God. They lived in the reality of the spiritual realm, and they were completely sold out and dependant on Holy Spirit.

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved (Acts 2: 42-47).

When I look at the world around me, I wonder what happened to this power and our dependency on the Holy Spirit? What went wrong that it is so difficult for believers to walk by faith and not by sight? What happened that people started looking to other people for answers, or trusted in their own strength for outcome? And so, little by little, we exchanged the power of the Spirit of God and the walk of faith for something mechanical, for a doctrine, for an organization, for manmade structures. I see how people stand in awe when they see the Holy Spirit work when there is freedom and an atmosphere of faith for God to move in, when there aren’t stopwatches or schedules to hinder the flow of the Holy Spirit. Everybody then walks away being touched by God and changed by His power.

Everyone has a dry area of some sort. God is so faithful to touch and heal those weak places in His gentle loving way if we open up to Him. We have become so accustomed to our religious way of thinking and acting that we don’t know how to be dependent on the Holy Spirit anymore. Wonderful things happen when we humble ourselves in the presence of God and wait upon Him – allowing Him to work in our hearts – because we never give Him a chance to do it! How we just love to be in control! So many times I hear in my spirit, “Retah, be still and know that I am God.” Maybe it is time for us to quiet ourselves in the presence of Holy Spirit, because there we will find our peace.

In surrendering and being dependent on God you will also experience the fear of the Lord and His holiness. Why is it that these two things, God’s holiness, and the fear of the Lord are so clearly missing from our lives and our society?

When we walk in the spirit realm (walking by faith), dependant and sold out to God, sanctification will be a part of our lives. I believe obedience leads to sanctification and holiness. Yes, salvation is when we choose Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, but from that moment on we need to choose daily to be obedient, and in doing that we are being transformed into His image. That is the holiness I am talking about. Having a transformed mind, thinking and acting out of faith and obedience to His word… did Jesus not say, “If you love me, obey my commandments?” (John 14:23). That is our love test.

How will we love Him if we don’t obey His commandments? How will we obey His commandments if we don’t know His Word?

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2).

Sanctification is not a destination but the journey we travel on through life. Every season will have its own tests and trails, with new things to learn and choices to make, for the purpose of Christ being formed in us. This is not always easy but comes down to choices – and God has promised us that His grace is sufficient for us, so we know that He will give us the strength to choose wisely.

Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you (Deut 8:1-5).

Essentially we are spirit beings, living in a body, who have a soul - this is how we interact and communicate with the world around us. Our spirit needs to be fed with spiritual things, while our flesh always wants what is comfortable and worldly. Maybe this is our problem – that we feed ourselves with soulish, worldly things, but we neglect and starve our spirit that yearns for the things of God. Then we struggle to understand why it is so difficult to walk in the spirit when all we are busy with is the flesh?! We will enter the kingdom of God through sincere repentance and real commitment in following Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. This is how the Spirit of God unites with the spirit of man to form a new creation not of this world. From that moment on we are born again in the spirit, and being strengthened with the right spiritual food (the Word of God and the body and the blood of Yeshua our Lord - Holy Communion), we grow up into mature sons of God. If only people could realize the impact that Holy Communion has in the spirit realm. When we drink the blood of the Lamb and eat His body we become one with Him. We absorb all that Jesus died to give us, and that is also His resurrection power. This is how God and man becomes one, one in Spirit. Then it is no longer you that live, but Christ that lives in you, when you die to yourself and live to obey the Father. But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit (1 Cor 6:17).

Holy communion represents the life of Yeshua in you. His life will be manifest in you, and it will flow through you, and you will diminish (your selfish ways, hard-heartedness, pride, own will…) so that He can become greater. Fear will flee and peace will reign. This was so clearly seen in the church of Acts. The works and mighty acts of God were seen everywhere they went! It wasn’t something weird, but the reality of their God for whom nothing is impossible was the reality of the life they lived – but with it came a price, even persecution, poverty and martyrdom.

Today when we speak of miracles the first thing people ask is, “What church do you belong to?” Isn't it sad that the works of God have been placed in the “church box” and that the life of Yeshua is no longer clearly visible in his followers as they live and walk out their lives daily. I see a lot of people calling themselves believers but who don’t have His life flowing through him. It is like seeing a lion caged in an artificial habitat in the zoo…. Yes he is a real lion, with all the potential to run wild and free and be truly alive – for that is what God created him for, but the manmade walls have stolen the passion and the freedom in that lion-heart. Let us not become Christians hiding behind manmade walls, beautiful to look at but unable to live the life of freedom God has destined for us.

My prayer for you and me (and all our families) is that we become so aware that we cannot live without the wonderful grace of God - our hope of glory, Yeshua, that lives in us and through us. May the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of all wisdom lead us in this road of sanctification. May we stay on the path of His perfect love that casts out all other fear. May we realize the urgency of the hour we are in, and be the harvesters that God sends into the fields to win souls for Him – maybe without even saying a word, just from the Light that is shining from our sold-out lives. May we walk in the power of God, and may that become our norm and not the exception.

This morning I received a phone call from Tinus, and he caught me at a moment when I was sitting on my Abba’s lap and crying a bit. “What’s wrong, Retah? Are you okay?” he wanted to know.

“Yes, don’t worry. I am only crying because I was telling Abba how thankful I am that He is holding all of you in the palm of His hand and doesn’t take His eyes off you even for a moment.”

“So why are you crying about it?” Tinus asked, still a bit concerned.

“Oh, I don’t know – maybe my thankfulness has been transformed into tears. My cup is running over.”

Today I know it doesn’t matter how dark your night is, the stars will always keep on shining. God is always faithful, and He will not let those down who trust in Him. Sometimes it takes a bit of time, but God’s kingdom doesn’t work on the same principles as this world’s “2-minute noodle” society. No, when you give your life to Him, He takes you step by step through the dark night until the sun shines again. We are still walking this road, but I know that I know, that I know, God is in control.

Tinus told me in detail how well everyone is doing back home. Josh is practicing hard for his cross country race, and Aldo and Tinus work out in the gym together every day. Tinus said that Aldo is asking when I am coming home, and that I am not allowed to go without him anymore. I can only smile when I hear this because I know God’s timing is perfect.

Thankful to know that they are all well, I take communion with Yeshua after the phone call ended. This is what gives me spiritual strength and it nurtures my entire being and I experience supernatural vitality that overcomes all my fatigue.

My day is starting soon, and from a very far Lake Tahoe in America I say goodbye for now. I am reaching out my hand to you – If you haven’t received Yeshua as Lord and Savior of your life yet, or you are not living in His peace, don’t hesitate to contact our office so that we can pray with you.

Time is running out, the writing is on the wall – Yeshua is returning for His bride soon. Deal with the things that are holding you back from Him, and come into His peace.

To everyone who came from far and wide to attend the meetings in Tahoe, thank you so very much! It was a blessing to meet you all!

Love Retah.

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