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TruthTalks: Shamayim

Have you ever wondered about heaven?

In this TruthTalks podcast Dr Christopher Peppler goes through the scriptures referring to heaven (Shamayim). So, if any of these thoughts have wandered through YOUR mind, then do listen to this podcast based on THIS post:

  • Will I be the ME I am now in heaven?
  • Will I recognise people?
  • Will I do things like learn?
  • What does heaven look like anyway?
  • Will I have a body or just float around?

If this subject interests you, please consider purchasing the below, and as always share, like, comment, subscribe to TruthTalks, we need you! Don’t forget to scroll down for the TruthTalks Shamayim episode!

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Until next time, Karen

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A Book that Reveals

Top ImageThe Book of Revelation in the Light of the Stars

It is not often from where I live that I can look up into a clear night sky, but when this is possible I am amazed by the sheer number of stars and planets that exist out there. I wonder how many people have gazed in wonder and awe at the scope and grandeur of God’s creation? Millions upon millions spread over the hundreds and thousands of years all confirming what King David declared when he wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).

What you may not know is that many of the ancient people saw even more than grandeur and glory in the night sky, they saw a profound story. A story written in the stars? Well, you see, writing only arrived in the biblical lands between 1700 and 1500 BC, so how then did God communicate the story of creation, sin, and redemption before then? The obvious answer is that it was passed on from generation to generation using stories, but just how did these verbal stories stay true to the original and all come together in one grand narrative?

How did Word of Mouth Stay Accurate

The answer that I propose is that the ancients, under God’s direction, drew a series of pictures in the night sky by imagining lines joining prominent stars. Each picture told a sequenced part of the grand narrative and acted as a memory aid to all in every generation initiated into this ‘secret’. These star pictures (constellations) are still used in our day by astronomers to map the heavens.

In my book ‘The Book of Revelation: in the Light of the Stars’, I show how these star pictures can be read to reveal the amazing story of divine redemption.
Interesting as this may be, it doesn’t mean much to us as present-day disciples of the Lord Jesus because we now have all sixty-six books of the bible as our grand narrative of God’s redemptive story. However, these same scriptures contain many references to the ancient star-story and you can find some of them in Job 9:9, 26:13, 38:31-32, and Amos 5:8. However, when we come to the last book of the bible, the Revelation of John, we find that it is rich with references and allusions to the star-story.

What is more, chapters 12,13, and 14 of the book of Revelation are very difficult to understand without reference to the star-story. Not only do these chapters validate the authenticity of the star-story, but we need an understanding of this story to more fully understand them. So, my book is both a commentary on the book of Revelation and a disclosure of the star-story. It is, as far as I know, a unique contribution to evangelical biblical interpretation.

Now Revised and Updated

This book is a revision of what I wrote several years ago under the title ‘Revelation in the Stars: the Sidereal and Written Word’. I have tried to clarify difficult portions and I have also updated where necessary. After a lot of hard work by myself and my daughter Karen the revised edition is now available on Amazon Kindle.

To get an idea of the book’s main themes and contribution, listen to my presentation to the faculty of the South African Theological Seminary AUDIO HERE and have a look at the PowerPoint slides that accompanied it SLIDES HERE.

Please consider reading the entire book as I believe that it will both enlighten and encourage you in living out your Christianity in a world that seems to be winding down into chaos. Oh, and it will encourage you because the story has a happy ending as God wraps up this sin-sick world and creates a new HeavenEarth where He lives forever with His faithful children.

Click HERE to go straight to the Amazon preview of the book, look at its content and introductory pages and hopefully purchase the book.

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Spiritual Gifts and the Anointing

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This is the third and last of my posts exploring some of the aspects covered in my newly published book ‘The 9 Spiritual Gifts & How to Find your Ministry’. Yes, it’s now available on Amazon Kindle and you can find it HERE.

I mentioned in my last article that I wanted to touch on the correlation between Gifts and Ministries, so let me do that now before proceeding to the main topic of this post.

The Correlation between Gifts and Ministries

Ministries are areas of service in and through the local church. Manifestations are what the Holy Spirit does in and through us as we minister. This identifies both the difference and the correlation between the two – We minister and the Holy Spirit manifests His gifts through us as we do.
In 1 Corinthians 12 & 14 Paul sometimes used the same word to identify both manifestations and ministries. For instance, he wrote of both a gift of prophecy and prophetic ministry/prophets. The word ‘gifts’ translates a Greek word with the general meaning of ‘spiritual matters’ or ‘graces’. Romans 12:6-8 makes it obvious that both manifestations of the Spirit and human ministries were in view when Paul wrote; “We have different gifts , according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully” Both manifestations of the Holy Spirit and ministries are gifts to the church body corporate.

For instance, someone with a prophetic ministry will often speak out prophetic messages from God. The manifestations of Holy Spirit initiated prophecy establish and authenticate a prophetic ministry. However, the Prophet does not ‘possess’ the ability to prophecy at will, and he or she could well bless the church with other manifestations of the Spirit, such as Words of Knowledge, Discerning of Spirits, and so on.

Anointing and Gifts

A key idea presented here is that God brings believers into a sort of unequal partnership – we minister and He manifests supernaturally. This grace-filled partnership also helps us to understand the relationship between Anointing and Gifts.

You will often hear the word ‘anointing’ used in Pentecostal and Charismatic circles, but not so much in other denominational groups. For traditional Protestants, the word ‘anointing’ usually signifies something or some person that God has set apart for a particular purpose. In Old Testament times Kings, Prophets, and Priests were anointed with oil to consecrate them for service. However, even in the Old Testament it was evident that anointing signified more than simply a sacramental act. For instance, 1 Samuel 16:13 has: “So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power”.

The connection between anointing and spiritual power continues into the New Testament. Luke recorded ‘how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power (Acts 10:38). James connected anointing the sick with oil to the Holy Spirit empowerment of the Elders to heal when he wrote; ‘Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up’ (James 5:14-15).

So, if ‘anointing’ has to do with consecration and spiritual empowerment then it surely includes the ‘gift’ manifestations of the Holy Spirit through believers.

Read the book

There is of course much more to anointings, gifts, and ministries and my book covers this ground in a simple and overview-oriented way. It is part of the Christian Quickreads series and designed especially for folk who don’t have time or inclination to read hundreds of pages on a subject. If you are interested in reading it, then just click on the picture below… I hope you do.

https://truthistheword.com/the-9-spiritual-gifts-how-to-find-your-ministry/

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New Book – The 9 Essentials of Building your Life in Christ: Christian Foundations

New E-Book heading

I have just published a book on Amazon Kindle called ‘The 9 Essentials of Building your Life in Christ: Christian Foundations’. You can purchase it HERE or if you want a free pdf of the book then just click HERE and go straight to the opt-in page.

The book is part of the Christian QuickReads collection specifically designed for those who prefer reading something around the 100-page length, rather than a longer and more comprehensive volume.

Why this book

When, at the age of 30, I was born again into a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, a Christian friend gave me a set of lessons by Derek Prince called the Foundations Series. They helped me to understand some of the basic teachings of my new faith, but they also puzzled me a little. Dr Prince had built his series around Hebrews 6:1-3 and his six booklets were respectively titled Repentance, Faith, Baptisms, Laying on of Hands, Resurrection, and Judgement. Even then, as a brand new believer, I wondered why these six were more important than subjects like the Bible, Prayer and Worship, the Church, and so on.

My own experience as a new believer highlighted the need for something short and simple. However, something that covered the actual foundations of the Christian Faith and not teachings based on what I later realised are the foundational doctrines of Judaism (Hebrews 6:1-3) and not Christianity.

Of course, there have been many other foundational teaching books since Derek Prince’s, but they all seem to fall short of the mark in one way or another.  So, when I became a pastor of a local church at the age of 40, I took on the task of writing something for the new believers around me.

What the book is about

I listed what I thought were the foundations of the Christian Faith. Here are the 9 that I came up with:

  1. Salvation – including covenant, repentance, new birth, Fact, Faith, and Feelings, water baptism, assurance, being filled by the Holy Spirit, and obedient living.
  2. The Bible – including Inspiration, what translation to use, how to study the Bible, and what Jesus said and did as the key to understanding scripture.
  3. The Kingdom of God and Spiritual Warfare
  4. The Stewardship of Time, Money, and Talents
  5. Prayer and Worship
  6. Ministering in the Power of the Holy Spirit
  7. Fellowship and the Church
  8. Witnessing and Making Disciples
  9. The Christian Family

Who the book is for

It is obvious from what I have already written that I designed the book primarily for new believers. However, two other groups could benefit from it:

Christian Leaders – Men and women planting new congregations or considering a teaching series for their church could find it useful as an outline and seedbed for further research and development.

Mature Christians – It has always surprised me just how many folk who have been Christians for a long while have such a sketchy idea of the basics of their Faith. A prayerful read through ‘The 9 Essentials of Building your Life in Christ’ would prove very helpful to them.

In the near future, I will be publishing further books in the Christian QuickReads series. If you would like to be notified when these appear, then just click HERE and subscribe to truthistheword.com.

 

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Thinking Differently

Matthew 3:1-2 reads, ‘In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Repent means many things, but the essence of the word is ‘to think differently’. We need to think differently. We need to think differently about the nature of progress, knowledge, and truth. We so easily buy into the humanistic concepts of our age. We tend to accept unthinkingly that scientific advancement is both good and inevitable and that competitive individualism is a virtue. We need to learn to think critically.

Several years ago, I supervised my first Masters candidate. He had completed a four-year degree programme at an accredited institution and had been in the pastoral ministry for more than a decade. The first chapter of his thesis arrived and I was distressed to find that it was little more than a bunch of quotes strung together. I sent his work back with explanations of how the thesis needed to reflect his own thinking. His second attempt was little better, so this time I sent him my own rework of a part of his chapter as an example of how he should develop his thesis. I was dumbfounded when I read his third submission; he had cut and pasted my work! I sought help from my friend and colleague, the late Dr Rex Mathie, and he explained two things to me. Firstly, in my student’s culture there was no higher honour he could give his professor than to quote from his teacher’s work. Secondly, nobody had taught him to think. Despite four years of full time higher education, this man did not know how to think critically.

The rate of change that is upon the world is bewilderingly fast. The foundations of society are shifting more quickly than the polar ice cap is melting. Technology is shaping a world we will hardly recognise in ten years time. If we are to survive, we need to learn to think creatively. However, God expects more than survival from us; he wants us to thrive. To thrive, we need to learn to think critically. This applies to all people but it is especially applicable to Christians. We are the ones who should be forming world opinion. We are the ones who should be leading a confused generation back to truth and godliness. We should be the inspired thinkers of our time.Truth Is The Word Book

One of the effects of the blizzard of change we are currently experiencing is the cloud of deception it generates. James wrote to the church of his day, ‘Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers’. (James 1:16) That warning was important then and it is even more important now.

To avoid deception we need grace, wisdom, and critical thinking skills. We need to learn to evaluate, test, analyse, and judge.
Satan usually appears as an angel of light, and deception most often presents itself clothed in fine sounding words and enticing proposals. We will be in grave danger if we do not learn to think critically. Remember, Jesus said that ‘false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform miraculous signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones’. (Mark 13:22-23 NLT) We have the Bible, and we have access to the knowledge and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Yet what many of us appear to lack, are critical thinking skills.

I recently completed a revised edition of the book: Truth is the Word – restoring a lost focus. Its second chapter is all about how we acquire knowledge. I have also designed the entire book in a way that stimulates thought and improves thinking skills. You can find out more about it at www.truthistheword.com

 

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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.