Saturday, November 16, 2013

Joy Unspeakable

Nehemiah 8:10 "...for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

As we roll upon the holidays again, and this is my last blog for this year, let me touch on the joy that belongs to a child of God each day, and why this season is a great time to reflect.

Scripture says the joy. What joy? Knowing Jesus as Savior and Friend and the revelation of the Mighty God in Jesus. He's the you can and should go to every day. Now, that's real joy! And that joy of the Lord becomes your strength. Having the Holy Ghost is joy unspeakable and full of glory.

As we come into this time of year, we reflect back to the time that the joy was born in a manger. He grew, and did great works, was rejected, died on a cross, and rose on that Easter morning. He gave and is still giving out the gift of the Holy Ghost so we would know that the joy lives inside of us. We have been given power to overcome the obstacles of life, and the joy of the Lord even in the worst day.

As we sit down at Thanksgiving with family and friends, remember our lives are not perfect; but we are blessed of God. And while shopping for the perfect gift this season, remember that one true gift was found lying in a manger.

Some folks search their entire life looking for some joy. Most look high and low not realizing the joy is right before their eyes. Repent, be baptized in Jesus Name, and receiving the Holy Ghost; that joy will come flowing in like a river of living water. It is the joy that will become your strength.

In Matthew 2:2, the wise man asked, "Where is he that is born King of the Jews?" Reflect on where God has brought you from and what He has given you. And as folks start looking for Jesus this season, show them the real joy. Tell them you are a child of the King. Let them see that the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Seven Keys to Spiritual Power

1) Spiritual Hunger: (Intense desire)

A desire for the fulfillment of spiritual results – not a desire for more of God. Matthew 5:6 – Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. I exercise a position of the dominion and authority of Jesus, and seek to establish that through the power of the Holy Ghost in my life and the life of others. We do not ask God to come and heal, but we demand in the name of Jesus for the devil and his works to depart.
How to develop spiritual hunger / appetite: 

The same way you develop physical hunger. Increase energy output which will require greater energy input. 

You must force yourself to do the things you normally do not do. Eat when you don’t want to. Eat more often than you are used to. This will stretch your stomach, forcing you to eat more next time just to feel full. 

Example: Pray more often, study the Bible more often. Witness more often. Begin to practice what you learn in church. 

2) Feeding on the Word of God: 

a) Read – take a portion of Scripture and get the overall story. 
b) Study – take a verse apart word by word – get definitions. 
c) Meditate – think about and say over and over to yourself what you have  discovered in this verse. (receive it, believe it, and act on it) 

3) Communion with God: 

a) Talking Prayer 
b) Listening Prayer 
c) Practice the presence of the Spirit of God. 

4) Fellowship with Like-minded Christians: 

a) Get around people that believe like you do. 
b) If there are none in your area, win some. Then disciple them into this truth. 
c) If the people in your Church are dead and resistant to this truth, leave that place and find a place that accepts it. If there is no place like that near you, start one. You are a missionary. 

5) Public Confession of Who You Are In Christ and Who He Is In You. 

a) Jesus is Lord: me, family, city, nation, finances, health, etc. 
b) The Great Commission: Matt. 28 & Mark 16 
c) The Golden Rule: Matthew 7:12 
d) The Abiding Anointing: 1 John 2:27 
e) Power over the enemy: Luke 10:19 
f) The Works of Jesus and Greater: John 14:12 
g) I am God’s son, man’s servant and the devils master Luke 

6) Praying In Tongues: 

a) Loud: it brings up the fight in you. 
b) Long: time yourself and get longer each time, build spiritual stamina. 
c) Intensity – fight as if your life depends upon it. (It does, and if not your life, someone else’s.) 

7) Action: 

James 1:22 – But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. KJV 

“It is a law of the human mind, that I can act myself into believing faster than I can believe myself into acting.” --John G. Lake 

“I may start in the flesh but I finish in the Spirit”. – Smith Wigglesworth 

“Any failure on your part is a failure of an unrenewed mind.” – Curry Blake

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Power Is Hanging Up And Ready

2 Chronicles 23:9  Moreover Jehoiada the priest delivered to the captains of hundreds spears, and bucklers, and shields, that had been king David's, which were in the house of God. 

Wow! How powerful is this scripture? The priests gave shields to deflect whatever evil would try to penetrate their lives and spears so they could move forward and attack. They didn't have to look far as King David's arsenal was hanging right in the House of God - Powerful! God has put all we need, to be a successful child of God, in the church. He has placed pastors in a place of authority to feed the flock and pass out the weapons that we need to make it to Heaven and to win lost souls. We defend this truth while we also have an offense that shares the Love of Christ.  "...hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: (1 Corinthians 1:28)". The Lord allows us to gather our armour in His house and bring down things to nought that are.

Acts 10:38 tells us Jesus, with the Holy Ghost and power, went about doing good. If we will allow the Holy Ghost to lead and guide us, with the tools provided, we can win souls to Christ. He said we would receive power, the same power of Christ, when we receive the Holy Ghost. Matthew 9:37, "...The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;"

People wants this truth! The world is crying out for help. Could it be we just haven't picked up what is hanging in the church; they are waiting on a willing vessel to pick them up, and "go ye therefore"? The harvest is ready, but are we? Help all of us to us what God , in His mercy, has given to the church. He does supply our every need!

Reverend Jeff White

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Healing is Part of the Believer’s Job Description

Are you a believer and a follower of Jesus Christ? Because Jesus is our Lord, we take His commands very seriously. Most of us have heard the great commission in Matthew 28:18-20. First, He gave us the great commission, to go into all the world, preach the gospel and baptize. Then in verse 20, we are instructed to teach everything that He commanded.

Matthew 28:18 - 20
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen

In the following passages from Matthew, Jesus is commanding His disciples. Notice the common message and theme that we saw in Matthew 28. As we go preach the Gospel, He gives the signs that should follow us, including healing!

Matthew 10:7
7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

Matthew 11:1
1Now it came to pass, when Jesus finished commanding His twelve disciples, that He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities

Note: Between Matthew 10:7 and Matthew 11:1, the break in the chapter is something man put in (not God). It goes to follow that Matt 11:1 does not have a time lapse from chapter 10. Read the verses together as if they were not separated by chapter and see how they flow together.
Jesus taught His disciples how to preach the kingdom. When we study Scriptures, it is important to not only notice what is said, but also what is NOT said. In this passage, Jesus did NOT give an end date for His commands.

Mark 16:15 - 20
15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” 19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen

Notice that verse 18 states that believers (1) Shall lay hands on the sick, and (2) They shall recover.
Let’s back up to verse 15. How long are we to preach the Gospel? It says we are to preach to every creature. That means that we can stop our work when every creature has heard the Gospel. Jesus said until that time, we are to keep preaching with signs following. Healing has not passed away, and will not as long as believers are doing their job.
And that’s not all! Jesus does not stop with the list of signs that follow believers in Mark 16. Read what He says in John 14:12:

John 14:12 -15
12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. 15 If you love Me, keep My commandments.

We believe on Jesus, so we are authorized and commanded to not only do the works that He did, we are to do GREATER works! What works did Jesus do? Healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out devils, fed the multitudes, commanded the weather and preached the Gospel. Jesus said that we are able to do these things because He went unto the Father. Jesus gave no ending criteria to these mighty works, He only gave the beginning: “because He went to the Father.”

In verse 15, we see that if we love Him, we are to keep His commandments. Often when Christians hear the word, “commandments,” we think of the 10 commandments given to Moses; Jesus is talking about doing everything that He commanded and did, and even greater things. Jesus ALWAYS healed the sick. We have no record of Jesus refusing or being unable to heal someone. If we love Jesus, we will lay hands on the sick and God will heal them. By laying hands on the sick, we are also obeying the command to love our neighbor.

To get a different perspective, turn Jesus’ statement in verse 12 around: We cannot say that we love Jesus if we do not keep His commandments.

We don’t need prompting, we have Scripture

To be led, do the Word; take the Word literally.

The Holy Spirit leads us into all Truth. Once He leads us into truth, we are responsible for acting on it.

When you stand before people, you represent God to them; when you stand before God, you represent the people to Him.

We are to love God and love our neighbor, doing to others as we would want done for us.

We are led by truth and compassion.

No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.

We know that divine healing and divine health are ours because Jesus paid for all sickness and disease at the whipping post. He was also given all authority over everything after He rose from the dead; thus so have we.

We know that Jesus said that we only need to believe (have faith) and we will receive healing, along with all the other blessings and promises of God. Remember that healing is only one of the promises of God. There are many others, and they are all received in the same way.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Importance of Sound Doctrine

“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42).
"Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth." (2 Peter 1:12)

Doctrine simply means the teaching of God’s Word. In our day most people do not want sound doctrine, but they want preachers who will make them feel good (II Timothy 4:3). Nevertheless, we must love, cherish, and obey the Word of God. Merely knowing and accepting the truth is not enough; in order to escape deception and condemnation we must have a love for the truth (II Thessalonians 2:10-12).

Therefore, Paul admonished ministers: “Give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.... Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (I Timothy 4:13, 16). “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (II Timothy 4:2).

By becoming established in truth, we fulfill the scriptural admonitions (1) to be studious (diligent) workers approved of God, who are not ashamed but who rightly divide (correctly handle) the Word of truth (II Timothy 2:15); (2) to use Scripture profitably for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (II Timothy 3:16); (3) to be strong in our beliefs rather than tossed about by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14); and (4) to give answers to everyone who asks about our faith (I Peter 3:15).

Some erroneously suppose that study deadens spirituality, but a sincere, prayerful study of biblical doctrine will enhance spirituality. In fact, true spirituality can only develop from a solid understanding of God’s Word. The truth sets us free spiritually (John 8:32). The more we comprehend divine principles, the more God’s power will operate in our lives and in our churches.

Another erroneous assumption is that there is little connection between belief and conduct. To the contrary, inadequate or false views will definitely affect our choices and actions. The more we assimilate divine principles, the more Christ-like we will become in daily life.
The way to attain maturity in the faith is to have a balance of doctrine and spirituality. We must be zealous to hear, read, and study God’s Word, and we must be equally zealous to pray, worship God, and have fellowship with one another.

The Apostolic Message

What important doctrines did the apostles proclaim? What should we believe, obey, and love? For an initial answer, let us look briefly at the apostle Peter’s message on the Day of Pentecost. It is important for several reasons: it was the first sermon of the New Testament church (i.e., after the outpouring of the Spirit), Jesus had ordained Peter to open the doors of the kingdom of heaven with this message, it had the simultaneous support of all twelve apostles, and it succinctly proclaims how to enter the New Testament church.

The doctrine of God: There is one true God, as proclaimed in the Old Testament, and in the last days He wants to pour out His Spirit upon everyone. (See Acts 2:17; Deuteronomy 6:4.)
The doctrine of Jesus Christ: Jesus died, was buried, and rose again for our salvation. He is both Lord and Messiah—both the one true God and the sinless, perfect, anointed Man through whom God reveals Himself to us. In other words, Jesus is the Lord Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament, manifested in flesh to be our Savior. (See Acts 2:21-36; Colossians 2:9-10.)

The doctrine of salvation: We enter into the New Testament church through faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, repentance from sin, water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the initial sign of tongues. (See Acts 2:1-4, 36-39; 11:13-17.)

The doctrine of holiness and Christian living: We must separate ourselves from sin and worldly values and dedicate ourselves to God and His will. The new life of holiness will transform us both inwardly and outwardly. It is characterized by prayer, fellowship, giving, joyful worship, miraculous gifts of the Spirit, and evangelism. (See Acts 2:40, 42-47; Hebrews 12:14.)
The doctrine of eternal judgment: The Lord is coming back for His people. The righteous will inherit eternal life; the unrighteous will inherit eternal death. (See Acts 2:19-21; Revelation 22:12-21.)

In our day, the Apostolic Pentecostal movement is distinctive for its teaching of the Oneness of God, the New Testament plan of salvation, and aspects of practical holiness.

The Oneness of God

God is absolutely and indivisibly one (Deuteronomy 6:4; Galatians 3:20). In Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9). He is the self-revelation of the one God, the incarnation of the full, undivided Godhead (John 20:28; I Timothy 3:16).

God has revealed Himself as Father (in parental relationship to humanity), in the Son (in human flesh), and as the Holy Spirit (in spiritual action). (See Deuteronomy 32:6 and Isaiah 63:16; Luke 1:35 and Galatians 4:4; Genesis 1:2 and Acts 1:8.) The one God existed as Father, Word, and Spirit before His incarnation as Jesus Christ, the Son of God; and while Jesus walked on earth as God Himself incarnate, the Spirit of God continued to be omnipresent. However, the Bible does not teach that there are three distinct centers of consciousness in the Godhead or that Jesus is one of three divine persons.

Jesus is true God and true man as one divine-human person. We can distinguish these two aspects of Christ’s identity, but we cannot separate them. The Incarnation joined the fullness of deity to complete humanity.

Jesus possessed all elements of authentic humanity as originally created by God, without sin. Thus we can speak of Jesus as human in body, soul, spirit, mind, and will. (See Matthew 26:38; Luke 2:40; 22:42; 23:46; Philippians 2:5.) According to the flesh, Jesus was the biological descendant of Adam and Eve, Abraham, David, and Mary. (See Genesis 3:15; Romans 1:3; Galatians 3:16; Hebrews 2:14-17; 5:7-8.) We should not speak of two spirits in Jesus, however, but of one Spirit in which deity and humanity are joined.

Christ’s humanity means that everything we humans can say of ourselves, we can say of Jesus in His earthly life, except for sin. In every way that we relate to God, Jesus related to God, except that He did not need to repent or be born again. Thus, when Jesus prayed, submitted His will to the Father, and spoke about God, He simply acted in accordance with His genuine humanity.

As Jehovah manifested in the flesh, Jesus is the only Savior (Isaiah 45:21-23; Matthew 1:21-23). Thus, Jesus is the only name given for our salvation (Acts 4:12). The Father was revealed to the world in the name of Jesus, the Son was given the name of Jesus at birth, and the Holy Spirit comes to believers in the name of Jesus. (See Matthew 1:21; John 5:43; 14:26; 17:6.) Thus, the apostles correctly fulfilled Christ’s command in Matthew 28:19 to baptize “in the name [singular] of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” by baptizing all converts with the invocation of the name of Jesus.

New Testament Salvation

Salvation is by grace through faith and not by human works (Ephesians 2:8-9). The doctrine of grace means that salvation is a free gift from God, which humans cannot merit or earn; in other words, salvation is God’s work in us. The atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ have made this gift available.

The doctrine of faith means that we receive God’s saving work by trusting in Jesus Christ. Faith is more than mental assent, intellectual acceptance, or verbal profession; it includes trust, reliance, appropriation, and application. Faith is alive only through response and action; we cannot separate faith from obedience. (See Matthew 7:21-27; Romans 1:5; 6:17; 10:16; 16:26; II Thessalonians 1:7-10.) Saving faith, then, is (1) acceptance of the gospel of Jesus Christ as the means of salvation and (2) obedience to that gospel (application or appropriation of that gospel).

The gospel of Jesus Christ is His death, burial, and resurrection for our salvation (I Corinthians 15:1-4). On the Day of Pentecost, the birthday of the New Testament church, the apostle Peter preached the first gospel sermon to the crowds who had gathered to observe the Spirit-filled believers as they spoke in tongues and worshiped God. He proclaimed the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Convicted of their sins by his simple yet powerful message, the audience cried out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Peter, with the support of the other apostles, gave a precise, complete, and unequivocal answer: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). As this verse shows, we respond to the gospel, obey the gospel, or apply the gospel to our lives by repentance from sin (death to sin), water baptism by immersion in the name of Jesus Christ (burial with Christ), and receiving the Holy Spirit (new life in Christ). (See Romans 6:1-7; 7:6; 8:2, 10.)

This response is the biblical expression of saving faith in Jesus Christ. (See Mark 1:15; 16:16; John 7:37-39; Acts 11:15-17.) This threefold experience, viewed as an integrated whole, brings regeneration, justification, and initial sanctification. (See I Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:5.) Baptism of water and Spirit is the birth of water and Spirit, the born-again experience of which Jesus spoke in John 3:3-5. The three steps are not human works that earn salvation but divine works of salvation in human lives.
Thus, Acts 2:38 is the comprehensive answer to an inquiry about New Testament conversion, expressing in a nutshell the proper response to the gospel. Not only did Jews from many nations on the Day of Pentecost receive the Acts 2:38 experience, but so did all other converts in the New Testament, including the Samaritans, the apostle Paul, the Gentiles at Caesarea, and the disciples of John at Ephesus.

In each case, believers were baptized with the invocation of the name of Jesus, even some who had previously been baptized another way. (See Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:3-5; 22:16.) The Epistles also allude repeatedly to the Jesus Name formula. (See Romans 6:3-4; I Corinthians 1:13; 6:11; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:12.) Moreover, the examples in Acts show that the baptism of the Spirit is for everyone and is accompanied by the initial sign of tongues. (See Acts 2:4; 10:44-47; 19:6.) The experience signified by tongues is the promised outpouring of the Spirit (Acts 2:6-17, 33).

The Life of Holiness

The pursuit of holiness is essential to the Christian life. “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). God commands us to be holy in all our conduct because He is holy (I Peter 1:15-16).

Being holy is a process of growth as we conform to the character and will of God. Although we are imperfect, we are growing into maturity. Throughout this process, we are holy in the sense of (1) separation from sin and (2) dedication to God. (See Romans 12:1-2; II Corinthians 6:17-7:1.)

Holiness is both inward and outward. (See I Corinthians 6:19-20; II Corinthians 7:1; I Thessalonians 5:23.) 
Thus, it encompasses thoughts and attitudes as well as conduct, speech, amusements, and dress. The practices of holiness separate us from the world’s value system, namely, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (I John 2:15-17).
Holiness is not a means of earning salvation but a result of salvation. We do not manufacture our own holiness, but we are partakers of God’s holiness (Hebrews 12:10). We are not saved by adherence to certain rules but by our faith relationship with Jesus Christ, which issues forth in obedience and produces spiritual fruit.

The Christian life is one of liberty, not legalism. Instead of following the external law, we are motivated internally by faith, love, and the Holy Spirit, which produce greater dedication and power than the law could impart. Christians have freedom to make personal choices in nonmoral matters, but liberty does not negate moral law or scriptural teaching. (See Romans 6:15; 14; Galatians 5:13.)

All true holiness teachings are based on Scripture—whether specific statements or valid applications of principles to contemporary situations. We learn holiness from the inspired Word of God, anointed pastors and teachers who proclaim and apply the Word, and internal promptings and convictions of the Holy Spirit.

Holiness begins in the heart, as we develop the fruit of the Spirit, put away ungodly attitudes, and embrace wholesome thoughts. (See Galatians 5:19-23; Ephesians 4:23-32; II Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 4:8.)

Holiness includes proper stewardship of the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit. We are not to become gluttonous or use substances that defile, intoxicate, or addict. (See I Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:12, 19-20.) We are to use our tongue for wholesome speech. (See James 1:26; 3:1-2; 4:11; 5:12.) We are to guard our eyes from evil. (See Psalm 101:2-3; 119:37; Matthew 6:22-23.) Because of the widespread display of evil in modern media, we must be particularly mindful of the dangers associated with television ownership, movies, and the Internet.

Holiness extends to outward appearance and dress. (See Deuteronomy 22:5; I Corinthians 11:13-16; I Timothy 2:8-10.) Biblical principles here include (1) modesty, (2) avoidance of personal ornamentation (ornamental jewelry and makeup), (3) moderation in cost, and (4) distinction between male and female in dress and hair. Women are to let their hair grow long instead of cutting it, while men are to cut their hair noticeably short.

Other important aspects of holiness include justice and mercy in personal and social relationships; the sanctity of marriage and sexual relationships only within the marriage of one man and one woman; the sanctity of human life; honesty and integrity; wholesome fellowship, unity, accountability, and mutual submission to godly authority in the body of Christ; and regulation of amusements.

Holiness is an integral part of our salvation from the power and effects of sin. It is part of abundant life, a joyful privilege, a blessing from God’s grace, a glorious life of freedom and power. The life of holiness fulfills God’s original intention and design for humanity. For the Spirit-filled believer, holiness is the normal—indeed the only—way to live.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sure Is Hot These Days

Isaiah 4:6  "And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat,..."

As we are now into July, the summertime heat can be overpowering some days. So much so that it changes our activity as we search for ways to stay cool. We act differently because we are hot. Even in today's language when a person likes something they say how hot it is. Temperatures just this week, out west, have soared to right at 120 degrees. Now that's hot! And sadly in the heat of the battle, 19 firefighters lost their lives, in Arizona, protecting and serving as the hot fires shifted on them and they had no where to go. On a lighter note, the Miami Heat just won another NBA title causing the rest of the league to take notice of the Heat. Some crimes committed have been done in the heat of the moment.

It's for sure we need controlled heat in our lives to survive. But too much heat or out of control heat can be devastating to us. "Can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." Ever heard that one?

Our scripture says, "...there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow..." The church, today, offers a place of refuge, a refreshing, to all those who are hot and bothered and need a nice cool drink of water. Jesus will cover you from the heat of this world.

If you read 2 Peter 3:10, you will find the Word says, "...the elements shall melt with fervent heat,..." That's pretty intense heat! Someday soon, the earth and its works shall be burned up.

I'm thankful for a God who offers His church protection in the heat of the moment. There is an eternal hell fire with unbearable heat where there is no way out; tormented forever! But God, in His mercy tells of a heaven with no more pain, sorrow or sickness. Eternity with Jesus! Glory!

As Moses pitched the Tabernacle of the Congregation, everyone which sought the Lord went into that tabernacle. God has made a way of escape from the heat of the day; a refuge, a shadow for all who will seek after Him.

Solomon, who was given more wisdom than anyone, said, "I sat down under His shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste." Come and see His goodness and get in out of the heat!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Holiness vs. Legalism

Holiness is beautiful, legalism is binding; holiness brings life, legalism brings death. They are as different as night and day, and yet at first glance they can seem similar, because they both stand against sinful behavior and call for holy living. How can we distinguish between the two?

Legalism is rules without relationship, emphasizing standards more than the Savior, and laws more than love. It is a system based on fear and characterized by joyless judgmentalism, producing futility instead of freedom.

To an unsaved person, the legalist preaches justification by works, saying, “You’re a wicked sinner and you need to get rid of all your filthy habits if you want the Lord to accept you.” There is no grace in this message; no exalting of the life-changing, sin-cleansing power of the blood of Jesus; no clear proclamation of mercy.

The declaration of God’s love expressed through the cross is muffled, if it is even heard at all. Consequently, the proof of the new birth is seen almost entirely in what someone no longer does, and this continues to be the pattern for believers within the church: They are judged almost entirely by a few external standards (which, in many cases, are not even expressly mentioned in the Word) and they are monitored by conformity to the particular group’s code of conduct. The result is external conformity rather than inward transformation—and that means either self-righteousness of self-condemnation (or both!).

Of course, it is absolutely true that God has very high standards, and for anyone honestly reading the Word, there can be no doubt that He calls us to live by very high standards—in our thoughts, words and deeds; in our attitudes; in our sexuality; in our families; in our relationships; and much, much more. (See Eph. 5:1-6.)

Tragically, legalists—despite their best intentions—get things terribly wrong. First, they try to change a person from the outside in, whereas God deals with us from the inside out. Second, they fail to present a balanced picture of the Lord, putting too little stress on His mercy and too much emphasis on His wrath. Third, they do not point the struggling sinner (or believer) to the Lord’s supernatural empowerment, making holiness a matter of human effort alone. Finally, they add laws, standards, commandments, customs and traditions that are not found in the Word, making those things even more important than the biblical commandments themselves.

In contrast, true, scriptural holiness begins with the heart and flows from an encounter with God and His Word. It calls for repentance in response to the Lord’s gracious offer of salvation and it offers a way to be holy—the blood of Jesus and the Spirit of God. Biblical holiness is free, although it requires discipline and perseverance. For the legalist, nothing is free. Everything must be earned! That’s why legalism leads to bondage and holiness leads to liberty.

As Ralph Cudworth explained many years ago, “I do not mean by holiness the mere performance of outward duties of religion, coldly acted over, as a task; not our habitual prayings, hearings, fastings, multiplied one upon another (though these be all good, as subservient to a higher end); but I mean an inward soul and principle of divine life (Rom. 8:1-5), that spiriteth all these.”

It is that inward spiritual principle that must be cultivated—the principle of intimacy with Jesus, the principle of being renewed in our minds by His Word and Spirit, the principle of being conformed to His image and character, hating what He hates and loving what He loves.

As Dr. Kent Hughes expressed in his book Disciplines of a Godly Man, “There is a universe of difference between the motivations behind legalism and discipline. Legalism says, ‘I will do this thing to gain merit with God,’ while discipline says, ‘I will do this because I love God and want to please him.’ Legalism is man-centered; discipline is God-centered.”

Unfortunately, the moment you preach biblical holiness, many Christians put their hands over their ears and say, “That’s legalism! That’s condemnation! That’s man-made religion! That’s the dead letter of the law! You won’t put me in bondage! I won’t listen to stuff like that!” As Robert Brimstead observed, “The idea of living strictly by what the Bible says has been branded as legalism.”

And so, these Christians run from the dangerous clutches of legalism and fall into the deadly grasp of license—that self-deceived state of fleshly liberty, catering to their carnality rather than crucifying it. What a terrible error!

Whatever comes naturally to these “liberated” believers is accepted as normal (and “understood,” of course, by the Lord), while biblical commandments are brought down to the level of their own experience, and anything that brings any kind of spiritual pressure to bear on them is rejected as not being the easy yoke and light burden of Jesus. And when the Holy Spirit brings conviction on people like this, they rebuke the devil for trying to condemn them.

To quote Oswald Chambers, “Liberty means ability not to violate the law; license means personal insistence on doing what I like. … To be free from the law means that I am the living law of God, there is no independence of God in my make-up. License is rebellion against all law. If my heart does not become the center of divine love, it may become the center of diabolical license.”

What then is the antidote? Flee from legalism, stay far away from license, and run to holiness. Reject humanly birthed, external religion. Give no place to false teaching that excuses carnality, and instead, embrace new covenant, heart transformation—and in the power of the Spirit, supernaturally enabled by God’s grace, deal ruthlessly with sin in your life. That is the path to freedom!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Deliverance Ministry

Matthew 8:16-17-- When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.

Matthew 10:8--Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Matthew 12:28--But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

Mark 16:17--And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

Luke 9:1--Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.

Luke 10:17--And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.

1 Thessalonians 5:23--And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Bible is clear that man is a tripartite being and that Jesus’ sacrificial death provided for the whole man. Old time Pentecostals used to refer to what they called the “three-fold cure.”

Salvation of the spirit is what we commonly call simply “salvation.”

Salvation of the body, we call healing.

Salvation of the soul is deliverance from demonic oppression.

Many people avoid this vital aspect of the believer’s ministry, either from fear or a desire to avoid controversy. This IS a ministry that has received well deserved criticism due to its frequent excess and abuse. Much needless ignorance exists in this area.

Misunderstood, overlooked and rejected, it remains an important hallmark of true apostolic ministry, as demonstrated by the above verses. We have just as much of a Biblical basis for this as we do the ministry of healing. As children of God we have been given authority over the demonic by virtue of our position and through the Name of Jesus.

There is much that can be said in this area, as well as much to be avoided. The fact remains, this is a vital area of personal ministry and people continue to suffer needlessly through our ignorance and neglect.

I would invite you to visit my blog on “Spiritual Dominion,” that examines some aspects of the Biblical basis for this ministry:

We will do well to consider this issue as it will greatly enhance your ability to minister effectively to the hurting around us.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

In The Line of Battle

Deuteronomy 2:24 KJV  Rise ye up, take your journey, and pass over the river Arnon: behold, I have given into thine hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land: begin to possess it, and contend with him in battle.

As you read Deuteronomy 2:24, God's word once again jumps out at us and inspires our faith. We first read and understand that we are on a journey every day of our lives. We walk this highway of Holiness believing that this road will lead us to the Promised Land. As we read on, the Word tells us to rise up and pass over. It's only by the help of the Lord that we will have enough strength and courage to continue on our journey. With our hand in His hand and Him leading the way, we can begin to possess the land. The last part of verse 24 says we will contend with the king of the land in battle. There is much opposition in today's world to try to keep a child of God from receiving what God has for them. So, the battle is on!

I was thinking about a battle. Anything worth having will have its challenge. As we close in on Memorial Day, let's take some time and remember the veterans who gave so much to all so we can have freedoms and be blessed in such a great country. The battles they won for us came with such a great price and we honor you!

Most days are ready and waiting with a battle with your name attached to it. Though some may be physical, most battles are fought in out minds, a spiritual conflict. This is where your prayer life will play a major role in your victories and more time spent in prayer, the greater victory you will enjoy. Like the veteran on the front line, we must be prepared for any attack the enemy has up their sleeve. The front line is continuous hand-to-hand battles. It can be tiresome, but the ready warrior is up for the task. Let me remind you that the devil doesn't like you. As a saint of God, you are his enemy and he will do anything to bring you down to the bottomless pit with him. Don't be fooled or deceived, you are in a battle!

If you have Christ in your life today,be encouraged. Jesus has already won the battle. There is victory in Jesus, my Savior, forever. So enjoy your journey. Pass over the river that may seem like a big struggle ahead. Begin to see and possess the victory that only God can give you. He will see you through. Contend with the trials of life. Don't be afraid or down. Contending is desiring to have what you know is really yours. It involves some work, some effort, maybe even a struggle or two. Put on the whole armor of God and fight the good fight of faith. Let the Holy Ghost raise you up and contend in that battle and watch God work for you and your life. Battles won on the front lines today will be victories on those streets of gold.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Dash

Hebrews 9:24 - 28
(Hebrews 9:24 KJV)  For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
(Hebrews 9:25 KJV)  Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
(Hebrews 9:26 KJV)  For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
(Hebrews 9:27 KJV)  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
(Hebrews 9:28 KJV)  So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

We were not originally destined to die. When God breathed into Adam the breath of life God intended on Adam living forever! God created the tree of life to keep man living forever! God told Adam that he could eat from ANY tree (including the tree of life) except the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. When Adam fell, God could not have Adam and Eve living forever while knowing good and evil. Now because of Adam, we are born to die! God created the dash between the birth date and death date.

We are now required to give an account of our “dash”.
Romans 14:5 - 12
(Romans 14:5 KJV)  One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
(Romans 14:6 KJV)  He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
(Romans 14:7 KJV)  For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
(Romans 14:8 KJV)  For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
(Romans 14:9 KJV)  For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
(Romans 14:10 KJV)  But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
(Romans 14:11 KJV)  For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
(Romans 14:12 KJV)  So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

(Matthew 12:36 KJV)  But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

(Matthew 12:37 KJV)  For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

We have promises from God if we live our dash for Him. 
Philippians 1:20 - 24
(Philippians 1:20 KJV)  According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
(Philippians 1:21 KJV)  For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
(Philippians 1:22 KJV)  But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
(Philippians 1:23 KJV)  For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
(Philippians 1:24 KJV)  Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

Romans 8:9 - 14
(Romans 8:9 KJV)  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
(Romans 8:10 KJV)  And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
(Romans 8:11 KJV)  But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
(Romans 8:12 KJV)  Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
(Romans 8:13 KJV)  For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
(Romans 8:14 KJV)  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

John 6:47 - 51
(John 6:47 KJV)  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
(John 6:48 KJV)  I am that bread of life.
(John 6:49 KJV)  Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
(John 6:50 KJV)  This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
(John 6:51 KJV)  I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

There are also promises from God if we decide to live out our dash without Him.
Romans 8:5 - 8
(Romans 8:5 KJV)  For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
(Romans 8:6 KJV)  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
(Romans 8:7 KJV)  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
(Romans 8:8 KJV)  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

John 8:22 - 24
(John 8:22 KJV)  Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come.
(John 8:23 KJV)  And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.
(John 8:24 KJV)  I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

It’s what you do between your “birth date” and your “death date”; the DASH! You only have one chance at this life. Yesterday is already gone. You can’t get it back. Tomorrow is not a guarantee!
It’s what you do with your life today that will determine where you go. There’s no in-between. It’s Heaven or Hell. Hell is real. Hell is hot. And eternity is FOREVER!

Don’t be like King Agrippa. You never hear of him becoming a Christian!
(Acts 26:28 KJV)  Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

Now is your time!
1 Corinthians 15:19 - 22
(1 Corinthians 15:19 KJV)  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
(1 Corinthians 15:20 KJV)  But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
(1 Corinthians 15:21 KJV)  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
(1 Corinthians 15:22 KJV)  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

(2 Corinthians 6:2 KJV)  (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

The end of time is too near to play games with God!

You must make up your mind. You are not guaranteed tomorrow!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Lion's Tooth

Well, it is Spring again. My favorite time of the year. Things start changing for the better. The trees start budding, the grass is getting greener, the temperature is rising and before you know it you start seeing little yellow flowers popping up everywhere. They are called Dandelions.

The origin of the word "dandelion" is from the 14th century. The  French word "dent de lion", which literally means lions tooth. It was named after its root, which is shaped like a lions tooth. They are very difficult to get rid of. People try to get rid of them by pulling them up when they see them, but when we do that never get all the root out of the ground. In time it simply grows back; usually bigger .  Well it is the same way in our  lives. We have things popping up in our lives and we try to "pull" them up. It works for a while, but hey usually grow back bigger, because we did not get all the root out. In order to get rid of our fleshly 'dandelions' we must get to the root of the problem.  The root of the problem is SIN. That is where we need help from our GOD. After all, he has made the way for us to be delivered from sin. He paid the price for our sin at Calvary.

Colossians 1:20 KJV  "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven."

So, the first step in getting rid of our lions tooth is to obey the word of GOD, and follow the "PLAN" GOD has made for us. Jesus tells us in John 3:5, "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the  kingdom of God." To be born of the water and the spirit you must follow His plan in the book of Acts.
 Acts 2:38, "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."

Once we have done that then we can start to learn about our GOD and follow him. This will start to kill the root of sin (our fleshly dandelion) and help us to live an overcoming life in him! GOD has given us power to overcome, but it is up to us to use the power we have been given. For he tells us in the last part of LUKE 24:29, "...but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem , until  ye be endued with power from on high." That is the Holy Ghost....the Power from on high!

He tells us that he has come to give us life. In John 10:10 is says, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly." 

During this Easter season, remember that the price has already been paid, So walk in the power that has been given to you and live the abundant life that has been promised to you.
May GOD richly bless you !!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Old Paths and Vineyards

Jude 1:3-- Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Jeremiah 6:16--Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

A recent interaction on an Apostolic Forum I am part and some reflection on things I have been allowing in my own life, afforded me for an important lesson on the need to be far more cautious with my own thinking and attitudes as regards the things we hold dear and which make us distinctly 'People of the Name." It was a lesson I will not soon forget.

Hebrews 6:9--But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation….

The true people of God are Pentecostal in experience and Apostolic in doctrine. This is what Jesus taught and lead His disciples to be.
BUILDING UP the teaching of the Apostles and our Elders is wise as their intention is better things for us. Such as a father to his children, we should see the safety and security of the ordinances passed down as good pasture.

Isaiah 5:1-6
(1) Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:
(2) And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.
(3) And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.
(4) What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?
(5) And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:
(6) And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.

God has given us a very fruitful hill in the Apostolic Message. He fences it, He removes the stones, plants it with the choicest vine (point to yourself), He builds a tower, and He puts in a winepress. All He expects in return for His investment is for the vineyard to bring forth good fruit.

However, when the inhabitants of the vineyard:

TEAR DOWN the walls (Standards, Ordinances)

IGNORE the tower (Ministry)

AVOID the winepress (Sound Doctrine, Enduring Faith)

Then God does just like He did back in the example to the people in Moses time. They were getting Manna, (food from heaven), but instead chose an earthly diet (Quail) and God flooded them with their desires until it was coming out of their noses.

If we do not BUILD UP the things of the kingdom, we will become WILD GRAPES, and the Spirit of God will remove the wall, the tower, and the winepress, and ALLOW the wild animals to come in and completely destroy the fruitful hill.

Let us choose to BUILD UP the things of the kingdom of God.
What sets the Apostolic Church apart from the rest of Christendom is not merely its emphasis on Acts 2:38 salvation and worship of the One True and Living God in Jesus Christ but also a unique approach to scripture. Our actual goal as Christians is merely to be Apostolic. We strive to "weed out" traditions and doctrines of men which were added later. Basically, we try to take what Martin Luther started, to its logical conclusion, true biblical reformation.  We see many doctrines and beliefs not as Apostolic, but as a later development. Even my learned seminary professors would agree with this, but they put much authority in church history, creeds and councils. They see the goal of the Bible scholar/theologian to develop the seed left by the writers of the New Testament. They think it arrogant to even question the wisdom of the church fathers. We on the other hand see our job description as one of recovery of truth which has been lost or distorted, to "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). We are at heart, restorationists, trying to help restore the Church to her original belief and power. Of course we don't want to ignore what others have written or said about the Bible, but we understand this merely to be the thinking of fallible men. We believe that the church has gotten away from what the apostles taught in many respects and that we need to get it back.  We need to stop seeing the church in Acts as in an “infant stage,” and start seeing it as the model upon which to base our belief and practice. Only when we return to New Testament patterns, principles and practice, will we experience true New Testament power.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Springing Up Into Everlasting Life

John 4:14 KJV  But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

March 20th is almost here and a time many people look forward to. Grass is back, flowers are blooming, the air is warmer, spring has sprung! Many feel all new again when this season gets here. September 22nd represents the beginning of fall and showing spring has come and gone.

The word tells us whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; whosoever lets me know the water is for all and the price was paid on Calvary. But how can I get a drink of water and not be thirsty later? This isn't just any water. This is a drink into everlasting life, of living water, of Jesus himself!

Like spring bringing out the flowers and all God's beauty surrounding us and giving us a new look, so is the living water springing up inside of us when we partake of it. He is everlasting, where you will never thirst again. God's ways are forever settled in heaven. 

As we go through different seasons in our life, we have a God who is like a tree planted by the water. He said, "I am the Lord thy God, I change not". If you want new and tender mercy in your life every morning, let the Lord Jesus Christ spring up in your life. Without Him, I will surely fall!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

What does it mean to win a soul?

            There is a lot of talk in Pentecost today about soul winning.  I agree that it is a necessity.  I also believe that very few of us are truly doing all we can to win the lost.
            However, there are some misconceptions as to when a soul is actually won.  Just because someone says they want to go to heaven and are baptized doesn't not mean they are won.  That is not what the Great Commission is all about.
            Let's examine the Great Commission.  Matthew 28:19-20 says "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father, and of the son, and of the holy ghost:  teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world."
            Lets look at four key words in these verses:  1. Go!  That doesn't mean to set in a building and wait.  The harvest is ready, but the workers are few, so just go!  2. Teach!  Teach them the Acts 2:38 doctrine!  3. Baptize!  Now that you have taught them, they should see their need to be baptized for remission of sins.  4. Teach!  Once you obeyed the second key word to teach again.  Matthew 28:20 "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.
            Getting people to say they want to go to heaven, then rushing them to be baptized, even getting them to talk in tongues, is not the goal of a real soul winner.  Rather our goal should be to make them disciples.  When they become disciples you know you have won them. 
            I don't know about you, but I want to be a true soul winner.  Someone took the time to reach and teach me and I want to do the same for others.  How about you?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What Is Sin?

Proverbs 14:34 states, "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people." 1John 2:15 states, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." What is the world? Many born again christians are not told what John was talking about. 2John 1:9 also states, "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." 1John 2:16 then states, "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." 
Lust of the flesh - that's an easy one we hear about a lot, but every day born again christians are guilty. 
Lust of the eye - another easy one to define, but every day it's going on among us. 
Pride of life - again, every day born again christians are guilty.

In Romans 7:13, Paul wrote, "Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful."

Folks, we have pastors to teach us, we cannot be offended when he tells us what we're doing is sin. This could be a heaven or hell decision. I Peter 4;17 says, "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?" And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Being Contagious

Well it’s the flu season again and everywhere you go you run into someone that is sick or just getting over being sick. Some say the virus is in the air, others say that coming in contact with people that are sick passes it on to you. Some may have low immune systems.  More than likely it is all of the above. The fact of the matter is it's all around us and you can’t get away from it. So you do what you know to do, you start eating better, bundling up when you go out, and you wash your hands a lot. But it seems with all the effort we put into it we still end up getting sick. 
Now let’s stop and take a look at this on the spiritual side. If we get so full of GOD, that maybe we could become contagious, and start spreading the good news, that there is hope for all who call on his great name! There can be something in the air because of us. It can be joy, and peace, and confidence that GOD hears and answers our prayers and that things can change because of who we serve. We can also reach out and touch someone with kindness and mercy. 
One of the things we can do to build our spiritual immune system is to just be a doer of the word, not only read and hear it, but put it in to our daily lives. This not only builds our immune system but infects others around us by giving them confidence that it can be done. By following GOD with all our heart and walking in his word, others will not be able to help but to catch the spirit and be changed. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Don't Let Your Light Go Out

A person may go to any public library, walk back to the 200 section on religion, and begin a causal browsing of the titles which strikes his eye. He may readily observe that very few organizations have been as analyzed, scrutinized, criticized, and categorized as "the church".

As the person begins reading some of the volumes that have been written about the church, he sees that what one praises, another condemns. One's mind may be overwhelmed by terms and words that are all but meaningless to the average person.

Around any town a person may notice the varieties of churches that are present - large and imposing, too small and seemingly insignificant, and from many organizations. How is it possible that this has happened? How has this simple, living institution that was founded by our Lord and His twelve disciples, today become not only so splintered but also a major force in both political and economic circles, with power an wealth that is incalculable?

If we were to ask the historian how the church has arrived at this place in history, we would probably get a mysterious and complex answer regarding the purposes of God.  But if we look into the pages of the Holy Scriptures, we will discover another reason.

Throughout the history of God's dealings with man, He sought to reconcile man back to Himself, to restore the fellowship lost in the fall. This is the ministry which He gave to the church - ministry of reconciliation. He called, equipped and sent us to fulfill this purpose. When the church loses this mission, it lapses into carnality and becomes socially motivated. But if we are to remain faithful to god's primary purposes, we must see the lost.

Consider a person who walks in t light of a full moon. Even though the has set, the moonlight lights the path so he may see. But the moon has no light n itself. When the Apollo 11 team returned from he moon in July, 1969, they brought back samples of lunar soil and rocks. Scientists found that the surface soil and rock contained fifty percent glass. God has placed a giant mirror in the night sky that reflects the sun's light.

So it is with the Christian. We have no light in ourselves, but we reflect to others the light of Christ in our hearts. God has called us out of darkness to lead others to His light.