From the Pastor's Desk
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September 14, 2016, 3:22 PM

Join in prayer for our churches, community, leadership and nation.

• God bring your righteousness to our land once more! Take away stony hearts and make hearts that are hungry for you! 
• Cause us to see the spiritual dilemma our community and country is in! Open the eyes of our community and nation to our own sin, wretchedness and backsliding. 
• Open our eyes as individuals to the offenses we have committed against you. Stir your church, and our communities and nation to the repentance that brings a return to humility, love and dependence on you. 
• Alert us to see and tremble at the pending woe that is about to be poured out on a rebellious and disobedient people. 
• Cause us as believers and followers of Christ to be the salt of the earth and light of the world. 
• Help us put aside our cowardly ways that continue to give in to political correctness and sinful practices that you have declared are abominations against You. 
• Open our eyes as individuals to our personal offense against you, whether we are Christian or non-Christian. 
• Cause us to see the ugliness of sin and it’s offspring in the lives of ourselves and others. 
• Give us your mercy and hope so that we can be healed and restored as individuals, communities, churches as well as our entire nation. 
• Bring back the healthy reverence of God to the once church goer as well as those who sit in the pews with solemn convictions and good faith. 
• Make us to know that we cannot live for bread alone. We confess we have been too preoccupied and satisfied with the niceties, convenience, comfort, pleasure and having our own physical needs met to the neglect and starvation of our own souls. 
• Bring the wind of your Holy Spirit back on us and revive the spiritually dead bones that have been scattered and parched due to the lust of the flesh, lust of the eye and the pride of life. 
• Bring such an awareness of your presence in us all so that we will never ever be satisfied with the substitutes offered by the flesh and our spiritual adversary the devil. 
• Bring us back to our first love that be may be spiritually impregnated with life that breeds more life into the kingdom of God. 
• Help the “fruit bearing” Christians keep the strong desire of spiritual intimacy that lacks no evidence. Let us not be weary in well doing. Remind us that we will reap if we do not faint.
• Bring us again to the altars that thrive on miracles, healings, deliverance, salvations, sacrificial living and baptisms, alone with signs and wonders that are meant to follow us as believers in the risen Christ.
• Bring back the authentic revelation of what it means and looks like to be true disciples in a world that accepts alternate lifestyles for holy living. 
• Cause us to agree with you in action and lifestyle that, … “holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, forever (Psalm 93:5).” 
• Press us to ask, see and walk the in “old paths” and the good way so that we can find your rest for our souls (see Jer.6:16).
• Thank you for the fire that is already flickering in our communities, churches and nations! Thank you that you have NOT given up on us! Thank you that you have NOT turned your back on us to reap the results of our own wrong doing. 
• Thank you that you are hearing from heaven and you strongly want to heal our homes, churches, communities and our land.
• Thank you that you are merciful and do not want to repay us for our own worthless and sinful deeds but you are seeking for all of us to change the way we think and act in repentance! 
• Thank you that you are sending your message loud and clear across our land through moms and dads, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, pastors and leaders.
• Thank you for those who serve in high and prestigious positions or lowly ranks who live and speak truth in boldness. Thank you for those who refuse to be dominated by fear and intimidation and for truth’s sake, they call a lie a lie, and they clearly distinguish the light from the darkness.
• Thank you for those who are committed to winning the lost and making disciples of all who will come. Thank you for the sacrifices of monies, time, family, convenience and pleasures. May your watchful eye of provision, protection, support and peace be on each of your followers who devote themselves wholly to You.
• We as your church are not giving up! We are seeking your face because you have promised. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14 )
• Dear God, Please guide your people in the way you would have us to go. Please correct us in your mercy when we are wrong. Please keep us in your sights and do not let us be prey to the enemy that seeks to devour our souls, ravish our children, marriages and homes. 
• Please bring us safely to the place you have destined us to be. Please help us leave a good path so that the next generations can prosper and know that you are Lord and you are a jealous God who will not compete and cuddle with unrighteousness!
• We want to see your glory. We want to experience you, your presence and your pleasure on a daily biases. We are not content with a sip from the cup of salvation, we want the living waters that you promised to flow from our spiritual bellies so that our every word, action and attitude reflect your presence, strength and truth. 
• Come to us and satisfy our hunger. Heal our land. Come and abide with us for we are yours for your purposes and your plans!
• Sweet Jesus, we love you! We cherish your presence, your word, your family and your creation. We wait upon you now to bring us what we need to effectively reach our families, friends and communities for You. Take our heart! Take our lives! We offer you ourselves and desire to know each step from this time forward.




July 7, 2016, 2:45 PM

True Faith OR Dead Faith 

Why is there seemingly such a gap/missing link between people who believe? What is saving faith? What is “dead faith”? What is faith that saves/works, what does it look like? 

James gives what I believe is a balanced view of faith. I do not believe his statements brings division or contradiction with Paul’s statements about faith. James 2:14-26  What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 

15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,   And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 

19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.  20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?  22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?  23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?  26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

James is pointing out what “True Faith” looks like and what its lifestyle is.

God wants more than “mental assent/mind faith;” He wants a life committed to follow him! That is saving faith! The committed life is (in my opinion) the missing link in faith/mental assent and a “faith that saves/faith with works.”

So often hear people refer to themselves as “Christians” while living so worldly and indulging in sinful/unbiblical lifestyles. What is one to think and believe?

John 3:14-18    And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,  15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life16 "For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.  17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.  18 "There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God's one and only Son.

THE PROBLEM: There is sometimes a disparity and gap with mental assenting to the true doctrine of the Gospel and true faith that believes unto salvation. One should not conclude that giving intellectual assent with the mind to the doctrine of Gospel automatically makes him/her a Christian. While the mind must be in agreement with the Gospel; there is more to saving faith than merely affirming one’s belief that the Gospel and Bible are authentically God’s Word.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Often, we see that a gap between one’s talk and one’s walk.   A “faith” that believes unto righteousness and the first step of faith that is accepting of God’s account of his Christ; when one has a true faith and repents, he is indeed saved.

True faith takes the step in the process of salvation; believing with the mind and accepting as true the Gospel of Christ. As necessary as that step is in to a person’s salvation; there must be more! There must be a faith that believes unto righteousness and goes further in true repentance. Mental assent only to the divinity of Christ and his finished work on Calvary is simply not enough.

Romans 10:9-11 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

James statements about faith do not bring division or contradiction with Paul’s statements about faith, rather James brings clarification. James 2:14-26  What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 

15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,   And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 

19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.  20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?  22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?  23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?  26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

James is pointing out what “True Faith” looks like and what its lifestyle is.

God wants more than “mental assent; or only intellectual agreement;” He wants a life committed to follow him! That is saving faith! The committed life is (in my opinion) the missing link in dead faith that profits nothing and saving faith that brings salvation that is seen and glorifies God.

Consider the jailer who was saved and whom Paul baptized. He had a turnaround in his life! His lifestyle changed along with his belief. That is demonstration of a “faith that saves,” i.e. a “faith that is not dead.”

Acts 16:30-34  And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?  31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.  32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.  33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.  34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

Faith unto Salvation is not about works but it is a faith that works. It is not the works of baptism or as the harlot Rahab did, the hanging of a purple thread from her window. It/the faith that saves is a “faith that works.” (More than and mental assent)
 

What about the thief on the cross who believed? He didn’t have time to do works.  Work is not criterion for salvation; faith is! However, true saving faith is a faith that motivates. Jesus declared, the repentant thief who obviously had faith, would be in paradise with him that day, so we know he had a saving faith even though he was not able to do works.                                                                                                                                                 Luke 23:39-43  And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.  40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?  41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.  42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.  43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Peter’s visit to the Gentiles Acts 10:43-48  He is the one all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name."  44 Even as Peter was saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message.  45 The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles, too.  46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.Then Peter asked,  47 "Can anyone object to their being baptized, now that they have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?"  48 So he gave orders for them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Afterward Cornelius asked him to stay with them for several days.

Paul speaking to Peter and others who were reverting to the “Law of Moses” concerning not eating with Gentiles, eating certain things, etc.  (A TRUE FAITH PLUS NOTHING)     (True faith is a saving faith—Saving faith is a faith that works, moves and motivates from the heart)                             Galatians 2:16 - 3:1   Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law."  17 But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not!  18 Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down.  19 For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law-- I stopped trying to meet all its requirements-- so that I might live for God.  20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  21 I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die. 

Scripture says, a person is not saved by trying to keep the Law of Moses, neither would we be saved merely obeying the laws of “being good & good works.” Abraham was JUSTIFIED by faith, but his faith was a “saving faith that moved him to works and obedience.

Conclusion: “IF” there are no works and motivation toward obedience and following Christ and his Word, one should question whether he really has a “saving faith.”

While we are not in the place of judging whether a person is truly saved or not; we are instructed NOT to be deceived.                                                     NLT(1 Corinthians 6:8-10  Instead, you yourselves are the ones who do wrong and cheat even your fellow believers.  9 Don't you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality,  10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people-- none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.)

Luke 6:43-44   For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.

It is not that a true Christian cannot sin; however, a true Christian will not be able to habitually enjoy sinful habits and lifestyles. We are to put away all things that offend God.

1 John 1: 6-10  If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 

1 John 2:1-6  NLT 1 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.  2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins-- and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.  3 And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments4 If someone claims, "I know God," but doesn't obey God's commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth.  5 But those who obey God's word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him.  6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

Christians are to keep our faith alive and active by living a life of spiritual discipline. There is no substitute for spending time in Bible study, prayer, worship and fellowshiping with the believers.

2Peter 1:4-10 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.  5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;  6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;  7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.  8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.  10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

We should examine ourselves under the scrutiny of the Word of God.                                                                                                                                              2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith. 

May God help us all to have true, living faith that saves! Our soul and eternity deserves "due diligence."




June 10, 2016, 12:00 AM

The Offense of the Gospel Of Christ

                                                                                                                   

1 Peter 2:6-8  For this is contained in Scripture: "Behold I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, And he who believes in Him shall not be disappointed."  7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe. But for those who disbelieve, "The stone which the builders rejected, This became the very corner stone," and, "A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.

Jesus did not come to make our world better or to make us comfortable. Jesus came as our God and Savior. He was a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.

Our culture is not to set our religious conventions and precepts, the Bible and Holy Spirit is to do that. The Bible is ultimate authority revealing truth.

We believe in freedom of religion and we are not to try to force others to conform to our beliefs; yet, we are to speak truth from Holy Scripture. At Mars Hill Paul didn’t persecute those who believed differently or become like them, but he spoke truth to them saying let me tell you about your unknown God whom you ignorantly worship. Being ignorant of or ignoring Gods truth does not make it go away. The Bible is for every individual even if every individual doesn’t accept it. It is not our job to force Christian beliefs on others. Paul taught if anyone wants to be ignorant, let him be ignorant. (Willful ignorance)

Why are people so tough concerning bad language, gossip, filthy communication and lifestyle but when it comes to Christian principles they are offended?

The Causes of Offense:

  • No Root in themselves                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Mark 4:15-17  "And these are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them.  16 "And in a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy;  17 and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.
  • People were offended because Jesus did not come according to their preconceived ideals. They expected something else. They expected the Messiah to come as a king rather than from a common family and growing up as a child.                                                                                            Mark 6:1-3  NAS And He went out from there, and He came into His home town; and His disciples followed Him.  2 And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands?  3 "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?" And they took offense at Him.
  • People were offended because of persecution and suffering.  Concerning Christ arrest and crucifixion.                                                                    Mark 14:27-30  And Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away, because it is written, 'I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.'  28 "But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee."  29 But Peter said to Him, "Even though all may fall away, yet I will not."  30 And Jesus said to him, "Truly I say to you, that you yourself this very night, before a cock crows twice, shall three times deny Me."   Peter was afraid, also spiritual darkness.                                                                                                                                                                                            Luke 7:20-23 And when the men had come to Him, they said, "John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, 'Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?'" (John was offended, couldn’t understand why) (Believe truth, not just your feelings.) 21 At that very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He granted sight to many who were blind.  22 And He answered and said to them, "Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the gospel preached to them.  23 "And blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me."             John 16:1-2  NAS John 16:1 "These things I have spoken to you, that you may be kept from stumbling.  2 "They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.                                                                       Matthew 24:9-10  "Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name.  10 "And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another.

When God doesn’t do what we think he should, will we still follow him? Being offended is difficult and painful. Why not determine not to be offended at God, He is always right.

God confronts with truth. His light shines into the dark imagination and deeds of their hearts. When people are offended they look for faults in others and excuses not to believe and obey God.

Let Jesus point out your own issues.  Scribes and Pharisees/Religious leaders in Jerusalem were offended because of the truth that pricked/convicted their hearts. Jesus words cut through their religious rituals to show their heart of pretense was not in relationship with God but they had only a form of godliness.                                                                                                                                                                                          Matthew 15:1-12 Then some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem, saying,  2 "Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread."  3 And He answered and said to them, "And why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?  4 "For God said, 'Honor your father and mother,' and, 'He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death.'  5 "But you say, 'Whoever shall say to his father or mother, "Anything of mine you might have been helped by has been given to God,"  6 he is not to honor his father or his mother.' And thus you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.  7 "You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying,  8 'This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me.  9 'But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.'"  10 And after He called the multitude to Him, He said to them, "Hear, and understand.  11 "Not what enters into the mouth defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man."  12 Then the disciples came and said to Him, "Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?"

Remedies to stay free from offense:

  • Realize and remember that hard times come to everyone, including righteous people. Remember John the Baptist whom Jesus said of, there is none greater….He lived a sacrificial committed life to God.
  • Realize and remember that God has plans which we do not know about; He promises to work “all things” together for our good.      
  • Everyone suffers sometime. Are you suffering? There is no trial that is uncommon to man.
  • Stay free from offense. Jesus said, people will hurt /kill you and think they are Godly and right!
  • To stay free from offense! Trust God even when you hurt.
  • Expect and prepare for difficulty.
  • Don’t become or stay offended at God.
  • Jesus has sent the comforter to us.
  • Remember that you are not alone; Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit/Helper to comfort you.
  • God has sent the Holy Spirit to speak to us and reveal God and his will to us as well as the future things.
  • Keep your life conformed to God’s Word/Bible.

 John 16:1-15  NAS "These things I have spoken to you, that you may be kept from stumbling2 "They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God3 "And these things they will do, because they have not known the Father, or Me.  4 "But these things I have spoken to you, that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.  5 "But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, 'Where are You going?'  6 "But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.  7 "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.  8 "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment;  9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;  10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer behold Me;  11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.  12 "I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  13 "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.  14 "He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you.  15 "All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and will disclose it to you.

One God, One sure word/faith. God’s Word is our standard.  People who reject the Bible; are rejecting God.

 Determine to live a surrendered life to the Lordship of Christ; you cannot live in true freedom if the flesh dominates over the Holy Spirit.      

A. Remember Christ’s example when facing the cross. He was surrendered to the will of his Father.    (We are not better than Christ! He suffered; we will suffer also.)

B. Remember, even your closest of friends and family will at times let you down; their flesh was weak as humans even though they were willing and wanted to do better. Even Jesus apostles let Him down at a critical time when He really needed them.Matthew 26:39-42   And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt."  40 And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?  41 "Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."  42 He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, "My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Thy will be done."

What do you do when your closest friends, yes even family let you down? Hold to Gods unchanging hand and recognize like Jesus did of his disciples, “the spirit is willing but flesh is weak.”

Keep your heart free from small roots/things. Do not allow a root of bitterness to spring up and defile you.Respect discipline and the giver of the discipline.

Stay free from offense.Hebrews 12:9-15  Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?  10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness.  11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.  12 Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble,  13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.  14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.  15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it may be defiled.

C. Do allow God to discipline you and remember discipline received will bring good fruit and righteousness.

D. Strengthen your areas of weakness.

E. Make “straight paths/right plans/decision for godly living so you will be healed. 

F. Seek and pursue peace with all people. Don’t be a drama queen or hell raiser. 

G. Live a sanctified/holy life. Quit indulging in things that defile your spirit or body.

Gain your understanding of God’s Word grow every day through Bible Study and mediation with prayer and careful listening to the Holy Spirit who teaches you. As you study, ask Holy Spirit to comfort, guide and teach you so that your life is continually conformed to his pleasure.

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May 27, 2016, 2:51 PM

Is All Sin Equal?

From time to time we hear some say, "all sin is equal." Perhaps that is intended to say God is against all sin. Perhaps the statement is to imply that all have sinned and come short of God's perfection. Yes, God is against all sin and we have all sinned against God. However, to say all sin is equal, one has to ignore the Holy Scriptures that are quite clear on the matter. Make no mistake, one may fail to feed a poor person standing on the street corner or fail to do something that we should do and that is sin to us. Yet, to say sin is equal to rape, murder, abortion, etc. is going farther than the Scripture. This berief mention on the subject is not intended to stir up an argument or to belittle anyone who has made such a statement. I, myself have repeted the same thing becuase I too have heard, all sins are equal. I have found from Scripture, that statement simply is not Biblical. Please read the Scriptures below and take note. Yes, it is important what we believe and what we say.

Matthew 11:20-24  Then Jesus began to denounce the towns where he had done so many of his miracles, because they hadn't repented of their sins and turned to God.  21 "What sorrow awaits you, Korazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles I did in you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have repented of their sins long ago, clothing themselves in burlap and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse.  22 I tell you, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on judgment day than you.  23 "And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead. For if the miracles I did for you had been done in wicked Sodom, it would still be here today.  24 I tell you, even Sodom will be better off on judgment day than you."

Luke 12:46-48  The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant in pieces and banish him with the unfaithful.  47 "And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn't prepared and doesn't carry out those instructions, will be severely punished.  48 But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.

John 19:9-11  He took Jesus back into the headquarters again and asked him, "Where are you from?" But Jesus gave no answer.  10 "Why don't you talk to me?" Pilate demanded. "Don't you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?"  11 Then Jesus said, "You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin."

2 Peter 2:15-22   They have wandered off the right road and followed the footsteps of Balaam son of Beor, who loved to earn money by doing wrong.  16 But Balaam was stopped from his mad course when his donkey rebuked him with a human voice.  17 These people are as useless as dried-up springs or as mist blown away by the wind. They are doomed to blackest darkness.  18 They brag about themselves with empty, foolish boasting. With an appeal to twisted sexual desires, they lure back into sin those who have barely escaped from a lifestyle of deception.  19 They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you.  20 And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before.  21 It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life.  22 They prove the truth of this proverb: "A dog returns to its vomit." And another says, "A washed pig returns to the mud."




March 21, 2016, 12:18 PM

When political correctness contradicts biblical correctness we need to make a right choice!

 

For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ (Galatians 1:10 NAS).

 

(Acts 14:8-23)   And at Lystra there was sitting a certain man, without strength in his feet, lame from his mother's womb, who had never walked.  9 This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who, when he had fixed his gaze upon him, and had seen that he had faith to be made well,  10 said with a loud voice, "Stand upright on your feet." And he leaped up and began to walk.  11 And when the multitudes saw what Paul had done, they raised their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have become like men and have come down to us."  12 And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.  13 And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds.  14 But when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out 15 and saying, "Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you in order that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them.  16 "And in the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways;  17 and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness."  18 And even saying these things, they with difficulty restrained the crowds from offering sacrifice to them.  19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.  20 But while the disciples stood around him, he arose and entered the city. And the next day he went away with Barnabas to Derbe.  21 And after they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch,  22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God."  23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

A man was born lame who had never walked. Paul observed that the man believed and could be healed. When Paul commanded the lame man to rise and walk, the man jumped to his feet and glorified God. The crowd of people assumed Paul and Barnabas were “gods.” They proceeded to bring bulls with ornaments around their necks to offer sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas.

These people had missed the point because they were simply looking for another “god/religion” to add to their list of beliefs. Paul quickly let them know that he and Barnabas was not the object of worship; they were simply humans just like the rest of them. They refused their worship and called all the attention to the One who alone can give life and hope to humankind.

Neither Paul nor Barnabas was the deliver; they simply represented the One who was the deliver. The One God who created the universe would not give his glory to another. Paul and Barnabas refused to take God’s glory to themselves. They quickly set the record straight because they were not looking for human applause bur rather the favor of God who alone lifts up and brings down. Neither were they trying to gain a crowd and be politically correct.  

They refused to allow the applause of man to be their ladder to success! They spoke the truth, even though it was unthinkable to those who sought to make them among their gods.

They spoke the Gospel which is the good news of Jesus salvation. Paul and Barnabas were not message, they were simply the messengers. The messenger’s message is giving the good news so that people will believe and know the Only One who can save and deliver them.

Paul and Barnabas said, “Turn away from these worthless gods of yours and serve the true and living God. Their message was a big insult to these idol worshippers. (Don’t allow the world to dictate your priorities!) After all, are not all religions to be embraced and respected? NO! Do not all paths lead to God? NO! As long as I believe in something and I am sincere can I go to heaven? NO, belief in something or someone is not enough!  Knowing and applying the truth of God brings people to freedom and prepares them for God and heaven. Jesus is the Way, Truth and the Life! Believing, accepting and following the good news of Jesus Christ makes a person acceptable to God.

Paul wanted them to know; there is NO salvation in any other name! God’s only plan of salvation is faith in and through the name of Jesus!

The good news is truth revealed through Jesus Christ the only begotten Son of the living God. A sincere belief in any other person or thing, no matter how great is only a false hope! Faith in the false produces deception and strongholds in the spirit realm. Faith in the true God and his Son leads to life and peace. No Jesus, no peace! No faith in Jesus, no way to God.

Paul and Barnabas were upset and they should have been. It is high time that God’s church be spiritually upset when we see people being carried away with “religion that produces no relationship with the one and only True God!

The truth is this; we are called to share the light of Jesus Christ so that men and women, boys and girls can be set free. We are not the object of Worship! We are simply his ambassadors.

Truth tellers show that only Jesus Christ is the One who saves. We have testimony and proof of God’s existence; the Scripture that works to bring light and direction to shattered lives, the healing of broken bodies, the deliverance of people who are bound by addictions and strongholds as well as the proof in the heavenliest and in the earth realm that there is One true God.

Both Paul and Barnabas taught that God no longer excuses and winks at such ignorance but commands all men everywhere to repent through Jesus Christ! The apostles suffered for the message of truth and so will we. We are not called to be popular with the God haters of the world. We have nothing in common with the God haters. We are born again from the Spirit who gives life and light. The God haters are of their father the devil. They love to indulge in the things of the world and the lust of the flesh and the eye and pride of life.

Paul was stoned and was thought to be dead but the disciples prayed to God and Paul arose and went back to the city of Lystra teaching and preaching the truth of the gospel. Praise God, Paul refused to be deterred from preaching if the Gospel because it is the power of God to them who believe. Because of their message the Disciples of Christ were encouraged and strengthened in the faith.

The precious truth of Jesus death, burial and resurrection is the truth that saves those who believe and follow Him. There is no salvation in any other name!  Paul and Barnabas refused to allow their messaged to be altered by their ego or tainted by selfish and political correctness. Their focus was to please God not people.

Now God commands all people to repent. Yes, that includes me and you! When the people are more concerned with political correctness rather than the truth, the truth tellers will suffer. The apostles suffered for the truth and so will we.

After being stoned and healed by the God whom Paul preached, Paul went back to the city of Lystra and continued teaching and preaching the truth of the Gospel. Why? Because the precious truth that Jesus saves is worth our blood, sweat and tears! It is that very truth that we are willing to defend with our very lives.

Jesus saves and there is no salvation in any other. We are not here seeking to applause of people because we, like the apostles spend time with God and our relationship with God is so satisfying that we do not have to  have the applause of men. We, like the apostles, confess; we are not the message, we simply represent the message and the God/man Jesus Christ!

We are not seeking the favor of men but rather of God who justifies those who the ungodly. “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness (Romans 4:5 NAS).

We will not be silent! We like Paul and Barnabas have and continue to share the good news, the most important message in the world, Jesus saves and there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12 NAS).

 

 


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