The Absolutes Of The Christian Faith: #3 – The Person, Christ Jesus

Special Commentary:

I believe that there are some doctrines that cannot be debated.  Trinity, Virgin Birth, Death, Burial, Resurrection, Heaven.

When I was active in ministry I held myself to one standard, that I needed to bring forth the Word so that all those who were listening was able to take the message and apply it to everyday life.  

There is a need for ministers to bring forth the Word that will quench all those who are thirsty, to feed the hungry soul and draw them closer to God through the anointing.  Preachers need to shake themselves and cast off the fluff, self -esteem, prosperity and those things which do not edify those sitting in the seats of the sanctuary.  If they cannot then step down so God can fill the pulpits with a man or woman who knows how to bring forth the Word without fear of what man will say.  This is not a popularity contest, we here to fill Heaven not buildings.  Man must get of the way, so that God can get in the way.  Man must decrease so that the Spirit of God can increase. Preacher, this is not about you, it is about the Person, Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 9  KJV
6  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

This subject should be without debate is the over-riding conerstone of all those who claim the name “Christian”.

My concern and reason for writing these past posts is that I believe the generation that is coming of age do not have the foundational truths about what the term “Christian” and what it means to be a Christian.

There seems to be a shift in what is the message of the Gospel.  Now voices are becoming large in society claiming there are many ways to God and to Heaven.  Of course, we should nunderstand the only way is through the blood of Christ Jesus which was shed on a cross on old Golgatha over two thousand years ago outside the city of Jerusalem.

Hebrews 9:22 MSG
22  Moses said to the people, “This is the blood of the covenant God has established with you.” Practically everything in a will hinges on a death. That’s why blood, the evidence of death, is used so much in our tradition, especially regarding forgiveness of sins.

There is an over abundance of prophecies in the Old Testament through the prophets of God concerning the birth and arrival of Christ, the Prince of Peace, Counsellor.  There is no other man past, present, or future who can forgive us of our transgressions and sins.  All voices teaching otherwise are nothing more than a false prophet, teacher.

The message of Christ and the Gospel is not only to be announced on one day of the year, it needs to be sounded every day, month, year, until the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ when He shall place His foot on the Mount of Olives.  He will not come as a babe in a manger this time, He will come as the Lion of Judah, the General of the armies of Heaven.  We will know He is the one by the stripes on His back, the nail scars on His hands and also on His feet.

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Commentary – Doctrine of Hate

Luke 12:   MSG
49  “I’ve come to start a fire on this earth—how I wish it were blazing right now!
50  I’ve come to change everything, turn everything rightside up—how I long for it to be finished!
51  Do you think I came to smooth things over and make everything nice? Not so. I’ve come to disrupt and confront!
52  From now on, when you find five in a house, it will be— Three against two, and two against three;
53  Father against son, and son against father; Mother against daughter, and daughter against mother; Mother-in-law against bride, and bride against mother-in-law.”

Matthew 24:   MSG
6  When reports come in of wars and rumored wars, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history; this is no sign of the end.
7  Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Famines and earthquakes will occur in various places.
8  This is nothing compared to what is coming.
9  “They are going to throw you to the wolves and kill you, everyone hating you because you carry my name.
10  And then, going from bad to worse, it will be dog-eat-dog, everyone at each other’s throat, everyone hating each other.
11  “In the confusion, lying preachers will come forward and deceive a lot of people.
12  For many others, the overwhelming spread of evil will do them in—nothing left of their love but a mound of ashes.
13  “Staying with it—that’s what God requires. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry, and you’ll be saved.
14  All during this time, the good news—the Message of the kingdom—will be preached all over the world, a witness staked out in every country. And then the end will come.

It is that I write this with a heavy heart and also very great concern to see a global unleashing of hate.  Hate that is manifesting itself on every continent and in almost every country, resulting in murder, rioting, vicious and outright deflamatory statements against those who are thought to be less than those hurling the insults. 

Hate against those of different skin color, ethnicity, gender, and status of wealth.  Hate has been with mankind since Cain murdered his brother Abel.  Hate in the guise of bullying, belittling, and racial taunts.  It is present in almost every arena of life and it feels as though it is smothering all other emotions.

Hatred is the adversary of the message of Christ Jesus and His body, and His Church.  Religion has also been the avenue spouting messages of hate, I grew up believing that all Catholic people are going to hell.  Religion is often equated with the Gospel but it is not.  Religion is man made trying to earn salvation through works.  I may not agree with others religion, faith, but that does not give me licence to hate them, the opposite is loving them and showing them the love of Christ and God the father.

Sometimes I wish I could wave some type of wand expel hate from the face of this earth, but that is wishful thinking.  I know what Christ warned us about hate, how ugly it would be just before His second coming.

We have seen hatred spew against Jews, Irish, African Americans, First Nations People, and now those of Arab desent.  During each the world seemed to enjoy periods of respite from these attacks.  It now seems hell has unleased all that it has to all the four corners of the world.

There is only one thing in the way of all that hell has to offer, that being the empowered Body of Christ.

2 Thessalonians 2:   MSG
3  Don’t fall for any line like that. Before that day comes, a couple of things have to happen. First, the Apostasy. Second, the debut of the Anarchist, a real dog of Satan.
4  He’ll defy and then take over every so-called god or altar. Having cleared away the opposition, he’ll then set himself up in God’s Temple as “God Almighty.”

I am of the opinion that the falling away(Apostasy) has begun.  People enveloped with their prosperity, self-esteem and all things that are opposite of the message of the cross.  Men and women in the pulpits who know minister a message that feeds the lust of the body.

2 Timothy 4:   MSG
3  You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy.

Eventually the hatred that has been heaped on others of different religions will soon turn its attention on Christians.  It will become all out warfare on the Church of Jesus Christ.

Somewhere in the near future one will arise and capture the worlds attention claiming to have all the answers for the world.  He will make a treaty with the nation of Israel for seven years and in the middle break the promise going to war against the nation.

As Christians we must guard ourselves against this pit of hatred for it will eat at our very soul with it’s corrosive nature.  If one gives in to it it will begin to consume every wakened moment, will affect even our actions and our conversations.

Christians are called to be peace makers, not hate creators.  

So, a Christian must resist this spirit of hatred, cast it out, renew and wash clean our minds and souls.

The Absolutes of Christian Faith: #2 – The Surety of God’s Word

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Numbers 23:   MSG
19  God is not man, one given to lies, and not a son of man changing his mind. Does he speak and not do what he says? Does he promise and not come through?

Psalms 89:   MSG
35  I’ve given my word, my whole and holy word; do you think I would lie to David?

Over my almost fifty-seven years of living I have had many instances of someone not keeping their word.  I too must admit there were times when I was younger that I broke my promise and my word.  

The people that we interact with throughout our lives judge us by how we keep our word. If we break our solemn word they soon will distrust us with anything we may say or do.  I can with great confidence and life experiences that God’s Word is absolute.

Now I have met people who have said, ‘there are so many contradictions in the Scripture’.  My response is this, as you continue to study the Word those things which once seemed contraditory now begin to make a chain link from Genesis to Revelation.  The Psalmist declared that he meditated on the law day and night.(Psalm 1:2)  The Israelites spoke to their children about the law and God Jehovah around the dinner table, and every chance they had.

I admit sometimes the chores of this life keep a person running here and there, taking the children from activity to activity leaving little time for God’s Word.  

My experience has taught me that God’s Word is infallible.  I can count on it through the good and bad times, even when facing death.

Hebrews 6:   MSG
18  God can’t break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable. We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go.

Men will lie, husbands betray their wives, children stray from the teachings they were taught.  Goverments break campaign promises, but God will always keep His’ Word.

2 Corinthians 1: MSG
20  Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident.

When the enemy of our life comes against us he does not show up in tails and a pitchfork in his hand.  He comes as an angel of light, he knows what God has said, but the difference is our advesary manipulates the Word.  It sounds almost correct, but to the believer who knows God’s Word can recognize the enemy and avoid the snare of the devil.

So, I have explored two absolutes of the Christian faith.  God never changes and His Word is true.  I can rest on these if when facing the raging waters of life or facing the tallest mountain.

The Absolutes of Christian Faith: #1- God Never Changes!

 

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Hebrews 6:  New Century Version (NCV)

18 These two things cannot change: God cannot lie when he makes a promise, and he cannot lie when he makes an oath. These things encourage us who came to God for safety. They give us strength to hold on to the hope we have been given.

Shifting sands, the change in the tide, governments, rulers, and of course man.  Yet, there is one thing we can count on not changing is God himself.

As a Christian that is the bedrock of our life in Christ, that is, God never changes.  His character has never waivered, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  And that is something we can count on and anchor our ship on the sea of life.

Yes, some would try to make us have doubt about this solid fact.  They make statements like, ‘God is dead’, or ‘He doesn’t care about us’, ‘He does not listen to our prayer’.  To give in to any of those things that cause us to lose faith in the absolute of God never changes threatens to cause our whole foundation to shake and to crumble.

Our faith is totally founded on this absolute the God never changes.  He made us that promise and we can rest assure He will keep His’ word.

In a world filled with chaos, hatred, division, war, famine, and other depressing events, it is great to be able to turn to one thing we as a child of God, that is God Himself who we know beyond any doubt is always the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

Doubt is the greatest enemy of the Christian life for it tries to destroy our foundational truths outlined in the Word of God.  Doubt brings along it’s close relative fear.  Fear is the complete corrosive enemy to our Faith in God.  Both doubt and fear if allowed to take root in our Christian life will eventually destroy the absolutes of the Christian life.

The absolute that God never changes is our anchor when the storms of life are raging.  Fellow Christian place all your Christian life in the hands of one who is stedfast, sure, and unwavering.

The Absolutes of Christian Faith

Over twent years I started a journey of re-examining the issues of my personal faith.  I began to deconstruct every issue and began to search out the Scriptures trying not to depend on my previous bias of any subject.  

It was difficult to stay silent with all that was happening in the Christian enviroment around the world.  Christians being beheaded in many eastern countries, others being imprisoned because of their faith.  Churches keeping their location hidden for fear of the state breaking in and arrresting and persecuting those in attendance.

I was raised with a Christian outlook on life so this journey I would take through the written Word was a tedious one.  I attacked my studies with the same intent that I used when active as a pastor or an evangelist.

Yet, my conclusion was this, there are definite, absolutes of our Christian faith.  In our Christian walk these must be the underpinning for our foundation, for without them our Christian house will not stand the rigours and storms of life.

So, I am going to try to bring to words these absolutes of Christian faith.  These absolutes are those things that as babes in Christ must have a firm grip in our spiritual understanding.

It is so difficult to weed out all the voices in our media, the internet, and in print, and find the absolutes of what it is to be a Christian.  Our spiritual being is only strong if we have a foundation of absolutes of truth as our bedrock and foundation.

So, join with me as I present to you these truths are sure and absolute.  Grab your Bible, a pen, and some note paper and let us study these absolutes together.

  • Gods Word is True
  • God is Faithful
  • The Cross of Calvary is the bedrock of Salvation.
  • No Remission without the Shedding of Blood.

Now, that is the outline I would like to expound upon in my next several articles.  Most would also call these absolutes, “The Tenets of Faith”.  I will do my utmost to cover all that is crucial for one to have a sure foot on the solid rock that Christ established for us to have a stable spiritual life.

July 11, 2018- A Sobering Thought!

The_Beast_(Revelation)

Revelation 13:   MSG
1  And the Dragon stood on the shore of the sea. I saw a Beast rising from the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads—on each horn a crown, and each head inscribed with a blasphemous name.
2  The Beast I saw looked like a leopard with bear paws and a lion’s mouth. The Dragon turned over its power to it, its throne and great authority.
3  One of the Beast’s heads looked as if it had been struck a deathblow, and then healed. The whole earth was agog, gaping at the Beast.
4  They worshiped the Dragon who gave the Beast authority, and they worshiped the Beast, exclaiming, “There’s never been anything like the Beast! No one would dare go to war with the Beast!”
5  The Beast had a loud mouth, boastful and blasphemous. It could do anything it wanted for forty-two months.
6  It yelled blasphemies against God, blasphemed his Name, blasphemed his Church, especially those already dwelling with God in Heaven.
7  It was permitted to make war on God’s holy people and conquer them. It held absolute sway over all tribes and peoples, tongues and races.
8  Everyone on earth whose name was not written from the world’s foundation in the slaughtered Lamb’s Book of Life will worship the Beast.
9  Are you listening to this?
10  They’ve made their bed; now they must lie in it. Anyone marked for prison goes straight to prison; anyone pulling a sword goes down by the sword. Meanwhile, God’s holy people passionately and faithfully stand their ground.
11  I saw another Beast rising out of the ground. It had two horns like a lamb but sounded like a dragon when it spoke.
12  It was a puppet of the first Beast, made earth and everyone in it worship the first Beast, which had been healed of its deathblow.
13  This second Beast worked magical signs, dazzling people by making fire come down from Heaven.
14  It used the magic it got from the Beast to dupe earth dwellers, getting them to make an image of the Beast that received the deathblow and lived.
15  It was able to animate the image of the Beast so that it talked, and then arrange that anyone not worshiping the Beast would be killed.
16  It forced all people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to have a mark on the right hand or forehead.
17  Without the mark of the name of the Beast or the number of its name, it was impossible to buy or sell anything.
18  Solve a riddle: Put your heads together and figure out the meaning of the number of the Beast. It’s a human number: six hundred sixty-six.

As an evangelist, pastor, and a gospel musician/singer I was barely ever at a lost for words.  However, as I try to write this article I will admit I am at a lost.

Over the past several months and days I have been giving much thought to something that is sobering, even in just a passing thought.  I have stated in previous articles that it is my opinion that America is not mentioned in Biblical end-time prophecy.  I find that the Scriptures remain Daniel's Imagesilent about this land in the west.

History shows that empires rise and also fall.  In the vision of  Nebuchadnezzar he saw empires that would fall in sucession. Those being, Babylon(head of Gold), Medo-Persian(arms of silver). Greek(thighs and legs), Roman(feet).  These falls are recorded history, and prophesided by Daniel.

Through the words of the Apostle John in the book of Revelation that a former empire will rise again.

Revelation 13:   KJV
3  And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

Many theoogians, evangelicals, and others hold to the school of thought that this revived empire will be Rome, the Papacy.  

However, I have come to believe this will not be the case.  As far as I can understand the revived empire will be the Babylonian Empire, the head of the image in the book of Daniel.

We also know that there is coming a world leader who will put into place a one world government.  This leader will also initiate a new ecomonic system, and give power to a new religious order.

The Beginning of The End?

When listening to the news it is filled with turmoil across the length and breadth of the planet.  Governments, nations shaking to the near destruction and total annihilation.  Yet, if we know the Scriptures we already know that Christ gave us a brilliantly picture of these end time days.  Wars and rumours of war, nation against nation, brother and against brother.

Matthew 24:   KJV
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

Now these symtons have now reached North and South America.  America is extremely divided, so much that if the rift keeps growing it could mean the downfall of the country.

Hatred seems to have been unleashed, ethnic discrimination runs amok around the world.  Anti-Semetic feelings are at a level not seen since the reign of Adolf Hitler in Germany in the late 1930’s until 1945.

So, I must admit that my thoughts have been this, “is this the beginning of the end” as we read in Matthew twenty four and in the Book of Revelation.

If history is about to repeat itself we can be sure that governments and the soon to be the world leader, hatred against Israel and then to the Christian will increase leading to persecution, and also death among these two groups.

Christians, the Body of Christ must guard against falling into this massive wave of hatred, racism, and anti-semetism.  We may not always agree when it comes to “faith”, that is allowable, but, we cannot hate the person of a different faith.  Through Christ we are to be a beacon that shines for others to see and be a welcoming refuge for all that surround us.

If Christians find themselves spouting racism, hatred, and anti-semitism, they have lowered themselves to the level of the world.  They must return to the cross and ask for forgiveness and let the blood of Christ cleanse them and renew and refresh.  For if they continue in the ways of hatred against other ethnic groups their witness is as “sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal”.

Radio Silence

If you look around many preachers and ministers act like there has been a “gag order” when it comes to all these events happening around the world.  It is hard to find a voice that is giving a message to the body of Christ to prepare because of what is about to take place on this planet.

Making Merry!

Revelation 3:1-6 KJV
1  And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
2  Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
3  Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
4  Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
5  He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
6  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Matthew 24:   KJV
37  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Take a look around, the stock market is soaring, jobs are coming back and everyone is care free, giving little thought of what is on the horizon.  This was also the situation before the great depression in 1929.

The world is on the precipice of collapse of the world economy, the rise of a world leader that is describe as the “man of sin”, “son of perdition”, “anti-christ”.

Never Poke A Bear

Daniel 7:2-5 KJV
2  Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.
3  And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
4  The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.
5  And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.

As it is, my understanding is a bear is fiercest when it awakes from hibernation.

Theologians mostly agree the bear mentioned in verse five is Russia.  This bear is on the prowl.  Bears do not make friends, they are carnivors, they will attack anything or anyone they consider as prey.  The bear, Russia, is spoken of throughout Bible prophecy.  

It is reported throughout news outlets that the president of Russia is trying to re-create the former Soviet Union.  Russia’s armies have already invaded the Ukraine by annexing Crimea.

The Church of Sardis

The message to Sardis reveals nothing definite about the church’s predicament beyond the fact that it is about to die. Only the metaphorical reference to those few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes(v. 4) offers a possible clue. They are promised that they will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy (v. 4), a promise immediately reinforced by a word to those who “overcome,” who will, like them, be dressed in white, whose names will not be blotted from the book of life, but rather acknowledged before my Father and his angels (v. 5; compare Mt 10:32-33 par. Lk 12:8-9). At Sardis, clearly, the few who had not soiled their garments were the “overcomers.” (excerpt taken from: https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/IVP-NT/Rev/Message-Sardis)

The body of Christ, in my opinion, is standing at the crossroads, two choices, deny the world and follow Christ, or continue in their gluttony of wealth and lose their souls to the devil.

I realize that I must sound lke one broken record but deep within me is an urgency to speak and call attention to the dangers that are creeping in to the Body of Christ in North America.

Lessons Learned In The Wilderness – Following Christ Not The World

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Matthew 4:   KJV
8  Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9  And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10  Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
11  Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

If the reader has read my previous articles then you would know that I do not hold or espouse the doctrine of the “prosperity gospel”.  I will re-iterated that it is a “doctrine from hell”.

The stated verse above I feel is the anchor for the rebuke of the so called “prosperity gospel”.  If you will take note of what the devil promised he would give Christ if Christ would bow down and worship him.  The promise, “…all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them”.  This is the basis of the this eroneous doctrine spouted by a large majority of “faith preachers”.  They claim God wants to make them rich and prosperous.  This is in total opposition of the message Christ and the early church teachings. Let me direct you to the following words of Christ.

Matthew 6:19-21 KJV
19  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (emphasis mine)

You can tell a mans heart from where is by that which he holds a major concern for in his life.  If he is always seeking wealth, fortune, and fame, it is almost certain that is devotion for the Lord Jesus Christ is weak if not totally deficient.

As a youth there was a hymn that was used during an altar call urging those in the congregation to consecrate their lives to Christ.

1 I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
no turning back, no turning back.

2 Though none go with me, I still will follow;
though none go with me, I still will follow;
though none go with me, I still will follow;
no turning back, no turning back.

3 The world behind me, the cross before me;
the world behind me, the cross before me;
the world behind me, the cross before me;
no turning back, no turning back.

Over the past several decades the message of the Christ, take up your cross, has been diminished and it’s place a message that promotes the wants of the flesh.  Self-esteem, positive thinking, name it and claim it, all things that take away the focus of the work that was done on the cross of Calvary.

The altar has been removed and replaced for a theaterical stage all to make the soul of man feel good.  The gospel message has also been put off to the side and entertainment along with entertainers now take center stage.

The hymns of the church, like “There is Power in the Blood”, “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus”, are replaced with songs that could be played on any secular radio or television station.

Maybe I belong in a past decade, yet, I do not believe it is me, but it is the lack of the saving grace of Jesus Christ that is at fault.

Mr. “Prosperity” Preacher, one day all your money raising abilities will be for naught for the money you so want to heap into your coffers will be worthless.  Your efforts should have been placed on winning souls for Christ.

Proverbs 11:30 KJV
30  The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.

When the economies of the world collapse the very people you entertained will be screaming, asking you why you never prepared them for heaven.  You will be held accountable for the lives you led astray.

The revival of repentance must start at the pulpit before it will fall on the ears of those in the pews.

1 Peter 4:   KJV
17  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?
18  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

Mr. pastor, stop your message that caters to the congregation, your church board, or your seminary and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 4:1   KJV
17  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?
18  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

There would be no salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ if the Saviour would have yielded to satan and followed his way.  Because he knew what He was sent to do told the tempter to get behind him, he resisted the devil and the devil fled.

James 4:7-8 KJV
7  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
8  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

*All images are from http://www.pexels.com*

Lessons Learned In The Wilderness – Sustenance

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Matthew 4:1-4 KJV
1  Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2  And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3  And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.(emphasis mine)

***I believe in fasting, however, it should be done with some caution.  Not everyone should fast especially if have a medical situation such as, diabetes.  If you have medical issues it is best that you speak to your physician before attempting any type of fast.***

Fasting is an issue that will get you many scoffers.  It is something that this present generation knows little about, for it is been silenced in the pulpits of North America.

There are many types of fasts, such as, “The Daniel Fast”, water only fast, water and food until sundown fast, and no water and food whatsover.  Fasting should be to one’s own convictions.

However, fasting is not the subject that I would like to draw your attention to.  It is what Christ answered the tempter with., “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”.

God spoke His word in many ways to His people, by an angel, a burning bush, the Levite Priest, the prophets of old, and the Apostles of the New Testament Church.  He still speaks His Word, through the written Word, and also by the leading of the Holy Spirit.  One though must be in a receiving mode to receive His Word, for it is spiritual and not carnal.

Isaiah 55:  KJV
9  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Romans 8:   KJV
1  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5  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.
6  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9  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.
10  And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11  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.

Sometimes the Word of God grates against what we want to do, it sometimes seems so foolish.  

1 Corinthians 1:   KJV
18  For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
19  For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20  Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21  For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
22  For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
23  But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
24  But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
25  Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26  For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

Many times in my ministry I would have missed what the Word was saying if it were not for something within me that spoke differently.  A preacher once said, “God doesn’t always speak with a thunder clap”.  There have been times when I would have something ready before I left my home to minister, yet, I would go to the pulpit and would find myself turning to a completely different portion of the Word and a totally different focus on a subject.  Thinking to myself afterwards that I had missed the mark only to have a person come up to me and say, “Pastor that was just for me, I needed that”.

One time I had just bought a new song book filled with some songs I wanted to learn.  At that time I did not have a piano in my home.  So, I went to the church early, sat at the piano and started to sing one song in particular that was quite popular on the southern Gospel charts, “Oh, For A Thousand Tongues to Sing”.  Well I started to practice and after awhile I was totally lost in the song forgetting about the time.  I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Sometime had past and I became aware of my situation and of the time on the clock.  I stopped singing, turned around to the congregation, what I saw totally floored me and left me totally amazed.  I saw people lost in worship, some standing with hands uplifted, some kneeling in their seats, others at the altar.  All ages were caught up in the spirit of worship.  I never did preach that Sunday evening.  I dismissed the congregation and turned and started singing the song again.  People didn’t get up to go home they just continued in the same spirit. The message of that one song was the word that God wanted for those people at that specific time and place.  I have never forgot that evening.

Oh, I realize that many pastors are controlled by a program, a board, and a fussy congregation that wants everything done in order and on time.  They want to get out of the church, head for their favorite restaurant, or go to their local golf club to hit a few balls.  Sometimes, God would have us throw out the program and totally give way to His’ will.

When I was travelling with that evangelist were were in the city of Cincinatti, Ohio and I was at the organ.  I was asked to sing a certain song and proceeded to do so.  In the midst of the song, which was not an altar call song, a man jumped up out of his seat ran down the middle isle and told the evangelist he wanted to be born again.  That song was a word for that man that day.

Maybe the word you have to share might be to cook a little extra for dinner that night and take a plate to the shutin that lives on your street.  It may also be to speak a thought of kindness to someone that is having a really tough day.  God can use us in ways that does not always find us quoting the Scriptures.  

Please take time a study the thirteeneth chapter of the Book of First Corinthians where Paul says this:

1 Corinthians 13:   KJV
1  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4  Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7  Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

I have learned these lessons way too late in life for I was to absorbed in what I wanted.  Too much of being in a hurry, sometimes sharp with my words.  I have learned that I cannot live except by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

SPECIAL COMMENTARY – July 1, 2018 – What’s All the Fuss About!

adventure-ball-shaped-blur-346885

Matthew 24:   KJV
36  But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
37  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

2 Timothy 3:   KJV
1  This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6  For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
7  Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
8  Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
9  But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.

I probably have more days behind me than that is in front of me.  I look in the mirror and see all of my hair turned white and often wonder where did all the time go to.  I also find myself using phrases and terms that I only heard from my grandparents.

So, I find myself musing on whether or not will I in my lifetime see the King of Kings part the clouds and place His foot on the Mount of Olives.  My grandfather, grandmother, my mother also thought they would see this marvellous event in their own lifetime.  Yet, in my fifty – six years of life I have witnessed several of the prophecies fulfilled concerning the last days.

I often find myself going to retrieve an item from a room then when I get to the room I have forgotten which item I was going to get.  Some would laugh and tell me that is what it is like when you start to reach a certain age.  Maybe, the reader can relate to this experience.

Events seem to be happening at a break-neck speed, so that it is almost impossible to keep up.  We have major headlines coming out almost hourly, Russia(the bear), Syria, Iran/Iraq, the Asian countries, Eygpt and also Germany.  Many of these have a role in prophecy during the last days.  The major area to watch is that of the nation of Israel, the apple of God’s eye.

Zechariah 2:   KJV
8  For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.

The major headline at the moment coming out of the United States of America is the vacant seat in the Supreme Court.  

Specualtion is rampant on all cable news outlets, the major print newspapers, and also in the digital world.  Everyone is wondering if the new justice revoke the law about abortion, marriage equality, and so much more.

Now because of this evangelicals in the U.S.A are almost overflowing with glee with this turn in events.  Yet, I ask myself as I listen to the news and read the headlines, have evangelicals, Christians, and Catholics forgotten that we were give much warning about all these things.

God has a plan, a timeline, and He has set all things in motion.  Man may try to bring about a certain event by manipulating the political arena, yet, no matter how much they try, bemoan the situation, God’s plan cannot by delayed, or thwarted.  One can pray, elect different politicians, presidents, prime ministers, senators, and representatives, but it will not change the mind of God. 

A heard someone once say that a man who is planning on moving out of his house does not concern himself in fixing the place up.  I am not concerned about owning a mansion here on earth because I have the Words of Christ that He is preparing us a place where He is.

John 14:   KJV
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

My my earthly birth I am a Canadian citizen, but, I am more than that I am a child of God and a citizen of Heaven.  I am not building up treasures on this earth, but rather, laying up my treasures in Heaven a place where there is no rust of corruption.

Matthew 6:   KJV
19  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
22  The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

Yes, if I allow myself to get all worked up, biting my nails and losing sleep for what I see happening around the world and yet I am helpless in preventing any of those major events from happening.

 

Matthew 6:  KJV
25  Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26  Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27  Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28  And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29  And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30  Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31  Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34  Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

The late Gospel song writer, Ira Stanphill wrote a beautiful hymn that we would sing in my home church and I still find myself singing it when I feel stressed about what tomorrow may hold.

I don’t know about tomorrow;
I just live from day to day.
I don’t borrow from it’s sunshine
For it’s skies may turn to grey.

I don’t worry o’er the future,
For I know what Jesus said.
And today I’ll walk beside Him,
For He knows what is ahead.

Refrain:

Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand

It is my opinion that the Body of Christ in North America have lost their focus on what truly matters, that is  the prize which is in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:   KJV
12  Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
13  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
15  Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
16  Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
17  Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
18  (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
19  Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
20  For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
21  Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

You may say well I am doing God’s work, but let me pose this question, is it really God’s work, or are you busy to seek some sort of glory for yourself.  Remember, we are not of this world for it is carnal.  Our focus should be that which would finally lead to hearing those words from Christ when we stand before the throne of God.

Matthew 25:21 KJV
21  His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

So, which house are you building, and who are you building it for?  Earthly houses are nothing but wood,  hay and stubble, that one day will burn up and be destroyed.

1 Corinthians 3:   KJV
10  According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
11  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13  Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
14  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

So, during chaos and upheaval we can do many things, things that make us feel good here on this earth, or we can do that which will go before us into heaven that when we arrive we shall receive our heavenly reward.

Let me ask again, “what is all the fuss about”?  Learn to place it in God’s hands, pray for those in rule over us, pay your taxes, but, become fishers of men for Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour.

Lessons Learned In The Wilderness – Romans 8:23

cropped-bible-cross1.jpgRomans 8:28 MSG  That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

Lately I have been fixated on why certain things happen in one’s life.  For myself it is dealing with health issues, fractures in my back caused by osteoporosis.

I truly believe that God’s word is absolute and it is true.  Yet, the above verse brings somewhat of a contradiction in the way I was taught growing up.  If I believe all other Scripture is truth, then, I must believe that this scripture in Romans is also factual.

I am not quite sure where theology went sideways, but, it truly has.  Somehow doctrine has been subverted.  

It has been taught for as long as I can recollect that any sickness is of the devil.  There are some within the charismatic movement that teach if you are sick there must be sin in your life.  Or if you are not healed you must not have enough faith.  To both of these teachings I say, heresy, false doctrine.

In a previous article I took a look at the life of Job.  He was sinless, yet he went through hell and back.  Lost all of his family, home, crops, and livestock.  The people around him said that God must be angry with him.  His wife mocked him and told him, “curse God and die”.  The true reason is in the first verses of the book of Job.  Satan told God that if God would remove His protection from around Job, Job would turn against God.  God took down the protection so that the enemy could do all he wanted, except for, he could not take Job’s life.  Job came out spotless, sinless, and never once accused God foolishly.  The end for Job was greater than the beginning of his life.

There is another school of thought that declares, if you are sick God must be teaching you a lesson, that’s erroneous.  God does not teach us lessons by giving to us sickness or ill in our body.  We sometimes as earthly parents teach our children how to be safe around the house, but we do not cause them pain to teach that lesson.

So, it is my belief and opinion that when we are faced with such challenges in our life that maybe, just maybe, God is showing the enemy that He has faith in us not to charge God foolishly.

Now, with all that said I would like to bring to your attention the fourth chapter of the Book of Matthew and the record of when Christ went into the wilderness and faced temptation.  It was in this wilderness account that we have lessons that we can learn and apply to our everyday life.

It is my objective for the next several writings to take and delve into that account of the temptation of Christ and break it down lesson by lesson.

Matthew 4:   MSG
1  Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test. The Devil was ready to give it.
2  Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights. That left him, of course, in a state of extreme hunger,
3  which the Devil took advantage of in the first test: “Since you are God’s Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread.”
4  Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.”
5  For the second test the Devil took him to the Holy City. He sat him on top of the Temple and said,
6  “Since you are God’s Son, jump.” The Devil goaded him by quoting Psalm 91: “He has placed you in the care of angels. They will catch you so that you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone.”
7  Jesus countered with another citation from Deuteronomy: “Don’t you dare test the Lord your God.”
8  For the third test, the Devil took him on the peak of a huge mountain. He gestured expansively, pointing out all the earth’s kingdoms, how glorious they all were.
9  Then he said, “They’re yours—lock, stock, and barrel. Just go down on your knees and worship me, and they’re yours.”
10  Jesus’ refusal was curt: “Beat it, Satan!” He backed his rebuke with a third quotation from Deuteronomy: “Worship the Lord your God, and only him. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.”
11  The Test was over. The Devil left. And in his place, angels! Angels came and took care of Jesus’ needs.

I would like to invite you to join with me to see what gem of truth we can find in the above eleven verses of Matthew chapter four.

I would encourage you to study this with me, have a pen and notepad at the ready.  Maybe, have a friend or a group to study, “Lessons Learned In The Wilderness”.