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Showing content with the highest reputation since 07/11/2019 in Stories

  1. 4 points
    “ For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power” (1 Corinthians 1:17, NIV). Many people view the Apostle Paul as one of the greatest preachers of all time. Certainly, Paul was instrumental in spreading the Gospel like wildfire throughout the region of Asia Minor. Paul, however, recognized that he was hardly the most eloquent of speakers, nor the wisest of men, and that the power behind his words was not in his preaching, but in the cross of Christ. At times, we might be hesitant to share the message of God’s love in Jesus with those around us. We might feel like we don’t know enough about the Bible or that we won’t have the right words to say. Paul destroys this notion as he recognizes his own limitations in speaking about Jesus, but he does it anyway. Again, the power of God is not in the preaching, but in the cross of Jesus. As a pastor, I sometimes have people compliment me on a particular sermon. As a Christian author, people will sometimes remark on the message of my writing. I must admit that I love the affirmation! Still, I recognize that these individuals are not ultimately responding to me, but to the good news of the Gospel. And, while you might think that that’s humility on my part, it’s actually honesty. There is power in the cross of Jesus. The message of the crucifixion changes lives and saves souls, and we are privileged to share it. Therefore, let’s be bold in our witness and in our less-than-perfect delivery. God will use it to change the world!
  2. 3 points
    “ ‘Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates’ ” (Deuteronomy 6:9, NIV). In Old Testament times, God gave the Israelites several commands, the culmination of which was, “ ‘Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength’ ” (Deuteronomy 6:5, NIV). God’s chosen people were not only to obey these commands, but they were to pass them on to their children and grandchildren. For this very reason, God told the Israelites to “ ‘Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates’ ” (Deuteronomy 6:9, NIV). In this way, the Law of God would be remembered every time the Israelites entered their homes. I find it interesting that the Law of God was to be written on the doorframes of the homes of the Israelites. For just prior to this command, the Israelite’s doorframes were written upon, not with the Law, but with the Gospel. During their captivity in Egypt, in an event that would become known as the Passover, the blood of lambs was spread on the doorframes of Israelite homes so that death would literally pass over these families. Time and again, both then and now, the Law of God is covered by the grace of God. Such grace is found in Jesus at the bloodied frame of his cross. For on the cross, the Lamb of God was put to death on our behalf. Our sins are passed over and we are free.
  3. 3 points
    “…He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him… Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem” (Isaiah 53:2-3, NIV). A small picture of Jesus stood on the nightstand near my childhood bed. Long, flowing hair framed the masculine features of the Savior. The look of sincerity and quiet contemplation adorned his lips. His eyes were kind and focused, his beard perfectly trimmed. I would fall asleep each night under his protective gaze. Life was simple then, long before the awkward years of adolescence and the endless demands of adulthood. But with age came struggle and temptation, sin and brokenness. The foes of anxiety and depression became my constant companions. Loneliness, fear, failure, and doubt attacked my mind and strangled my faith. I needed a Messiah to invade my mess of a life, a Savior to rescue me from my sin and from myself. That’s when Jesus became the most real to me. I realized that there was so much more to him than an artist’s rendering recalled from my childhood. I recognized him, yes, as true God, but as one who had taken on human flesh, and with that, my very sin. I learned to appreciate his rawness, his untamable Spirit, his unkempt appearance, and his humanity despite his divinity. He became to me a Rescuer, who was not afraid to save me from the darkest, most remote places of my rebellion. He was not afraid to get his hands dirty, even bloodied over my sin. The realness of God dressed in human flesh and the ugliness of the cross causes many to stumble. But true beauty is found in both. And when we get real with him, he becomes real to us.
  4. 3 points
    So don't be afraid therefore; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:31 (HCSB) As I am preparing this devotional, the price of gold is $1,467.25 per ounce. (Hmmm...I could use five ounces of it right now, but that is beside the point.) This price will go up or down depending on various economic factors that I will not discuss. Needless to say, gold is a valuable metal. Yet, there is one asset that is more valuable than gold. The value of this asset does not change with time. It is not platinum even though that is a reasonable guess. This asset is us. Us? Yes, us. Jesus makes it perfectly clear that we are more valuable than many sparrows. So, how much is a bunch of sparrows worth? It really does not matter. The key word in today's devotional verse is "are". We are highly valuable to God. So, how valuable are we to God? We are so valuable to God that He gave His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Then, God raised Jesus up from the dead on the third day to give us all hope of eternal life if we choose to believe in Him. I encourage you to thank God for seeing you as highly valuable to Him. May God bless you today and every day!
  5. 3 points
    I started walking for exercise and had set a goal for myself that each time I walked I would go a little further. As I began walking this woman was coming towards me, and I was going to ask her, if she knew where the trail ended, but I decided not to, because she never looked at me, and didn't appear to be friendly, so I didn't bother and kept on going. I recognized the place where I stopped the last time and continued to walk. I believed I walked another mile and decided that I would stop. I stood there for a few minutes before I started to head home. As I was walking, the woman that I had seen earlier was coming towards me and this time I decided that I would ask her. I began by saying, excuse me Miss does this trail end or does it continue around the entire park? She responded that she didn't know and began to express that she tries to walk at least 15 minutes everyday. She then asked, how about you, and my response was that I try to go a little further each time. I thanked her and we both said to the other, enjoy the rest of your day. I continued to head home, and as I was walking I became thankful that I initiated a conversation. Then I remembered the Scripture that encourages us to show ourselves to be friendly. The next day I learned a very valuable lesson, as I reached the point that I stopped at the day before. As I continued to walk, and to my surprise I had reached the end of the trail. I began to praise the Lord for the lesson I just learned. You see, we never know how close we are to where we want to be. I am not saying that I was too tired or that I wanted to give up, but what I am saying, is this, that if I had just kept going I could have celebrated my achievement the day before. But nevertheless, the Lord is good! I believe He ordered my steps according to His Word, and allowed me to stop where I did, so that I would learn this lesson. We never know what God will use to teach us. My brother always says, "we have to see God in everything." I am learning how true this statement is. My encouragement to you, is keep going, because you will never know what lies ahead, and how close you are to reaching your goals or receiving what God has promised you!
  6. 3 points
    I thought I'd share with you a very special story that has become my annual post. It was read on a Christian radio program. May it bless you. Oh, and bring tissues! ***** The dark, gray skies overhead threatened an early snow. Rushing shoppers, all bundled up to ward off the cold, crowded the sidewalks, lost in their to-do list for Thanksgiving. Oblivious to their surroundings, no one noticed a small, shivering boy standing in front of the shoe store, his nose pressed against the window, barely dressed and only flip-flops on his dirty feet. However, one man did see him and stopped, dead still in his tracks, causing others to bump into him. He didn’t notice the bumps and grumblings, but he did notice the small boy because he had a son about the same age. Thinking how he would feel if this were his son standing there, barely clothed, the man quietly slid next to the boy, the man stood there for a moment, and then said, “They have some nice shoes here, don’t they?” “Yeah,” came the soft reply. “Which ones do you like?” “That pair over there…the cool running ones.” “Oh, I’ll bet you could run fast in those.” “Yes, sir. I sure could. Like the wind!” “You know, I have a little boy just about your age.” “Oh, yeah? I’ll bet he has shoes like that.” “Yes, as a matter of fact, he does. But I have an idea.” “Yeah? What’s that?” “How ’bout I take you into the store and buy you that pair of shoes?” The boy stood there motionless. After a few moments, with tears in his eyes, he looked up at the man. “You want…to…buy…me…shoes?” “I sure do. Your feet must be freezing and I’d love to buy them for you.” The boy couldn’t speak another word. The man took the boy by the hand and walked into the store. Finding the manager, the man described the pair of shoes and asked the manager to please get a pair in the boy’s size, along with some socks. Then, he said he and the boy would be in the restroom and would he please bring the shoes and socks in there. The manager gathered the shoes and socks and, upon entering the men’s restroom, found the man on his knees washing the young boy’s feet. “Can’t stick dirty feet into clean, new socks and shoes, now can we?” The young boy just stared at the man as he lovingly washed away all the accumulated street-dirt and gently dried his feet. Feeling he was intruding on a very special moment, the manager quietly placed the shoes and socks on the floor without saying a word and backed out of the restroom. After placing the socks and shoes on the boy’s feet, the man stood up, and with hands on his hips, said, “Okay. Let’s see how they look. Walk around.” The little boy couldn’t move. He just stared down at his feet that felt glued to the floor. He looked up, tears now streaming down his little face, and said, “Mister, are you Jesus?” The boy’s words took the man’s breath away. So overcome with emotion, the man could barely speak. Finally, he muttered, “No, son, I’m not. But I know Him very well. And this is a gift from Him.” “This is the greatest Thanksgiving ever. Would you tell Jesus thank you for me?” “Well, let’s go for a walk and I’ll tell you how you can do that yourself.” ***** May your thanks-giving be one for which others may give thanks! Thanksgiving blessings to you...Lynn
  7. 2 points
    My life is just a pile of ashes Blown away in the wind every single day My life is just a big old pile of ashes Nothing ever seems to change! Until one day I met You You took the ashes and made something new You created new life within me And now my life is to serve you! My life is just a pile of ashes Molded and shaped and created new My life is forever changed By your Love, Mercy, and Grace Lord forever you I praise!
  8. 2 points
    How Do You See Yourself? “Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground. So, God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God, he created them; male and female he created them’” (Genesis 1:26-27, NLT). Growing up, I always had a poor value of myself. I believed that I was a horrible person. I did a lot of bad things because of my drug and alcohol addiction: I stole from people, I lied to people, I used people etc. I did a lot of bad things, so I thought I was a bad person that deserved nothing but bad things. Even though that has been a long time ago, those memories still stay with me. I forget to remind myself that I am different from all other forms of creation. It is only human life that is called “created in the image of God.” God has given you and I communicable attributes. We have the ability to learn and increase our knowledge, we can reach a certain level of spiritual understanding, we can be very creative, if we seek it – we can become very wise, we can love, we can feel and show compassion, etc. God breathed His very breath into us. Even though I always had a poor view of my self-worth, looking back, there were others that were trying to remind me of who I am, and who they are. I was given second chances by people that should have wronged me, I was forgiven by those that I hurt tremendously, and I was shown love when I only reflected hate. This is that beautiful image of God and that beautiful Spirit working its wonders. I sometimes wondered how someone could be willing to forgive me so easily. When I understood the forgiveness of God, and how he had forgiven me, and what He had done for me – then it made sense to me. You must understand that we all need forgiveness! Every single one of us! I remember when my daughter Madison was just a little girl, maybe only 2 or 3 years old. She was so loving and so understanding and forgiving to be so young. I remember when I would let her down, she would sit in my lap and rub my hair and say, “It is ok daddy, you have pretty hair.” (Laugh out loud) I must put aside my anger, put aside my differences, and have that sweet child-like faith and compassion to be able to forgive in that way. Don’t we all? No matter how you see yourself, how you see others – we are created alike. We have been created in the image of God! We are all valuable and precious to God. Should we not all be willing to forgive? Be Encouraged, Chris 😊
  9. 2 points
    What is your name? It depends on who is calling you? Maybe you are called mommy, or daddy? Maybe you are dear, or honey? When the doctor calls, your ears hear your full name. When you hear which name someone is using, then that can tell a lot about the roles that exist between the people. The Lord has been known by many names. In the bible we see different references for the names we know Him by. One name was used in Daniel alone. This name was Ancient of Days. We find this in Daniel 7. Daniel 7:9 NKJV “I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire. Study light.org commentary discusses that this name Ancient of Days is about stressing the eternity of God. Oxford dictionary states that eternity means unending time. Ancient of Days is our Lord showing us that He is beyond time. That time has no impact for our God. He is not concerned as the days turn to years. He is not worried that task will not be completed. The clicking of the clock is just a background noise with no pressure on His actions. How does an eternal Father make a difference in our limited lives right now? We may have an expiration date on earth, but our prayers to the Lord do not. Prayers that reached the Ancient of Days is the one thing that will continue with Him, even long after they leave our lips. 1 John 5:14 NKJV Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. Daniel 7:9 gives a good visual of who our mighty God is? What if our prayer today was focused on this Lord who is eternal? Let’s take the time to reach out to Him. When we do, the words that flow from our spirits, can be spoken with a peace. A peace that they are given to the One who can hold our desperate cries. Our Father holds on to those heartfelt words, knowing that time itself will erase some of the pain of our prayers, and the other ones may be tied to time that only He understands. Ancient of Days is just another name in the role that our Savior has with us. When we have that time alone, what will change knowing that our Lord has a name that is beyond the passage of time. Ancient of Days, the God with no limits on time, please help us not be stressed with our limited time. Allow us peace, comfort, and perseverance when we feel overwhelmed with to do list, and deadlines. Proverbs 3:34 Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor.
  10. 2 points
    “I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness…” (Isaiah 61:10, NIV). There’s a man in my town. I drive past him on a regular basis, too uncomfortable to stop and have an actual conversation. He’s rough looking, unshaved, with skin worn and darkened from many hours in the sun. He appears beaten down and tired from the many miles he’s paced on this particular stretch of road. I imagine he has a story, that he would happily share, if only I would stop and listen, but I have places to go and people to see, who, quite honestly, I’d much rather spend my time with. The man is easy to spot – perhaps you’ve seen him as well – as he adorns himself with two wooden signs, one in front and one behind, tied together with two strands of rope that wear heavily upon his shoulders. The signs contain a crudely handwritten message that I can’t quite make out. He’s a walking billboard, but the only advertisement he’s promoting is his dire predicament. I really should stop, but I’m in a hurry. I’m late for work and people are depending on me. Maybe tomorrow I’ll have the time for a conversation, but if I do, I hope it will be brief and not too uncomfortable. I’ll die if someone sees me talking to this guy! As I drive by, I think for a few more moments about the man. His entire identity seems to be tied to this sign, tied to his body. I wish he could see his real self-worth, that he is loved by God, that he is forgiven, that he doesn’t need to be burdened by his past, his sin, or this sign. Rather, he has been clothed in righteousness by a God who loves him and a Savior who bore a cross for him. These are the words the man needs to hear. And maybe I’m the one who needs to tell him. But today, I am pretty busy. Maybe I’ll stop tomorrow or the next day. That’s what I’ll do.
  11. 2 points
    In the spring of 1985, I found myself at the doorstep of mom’s house. She was expecting me, but unprepared for the shock of her life. I had called to inform her that I was coming back home. I hopped into my car and drove the four and half hour trip. I was a physical wreck for it took every bit of strength I could muster up to complete the journey. I had the shakes and a severe hangover from the previous night. I cannot remember the last time I had taken a sober breath. I pulled into the childhood driveway, threw the transmission into park, and walked up to the front door. With my right hand, I reached for the doorknob, twisted it, and walk through the threshold. I was embraced with a loving hug followed by sobbing. The tears falling down the cheeks of her face were not joyful but terror. She did not recognize her youngest son because she remembered her boy being full of life. Bewilderment radiated through her expression, and she was devastated. I was one hundred and ten pounds and the skin on my face was sunken inward, giving the appearance of a sick and frail young man. I was speechless, hopeless, and desperate. I was only away from home for three years. I never thought it would end up like this. I was full of ambition, ready to take life by the horns. I had visions of prestige by planning to make a name for myself. I had a lot of good intentions. These should have been achievable goals, but the demons inside myself stripped away anything worthwhile. I was baffled, ashamed, and did not know where to turn. My parents agreed to provide me a place to stay under the condition I would seek help. I was willing and took them up on their offer. Mom knew of a counselor who specialized in alcohol addiction. So I contacted him. After the first face to face session with Mr. Barfield and just before leaving his office, he handed me a flyer with a list of twelve-step programs. He highly suggested I start attending meetings. I decided to choose one and did not know what to expect from the twelve-step program. I was scared. I cannot recall the topic at my first meeting. I continued attending and began to identify with the medical description of alcoholism. The way they laid it out made perfect sense because for the first time concerning my drunkenness there was a logical explanation. It spoke volumes, and as I looked back at the past, there was concrete evidence staring me between the eyes. Then came their hook, line, and sinker that would be the only solution to my predicament. God! That presented me with a major stumbling block because I was agnostic. There could be no God in this world riddled with evilness. I was highly offended by their seemingly shallow outlook. How could God do anything for me? Well, they said to me, just hang in there a little longer. Don’t give up before the miracle happens is a frequent slogan. Things did change. God began to work on me, and I gradually found faith. As a result, from seeking God a transformation began taking root, and I learned a lot about how He works. I came to understand that through trusting Him everything will be taken care of regardless of the current situation. The power I received from His strength allowed me to make amends for my wrongdoings as well as healing my heart. Even though I found the effect of God, I failed to maintain it and became complacent. I was content with the way my spiritual life was and started to slack off in my devotion. I did not realize the danger this type of view would bring. This blindness cost me dearly and after eighteen years of sobriety, I got drunk. I remember the moment I started using alcohol again was not wise. Everything God had done for me was tossed aside because I decided to get drunk. The insanity of alcoholism returned with a fury taking me places of degradation. I was in the grip of wickedness unlike any I had known. I was dying a slow and miserable death. God did not give up on me and continued calling me back. I finally heard Him after eight years of misery. He opened His arms, and I embraced Him. God picked up where He had left off and quickly showed me the light at the end of the tunnel. As I walked down God’s tunnel, He delivered me to His Son Jesus Christ and into salvation. I now know the Light at the end of God’s tunnel is Heaven.
  12. 2 points
    “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32, NIV). God often uses unique experiences to remind us of his care. Such was the case on a recent stay at my sister-in-law’s house in Nebraska. Through a downstairs bedroom window, I observed a baby robin that had fallen into the window well. The well was too deep for the bird to climb out and too narrow for it to gain enough momentum to fly away. I soon recognized that if the baby robin was going to survive, I would have to rescue it. I quickly devised a plan to scoop the bird from the window well. When I stooped down beside it, however, it began to chirp wildly in fear. Soon, I was bombarded by the baby robin’s family, who, unbeknownst to me, had been watching intently from a nearby tree. After rescuing the baby robin, I reflected upon my harrowing experience. The small bird had mistaken my best intentions at saving it for a desire to harm it. Had the baby robin only known that I was attempting to help, it would not have so vehemently resisted. Sometimes, we are like that baby robin. We find ourselves in some sort of predicament, often of our own making, and we resist God’s well-intentioned attempts to rescue us. We might cry out in fear, hurt, or rebellion, when, all along, God’s desire is to help us. May we truly recognize that God is for us, not against us, and that he cares for us in a much deeper way than I cared for that baby robin. May we cry out to him in heartfelt prayer, and may he rescue us from the deepest pit in which we find ourselves.
  13. 2 points
    Prophet Jonah the son of Amittai had his travel details cut out for him by the One who sent him – Go to Nineveh and preach (Jonah 1:2) . There was no mistaking about his destination and assignment. His destination was Nineveh, his assignment was to preach. Jonah knew which ship to board that would take him to the place of his destination and assignment. But Jonah did otherwise – He went down to Joppa to board a ship going to Tarshish (Jonah 1:3). The rest of what happened to Jonah is a story we all know too well. Many today are in the wrong ship sailing down in the wrong direction – wrong relationSHIP, wrong friendSHIP, wrong partnerSHIP, wrong courtSHIP, wrong fellowSHIP, wrong companionSHIP, wrong memberSHIP and several other forms of wrong ships. The more we go down into the wrong ship, the farther we go away from our divine destination and purpose. Brother Jonah was sent to Nineveh but he headed in an entirely opposite direction to Tarshish. There was no way that ship in which he boarded would take him to his assigned destination. Are you in the wrong ship? Am I in the wrong ship? Are you currently aboard the ship that is heading in the direction God has ordained for your life? Does it look like you are drifting away from the course God wants you to stay on? Have you deliberately plunged yourself, like Jonah, unto a destination of disobedience and sin? Are you in a ship with others whose destination and purpose are at polar variance with yours? How on earth do you intend to get to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean while you are on a bus heading towards the Sahara Desert? Now is it the time for you to jump ship and return back to port .Check your relationships and people you surround yourself with. Are they taking you farther away from God or are they adding value to your love for God and faith in God. Review your ship while you still can. “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffer harm”. Prov. 13:20 Akin Ibimidu
  14. 2 points
    How can one be “dead to sin” (Rom 6:2) and yet continue to possess its source, which is the “old man” (Eph 4:22; Col 3:9)? It’s scripturally certain that “dead” does not intend the eradication of the sin nature, nor the effects of it, or the Spirit would not need to oppose it (Gal 5:17), and the Apostle Paul would have not discovered its continual indwelling (Rom 7). We are not said to be in the sin nature (Rom 8:9), but it is in us! The sin nature being “crucified” (Rom 6:6) within believers separates (“sanctifies” - 2Th 2:13) them from being “in the flesh,” i.e. not condemned nor dominated by the sin nature (Rom 8:1; 6:12, 14). The crucifixion power of the Lord Jesus is applied to the old man and separates us from the natural desire for sin, which is seen in our prominent motive to continue to “shun evil” (1Pe 3:11). Rebirth is transformation (Rom 12:2) from being dead in sin (Col 2:13)—to being “dead to sin” (Rom 6:2)! To “continue in sin” (Rom 6:1) is to desire and willingly serve sin, which is the only way one can respond in an unregenerate state, for there is no new nature to desire otherwise. The Divine Nature of Christ was not created, thus the believer’s “new man” is not Christ’s nature, which has always been, but a nature that was created “after” His nature (Col 3:10), i.e. not in similitude of His deity but in the imputation of His holiness. This nature is the indwelling “seed,” which is that part of us that “cannot sin” (1Jn 3:9). It is the Spirit via the new nature that God “works in you” (Phl 2:13), thus it is the new nature and work of God that keeps those reborn from ever again desiring to sin willingly (Heb 10:26). Paul demonstrates the indwelling of his new nature by the example of being a “captive to the law of sin” (Rom 7:23). The sense is that any sin committed by his old “I” is against the will of his new “I” (Rom 7:17, 20). Again, the most significant issue concerning deliverance from sin lies not in the possession of its source nor in the commission of its works—but whether or not it’s the willful desire of the soul to sin!
  15. 2 points
    Psalm 100 KJV...1...Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. 2...Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 3...Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4...Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 5...For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. Church services today are quite different than they used to be. That does not mean God's presence is not in services but getting the congregation into Praise & Worship can be difficult because of the baggage we are bringing with us when we walk through the Church doors. We have a lot on our minds, life's pace has quickened to the point where we rush doing everything including getting to church. We are so focused with other things we forget we are entering the one place where everything we struggle with can be fixed and God is the fixer. Moses was chosen by God for His service but when Moses was in God's presence, his face radiated from the glow of God Glory. So much so that when the people saw Moses after his visit with God they were afraid. God is no one to play with but He loves us. In spite of what we do, God loves us. How fortunate we are to know that the God, who created us, provides for us, heals us and so much more cares enough about you and I that He sent His Son Jesus to die on a cross for us. And when Jesus died, the partition separating God from man and woman was torn from the top to the bottom so you and I can have access to God for ourselves. We don't have to sacrifice a ram, goat, sheep or any animal as a sacrifice to come before The God of All Creation. Jesus is the one who provides our eternal salvation to us by our accepting Him as our Lord and Savior. Imagine, eternity with the God who cared enough about you and I that He gave us His Holy Spirit to lead us every day into the right way to live, treat others, loving who the world calls the unlovable. God is worthy of our Praise because He opens doors for us that we would never be able to open by ourselves. God is worthy of our Praise because of the knowledge he gave man and woman to reach solar systems never seen before, controls every ocean known to man, reminds us daily that many of the medicines needed to cure us can be found in the plants and herbs that came into existence because He said "LET THERE BE". God is worthy of our Praise because the diamonds, gold, silver and other precious stones we admire so much have always been in the ground waiting for man and woman to find, mine and purify for us. God is worthy of our Praise because that old car we have or had continued to run even though the mechanic told us it was on its last leg and would not last through the winter. Now it is spring and it is still running. God is worth of our Praise because you and I are still alive because of the covenant relationship He had with Abraham. Each descendant of Abraham prayed that God would bless their family from generation to generation and He has. Our relatives we have never known prayed, God save my children, grandchildren through every generation and He has. God is worthy of your Praise because no bullets came into your car while you were driving, no fire or robber invaded your home, when you didn't have the money for the bill or food, God provided exactly what you needed. When you didn't have money for the medicine, didn't have money for your son or daughter's books, didn't have anyone to help you out of that tight spot you were in, He sent someone to you that blessed you with the money. Make a declaration today, when Sunday comes...you and your family walks through the church doors with an eagerness you may have never had or had and lost because of the world's issues we carry...walk into the sanctuary with your hands lifted toward heaven with Praise to God coming from your mouth. Make Your Joyful Noise as you walk down the aisle to your seat. Tell God how much you can't wait to serve Him with GLADNESS, not out of duty, not out of guilt, not because someone told you but because you are truly glad that the God of everything has been waiting on you to give Him your Praise.
  16. 2 points
    Nothing can be more edifying than to repose in the love of the Lord Jesus when it is known, and the heart set free to rest in it. The soul may have a long journey to reach it experientially; there may be needs and exercises to be met and removed on the way; the old man and the world may have to be learned; but the great end of all our exercises—and, I may add, of all our deliverances is that we rest in the thoughts of divine love, and that love becomes a very real way the portion of our hearts. If our hearts are not in the circle of divine love they have nothing, for as Christians we have no portion on earth or in the world (majority of mankind—NC); our portion is in divine love. Thank God!—it is a satisfying portion (Christ is our “inheritance” and we are His inheritance – Eph 1:11, 18—NC). For some years I thought that John 10 was written to make the believer sure that eternal blessing was secured to him. I rejoice to know that it does this, but there is far more to it than this. The Good Shepherd laid down His life for the sheep that He might have the joy of securing them for Himself and for His Father. The Father and the Son wanted the sheep for Themselves, and the death of Christ is the righteous title of divine love to take possession, and to keep possession of them (inherit—NC). They wanted a company whom They might introduce into the circle of divine love, with a nature suitable to the circle, and capable of appreciating and responding to it (Col 3:10; 2Pe 1:4 – man only is in God’s image and in whom only His nature dwells—NC). Much may have to be done for us. We shall need support, preservation, discipline. If we are left here a little longer we shall need grace, mercy and forbearance of God in a thousand ways, but all which will be needed in the future to keep us for the Father and the Son is small compared with the stupendous cost at which loved secured us. “Hereby perceive we love, because He laid down His life for us.” The Lord Jesus came from God alone, but He has gone to God as the Head of a new and blessed race (not even angels are in His image and nature—NC), and as the One who has secured everything for God. He is the perfect contrast to Adam the first, who came from God, secured everything for God, and went to the dust. The last Adam came from God, secured everything for God, and has gone to God as the glorified Head of a new race (only One presently in heaven with a redeemed Body—NC) brought into divine love in association with Himself, the Head of a new creation in which all the thoughts of that love will be effected and displayed forever. The Father has “given all things into His hands” (Mat 11:27; 28:18; Jhn 3:35; 13:3; 1Co 15:27; Eph 1:21, 22; Phl 2:9; Heb 1:2). Think of the greatness of it. The Lord Jesus stepped into the midst of all the ruin and moral chaos which sin had caused, and so secured everything for God that the Father has given in His hands. He has acquired the right the be Head of the new creation—to be the Center and Sun of that universe of bliss which He has secured for the Father, and which He will fill with divine glory. Those far-reaching realms of light and glory are fitly inherited by Him who has put them all in suitability to divine love. In such a circle our souls are lost, dazzled and bewildered. The expanse of divine gory is too great for us. We cannot yet comprehend divine greatness, thank God; the portion of our hearts is divine love. The saints are His own by the Father’s gift. “Thine they were,” says the Son, “and Thou gavest them Me” (Jn 17:6 – which was to show that of all Christ received was from His Father (v 7), to manifest love to us was first from His Father—NC). Before time began the Father took possession of us by making us the subjects of His gracious thoughts and counsel, and His purpose and object in thus taking possession of us was that He might give us His Son. (Conversely—NC) In the thoughts of divine love we are of such value as to be a suitable gift from the Father to the Son—a gift worthy of the Giver and the Receiver. We shall be forever the expression to the Son of the Father’s love for Him! — C A Coates (1862-1945) MJS devotional excerpt for February 4: “The believer can never overcome the ‘old man’ even by the power of the ‘new’ apart from the work of the Cross, and therefore the death of Christ is indispensable, and unless the Cross is made the basis upon which he overcomes the ‘old nature,’ he only drops into another form of morality; in other words, he is seeking by self-effort to overcome sin and self, and the struggle is a hopeless one.” -C.U. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  17. 2 points
    Pardon me, we won't go deeper into this, but we'll be trusting the holy spirit to help us along the way as we walk this life in Christ Jesus. First and foremost, it is the desire of our Lord Jesus to see us being restored back to our original relationship with God which we had once lost as a result of sin. Jesus bringing us out of sin and death actually isn't just for us to escape hell, rather it is for us to build a relationship with Him. He desires our relationship. And as we grow deeper in Intimacy in God, through His word, prayers and our lives lived in holiness as a living sacrifice, we then begin to experience more of His life. Every relationship begins small, but in time, as you persist in faithfulness, you become so close enough to know in details about that person and whatever such person plans to do, he reveals to you. So it is with us and God. We can't have a relationship with God, if we've not yet known Jesus in spirit, it is our acceptance of Jesus as Lord, that enables us have the holy spirit, which brings us into a relationship with God, through Jesus, by the holy spirit. Meanwhile, the only way we can build our relationship to hear from God is firstly, and always by the holy spirit. The holy spirit is the one who guides and advises us on what to do and how to draw closer to God. He's like a relationship counselor. If you're not closer to God, you can't hear from Him clearly, the reason why many forget revelations, is because they're not prayerful enough to trap spiritual message from God as a result of the flesh. And, as a result of being denatured by sin, we had once lost the spirit of God when we get back to Him. It is then by the holy spirit given to us on acceptance of God's word ( Jesus ) we're being taught and governed on how to please God. We must do everything to spend time in God's word to be filled with the holy spirit. The more you spend time feeding on God's word, meditating on it slowly, attentively and repeatedly, the more you're being filled with the holy spirit. And the more you're being filled, the more you're being drawn closer to God. You then begin to have encounters, like revelations, visions, or even see Him face to face. He does as He wills. Now we know the main helper of our hearing from God is the holy spirit, let's get to the basis. And oh, don't forget to pray to sanctify your heart for the holy spirit to remain. The first hearing of God begins in our heart. Actually, God only speaks to us in our heart as the contact point and so we must put our heart in order for God to come in, we must be sanctified through the word and constant prayers. Now a pilot wouldn't want to land a craft on a dead runway, it has to be cleared of every debris and reformed. As we Journey deeper in Intimacy, His voice becomes more audible. The thoughts of good and to live fully for God is the first voice of God by the holy spirit, it comes as a whisper in your heart, or like an uncomfortable feeling when you're about to do something wrong. In other words, every thought of good in your heart aren't yours they're of God, it's like a telepathy you have to obey. The second basis and also, authorized medium we hear from God is through His word, either by hearing from a genuine child or servant of God or from the Bible, but I'll always suggest the Bible as there are many false teachers, you'll need discernment to know the true ones. And the only way to have discernment is by dosing our heart with life, not God's word as knowledge substance, but as life substance. It is this life the holy spirit will feed on in other to expand in us, then we can discern that which is of God. Before you start running to men or doctrines first have the filling of the holy spirit. God speaks to us always through His word, even if you can hear from Him audibly, you'll still need the bible to draw from God's life. And as you come to Him through His word, do come with a free heart without impurity and ask the holy spirit to teach you. Then, He'll begin to teach you according to your spiritual height, so you can grow in spirit to be closer to God and hear deep things from Him. Meanwhile, the Lord can speak to someone who is ungodly, but there is a difference between speaking and relationship, even if Jesus does speak to one audibly when he's still a child in the spirit, he still needs to grow to make it into a relationship. For example, if the president talks to you on monthly basis through restricted calls, you can't call that a relationship until you've become close to Him, close enough as a family. As you feed on God's word, His word which are life are sealed in your heart, and so whenever God wants to act in or through you, it is His word sealed in your heart the holy spirit will act upon to do God's will. God speaks to us by the holy spirit, and the holy spirit act on God's substance word in us to do God's will unconsciously and naturally and to hear from Him. God's word are life and as you're filled with His life, the nature of spirit of death is being destroyed, your spiritual senses begin to open to be able to hear from God clearly. And thirdly, we hear form God through, quiet speaking in our hearts, revelations, visions, trances, or audibly in our heart and even seeing Him face to face. But the only way to access these is to embark on a life of ceaseless prayers. Jesus taught us to pray always. Not because of our needs, but rather to build a deeper level of Intimacy with God. And Jesus always prayed not because he wants to pray, but as a God wearing flesh, man has to pray to reconnect back to God. Jesus didn't just begin to talk with God, because He's the son of God, no. Because He wore flesh he had to follow the law of the physical and the spiritual set by God, we ought to pray to restore that relationship. You'll have to spend more time with someone in other to know Him more. So also, we must pray as an act of Intimacy to know God more. Prayer is the fastest way to hear from God. Just as the men of old made sacrifices to hear from God, so also Jesus came and made our heart an alter of sacrifice, that through prayers by the holy spirit, sacrifices are risen unit God as incense to invoke God's presence in our lives, this is when we begin to get feedback or hear from Him. A man who prays more will hear God on time than he who prays less, why? Because prayer is a Journey unto God. Sin has thrown us farther from God and so we have to Journey back to Him through Intimacy ( prayers and His word ). God is always speaking, but if you're too far, If you pray less, you won't hear Him clearly. Untill you get close to him through prayers as an act of Intimacy then, you'll hear Him clearly and He'll begin to reveal deep mysteries to you, His mind, His will, will be made bare before you. Things known only to few men or specifically only you. For this, I'll teach you how to pray ceaselessly; Just as it is good to pray with our mouth, the only way to pray ceaselessly is to pray in the heart. This is why the Apostles and every great men of God did. Here are some scriptural references before we begin; I'll give some scriptural references, then show you also, how i do pray without ceasing. 1Corinthians 14:15. " What should I do, then? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray also with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will sing also with my mind." Colossians 2:6-7 " So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." Ephesians 5:18-20 " Do not be drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead be filled with the spirit. Speak to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord, always giving thanks to God for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1Thessalonians 5:16-18 " Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Praying without ceasing is of heart, it's not in the mouth but in the heart, for me I meditate on these constantly in my heart; - Thank you Jesus, thank you Lord - Take more of me and give me more of you - Jesus, ( continually in my heart ) - Locate me Lord in your mercy - in the name of Jesus, the blood of Jesus - in Jesus name - Then I switch to spiritual song at times You can add yours if you feel like. These are all prayers, as long as you are communicating with God. What do you think happens when you're disconnected from a dear one for a long time, there be a decline in relationship, so it is with God. I did get these excerpt from a message actually. For me, I pray these prayer in my heart continually, when I'm eating, while I'm walking, as long as I'm not meditating on the word, I'm praying, even as I'm writing this, I'm praying. This is the only way to hear from God quickly. I say these continually in my heart to journey closer or rather become more intimate with God. With this, then you can hear from Him. Then you'll see and know Him in greater dimensions Everything, starts small, it takes a little getting used to, but if you're faithful the Lord Jesus will help you. And I pray and believe He'll help you rapidly in Jesus name Amen. As I earlier said, man was once fallen because of sin and so the spirit of God was removed, but finally restored to all who accepts Jesus as Lord. Reconfiguration and transformation don't happen in a day, it's a gradual process.
  18. 2 points
    After escaping through the Red Sea, the Hebrews traveled through the wilderness and arrived at Sinai, God’s Holy Mountain. There they received the Ten Commandments, as well as instructions for building a Tabernacle as a center of worship. Through Israel’s experiences at Mount Sinai, we learn about the importance of obedience in our relationship with God. His laws help expose sin, and they give standards for our righteous living. The opening statement about this month’s message is Biblical truth, not opinion. In our country, we are Christians supposedly holding up the Blood Stained banner to win souls who are lost, pointing them toward Jesus and The Bible’s standard of Holiness in our lifestyle. Instead we are odds because of politics (which is nothing new) and I will say now, all political parties regardless of what they are called are guilty of not following God’s law. If we continue to rally around the political fight against each other, we too are guilty of sin. Yet we seem to not let it concern us. Exodus 19:3-6…And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; 4…Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles wings, and brought you unto myself. 5…Now therefore if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6…and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. God had a reason for rescuing the children of Israel from slavery. He was ready to tell them what it was: Israel was to become a holy nation, a kingdom of priests in which anyone could approach God freely. It did not take long, however, for the people to mess up His plan. This sounds painfully familiar doesn’t it? And yes, we collectively are guilty. God repeatedly gets us out of problem after problem; we run to Church and do as He asks for 5 minutes, before you know it we are back to business as usual. The fact that God has chosen us for His plan goes out the window because His plan just does not fit where we are now. Really? God has promised us victory because He loves and provides for us but we are supposed to do our part for His kingdom. Not the political one we fight over or anything we allow to prohibit us from following His plan. Isaiah 43:15…I am the Lord, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King. 16…Thus saith the Lord, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters. 18…Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. 19…Behold I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. 20…The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls; because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen. 21…This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise. I can hear someone saying, all of that stuff was Old Testament. Well just for you, here is what Jesus said…Jesus said in John 15:16 - Ye did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that ye should go and bear fruit, and [that] your fruit should abide: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. The 12 chosen men called Disciples learned from Jesus, walked and talked with Him for 3 and a half years but did not become the great dynamic men of God He knew they would become until they received the Holy Ghost in the Book of Acts. They were so focused on their purpose that they fought against political powers believing instead what they had been taught by Jesus. Combined with the boldness of the Holy Spirit, when political powers threatened them, they stood for Jesus and changed the world. Peter wrote the epistle (letter) that contains the featured passage for this message 1st Peter 2:9 and 10..But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: 10… which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. That my friends is our purpose, not arguing over political talking points or listening to views that make no mention of The Gospel of Jesus Christ. Political issues are meant to divide us, to make us of no effect to those needing truth. We have been chosen for God’s purpose which by the world’s standard makes us peculiar. I will take that any day, all day. My prayer is that you will also. Thank You Lord for your Word.
  19. 2 points
    I believe that as children of God this may be one of the hardest things for us to do. We say that we trust God, but when the storms of life come, man that's another story. It's easy to say, God I trust you when things are going great, but let me tell you those words that we speak will be tried. So when the time of testing comes, we show that we really don't trust Him as much as we say we do. Everything shows up in the fire! We immediately go into worry mode, and begin to fall apart when we lose our jobs, or suffer some type of loss. I believe that it is during these times, that many of us come to realize that our dependency is really not in the Lord, but what we are use to trusting in. God our Father wants us to know that we really can depend on His Word, that His Promises are true. I have come to the conclusion that He will allow us to go through times of financial difficulties. Where we no longer depend on our paycheck to meet our needs, for the sole purpose of bringing us to the place where we come to know Him as Provider. He allows things to happen, in order to prove how faithful He really is, and that He will do exactly what He says, He will do. I believe that we have to become like little children again, who naturally trust, rely, and depend on their earthly parents for everything. It is that same childlike faith that we must have in our heavenly Father, Who has shown us time after time, that He can be trusted!
  20. 2 points
    The real good in any ministry is in the measure in which it feeds the heart with the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the sun to give to give light and warmth, and the greater the extent of surface presented to Him the more He confers. There is more capacity to receive, which is increased as the heart is occupied with Him. The heart is first won, and this deepens as it learns His love “in His humiliation” (Act 8:33; Phl 2:8, 9). He “loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal 2:20). Secondly, the heart is satisfied because united to Him, and in association with Him where He is in His glorification (Jhn 12:16). The heart captivated by and object could not be at rest until it was united to the One who had won it, and for satisfaction the heart must be where He is. Love really cannot think of anything until it is quite sure of its object; then when at rest about itself, it studies the mind and heart of that object. The first desire of a true heart, as with the women in Luke 7:37-50, is to seek the presence of the Savior, to be in personal nearness to Him. With the bride in Canticles, whenever He is present, all is bright—but there is no satisfaction. There is true affection, and often deep delight, but there is no satisfaction until the heart is in assured union and association with its Object (knowing permanency in Christ allows for confident and persistent satisfaction, and nothing else will do—NC). Thirdly, after satisfaction comes an entirely new occupation. All before related chiefly to oneself. The heart is won, and the heart is satisfied; now the occupation will be studying Him—seeking to be suitable to Him. One may try to be suitable to Him in order to satisfy one’s own heart, but then there is a legality about the effort, and it bears the mark of seeking to make oneself the object rather than Him (if first motive is pleasing Him, esp. with enduring difficulties, all aligns properly for growth—NC). Now after my heart is satisfied, I sit down before the Lord and study Him, and from that study I grow (now, all is only a matter of growth in the “image of Christ” in our walk—NC). “Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory” (2Co 3:18). All the previous gains of the heart are increased by each new one; that is, I am more won by the Lord Jesus as I am satisfied by Him, and I am more won and satisfied as I fellowship with Him. I continue in His sanctification and company. “For their sakes I sanctify Myself” (Jhn 17:19). As I am sanctified I am ornamented, and it is the adorned one that is properly qualified to be the serving one. “That they may adorn the doctrine of God, our Savior, in all things” (Titus 2:10). The serving one deepens in all the preceding gains. He is more won, more satisfied, more suitable as he is more serving. I do not come to the Lord Jesus as to my fellow, attracting Him by something in me—I have nothing (from self—NC) to bring Him, and He won me when I was in the most unattractive state. Hence I must be well assured of the constancy of His heart for me, and of my association with Him, which far removed me from the depth of misery I was in, before I can think whether I could be anything or could to anything to please Him, for I have nothing of myself, and it is only in His company that I “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen” (2Pe 3:18). - J B Stoney Excerpt from MJS devotional for September 10: We receive life by reliance upon the Savior; we grow in that life by reliance upon the Spirit. "Many think that because of faith they are cleared of everything before God through the Cross, and therefore by faith they are clear of everything in themselves. But that is the error of ‘holiness by faith.’ The objective (position) is that we are clear before the Father; the subjective (condition) is that we are cleared from ourselves by the growth ministry of the Holy Spirit." "As you by faith in the positional facts realize that you are in the Father’s presence, you will not try to depend upon any sense of His presence. You know His presence because you know that your position in the Christian life is a life of faith in the facts—nothing else. That the Father forces you to live by faith so as to draw you into His presence—not you, by sense, trying to draw Him into yours." - Miles J Stanford
  21. 2 points
    My soul doth wait on You My heart quickens to Your word My mind gulps Your endless rivers of knowledge My body trembles at my infinite faults in the face of Your glory May I call upon Your name May I beg Your Mercy What right can I claim to You I give You my heart willingly I possess nothing else to offer I am but a weakend vessel, spilling out from pierced sides Even in the darkness, I can hear the echoing of Your name In death, You breathe In me
  22. 2 points
    While the world sleeps He can hear the weeps Of the suffering, crying at His feet As He carries their burden of defeat Comforting those who have been made weak From the brutalities of this world and the things we seek For the lost and destined souls There's hope for those He knows'
  23. 1 point
    The Golden Rule “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite but love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18, NLT). What happens when someone does us wrong? We usually act out from our emotions. If we are hurting, we want to inflict that hurt upon the other person. Hurt people hurt people! Sometimes when we are upset, we do not even say anything to the other person. But we sure do tell everyone else. We talk about the problem behind their back and do you know what that does? It only makes the situation worse. This just leads to resentment and hatred. Since the 18th century the “Golden Rule” has commonly designated this ethical maxim. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. That sounds familiar. Probably because Jesus said this in Matthew 7:12. So, if you are treating someone poorly, you should think about this. Is this how you want to be treated in return? When someone is doing you wrong, it does not feel good does it? The natural consequence of harboring ill feelings and a grudge-bearing attitude is going to result in vengeance. You are going to do something that you will regret! The kind of love that is being discussed here means that a person is to forgive a neighbor’s wrongs as quickly as they would forgive themselves. It means you are to show others the same practical care that you show yourself! For me, that was a major problem. The care that I showed myself was alcohol and drug abuse. I had a poor view of my self-worth, and I treated myself like garbage. I am 36 years old and I am just now realizing this is why I have treated people so poorly throughout my life. This is why so many of my relationships have failed. This is why my relationship with God failed! Is this you too? How could I love and respect God if I could not love and respect myself? When God would tell me I was the apple of his eye, I would call him a liar. I will tell you what helped me to turn around. It was when I done someone horribly wrong, but yet they did not do me wrong. Instead, they showed me love, compassion, and forgiveness. It took that happening for me to see the love, compassion, and forgiveness that God had extended to me so many times. It took that for me to extend that same love, compassion, and forgiveness to myself! I am trying my best to live by Jesus’ example. I fail all the time, but Jesus did not! “He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God who always judges fairly” 1 Peter 2:23. If we repay evil with evil, we are putting ourselves in the place of God. And we are also sinning against the sinner! God is the only fair judge! Your job, my job, is to love. So start showing people how you want to be treated today. We all want and desire to be loved! Be Encouraged, Chris
  24. 1 point
    As I was reading Scripture this morning, I was reading in Mark chapter 1. I came across verse 9: “One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan river” (Mark 1:9, NLT). I was reading that, and I was thinking about Nazareth just a little. If you think about it, the people back then would have probably thought that their Messiah would come from Jerusalem rather than a little small village that really had no significance whatsoever. It reminds me of Jellico, here where I live. It is a small town of maybe 2,500 people if that. In the bigger cities people always say, “Nothing good ever comes out of Jellico.” That is because this little town is overrun with drugs. But I can see the people on the scene back then thinking that very same thing about Jesus and about Nazareth: “Nothing really good ever comes out of Nazareth.” And then another thing that really smacked me across the face was Jesus being baptized. Especially in a baptism for the repentance of sins. If Jesus needs to be forgiven of sins, then we are all very much in trouble. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For God made Christ, who never sinned to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” Shew! Thank goodness – that was a close one! So, Jesus participated in John’s baptism not because he needed to repent of his sins, but he did it to identify with us – sinful humanity! Wow! This is it! The time we have been waiting for is happening … Then the spirit descended on Jesus like a dove when he popped up out of that water verse 10. This verse took me all the way back to Genesis 8:10-12: “After waiting another 7 days, Noah released the dove again. This time the dove returned to him in the evening with a fresh olive leaf in its beak. Then Noah knew that the floodwaters were almost gone. He waited another seven days and then released the dove again. This time it did not come back.” God’s promise to Noah of a new world was there! And it is here in Mark that we see the Messiah coming to fulfill the promise that God made to his people! Have you ever saw a dove? We had one hanging around the house here for a while. It was so gentle, just as Jesus the gentle servant who was coming to bring healing and restoration following a message or repentance by John. Israel was being asked to turn around. You are going the wrong way folks! Turn around from your disobedience and rebellion and start anew by turning to the Messiah – he is here! Hope you guys have a fantastic day. I was super blessed with my Bible study and I just had to share 😊 Be Encouraged, Chris
  25. 1 point
    A True Friend “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us. When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more.” (Ruth 1:16:18). Some of my best memories as a child was my friends. Early on, I had a couple ride or die friends that were always there for me. That would always do anything for me. Travis Jeffers and Brian Gosnell. We were so young back then. Maybe 10 or 11. As you get older, you realize that very rarely you will ever have the kind of friendship with anyone that you had with a childhood friend. That is just a different kind of friendship right there. The sleepovers, the all-nighters on the old Sega Genesis 😊 those were the days. Reading this passage of Scripture brought back old memories of friends that I have not saw in years. I thought to myself, “Man, what a friend Ruth was.” It would be nice to have a genuine friend like that would it not? It is hard to find a true friend these days. This Scripture is so awesome for me because it shows me how we should be in our friendships with others. It shows me where I fail as a friend. Naomi tried to get Ruth to leave, but she was not hearing it. The original word for determined in verse 18 means – strength, firmness, and persistence. We could all use some of that in our lives, couldn’t we? Man, this just reminded me how quickly we give up on people. We give up on people so easily sometimes. All I know is if we were fixing to embark on a journey together, and I had just had the worst luck, the most of horrible days, and you told me to just go ahead and go home – ok see you pal! Be careful. Call me when you get there! You know what really stuck out to me? Isn’t our recovery journey a lot like that? Those whom we thought were our friends just bid us farewell. They pretty much write us off. Good luck pal hope you make it through your recovery. Most of them are not ready or willing to be by our side through it all! We all need a friend in our life that possesses a character like Ruth. Someone that will hold us accountable, always be there for us, and not give up on us when we give up on ourselves. Do you have a friend like that in your life? If you do, consider yourself extremely blessed. Call them or message them today and tell them how much you appreciate their friendship and everything that they have done for you. Even if you are like me, and it is an old childhood friend that you have not saw in years. Try and get in touch with them and see how they are doing. Talk about your memories together of the good old days. This could be life changing for you! We sometimes take friendship for granted. Having a true friend is like taking a coin into the pawn stars shop in Vegas and finding out it is worth 1 million dollars. You did not realize what you had! Be Encouraged, Chris Hope everyone has a Happy Father’s Day!
  26. 1 point
    The body of Christ is moving. Blessed are those who are members of His body. It is more blessed for those who realize this movement. For those who've been praying and putting to good use whatever God has given, well, what more can we say. Let us pray that in God's Love and mercy, more will be grafted in, in Jesus name.
  27. 1 point
    Very often we view success in much the same manner as a gorgeous gem within a jeweller’s window display. We’re attracted by the lustre of those diamonds, the flashing brilliance of those stones and the fine quality of gold. We forget these beautiful jewels have been specially crafted. We forget those precious stones and polished metals had a beginning and that if we were to retrace the journey of those glittering jewels back to its origin, we’d see it from a very different perspective. We’d discover that the item nesting alluringly against a rich velvet backdrop and shining brilliantly with the help of strategically arranged lighting, started out in a place of complete contrast. It started out in the bowels of the earth. Once extracted, if you didn’t know what you were looking at you’d maybe throw it away as a valueless lump of rock. You wouldn’t realise it had the potential to be a thing of beauty, something that evokes admiration, even desire of ownership. You wouldn’t appreciate its capacity to bring pleasure. The journey of a novice writer is very much like the above scenario. We ooh and ah over the creative brilliance of polished writers. We appreciate their carefully crafted words set against the luxurious backdrop of an artfully arranged velveteen world. Attracted by another author’s style or success, we long to ‘own’ similar achievements. However, in our approbation of these works, we often leave a relevant factor out of the equation. Much like our appreciation of a beautiful diamond or sapphire, we forget that this artistic work, this authorial presentation had a fairly insignificant genesis. Perhaps if we didn’t forget this, we wouldn’t feel despondent, frustrated, or threatened about our own beginnings. Perhaps we’d give ourselves a break, stop mentally flagellating ourselves because we haven’t crafted the ‘perfect’ article, short story or novel. Perhaps we’d stop dismissing the raw materials mined from the bowels of our creative imagination and instead realise: “Hey! This may not look like much now but given time and patience, it can actually become something of value”. And perhaps instead of constantly comparing the finely crafted pieces of other artists with our freshly mined lumps of untreated ore, we’d start to appreciate, even enjoy our modest beginnings. We’d begin to see it as a place not of frustration and defeat, but of learning and adventure. Fellow writers (I speak to myself as much as to you), let us view our beginnings and efforts with less negativity and less angst. Let us put our goals, dreams, aspirations and the different paths we take in order to achieve these, into the right context. Let us not fixate on publishing prowess as the ‘be all and end all’ of authorial accomplishment. Let us not be in such a hurry to arrive at ‘Success Suite’ that we forget to enjoy the novelty and nature of our quest. As writers, bloggers, purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, let us find encouragement in, and take the following words of Ben Sweetland seriously to heart—Success is a journey, not a destination!
  28. 1 point
    I would like my blogs, Women of Warfare https://womenofwarfare.wordpress.com and A Purpose-driven achiever https://apurposedrivenachiever.wordpress.com, to make my visitors smile, feel better about themselves, be encouraged, feel as if they have an online friend who cares about them and empathises with the things they have to deal with. I would like my blogs to influence visitors to aspire to a deeper relationship with God, to be a better person, character-wise and perspective-wise. I would like to encourage visitors to pursue their dreams and realise their potential. I’d like them to feel there is a place they can go, for the encouragement and motivation required to live their everyday life on a higher plane. I would like them to feel highly motivated, to seize their day, to live abundantly, instead of merely existing, letting life pass them by, feeling overwhelmed by circumstances, or overlooked by the people around them. I would like my blogs to motivate women to make the most of every day, to see, enjoy and celebrate their lives as something special, rather than dismiss as drudgery, or as run-of-the-mill ordinary, or worse still view with utter dread, because someone or something has marred their outlook. And just as I would like God to use me, to be that change in the lives of women who come within my circle of influence, so I desire that these women in turn would be the change in the lives of others around them. Whether published author, blogger, colleague, parent, or whatever, I challenge you – in your community, household, neighbourhood, workplace - be the change! Be an asset in your circle of influence. Be an influence for good.
  29. 1 point
    Faith is a gift originated from God, to us, by hearing God's word to heart, without doubts or double mind i.e walking according to His will. The moment we hear God's word, we have Faith by believing, if our hearts are willing. God's word is power and life and it is received in our heart ( spirit man ) and so, one can have no ears to hear, eyes to see, but still, receive God's word. Receiving God's word by faith, we must have a free heart. It all takes a free heart, a heart at ease. When our hearts becomes free then, we can receive God's word to heart. Receiving God's word is receiving Jesus by faith. Faith is deposited naturally in us through God's word the moment we believe. If one cannot willingly come with an open and free heart, he can not receive God's word therefore; not receiving Jesus. God's word seeks only after a free heart, a heart of faith. A heart of faith, is a heart of Jesus because, through the word, God's faith is deposited in us and Jesus in us. Faith is of spirit while believing is of man. Everyone can believe but, not everyone can have faith because, faith is of God's spirit through His word. When we then receive God's word with a free heart, we then receive God's spirit and faith to continue in a relationship with Him. In all these, our faith must be tried to reveal our heart. Our heart standing the test of faith then, ushers us deeper in God when we continue to believe as we are refined through the fire, i.e. when we continue to look deeper in God. Now that we know that faith is of heart and is of God's origin, God's word to heart, His word in us, i.e. being immersed in God's word to become filled with more of His spirit of faith, we must hear God's word to heart, eat it, for it is our spiritual bread, a food to our spirit, meditate on it slowly, attentively and repeatedly to become immersed in it, as we grow in God from faith to faith. I.e. deeper in our relationship with Him. We cannot journey deeper in God if we aren't filled with His word, having faith to stand with and trusting Him as He takes us deeper in His path of everlasting life. At the cross lies salvation, however, as we carry the cross, therein lies believing and believing is trusting, trusting is relationship, it is continuous. As we walk with God progressively, His spirit of faith in us enables us to trust in Him even in trials knowing that it is to improve us eternally. Having faith then, we must believe, we must continue in our believing God. One can have faith and believe and then, cease in believe, not completely but, coming to a pause. However, one can have faith, not only believing but, rather, continue in believing. Believe and believing are two different things, what I mean by believe and believing, I mean; one can have Jesus and remain in salvation. Whereas, another can have Jesus and by faith, by God's spirit continue to look deeper in God. We come to a pause wen we venture into the world, our hearts must be busy in God to remain in believing and not believe. For example you worry and think all the time and neglect interacting with God in heart. By believing, I mean we build Intimacy in God by faith, by believing we don't stop at salvation rather, we continue in the word, in intimacy to become more integrated with Jesus. Believing is our desire to know God more, believing is our heart, it is our will to have more of God by faith, believing is knowing Jesus. One can look to God but, another can look deeper in God, it is more rewarding and blessed to look deeper in God. Take not of this: When we believe, we have Jesus but, when we continue in believing, when we have a believing heart i.e. when we desire to spend more time in God's presence, meditating in His word then, more of Jesus is unveiled unto us I.e. we become more of Jesus and less of self. Believing is a relationship, not just a relationship but, a relationship built on faith, faithfully walking with God as we carry our cross, for in it lies our glory in Christ Jesus. Many do believe, i.e. many have received Jesus by faith however, not too many continue in believing. I want to believe you're continually believing, for believing is total surrender In faith to walk in God's will. When our will, our desire or fleshly convenience entangles with God's will, we believe only. But, when we walk in God's will not being entangled by ours, we continue in believing even as He walks us in His path of life even through the valley of death, not to die, no, no but, to be restored fully even more with life everlasting. Do not believe only, but rather, become a spirit.
  30. 1 point
    She would not tolerate the abuse any longer. After weeks of harsh treatment at the hands of Sarai, her owner, Hagar had finally devised a plan to run away. Late at night, when most everyone in the camp was asleep, Hagar lay ready and waiting. She peeled herself up from a thin sleeping mat and slipped her tanned feet into a pair of walking sandals that stood beside the bed. Stretching her arm out to the left, she felt along the length of the blanket until her fingers eventually reached a heavy outer-garment coiled neatly at the foot of the bed. Standing, Hagar wrapped the thick fabric around her shoulders. She looked down to check if the over-sized cloak would disguise her growing abdomen. It was too dark to see. Next, Hagar crept through the blackness of her tent toward the main exit. Silently, she stepped over the brushed dirt floor, being careful not to bump into anything. Across the room, she could just make out a faint line of moonlight peeking between the tent flaps. Her heart beat faster. She was almost there. Upon reaching the exit, Hagar stopped to search for her favorite fringed shawl. She had left it hanging over a tall urn earlier in the day but now, in her nervousness, she couldn’t feel it anywhere. In addition, every shuffle of her feet and every breath she took sounded like thunder in her ears. Hagar’s movements became frantic. Aha! There it is! Her fumbling fingers grasped the silky shawl at the same moment that her knee inadvertently knocked over the urn. It landed with a dull thud. Hagar froze. Trembling, she listened for sounds of waking. When she concluded that no one had woken, Hagar draped the shawl over her head and pulled the tent flap aside. The night was still. Stealing between the tents, Hagar made her way as quickly as she could toward the edge of camp. When she reached the outer rim, she looked back at her home one last time. It was so dark. All she could see was a slight reflection of the moon at the tops of each tent. Her eyes narrowed contemptuously. She planned never to return. As she took her first step beyond the camp border, a new and unexpected feeling fluttered inside of her. Hagar gasped. It was a sensation she had never experienced before. She instinctively placed the palm of her hand over her belly. Joyful tears rolled down her cheeks. A child! Her child, alive and moving. But the joy was quickly clouded by anger. And what of the child’s father? How could she ever feel affection for a husband who’s loyalty would always and only be given to another – his first wife, Sarai? And Sarai! This is what Sarai had wanted! Sarai had given Hagar to Abram as a second wife, hoping to build a family through her servant. But now that Hagar was pregnant, Sarai acted jealously – as if Hagar were a common prostitute. Hagar sneered. At least she could bear children, unlike her aging mistress. Then, anger made way for sadness. Hagar thought of the friends she was leaving behind. Why was she abandoning her home? But this wasn’t her home. Home was in Egypt where she had lived long before becoming Sarai’s slave. A rustle from a nearby tent made Hagar jump. She stubbornly wiped the tears from her face, kicked the dust beneath her feet, and staggered into the wilderness. Travel was difficult. Hagar was dizzy and nauseous, and the desert, unforgiving. Night turned to day. Her lips became chapped, her legs ached and buckled beneath her, and her face was sunburned. When she felt she couldn't take another step, Hagar stumbled across a desert spring. Panting, she collapsed to her knees and drank greedily from the life-giving water at her feet. When her thirst had been fully quenched, she lay down on her side with her head cradled in her hands. Hagar was almost home; yet, she felt utterly defeated. Even if she made it to Egypt, she questioned whether anything good could be waiting for her there. What would become of her and her child in the city? She cried. A river of salty tears rolled down the side of her face, dropping down to the dry, cracked ground. And then she heard it. A voice. A soft voice calling her name. “Hagar.” Her crusted eyelashes blinked. “Hagar, Sarai’s servant.” A wave of nausea washed over Hagar and she groaned. “Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?” Was she dreaming? Hagar pushed herself up to a sitting position. She shielded her eyes from the blinding sun and searched for the source of the soothing voice. A man stood about ten feet away. He smiled kindly. Hagar knew it was dangerous to talk to a stranger, but she felt so alone. She hadn’t spoken to another human being for – well, she didn’t know how long. Her spirit responded. “I am running away from my mistress,” Hagar rasped. The man took a few steps toward her, bent down on one knee, and spoke in almost a whisper. “Return to your mistress and submit to her authority.” Hagar recoiled. Who was this man, and what did he know about her? Had Abram sent him? Never! She would never return! She’d rather die. The stranger either didn’t recognize Hagar’s offense or he didn’t care. He continued to deliver his message to her, tenderly. “I will give you more descendants than you can count.” Hagar’s ears perked. That was unexpected. How could she be blessed in this way? She was destined for servant-hood. Her son, her only child, would become the child of Sarai. She assumed that the man hovering nearby must be mistaken, but she was too exhausted to argue. “You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard about your misery. This son of yours will be a wild one – free and untamed as a wild donkey! He will be against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live at odds with the rest of his brothers.” At his final words, Hagar’s heart filled with hope for the first time in weeks. Strength returned to her body. It must be true! Who, but the LORD, could know all these things? And free? Hagar understood that she may never be free, but if returning to Abram was the promise of freedom and a future for her son, then she knew she would go back. Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the LORD, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.” She also said, “Have I truly seen the One who sees me?” (New Living Translation, Genesis 16:13)
  31. 1 point
    And he gave the…teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry… Ephesians 4:11-12 (ESV) I am an educational mathematician. That is, I have devoted my life to helping students with their mathematics skills. I have taught math remediation, geometry, and algebra to middle school students and have tutored high school students in almost every math course in the secondary school curriculum. Although my job is challenging to say the least, it is highly rewarding. To see a student master an objective that he/she didn’t think he/she could do is a wonderful sight. Teachers are also valuable in the body of Christ. The Apostle Paul says that God gives teachers (as well as a few other roles) for the purpose of equipping the saints to minister to others. To equip means to thoroughly prepare. It’s like a football player putting on his uniform before going out on the field. Classroom teachers prepare lesson plans that will guide them in instructing their students. Likewise, spiritual teachers prepare knowledge and understanding of key Christian principles so they can instruct fellow believers how to live for Christ. The hope of every teacher is that every student knows and understands the material well enough to apply it. According to the Apostle Paul, the teacher equips the saints for effective application in the ministry. That is, the teacher prepares the saints for going out into the real world and sharing God’s love with all people. In a world where hurt and pain are inevitable, it is good to have a Christian alongside a hurting person to ease the pain. May God bless you today and every day!
  32. 1 point
    Chapter 2 from a book I started several years ago about a royal family. Shortly their kingdom will be overthrown. Chapter Two Silence reigned in the inner court of the palace. The only sound audible was the clicking of the secretary's heels as she clunked down the hall. The guards, in their neat uniforms and straight, erect positions, stared straight ahead, oblivious to any of their surroundings. An old, gray haired grandmother of about ninety was hobbling past the guards posted outside the main palace entrance. She was bent and stooped, with gray hair that curled around her face, brown eyes hidden behind an enormous round pair of eyeglasses, and a neon pink cane. Her stooped figure wore a floral dress, white socks, black patent shoes with buckles, and an ugly white sweater. “Halt,” the first of the two guards called. “How did you come to enter into the palace, what errand came you on, and why are you leaving?” The stooped grandmother said in shaky tones, “I was let in by a youngin', I came to get a petition from the queen for banning potholes, and I am leaving because my mission is over.” “And did you get this 'pothole banning petition?” the other guard questioned. “Aye, indeed I did,” the grandmother said, clutching a rolled piece of paper tied with red ribbon. “Indeed I did. The queen is an old friend of mine.” “The queen is not exactly what you'd call old, Grandma,” the first guard said. “She's only forty.” “Oh, be quiet, Max,” his companion said. “Only tryin' to help,” Max, the first guard, said in offended tones. “Very well, Grandma. You may pass on.” “Oh, thank you, gentlemen,” Grandma said, beaming up at them. Then, very slowly, she creeped shakily towards the outer door, clutching her pothole banning petition and neon pink cane. As soon as the old grandmother had fully departed from the palace, a group of flustered looking servants rushed by. They were armed with cleaning supplies and on their way to clean the magnificent ballroom for the ambassador ball that evening. “I forgot the ambassador ball was tonight,” Max remarked. “Wonder what it'll be like. Ever been to a ball.” “Nope,” his companion said, “but I wouldn't mind being invited. It must be quite an honor to be invited to any kind of ball, period. I wonder what the queen would say if we showed up?” “Probably wouldn't like that we'd left our post. Say, Rupert, did that grandma seem familiar to you?” Max asked, abruptly changing the subject. “She reminded me of a younger version of somebody, but I can't quite make it out,” Rupert said, scratching his head. “Oh, well, I suppose we'll never know,” Max said. He was right on that one. Meanwhile, Grandma was hobbling uncertainly down the palace steps and through the courtyard to the private drive. Two guards stationed near the courtyard watched her walk painfully slowly down the cobbled drive, speak to the gatekeeper, who opened the gate, and step once more slowly onto the sidewalk. She glanced in all directions, then pulled out a handkerchief and waved it wildly in the direction of the guards, supposedly bidding them goodbye. Then, she suddenly began jumping up and down excitedly, waving her handkerchief and cane in the air frantically. As it turned out, she was hailing a taxi. A smart black cab drew up to the sidewalk and stopped right next to the old lady. The activity going on was partly concealed by a large hedge and neatly manicured cypress trees, which overshadowed the hind end of the taxi. “Strange woman,” the first of the two guards muttered. His fellow companion, not seeming to hear this, said suddenly, “She has a lot of spunk for someone who looks one-hundred.” “I'll say,” his friend agreed, but stopped suddenly. He opened his mouth, but no words came out. He just pointed wordlessly to the sidewalk, where only half of the cab was visible. His friend gasped in alarm and astonished disbelief. Suddenly there bounced into the open space a fluffy ball of gray hair. It hurtled through the air and landed with a splat! in a nearby gutter. One millisecond later? The neon pink cane clattered to the ground, rolled into view, and came to a stop near the taxi. Next the round glasses sailed through the air and landed just inches from the taxicab's tires. And finally, the petition for banning potholes floated by on a breeze, and came to a stop near the first guard's feet. Then there was a squeal of brakes and the taxicab sped away. But as it did so, there was an unmistakable crunch as the tires rushed forward. The first guard turned to the second, and with a grim expression on his face, said slowly, “There went the glasses.”
  33. 1 point
    Some of us desire to be used by, but not everybody desires to hear from God, to be used by God to the utmost is to hear from Him. How can you carry out a project if you don't get the complete detail of the work. If your blueprint is incomplete, you'll carry out the work halfway, not with maximum result, but he who gets the complete blueprint finishes the job. To get the complete blueprint is to come to the one who designed it, if you get it from a third party, I mean if you're not close to the architect, then you'll get an incomplete design. No one can carry out the kingdom business efficiently without God speaking to him, and he speaking to God. Anyone who carries out the gospel work might do it with the spirit of Christ, but still he won't be fully satisfied until he does it as God wants him to. I mean as God speaks to His hearing, and this can only be gotten through the holy ghost baptism. As it was on the day of Pentecost, Peter who was afraid and timid was transformed by fire, he became bold and spoke God's word with life and authority why? It is, because there is one speaking through Him With the help of the holy ghost you can carry out the gospel work of the father without struggle, but you need the holy ghost baptism to enable you hear form God to do it with absolute obedience and joy in your heart. He who hears from God, moves as God directs, even if God says; " Go! and preach twelve hours and I'll give you strength and words to say. " Or even if God commands, saying; " Go and give my gospel to those hoodlums armed to the teeth," Such a man will go, why? because you know He that sent you. But he that is filled with the holy spirit not hearing from God, though he preaches the gospel, but when he see the same scenario of armed men, he turns the other side not for fear of his life, but with a doubtful heart if his ministry will end there out of ignorance. And even if he goes, he won't have enough life to give unto them. You now see the difference between one who is filled and one baptized in the holy ghost. If you're a child of God in this generation and you don't desire to hear from God, then you're off track, you're just a mere child of God, although you might enter the kingdom, but you won't enter fulfilled. The desire of this last generation Army of the Lord is to be restored back to God, that original relationship men had lost because of sin. The holy spirit gives us this desire, just as the spirit of sin gives men the desire to sin, we don't just desire it, he gives us this desire and hunger to be built on the word to enable our spirit man hear the voice of the lord more clearly. The holy spirit gives us this desire because he wants us to be used, if you don't have this desire, then you're far away from being used in God's projects, and the only project in life that has expression in heaven, registered and certified in heaven, is the establishment of God's kingdom here on earth through the gospel. Daniel 12:3 " Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens and those who leads many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever." Don't you know there's rich and richer in heaven. There are many lost souls in the streets, most in the church has counted themselves unworthy of the God's kingdom. But there are those in the street corners who needs to be reached ,they have been waiting, standing in the market till dawn, waiting for someone to employ them. And God is looking for those employers, you and I, now are you ready to be His employer to employ men unto salvation and not eternal destruction. You know, the devil also has employers which works for him, some of them are aware they are, others don't out of ignorance, they spread sin leaflets by the sinful lives they live and bring men to sin instead of Christ. Some of us do desire to hear from the Father, but they still wonder why they don't. Hearing form Him is not a day's job, depending on how much time the father wants. It might take months, He does as He pleases, it might take some few weeks, it might take some months, or even years. However, this generation, God doesn't take years, He takes at most, few months because He has shorten His program, to raise men, soldiers who'll march into the battle field, break the defenses of the enemy and tear down their kingdom, setting the captives free by leading them to Christ. The kingdom of the devil has encroached so much, and there are only few soldiers of Christ who are willing to take back territories, a few soldiers can do much, depending on how willing they are, but still God needs more men, few is not enough. This is the work we should be focused on right now, not on our fleshly desires which will pass away. How is this holy ghost baptism to hear from God; it is on sanctification of the heart, remember it doesn't come one day, even the apostles had to wait forty days. Our heart is so corrupt that God can't enter, He doesn't dwell in a dirty temple, for our heart is the temple of God, but we have contaminated it with sin, even though you're living a holy life pleasing to Him, still he doesn't want to see any stain in His temple, if not He won't come and make His home in your heart. We need to be purged with fire, we need to ask the holy spirit to sanctify our hearts with fire so we can be purified as gold ready to be used for noble purpose. By works we can purify ourselves by keeping our hands off sin, but sanctification is the work of the holy spirit not ours. We only need to play our part by not hindering him and by putting efforts also, especially in prayers which is more important, because it journeys us to God, without it, you can't hear from God. Sanctification of the heart to hear form the Father is not an easy path, if i should say it is, I'd only be a liar. Are you ready to pass through the fire. Of course only those who passes through the fire will come out reforged and sanctified to be used. Gold in its raw form is ugly at first, but when passed through the furnace and beaten into shape it becomes one of the most precious and valuable treasure, which men would spend their fortune on. Until you are of noble purpose you cannot be used. We do hinder the holy spirit both knowingly and unknowingly, I said unknowingly, because this world is a world of sin and there is no where you'd go that you won't find sin except you want to leave this world. You go out, you hear evil things not of God, you see evil, even your thoughts, you think evil and your hearts wander here an there what to do and what to plan. It might look normal, but these activities draw us far away from God. You want to hear from God? how can you hear one who is very far away from you, you have to come closer to him in order to hear. Our eyes is one of our most dangerous senses, you walk and see evil, though your heart ignores it, but if you keep on filling a cup with a spoon of water regularly won't it overflow, so it is with our eyes and what it sees, does it bring light or darkness into our heart. The eyes works in a way to contaminate our hearts if we allow our hearts to register the evil it sees. If you don't sanctify your heart with prayers when you see evil; it's like a hand packing dirt into your heart with a shovel, you see evil again, it takes another shovel throw, it does this until your heart is filled to the brim with dirt. However if you choose to keep your heart focused through meditation, as you walk, you're praying without ceasing, even if it is in spiritual songs or saying " thank you Jesus," when next you see evil, before this hand of darkness fills your heart with a shovel of dirt, the holy spirit will come with his fiery hands and purge that hand with fire preventing it from filling your heart with evil. Or even if your heart is filled already, as you meditate in your heart in spiritual songs, overflowing with thankfulness, keeping your heart busy with God, the holy spirit will light up your heart like an incinerator and burn every dirt therein to ashes and sweep them off. The more you meditate, the more he sanctifies your heart, when the dirt is burnt, there are still stains in the container. The more you meditate the more he cleans it to become new. Then the Lord will come at a time you're not expecting and dwell in you and then He'll begin speaking to you directly, giving you the blueprints of your life. That is what we call holy ghost baptism. If you want to hear from God, He doesn't talk to pastors or prophets alone, these pastors aren't they flesh and blood like you, but they paid the price, and i tell you their reward will be greater in heaven. You just have to prepare your house for the Lord. If you want to hear from Him, sanctify your heart, don't talk anyhow, don't run your mouth anyhow, don't do what the holy spirit wouldn't want, don't listen to what he wouldn't listen to, meditate on God's word for hours daily for it is food to your spirit man growth, after all you do feed your flesh three times a day, why not grow in spirit. Live in obedience and above all pray without ceasing, every second not just hours, but every second, and also in hymns, psalms, spiritual songs, making melodies in you hearts unto the Lord, always giving thanks to Him. Here are some scripture references; - 1 Corinthians 14:15 - Colossians 2:6-7 - Ephesians 5:18-20 - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 For prayer is journey to God, prayer is walking with God, prayer is communion with God, as long as you're relating to God, it is prayer. They're all the same thing. Prayer as a journey to God, as I said, God wants to speak to men, but sin have thrown us far away from Him, that is why He sends a post man who is closer to Him to deliver His message to us or He sends us videos through dreams. But He desires us to hear from Him and talk with Him as true sons. One who prays every second will get to God faster than one who prays every hour. Because he who prays every hour takes break along the way but he who prays every second doesn't take a break and will get to God before the other does. It's just like when two bus leaves a bus station the same time, to same destination, you'll find out that the one who stops frequently along the way will arrive late compared to the one who didn't stop at all, but went straight on. The one who didn't stop will get to his destination on time compared to the other. it's just an illustrations to show that if you want to hear from God to carry out His project on time, you need to keep your heart busy in prayers, non stop. As you spend every second praying in your heart, you're journeying unto God, the more you do, the more you get closer, you start seeing revelations, having spiritual understandings and all. The moment you keep on journeying and finally get to Him, i tell you, when he speaks you'll hear Him audibly and you'll speak to Him also. You're no longer like a military personnel sending letters form a war zone to his county home, but rather, like a friend walking and talking side by side. You now see why the apostles say pray without ceasing, because it was what the holy spirit thought them and they applied it and became great men of God, who God still uses to change lives even while they're gone. Why can't you be the one that God uses. Our intimacy with God matters, how much do you spend in His presence? It is a great thing, there is no achievement greater on earth than hearing from God, you just have to pay the price. Though it might be difficult at first, you Change form a talkative to a quiet person, living a quiet life, minding your own business, you'll drop so many pleasures of life, the holy spirit will begin exposing things hindering you. You have to drop them, whether is Facebook you like chatting all day long, you'll drop it and become an ancient man, because ancient men had the mind for God, it will be difficult but He'll assist you along the way.
  34. 1 point
    Walking with God means walking in God's presence, because Jesus will come and make his home in your heart with the Father. The more you walk with Him, the more you are filled with His glory. A prophet once reminded me of Moses when he was in God's presence for forty days and then, his face became as brilliant as the sun that no one could look at him. " If Moses, he said; being with God for forty days was filled with His glory, how much more you, when you walk with Him all the days of your life." For example; when you set up a fire, it doesn't go ablaze suddenly, the more you add kerosene it burns better, but the moment you add fuel it burns wildly and brighter immediately. So it is in walking with God. The more you're filled with His glory the more you are filled with His spirit to live in holiness without sin, the more you can walk the dimensions of heaven on Earth, you can say " be healed in Jesus name! " and you'll see healing take place immediately. When you fill your heart with spiritual songs, thanksgiving and prayers unto God constantly, He walks with you, that is: you walk in His presence, and walking in His presence, He shields you from every temptation and attacks of the enemy. We should know that we are always being attacked by the enemy, its not only at night when we sleep as some believe. Scriptures says we should pray without ceasing, praying without ceasing doesn't mean you'll start praying continually with your mouth, the kind of prayer I'm talking about is prayer from the heart. Prayer is communication with God through His word, by His spirit, it's not all about asking for demands. When you engage your heart in the Lord, by filling your heart with spiritual songs, thanksgiving ( saying thank you Jesus is enough ), we need to thank him every time, we all think we need to thank God only when he has done something big, failing to recognize we need God to walk, to see. For in Him, we walk, we move, we breathe, in Him we have our being. Knowing this, we need to thank him at all time, in everything, every hour, every minutes, every second. Colossians 2:7 " overflow with thankfulness." Engaging you heart in songs, thanksgiving, these are all prayers, because you are talking to your Father from your heart. And when you do this continually, you'll then fulfil the word which says " pray without ceasing," Ephesians 5:19-20; " Speak to one another in psalms, in hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." The reason I am tell you this is to ensure our safety, because, praying without ceasing is the only way out to overcome the evil one in this last generation, for the devil knows his time is short and is throwing at us all that he has with his last breath. But just as he is, so is God also. He said; " even in all these, He knows how to make a way out for His righteous ones," He has revealed this to us by His spirit to equip us to stand firm. As I said before, Just as God has poured out His spirit upon all who are willing to receive, so also, all of hell has been let loose to lure people into darkness. In this generation, it's either you get drawn into the light more, or you get lost in the dark even more, it's either walk with Jesus and portray his kingdom here on earth or walk with the devil and propagate his evil agenda against the kingdom of God. Let me tell why I said we should pray without ceasing, in references to what is happening around us. I'll give two illustrations with the eyes and ears, I don't mean our physical senses, but still the spiritual realm always influences our physical realm, for out of the overflow of a man's heart comes evil or good. First, looking at today's world, most people are being possessed by the spirit of lust. Some of them got these spirit, from the clothes they wear, some from their heart desire to seduce, the devil then enters their hearts for his bidding, some unfortunately from birth, all I'm trying to say; when these people go on living with these spirits attached to them, they carry out the work of the devil to seduce, whether knowingly or unknowingly to them. Take for example, when you see a mad person naked or when you see a native tribe walk around topless or almost naked you don't feel anything, why? Because since it wasn't their intention to dress naked to seduce, since it's natural for them, they aren't possessed by such spirit of lust, but you'll realize that just as seeing these people naked didn't influence your sexual neurons, why is it that when you see a civilized person in his right sense walk even barely half naked, why is it that you feel the urge for lust. The reason you have the sudden urge for lust isn't just because the person is attractive to you, it's because, with the intention to seduce, that person is beings possessed with the spirit of lust which seduces. Remember i said our spiritual and physical senses are linked, the moment your eyes catches the attention of this person, if your heart is not of God, or if your heart is not firmly rooted in God's word, it'll affect your spirit, corrupting your spirit. Since the spirit controls the body, it triggers the body to lust more, that person being a victim will share the same spirit of lust with the carrier he saw, and since light and darkness can't walk together, only darkness can satisfy darkness, that is; only lust can satisfy lust if it's the spirit of lust. Just as we feed the spirit of God in us with the word to grow, so also that person will have no rest until he satisfy that spirit of lust in him with sexual immorality. And he more he feeds that spirit the more he becomes lost in darkness with the desire to do even more, that's why people find it hard to come out of all these, because they keep feeding the spirit. Or take anger for instance, when you are standing with someone who gets angry easily, you also realize that even if that person didn't make you angry, you might feel uneasy and the little thing you do can trigger the spirit of anger in that person. Staying with that person for a long time, the same spirit can also entrap you. And when these spirit sees the children of God they attacks them even though they knows to they might have no chance of winning, because the holy spirit in us is our defender. But in all these, know that we children of God, though we are tormented by the ungodly things of the world. But you should know also, as long as you are in this world, you can't escape all these you see and hear. Therefore be filled with the holy spirit, let your heart see what your eyes sees and let not your heart hear what your ears hear. Another illustration is " hearing "; through the power of the mouth, you know the mouth is very powerful for declaring either good or evil. This is one of the reason I say we should pray without ceasing. Some people think that when they go to church they have found sanctuary, you should know that even right there in the church the devil is seated in our midst, it's been so right from the time of the apostles. One of the target the devil uses the most are choristers, since they end up singing for the congregation, he possesses some of the choristers, most especially with the spirit of fornication, when they take their stand to sing, though singing Christian songs, but since they are not so in heart, because the heart of man is what matters. You can sing and preach but not have the spirit of God in you, as i said, there is power in the mouth, once these choristers starts singing, the spirit of lust in them are being projected amongst the congregation, those who doesn't have the spirit of God or who are weak in spirit, are being afflicted by the same sprit of lust, though they went to church for their own reason, but came back with something worse. You now see why we need to engage our hearts in the Lord, with spiritual songs, thanksgiving and prayers. When you do this, you're praying, that is communicating with God, I mean walking with God, and as long as you are walking with Him, He shields you from all these attacks. I pray this message will Change and improve our relationship with Jesus. Amen!.
  35. 1 point
    Sanctification is a very important work to be done in the hearts of men by the holy spirit, for without it you cannot see Jesus, you cannot know the Jesus you claim to know and his mind, plan and purpose for your life. Not knowing His plan for your life is not being able to carry out His project designed by Him for you, every man sent here on earth is sent from God, from above, clothed in the flesh to house the spirit man in order to carry out God's work here on Earth. There is a purification and sanctification, purification is your righteousness, the things of God you give your life time for and the ungodly things you try to avoid. Purification causes a man to be delivered from bondages of sin and at the end recieves salvation to live a life without sin naturally. How is this righteousness? is in creating time for God in his word and involving in His spiritual activities. It is the righteousness of your heart that God judges you to see if you're qualified to be given the holy Spirit to live a life free from sin bondages. If your righteousness does not meet up to expectations in time, it's either the Lord will show less interest in you because of your unfaithfulness or you'll eventually fall away. That's why although one can be called by grace on acceptance of the gospel, if he doesn't pay the price making sacrifices he'll still fall away to sin. I have seen it happen, someone you think who will stand firm will just fall away like that. Salvation is not at the beginning but at the end, don't let anybody deceive you, as Jesus carried his cross and nailed sin on the cross, so you also must carry your cross and nail all your bondages there, be dead to sin and then be resurrected alive in Christ Jesus to live a new life of purity. After you've run and gotten to the end of the beginning, delivered from sin and attaining salvation, a new race begins, a race of sanctification by the holy spirit, a new course to pass through the college's of God to be built and graduated with a certificate and skilled to carry out God's project for your life. Here sin does not hold you, because you've been delivered from sin and purity is made at the gate, no one can thread this part without being delivered from sin. As it is, you can't get into college without your high school certificates, so also you can't get into this college of God without having a certificate that certifies your being delivered from sin. When you're enrolled, you're then built by God, as I said " here sin does not hold you, " because now it means nothing to you, it is here you know that there are other bondages that holds a man down from serving God; - bondages of flesh - and bondage of the world. The bondages of the world and flesh are spirits, just as bondage of sin is a spirit. No man will enter the kingdom of God still bound to the world or sin, but being in bondage of flesh will hinder man from growing far in Christ but If not careful, if this overflow it can throw him back to sin, Because of time we'll talk only on flesh. The flesh stand as a serious opposition to manifest the holy spirit, because even though the spirit is willing the body is weak. The spirit of Christ might have grown in a man, but the flesh stands as a shell, a barrier choking it. Unless the man press harder to grow the spirit of Christ in him to a giant he cannot break through to be made manifest. However, just as man pays the price, God's sets the time for the baptism in holy ghost. Although you know when the egg will hatch, but you don't know at what time the chicken will come out, it's God's design, every one has their own time, your chicken could be 21 days another could be 30 days ( just an illustration. ) The thing is, how do you use your time? To manifest the holy spirit, as the apostles did, you must subdue and neutralize the flesh to zero, you must suffer the flesh, you must emaciate the flesh and turn to the word for sustainment, oh! you don't know the word of God sustains a man. Even if a man eats once or twice a day, and he feeds more on God's word, the word will sustain him, he'll look even fresher than one who eats his complete meal of the day. Man shall not live by bread alone, let Jesus be your standard, for that's what He did also, anyone used mightily by God all went through the process of neutralizing the flesh. It is your too much food that makes you sleep anyhow for long hours instead of spending time with God, it is your heaviness of flesh that blocks you from receiving revelation from God, because it has make you unspiritual, too much flesh. It is your satisfaction of the flesh in; sleep enjoyment, I still wonder how people enjoy sleep when you're unconscious, giving the flesh too much comfort, eating full, entering car to and fro to church when you can trek it, don't you know trekking also count as your righteousness, your weakness that cause you not to make sacrifices to involve in Spiritual things because it causes discomfort to your flesh. All these hinder the manifestation of Jesus in a man, crush the flesh and neutralize it to zero to become spiritual, and Soon you'll see Jesus. You must be graduated and then be employed, only when you're employed can you meet the boss to carry out your life time project, which you'll get your salary at the end. To be employed to meet the boss getting command directly from him is to be baptized in the holy ghost to be restored to meet Jesus, having an intimate relationship with him. After you've passed through college and survive, after you've been through hell, at the end you get the job and you get the reward which is sweet. There are those who don't get employed also those who stopped halfway, these are those who want to know God more, but couldn't make more sacrifices to complete the college of God, they drop out without their certificate, not to sin but to be employed in petty works. What I mean petty works; they do the works of God, preaching the gospel, but not with power, they can't complete His project in their lives because they're not baptized in the holy ghost. it is only those who are baptized by fire that knows and complete God project, it is in this you know if God call you to be a prophet or a teacher or a pastor, evangelist, and apostles. Sanctification is done by the holy Spirit, it is the purging of the heart of all impurity and scars left by sin by fire. When one has scars of sin, he's not in sin but these scars stands as a mark of what he has done before. When one is in sin he has a wound, but when he's been delivered from sin a scar has been left and unless this scar is erased by the holy Spirit God cannot come in. You'd need a surgery to remove it. Work now and suffer to raise the money for the surgery, because it sure is expensive, but when removed, will get you easy access to the kingdom, that is to Jesus, you say " Jesus! " you see Him, He says your name you hear Him. Man must be crushed and remolded to become a vessel of noble character ( Proverbs 31 ) I'll interpret this for you to understand better if the holy spirit tarries. You must pass through the furnace to be purified as gold. You must go through hell, persecution, trials, losing your social life, being the odd one in the many, having less in the world, giving the flesh discomfort by sleeping Less and eating less, and spending zero time in the world by watching too much movies or whatever it is, in order to have more time with God. After you've gone through test of faith our ultimate examination, it is when you pass through test of faith to make sacrifices then you'll know it was not easy for Abraham, but before every test of faith there is a revelation given by God to make you have vision of where God is taking you. okay! you've had vision, make sacrifices now, this is where many falter. One man's revelation and faith is not your own, you cannot copy, for God's dealings with every man is different, but we have one vision to be baptized with fire that we shall be restored back to Jesus. You must pay the price for the holy spirit to do his work, you must spend time in God's presence in devouring His words. You must be occupied in God's presence, if your not feeding on the word you be praying without ceasing in your heart ( even if is " thank you Jesus " or " in the name of Jesus " or " take more of me Lord, give me more of you " constantly is enough ), if you're not praying you must be singing spiritual songs in you heart, and you must be with the brethren or peach the gospel. Sanctification is like this; it is like a man who went to a land filled with water and thick bushes to be cleared into a farm, he went with his machete, due to the water he could only clear the grasses visible thinking he has done a good work. However, when he puts his hand dip into the water there were still mush grasses that need to be uprooted, the machete can't do the job, he has to put his hand in the muddy water and uproot the grasses from the root not minding the cuts on his hands. He pressed on with supernatural strength that comes from the word, when he's done he smiles and then plants, waiting at the appointed time to reap the harvest. This where most Christians stop, that's why they're not baptized in the holy ghost, because they only cleared the grass ignoring the roots, as long as the roots are there how can you plant your rice in that farm, but if everything is removed from the root, you plant your rice, nurture it and it grows to bear much harvest. These grains of rice harvested are your works for Christ given by Him when the Lord has baptized you in the holy ghost on your restoration as sons to the original position God has made you for, your original purpose of God for you to carry out His project. These grains of rice produced are what the Lord will assign to you, to carry out here in on earth for His kingdom. He'll have a personal relationship with you as a father does with his son, and as a good boss does with his good employee. He'll say " go! take this rice and give to them who are hungry, give to them and solve their problems bringing them unto salvation through my word. " it's when you solve the hunger of a man he can have the strength and willingness to follow you. You move, act and speak as Jesus wants you to speak to bring men to salvation. How can you save a man when you don't know the problem of the man. This is one of the greatest loop hole in the gospel today, nobody want to pay the price to hear from God, they just live normal Christian life, no one wants to speak words of holy ghost, no one wants to speak heavenly words, only earthy words and old words. Jesus gave Himself as example; in the whole of the new testament there was no word that came out of Jesus's mouth that he didn't give glory to God saying; " this is what my father has taught me or this is what my father has given me to speak, the words I speak are not my own but from Him who sent me. " Every words were not is own, they were heavenly, of life, from God. Let's go back to the college of God to be employed in His services in Jesus name Amen!
  36. 1 point
    I was coming from fellowship on a Sunday, then I came across a man sharing his Church's tracts. At first glance the holy spirit gave mec consciousness he will be bringing a false doctrine, no matter the coat and tie he wore. Still, I said; " okay! I still want to hear what this man has to say." He gave me an invitation, then I asked him: " why should I come?" you're not coming to a shrine but to Jesus, he said. He was just using the name of Jesus as cover, so i attacked him, asking him what Jesus will do for me? The first thing anyone with the spirit of Christ will say is " salvation," then he'll start preaching even though he was to share tract. " For the Lord to give you open doors," he said. There I trapped him and told him; I do not want open doors, but salvation. Immediately the spirit in him lashed out, he started mumbling things I couldn't even get, but I do got the part when he said, " even If he did not give to me, he'll give to others still." What I'm I trying to say here, the gospel is not all about sharing of tract or magazines, yes it is good, but whether you share tract or not, those who yearn for the true gospel will find it, because no matter what, even if there is no church around them the Lord will still meet them with His gospel, after all nobody was sharing tracts in the time of Jesus, yet people go after Jesus even for three days, why? because the hunger was there. If the hunger isn't there in the lives of the lost, it'll become ordinary crowd gathering. I'm not criticizing church here or tract sharing, indeed they have saved lives, I'm trying to point something out. You see, the healings and blessings you're rushing for as if God chose some certain people to impact them on you, don't you know that you can make it happen in your life and the lives of others also, only if you obey His word and yield to the holy spirit to be crushed and remolded. Sometimes you don't even need to pray for blessings because they are natural when you follow Christ Jesus in obedience, He said; " blessed is he who hears my word for he shall be blessed in all thy ways." You don't want to pay the price, but you want a pastor to pay it for you. Do you know what true servants of God went through to get that anointing you're running after. You don't even know who is blessing or laying hands on you, whether he is subtracting or adding to God's anointing in you life you don't know. Well should i blame you, how will you know which one is fake or not when you don't have the discerning spirit of the holy ghost, how long would you like to be deceived. Okay let's say you met a servant of God and he blessed you. Have you ever asked yourself why the blessings of people never last? why they still run from prayer house to prayer house. It is because of sin. That is why we don't preach blessing but salvation, because that is the only way to get and maintain God's blessings. Here's an illustrations; It's like a man who received a million dollar cash and takes it to his house. If he doesn't gets a security to guard his house, though he's rich for now, the enemy will come in due time to steal, rendering him poor. Then all his boasting of his wealth will be gone in a flash and turn to shame. But if he takes up a guard, to keep him secured wouldn't he maintain his riches. So it is with one who runs after riches, but not salvation. You are blessed today, tomorrow it's gone, because you lack a security. And that security is Jesus. If you receive Jesus from the depths of your heart, he becomes your security. He doesn't take cash, His only wages you need to pay him is the content of your heart, to satisfy Him, because the heart of the righteous man is a sweet fragrance offering unto the lord. He guards you and so no one will come to take that which you've gotten, only He can decide to take it just to test you. This is when some of us will say Jesus is a poor security guard and then kick Him out and higher a quack security which is the devil. If you take Jesus, you don't even need a pastor to come your way and bless you, because just as He is a security, He is also a hunter who'll also provide your food. All I'm trying to say is; don't run after blessing, or success, for some students the time for exam is the only time they know God, He doesn't work that way, you'll only be hiring a false guard. Some will rush to church because of food like hungry hyenas, laughing about when they've gotten theirs. And those who likes sharing tract, so that the paper will get finished from their hands, even if you do from your heart at least talk about salvation to the person. If you don't well... Matthew 24:10-11 " At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophet will appear and deceive many people." What this mean; if men had believed the true gospel they wouldn't have been deceived, it is because they gave themselves to be deceived.
  37. 1 point
    Alas, ahoy, 'ave a seat and are ya' thirsty? Meet Bentley Barnham, a blonde haired, brown eyed bard from Brixby Barrow sitting cross-legged on a creakin' and crackin' cathedra. He was dabblin', dawdlin', fingers dancin' a dainty ditty on his dogwood lute, eager for every eye-socket and earhole to eavesdrop an' eye-water over his elegantly executed epics. Finally the fussin' and fartin' and flirtin' an' folly all drew to a final finito. The goldenboy gleeman gave a glorious gulp of his Gunpowder Irish Gin. Hallelujah, hooray, hurrah, hymns an' high-notes, harmony an' heartache, the whole house hootin' an' hollerin' as he halted for half-time. Aye, Igor's Inn just might be the joint for jolly ol' folk like you. This poem happened pretty spontaneously when I got the urge to write something about a medieval inn (though others said it had more of a pirate vibe) with a bard called Bentley Barnham. That lead me to writing everything else in alphabetical order. Little did I know this style of poem is called an abecedarian.
  38. 1 point
    Men who lack knowledge of the age they're in, wake up from your slumber and follow the program of God in this age, for our lord God is not static. He is the Holy one who was, who is, and is to come, He changes as he will and if you're not spiritual you will not flow where his spirit blows. This is a kingdom age, an age where God is no longer interested in gathering ordinary simple men who just want to enter the kingdom of God and are not serious of God's business. He is no longer interested in gathering ordinary ungodly men, but rather he is interested and focused in Gathering his elect scattered across the world. His elect are those that no matter how much they've sank in sin they still have a repentant heart. Although they might have gone deep into sin like; sexual immorality, robbery, etc. They still come back crying with a repentant heart saying; " Lord forgive me," they want to be saved, but they don't just know how, they keep waiting on the Lord to send someone who will give them the true gospel of salvation. But the foolish, they commit sin without any remorse. That's the difference between an elect still in sin and a mere sinner. We who are already elected and are born again, it is out duty to recruit men for the Lord. Jesus will not come down and do it Himself, He uses us as His vessel to carry out His work here on earth just as the devil does also. Christians born again in the holy ghost, pray for God to baptized you with fire so you can be used. Entering His kingdom should not be your desire alone, but rather establishing His kingdom here on earth, because the kingdom of darkness has encroached too much. There are many waiting in the street to me employed into God's vineyard, and you born again are God's employers of His elect. If you don't, somebody else will still do it. Daniel 12:3; " Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who led many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever." And when God is done gathering His elect, soon and very soon His program on earth will be wrapped up and there would be no more gospel on earth, neither the holy spirit nor any of those born of Him, because they are the only reason the rapture has not yet occur. You ungodly men do think God is waiting for you to repent, no! if you think so you're not serious, God is only gathering His elect, ( those who desire Him ) that's the only thing keeping Him from unleashing His wrath and once they're gathered, they all will be caught up to meet the Lord. God's dealings with men in the days of the prophet was an era of the law, and he has been in an age of grace since the era of Jesus, but now he has shifted to a Kingdom age, an era of gospel truth. And if you still say you want to continue in sin that grace might abound go ahead continue, continue and continue till you lose your soul for eternity in hell. How long has men continued in sin, the more we preach the more men go into sin, men has now develop a reprobate heart, to continue in sin. God destroyed Sodom not just because of sin, but because they sinned and develop a reprobate heart resistance to repentance so He had to. Know this that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah are better than this generation for if they had heard the gospel we are hearing now they would've turned and repent. But woe into this generation, you have heard the gospel, you're in a time the prophets and apostles which to see, yet you are worst than Sodom. Continue in your sin waiting for grace, God will gather his elect and you'll be caught unaware. This is not an age of grace, God changes as the wind changes it's direction, as I said earlier; there is an age of law, an age of grace and the last age of truth which is the kingdom age ( in Joel 2 ). God is the owner of every age and every man will be judged according God's dealings with that age. The age of the law, the age of the prophets where God speaks only through his prophets, was not a spiritual age, everyone of them lived in obedience to God out of fear of death, because for every grievous sin committed the option is death. Since every man feared death they lived in obedience out of fear, surely those who lived in obedience will be in the kingdom, even though been in bondage of sin but not living in sin. You can kill the flesh but not the spirit that drives the man to sin, this is why when the age of grace came, they wanted to kill the adulteress, but Jesus rebuked them why? because even if that woman had died the spirit of adultery in her will only move on and possess another. And so Jesus came with the age of grace that man shall no longer live by the law alone, but that man shall be saved through His name and by his blood to cast out the spirit of sin in man making them fee from sin. Jesus came with the age of grace, but the Pharisees didn't realize that the dealings of God with men has shifted into a new age, an era of grace, that is why although they obeyed the law and performed miracles they still were in conflict with Jesus, because they were still living in the old program. By grace salvation was no longer given only to the Jews but to everyone, that any one who believes in Him shall be saved. However it doesn't end in just believing, you must carry your cross as Jesus said; " If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me " That is; suffer the flesh, denying it the pleasures of sin daily and follow him, because surely they'll be powers of darkness to drag you back into the path of darkness. This is the age of truth, the Kingdom age where God is no longer looking for sinners, but gathering his elect preparing them for the rapture, if you're not an elect in this age then wake up and strive to be come one. This is an age of truth where all men shall be taught the gospel truth, a new kind of gospel never heard before, the truth doesn't pamper like some church pastors will pamper, and then the people are still in sin. When a doctor wants to treat a patient. It is a spiritual age were every spirit are fighting for the souls of men, be it the spirit of sin or of God. Every spirit of evil wants to be worshiped, and that why idolatry is no longer in statues or carved images alone but now everywhere, in fashion, in gadgets, business, money, education, narcissist, whatever it is that will take your time and hinder you from God is idolatry. Men will invent new ways to sin but woe unto such men who through such sins shall come, that's why if you tell a man masturbation or smoking is a sin, he'll say where is it in the scripture. They lack knowledge that this is the age of the spirit where all men who received the holy spirit will be taught what is right and what is wrong Hebrew 8:11 " No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying; know the Lord," because they'll all know me from the least to the greatest." So if you you're living in sin ignorantly, you're to far. Pray to God to give you His spirit else, you'll be lost. This is why men started proclaiming; " in our ignorance we have sinned." Nobody is ignorant of his sin, you had always known when you're about to sin, you knew. Come with a repentant heart and pray for the lord to recruit you into His army. After this generation there would be no other generation nor would there be any other gospel, for God's dealings on earth will soon be over. Strive to live a holy life and ask for the holy spirit that you'll know the mind of God concerning you and your time, because If you don't, you'll be lost and you'll be caught unaware like a thief at night when the Lord comes. Matthew 24:43 " But understand this: if the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into." Those who are his children knows, because we are in the house not outside, we know that soon the Lord will come and so are always ready day in day out, minute by minute, second by second, that when He comes we'll not be shocked but waiting in expectation. Moreover, those who are still wallowing in sin, continue, let the wicked continue in their wickedness. Man must be educated in the gospel by the holy spirit, in other to grow to overcome the devil and know God. Unless he's educated he would not know how to overcome sin and to be restored to his original position God made him for. It is the Lord's will, let His elects be gathered though his word for the glory of His name in Jesus name Amen!
  39. 1 point
    Our relationship with Jesus matters a lot, it's not what we do for men, or for the church that matters, what matters is a Man's heart. Jesus does not care about what’s on the outside, or the things done just to please men or yourself but, only what comes from the heart, be it good or of evil. For whatever comes out of the heart of a man is what makes him clean or unclean. God is searching for a clean heart, He can't even look down to the unrighteous, all the places I've seen in the scriptures I haven't seen God looked at the heart of a sinner, he doesn't even hear their cry, because its an abomination to him. The only time I know God hears the cries of the unrighteous and said He will come down to see how they're doing, was the era of Sodom and Gomorrah, you know the story, He only came to see the gravity of their sins and brought destruction on them. Though His grace is there, which is for our salvation but, shall we continue in sin that grace might abound. By grace a man is called into repentance, but there's still a work to be done, to be born again, and that is; purifying yourself by denying yourself of all fleshly desire, pleasures of sin and with prayers and meditating on the word for Him to sanctify your heart. Only then you can live a life without sin, some will say it's impossible, because they've been so entangled in sin, thinking it impossible. " How can one overcome lust: fornication, masturbation and the rest," they'll say. don't forget Paul said whatever you are passing through, know that your brethren all over the world are going through the same thing. Disobedience, our disobedience is really an important issue, all the troubles we're facing in this world today is as a result of it. A song writer wrote; " Oh what things we often forfeit, Oh what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer." It's one thing to have faith, yes faith is good, with faith as little as a mustard seed, one can say unto any mountain; " be moved and tossed into the sea" and it will come to pass. With faith one can believe in Jesus. Faith is an heavenly currency, the more you grow in Christ Jesus the more your faith grows, Faith is believing in Christ Jesus, even the moment you truly gave your life to Christ, that is faith. But faith has stages and ranks, the faith of a highly spiritual man is different from that of a beginner in the spirit. If one of little faith wants to buy something of 100 dollar and he only has 10 dollar, he make purchases, right?, but If a highly spiritual man has 10,000 dollar he can buy that item from heaven immediately. That's the reason why some people's prayers gets answered fast. Faith without works is useless, by works I don't mean handy works. These works are the things you do. A prophet would always say; " you can't pray for a rain not to fall and still carry an umbrella." Meaning; faith without absolute trust in God is useless, that is trusting God alone, not compromising Him with something else. We grow in faith by constant hearing of the word of God with our heart, not ear, that is constant meditation on the word of God. Obedience is another aspect, Jesus only needs our obedience, there are certain things that we don't even ask Jesus to do and He does them, because of our obedience to him. He said: Matthew 6:33 " Seek first and all other things shall be added unto you." Job 36:11 " If they obey and serve Him, they'll spend the rest of their days in prosperity, and their years in contentment." Psalm 34:5 "Those who look unto the Lord are radiant, and their faces are never covered with shame." Psalm 91 " He that dwells in the secret place of the Lord most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty, therefore no evil shall befall him, neither shall any plague come near his dwelling, for He shall give his angels charge over him , to keep him in all his ways." Psalm 34:7 " The angels of the lord always encamp around the righteous." So if your are obedient to him, know that his angels are standing right where you are right now, even if no one in your household is righteous, for your sake they're still there. You see these are all promises, that doesn't need prayers, only thanksgiving. Let us find it right to obey God, first; for our salvation and all other things shall following, that doesn't mean there won't be hard times, for many are the affliction of the righteous but, God will deliver them from them all.
  40. 1 point
    The Jesus in a man is the one that preaches the Gospel. Jesus will only use you in accordance to how much you've grown in his spirit. The words you're reading now were written through Jesus by the holy spirit in me being the vessel. But there are others who will say more than these words, men who will utter the deep things of God I don't know of, because of their spiritual height attained as a result of the growth of the spirit of Christ in them gotten by the price they paid. We grow everyday so we won't remain a child in spirit, a child will always talk in the ability of a child, but an adult will talk in the ability of knowledge he has obtained. We all need to grow to do the work of God, it is not our desire, no one can have this desire, it is given by the holy spirit in a man born again. To tell the truth I've never one day in the past thought of telling the gospel, but see now, I even desire greater things, and greater things we desire by the holy Spirit to be baptized in the holy ghost, to enable us speak as Jesus would want us to speak. You know Jesus would always say after he has spoken; " the words I speak are not my own, " or " I speak as the father has taught me to speak, " We need to be restored to the relationship we had lost because of sin, Jesus came to restore man, first, from sin unto salvation and then, when that soul has paid the price to receive salvation. Jesus then came also to restore him as a son to have a personal relationship with God. Unless we are restored to be able to hear from the Lord and relate with Him as you would relate with your close friend His project in our life cannot be completed, it will only be done half way because such a men don't have the complete blueprint. Unless a man is baptized in the holy ghost to hear form the God or Jesus constantly, he will do the work of God for sure, because he has the holy Spirit, but he'll not be able to complete it, because he has not heard from God to know the purpose and plan for his life and also for the life of others. You see what the apostles did when they were baptized in the holy ghost compared to when they were with Jesus. When they are with Jesus in the flesh they did preach the gospel, but when they are baptized in the holy ghost they did wonder and declared the gospel with power, that just in a day thousands were converted. This is what God wants for every man born again, to be baptized in the holy ghost to restore him so, He can use fully the supernatural potential God has given unto him. This is when man can boldly say " the Lord said " because he speaks as God wants him to speak, he goes to the ends of the earth for the gospel without fear, it doesn't matter if he's surrounded by hostility, angry mob. If one is not baptized in the holy ghost there are limitations, a man baptized in the holy ghost can stand anywhere, even if it is a place where people are being massacred for the gospel, he'll go if the Lord said " go! " because he knows the Lord that sent him. But a man who's not baptized in the holy ghost, he will not go, because he has doubts if he'll go and succeed or go and die out of ignorance. Brethren, we need to bend down and work, to be restored as sons, it is only a son that has a responsibility in the house of the Father and he'll be rewarded for his works at the end, not a child. A child is different form a son, majority of born again saints are children spiritually, only very few are sons, if not the whole world would have been transformed for Christ. It's only few who are sons that why you only see few carrying out God's works with power as it was in the days of old, no! Even doing greater things than they did. To be baptized in the holy ghost, that is to be restored as sons, to be restored unto that relationship with God we had lost because of sin caused by the first man. It is gotten on severe price payment. Only a man who is born again, delivered form sin to live a life without sin, only he who can t boast of this word of God that " he that is born of God cannot sin, because God's seed remains in him " 1 John 3:9 Is qualified to enter, for at the gate purity is made. The path to be baptized in the holy ghost is an entirely different path on its own, it is a course to scale through, just as you scaled through to receive salvation on price payment there is also a faith to believe and a price to be paid to be baptized in the holy ghost. To begin this course you must first be saved, to live a life without sin which so many people think it's impossible, if it were impossible, then you've made God a lair, and no one will enter the kingdom of God, because nothing of sin will enter. However many born again Christians stop at when they received their salvation to live a life without sin, only few of them desire to cross over into the other realm to be restored as sons who relates with the father. This course is on sanctification by the holy spirit, a purging of the soul with fire, breaking, crushing and remolding to become a vessel of noble purpose, to be made more than gold, gold is not fine at first but, unless it passes through the fire, beaten, heated chilsed, it then become the fine gold you see. We must have the spirit of righteousness to enable us make sacrifices, because we are judged add accelerated to continue the course based on the righteousness of our heart, It is a journey to God. One must first have a revelation to set a vison given by God, if not he won't be able to make sacrifice, because it is all on sacrifice, you sacrifice you life time, every second to God, if your not feeding on the scripture, you must be in prayers in your heart constantly, if you're not in prayers, you must be engaged in the Spiritual activities of God. All these are to sanctify our heart by the holy Spirit and to build the spirit of Christ in us. Unless this happens God won't dwell in us, because our heart is the contact point fro God. As one feeds on the word he is building in a spiritual structure in his heart that at the end will become the temple of the Lord. Man pays the price, but only God sets the time for him to come in, the house might be completed, but it is only the landlord that decide when to move in. And when he does come, in he'll speak to you clearly through your heart, from within clearly, and you will speak also and he'll listen and reply. These days many will say it's only in the time of old men can hear God. You who is saying so, it's because you are not prepared to become a vessel. You who hears from Him given as a gift from birth, pay the price to maintain what you've been given else you'll lose it, we who don't have that gift, surrender and make sacrifices to have it. Revelation given by God propels a man to have vision to be restored to God. Everybody's revelation is different because God's dealing with everyman is different, if you copy another person's faith you'll fail. You must work to have resources to build your temple. This resources comes from devouring the word like a hungry beast, to grow rapidly in spirit, to fast forward your construction. Tell me, who is he who finishes his house on time? the one who goes to the site everyday and spends time in it or the other who forsake the construction more often. You must pray without ceasing ( even if it's thank you Jesus, ) these are to sanctify our heart, our heart is too porous. Sanctification on prayers prevents dirt from getting in and also removed the dirt already in. God cannot behold dirt, even if you're born again there are still scars to be healed caused by the damages of sin. Prayers also prevents the evil one from sowing weeds and wrecking havoc to our structure hindering it's completion. Your heart must be fixed in the Lord, forsaking the world, you must be free from bondage of the world, what to eat drink wear, worries of life, entertainment of life's whatever it is that makes you spend less time with Him, you must give Him your every second. You must neutralize the flesh to zero, some like eating anyhow, to become spiritual you must neutralize the flesh, because the flesh is weak and stands as an interference to the holy spirit. Neutralize the flesh in it's sleeping hours, your stomach, I'm not saying starve yourself, but reduce your food intake, you must be able to study the word on an empty stomach. But you can't do any of this if you're not grounded in the word to build the holy spirit in you, because it is the holy spirit that hungers, it is he who drives the man to do what is required at his spiritual height to advance spiritually to a new height in Jesus. it is like so till you get to the end and meet God. The main thing is the word of God, chew it like grass and Pray also without ceasing, filling your heart also with spiritual songs, always being in God presence. All these keeps us in His presence and as you remain, His glory will fill and overshadow you then you'll be baptized in the holy ghost and called to act, to become a fisher of men. And taking care of your heart, you know what this means, don't look, or do, or mediate on what the holy spirit wouldn't want. You must lose your life to be resurrected to live a new life with a new identity in Christ Jesus. Losing your life means; losing everything that hinders or limiting anything that hinders, because for sure you cannot forsake your work. However, even as you work, be in God's presence always. This new identity is a new life in Christ Jesus, to live a spirit filled life in Jesus without struggling. What He demands of, you do, not what your flesh wants.
  41. 1 point
    Every word of God is life, and except our heart is free to receive we cannot have it. The word of God brings life to the soul of a man, every word of God taken to heart is a filling of life in our hearts. The more we receive the word to heart either by hearing or meditating on the scripture, it grows our spirit man to greater heights spiritually which also is manifested in the physical. The word of God is life, unless we spend time with God we cannot have more of this life. The Lord Jesus is willing to give, but there are spiritual principles as there are physical laws. You cannot have what you don't pay the price to get. You cannot get what's not for your level, until you cross that stage. That's why we all who are in Jesus needs to make sacrifices to grow in our relationship with Jesus, so we can receive more of him as he desires to give us. We can ever have enough of Him. As I was saying, there are mysteries hidden in the word that would not be revealed until you've grown the spirit of God in you. You would not want to teach a five year old quantum physics wouldn't you? it'll be utterly useless. So it is with the dealings of God with men, He only gives you what you can carry. A scripture verse can be read today with an understanding, but tomorrow as you grow the holy spirit gives you a greater understanding you never knew existed. We should spend time to grow in God's word for it is food for our soul to grow the spirit of Christ in us. No word of God is waste even if it's " Jerusalem, " as long as it is studied in the light of God's word, it gives life. The book of Proverb really is a book of Spiritual wisdom, it contains so many mystery that helps us grow in Christ. However it cannot be understood, until you've manifested the holy spirit, the teacher of our age then everything becomes simple and clear. For example; wherever you see the proper noun father, mother or son in the book of proverbs, know this then. The Lord doesn't mean your parental father and mother but rather Jesus, the word and the children of God which are the sons. So many mysteries, how exciting and interesting when made simple by the holy spirit. Let's not stray too far; road of thorns is the teachings of the Lord in this exhortation. " prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him." Mark 1:3 Many have tried to recieves Jesus, but they couldn't, because the path for Jesus to come into their heart has been blocked by sin. Anyone born of woman is born of sin, he has been contaminated by sin already, although the spirit portion of God is still there, but it has been encroached by darkness. If nobody has that portion of God in them, them, then it'll be impossible for any one to be born again. it just that sin has suppressed and blocked the spirit of God in the hearts of many which makes them not of God. However, the Lord Jesus has shown the way by giving us the gospel, the gospel is our deliverance from bondages of sin and the evil one. Every word of God heard to heart is not wasted, it is a deliverance. The word of God is a double edged sword to cut down every thorn sown by the devil as a result of sin, the sword of the spirit cuts down any barrier standing as a hindrance between us and Jesus, unless these barrier are cut down Jesus cannot find his way to our heart that we might be saved. You'd wonder how a person who has spent years and years deep in sin would eventually get saved, and someone else who has lived little years in sin not as grievous as the former will still be in his sin. Repentance itself is a mystery for God alone, we've been hearing the word of God for a while, but why didn't you repent ever since? why now? that's a mystery, but still man is the problem. Two men were to cut down a forest, they were given same machinery, one of them has zeal for the work, he fell the trees until he cleared it all. While the other had no zeal, he doesn't care about what's to come ( the profit ) neither does he want to sacrifice his time and comfort to finish the job. In the end the other finished and received the reward, while the unserious went half way and got discouraged, because he has tried on his own strength not on the Lord's strength. He left the forest and eventually it encroached grew back again even worse than before. So it is with salvation; there'll always be a wise and the sluggard as in the scripture; " The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a high way." Proverb 15:19 The wise, on every word he has heard desires and yearns to be rescued from sin unto salvation and so, whenever he's given the gospel, he takes up his sword to cut down his barrier. His righteousness, that is; his effort to overcome sin is also his tool to cut down his barrier. The Lord Jesus judges us on the righteousness of our heart, He's always watching to see if you're sincere. When you've have tried and fallen so many times, he'll see your sincerity, He'll break that barrier, stretch out His hands to rescue you. You cannot break the barrier on your own. Unless you back it with the word of God that strengthens the spirit man you cannot have the strength to finish the work. You might grow weary, but you must cut continually till you reach the end where salvation lies. That's the difference between the wise and the sluggard, the sluggard is he who is not ready to make sacrifices, to suffer the flesh by denying it of it's sinful pleasures, he is one who's not sorrowful when he sins against God, he doesn't desire the word to be saved, he is one to gives up easily. You know God brought us here for a test to prepare us to know those who are qualified to rule and reign with Him in His kingdom. And faithfulness is one of the main course, if you're not faithful to endure to the end, then you're not qualified. The Lord is only interested in qualified men, not men who'll turn out like Lucifer the devil who rebelled against God. These thorns prevent Jesus from getting to us and also hinders us from the riches, bringing despair and frustration. A separation from Jesus, is a soul without life. - If you don't clear your thorns you can't go through it without getting scratched, when you get scratched you're wounded Spiritually, and it affects the physical, giving you sickness and diseases, weakness in the flesh which will also dampen your effort to no Jesus, you might even end up hating him as some have cursed Jesus because or their challenges. - when you get close to the thorns, it rips your cloth apart, rendering you ripped off the blessing and riches of Jesus, you might become poor in the physical having financial difficulty. Even though you're wealthy, you cannot have peace because your wealth is not from God. You lack riches of the word and no understanding for Spiritual things. - It hinder you from seeing the other side that is; it hinders you from having revelations from God. When the Lord wants to show you something from the other side because of the barrier between you and Him you won't be able to see it for sure unless he send someone else to get it to you. - If your not careful you might take another path as a detour into a false path thinking it leads to Jesus because you failed to remove the barrier and want or turn around when Jesus is the only way. What is the thorn blocking your path if you have any, these thorns are the sins of men, you know your thorns if you do have any, there's no need listing them here. The path of the righteous is a High way, it connect him to Jesus instantly, walking with Him side by side, this high way is a one way ticket to being restored to Jesus, to that relationship man had lost because of sin to be baptized in the holy ghost, to hear the Lord speak to our hearing audibly from our heart. As you have a mutual relationship with a close friend so, we should have with Jesus also. All we do is talk, we don't hear. After been restored to Jesus to receive salvation, our deliverance from sin. There is still another thorn to be cut down, not to be free from sin this time, because you already have, but rather to be baptized in the holy ghost. This is another broad aspect we won't talk about now. It is this baptism by fire that quickens a man to walk with God and Carry out his project assigned to him. it is a command, our Lord Jesus Christ has given us the means to clear the thorny path so we might be restored to Him. Every word of God you've been hearing is that tool given for a particular work. The question remains are you willing to handle the tool and finish the job? are you willing to put your hands to the plough without looking back?
  42. 1 point
    We were all born into a straight road, but from time to time, we all have deviated and branch into different corners making our life zigzag. Take the normal route, no! we all want to branched into corners thinking they're detours, because the sign boards are enticing. There are many signs along the way which have lured all of us at a point in time and still luring others, we just have to ignore the signs like they don't exist, because in reality they lead to our destruction. There is only one way, " Jesus " the only way. Do not cheat, no! you'd want to branch because it's less stressful, the straight road doesn't have a stop at a restaurant till you get to the end. However the crooked path have many junctions leading to a destination " hell." You branched and eat of sin because it is sweet and pleasurable to the flesh not knowing it's poison to the soul, you see the road of lying and deviate from the course, anger, you deviate, lust, fornication, masturbation, adultery, cheating, drunkenness, smoking, orgies, clubbing, food for the flesh like; worldly songs, not having time for God, idolatry by putting other things first before God, hypocrisy by going to church for going sake not to grow in spirit, coarse words from the mouths and so on. Allthese have deviated us from the straight path of life causing us to live a battered and zigzag life, because we have change route too much. However, no matter how we've changed route and are been deformed there is one " Jesus " who was prepared before the beginning of time to straighten and reform us only if we give ourselves to be transformed by Him. And He has been calling out from the wilderness for our salvation, the gospel has been crying out to us right from birth, but we aren't willing to listen. The Lord said in his word ( John 1:11-12 ); " He came unto his own and His own received Him not, but as many as received Him, to them He gave power to become the sons of God." Power first to overcome sin, then power to manifest His glory. The gospel has been calling out in the wilderness, but who is willing to search for that crying voice, many have heard and passed by, but only the few took up their machete, went into the forest and start clearing, they cleared here and there till they find that voice crying out, not for help, but for the one who searches. He has found the gospel, received it into his home, but still that which he has found in the wilderness still doesn't live in dirt and unkempt house. He (the gospel ) charges this man; " it is good you have received me into your home, but I who is standing here is just a proxy for the one who is to come live in your home and he can't come only to find it dirty, I am the word sent from God, but in personality I am Jesus and my personality can't dwell in this house unless it is put in order for I cannot behold iniquity." And so He said; " prepare the way for the Lord, make straight path for Him," he told the young man his hands alone can't sanctify his house, for he does not have the strength. All you have to do he said; is show me every wrong property that is not of the Father and I'll sack them out for you. The man said; " I've been brought up in this house and I grew up with these properties not knowing how or when they got here, I heard you're the landlord of the house I beg you show me the properties that aren't yours for you know them." The guest ( the word ) sighed and said; " every property in this house is not mine, they all have to be removed and the house swept clean." The house was broken down to the foundation and rebuilt, every old property thrown out, the landlord came in and took charge, built a fence with two security ( angels ) to accompany the tenant any where he goes, and also extra for the protection of anything dear to him. So it is with a man who received the gospel on repentance to be born again of the spirit of Christ. In this we know that by grace we might be saved, but not all who are saved will enter the kingdom. Though by grace you heard the voice, and you search and cut through the wilderness to find the one crying out, but without paying the price to empty your house, the one who you received ( the word ) will not bring the personality of Christ into your house, and without Him living in your house you'll never enter the kingdom. Whatis it keeping you in bondage ask the Lord to search your heart and try you, of every unclean spirit, ask the father to expose and deliver you from whatever is keeping you in bondage of sin and He'll do it. The question is; are you ready? Not everybody who took the form to enter college will scale through the exam. This earth people, is a screening ground to select those who are fit for to rule mad reign with God. All you're pursuing are good, but in the end useless for you won't take them with you. Take this illustration, kingdom gospel is like a scrap metal collector, he goes into the streets from house to house, alley to alley, to and fro searching for scrap metal waste to be recycled. He goes on and gathers metals of different kind all beaten up into undesirable shape, he gathers them all, whether straight or bent, neat or dented and takes them to the steel factory for recycling. You want to straighten your path? Come and follow, are you ready to follow now? Because you'll have to be beaten into shape. Are you ready to be beaten? So many turned away from Jesus even if they once desired Him, because they thought the life of Christ is only sweet and not sweet and sour, when it is time to be heated and refined into a straight rod for use, they'll turn their back. This is where we know those who are truly born again, and this stage is also a test set by God to see those who are worthy of His kingdom, if you'd turn your back because of a little fire that won't kill you. Though painful, but then you've counted yourself not worthy if God's kingdom if you turn back. The path to the kingdom is a straight road and the only road, if you're deformed, zigzag, then you can't pass, you have to be reforged before you can pass, through temptations by the devil and trials of many kind based on our faith by God. There is a fire ahead but at the end, there lies the promise land. It's just like the journey of the Israelites through the wilderness. How is the way? first on repentance, not your fake repentance of rise and fall but genuine repentance. And dining with your guest " the word," unless you dine with Him day and night, He won't put enough strength to breakdown and rebuild your house for your salvation. You just have to give your time, though His food might be boring at first, because you haven't gotten the new spirit to enjoy that food but in time it'll be given. Salvation is not on a bed of roses, by grace we are called, but strive everyday to reach the end where salvation lies, else you'll be cut off.
  43. 1 point
    All true believers are tormented in one way or the other, no matter how much your wealth. If you call yourself a Christian and you've always had an easy life or you've not undergone trials at some point, then truly you really are not a Christian. The true sons of God faces temptation or persecution everyday, as long as you're living in this world there is a phenomenal battle going on in your heart always between light and darkness, not because we did something bad, yes! We did something bad to the devil which is good in the the sight of the Lord and to us. The moment you chose to follow Jesus, you became an enemy of Satan, he hates you just as he hates God, or should i say he hates you more than he hates God. You can imagine the hatred he has for us, I mean, God casted him down to hell and he hated God for that, but he hates us even more for we are created by God in His image, made lower than the angels for now. However, at the end, being saved through the blood of Jesus Christ, those who endures to the end shall be transformed into a glorious body like that of Jesus Christ, for we shall be like Him when we shall see him face to face and everything shall he put under our feet. In summary we were made in the likeness of God, angels weren't made in that way, we are made in God's likeness to become greater than all of God's creation if only we live a holy life. Now tell me why won't he hate us more, if I were in his shoes, I would also. As we walk through this pilgrim land, we should walk with Jesus holding our hand, lest we fall, it doesn't matter where you are, whether you're being surrounded by saints of God always, whether you're walking in the midst of unbelievers, you must be tried, those saints who walks amongst unbelievers faces more trials, persecution, more torment. Just as every believer houses the spirit of God, so also the unbelievers houses the spirit of the devil, it's just like light walking in the midst of a thick cloud of darkness, if you carry a lamp in the dark walking in the wild, all eyes would be on you, you'll become a target to every predator that is awake and hungry, or if you are a wanted man with a bounty on your head walking through streets, don't you think you'll be spotted easily and became a target of anyone. So it is with every true believer. Well it can't be helped, since we can't hide our light, our identity, spiritually, and since darkness can't walk with light, the evil one will use those who houses the spirit of evil as a medium to attack to torment those of Jesus attempting to lead them into sin. We are being tormented in our righteous soul day and night, but even still, we shall not falter, for we know who is with us, for we are in Him and He in us. However woe unto any man who will cause any of these little ones to fall it is better for a mill stone to he tied around his neck and thrown into the sin. ( Mathew 18:6 ) My dear, if you're living in sin, you should realize the fact that you been alive means you're a threat to the Kingdom of God ( well I don't want to put it this way ), the fact that you are living means that you are living for the devil, and whether you like it or not you're being used consciously or unconsciously by the devil to torment the children of God, trying to cause them to fall. The people of this world will not leave you alone if you're a child of God, it can even be your family member. So many way the devil will device. Scripture says; be truthful at all times, but, still at time you'll be tested, even when you tell the truth at all times the outcome is mostly not favourable. Don't worry, even if men turn you down for you truth, know that God acknowledges it and will In turn prepare something greater for you. But be on guard always for the evil one try every means to pull you away from Christ, but as long as you stand firm even as you stand, as long as you continue to grow in Christ, by living and acting the word not just by studying, you'll always overcome, and you'll find joy even in the midst of all these, because perseverance builds character. All of these trial and temptation are just there to strengthen us, for we are pressed but not crushed, persecuted but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed. ( 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 )
  44. 1 point
    The Lord has given us senses which makes us responds to our environment, making us feel more alive, which keeps us from danger and make us aware of ourselves. Just as most of us, our senses works fine, still, there is a sense that has been locked away in the lives of many. " The sense of spirituality " of the spirit man. whatever happens in the physical has already transpired in the spiritual, how then can you maintain and prevent yourself from an impeding danger and at worst eternal danger if your spiritual senses are dead. All humans are immortal, and scientist are still foolishly searching for immortality when the main man indeed is immortal, the only difference is, because the main man is wearing a machine and when that machine stop functioning it releases the soul to were he'll spend his eternity. It's just like an astronaut who needs a space suite to survive in space, when he comes back to earth and takes of his space suite, he's still the same man, only that he has come to his original place. So is man, where you spend your eternity has already begun spiritually here on earth, the only difference is that; while you're here you have the choice to change your destination. For a man to know and to keep his spirit man safe, he must be sensitive spiritually. We are in flesh and as long as we're not converted to be spiritual how then can we know the state of the soul which we cannot so easily see. If an ungodly man is blind spiritually how can he see to know he's in sin or in the wrong path, if he’s deaf spiritually how can he hear of spiritual things, if he’s dumb spiritually how can you speak of God, if he doesn’t have a spiritual brain how can he recall spiritual thing like revelations, if he’s dead spiritually how then can he sense spiritual feeling. I will ask a question, how many of you have tasted sin? If only you know how dirty, bitter and disgusting sin is I tell you, you won't eat of it, just as you won't eat garbage physically so it is not normal to eat such spiritually. It is, because sin has made men unspiritual that's why they still drink the dirty water of sin and eats it's rotten flesh. The Lord showed in a revelation, I bought a food like barbequed beef from the seller, I gave him cash, it looked fresh on the outside but when I tasted it, it was so bitter and disgusting that even in the physical I could feel how it tasted in the spiritual, I gave it back to him and said in anger: " keep your money I don't need it." This is what many are eating today, but, because sin has blocked their sensitivity to the spiritual they continue in their sin, though appetizing on the outside but bitter and poisonous in the inside: the Lord said in Proverb 5:3 " For the lips of an adulteress drips honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as gall. " It takes the wisdom of the holy spirit to understand the proverbs, for he is the spirit of wisdom. You now see one of the benefits of having the holy spirit. Here, the adulteress is the spirit of sin, a man who falls to sin is an adulterer, because he is married to Jesus originally. If he commits adultery with another woman, he has sinned against God, because he has defiled himself with sin. It could be an adultery spirit of stealing, anger whatsoever. The spirt of sin that seduced him is the adulteress and he is the adulterer. It is broader than this, but I'll stop here. The fruits of sin in sweet to the flesh like honey to the lips. And the spirit of sin seduces with a smooth tongue, leading one to sin if he's not wise. It is a professional seducer, a professional con artist, that flows like oil. But the end result of sin, though sweet, is poison and eventually death. what is it you think is sweet to you, but in reality bitter and deadly to your soul, you think it sweet, because you're dead spiritually, is it fornication, masturbation that has captured a huge percentage of youth, even some who call themselves pastor, and church names and titles, because of their status they can't fornicate, and so die in masturbation in the secret. what is it? Is it stealing, lying, cheating, anger, drunkenness, smoking, orgies, partying, engaging in all sort of worldliness, glorifying the devil in his songs, insulting God that he didn't create you well. How many sin shall you commit, how long shall you continue in your sin, this evil generation. While you're at it now, it is pleasurable, but a time is coming and will soon come when the flesh will be put aside and all your pleasure will fade away like a dream then, you'll be awaken to reality when you're in hell. You know, this life is like a dream, how you lived your life in your dream affects reality, if you live in pleasures of sin, of the world and of the flesh, when you awaken you'll find yourself in hell only begging and wanting to go back to your dream, all your achievement, certificates, memories made, pictures taken, treasured stored, all vanity. It's like a child who finds himself pouring water into a bucket in a dream and then, in reality he peed on himself, a dire situation, so it is with sinners and their destination. Today everybody is a Christian, some will go to the extent to say in their social media status " God is with me, " but still you'll see them outside with their lover, no! let's stop coating it with English and say it raw, " sex partner in sin." I saw a girl recently, well I already knew she's far gone, a time she was opposing God's word and telling me I'm not born again that people like me will be the one to drag people down to hell, well she who was talking and calling herself born again. I saw her standing like a harlot with her partner in crime while she was supposed to be at home. She's a student actually, later she’ll say the lecturer is wicked when she can’t answer her examination questions. All the time she was supposed to use in study were wasted in sin not even for God, but for the devil. And the devil will so deal with the sinful in the end with pleasure. The word of God will always be preached and those in evil will continue in their evil, but if you're not ready to change, you who God has called and is calling, will be replaced with stones, that is; you'll be replaced with someone else you never thought could be restored. The kingdom of God is spiritual, and our invitation ID is the spirit of Christ, it is our spiritual clothing. If you don't have this spirit ( the holy spirit ) you go nowhere. And let me tell you salvation is at the end, if you like confess Jesus, if you don't pay the price and carry your cross, suffering the flesh spending time with God to be given this spirit of Christ you cannot be identified by Jesus. All Jesus did, all is suffering is an illustration of what a man born again should go through. Jesus already paid the price, now do the rest, unless you suffer the flesh, denying it of it's sinful pleasures, sanctifying your heart purging it of all evil you cannot walk with Jesus. The holy spirit sanctifies our heart to live a life without sin naturally, but you cannot have him if you don't have the word. To walk with Jesus is suffering and discomfort to the flesh but at the same time it is interesting and fulfilling to the spirit of Christ in those who are of Him. It is only those who are sensitive to the spirit, that can feel and have the spiritual hunger for Christ, the spiritual stomach that rumbles for Christ. Sin has caused a huge vacuum in a man, but when a man is born again, there is a hunger that desires this vacuum to be filled with the word of God to give birth to the Jesus in man born again in the holy ghost. If you like go to church, involve in church activities, if this hunger given by the holy spirit is not there, know you're not born again, your pastor might not tell you this, but I'll always speak the truth, for the word of God is truth, sharper than two edged sword. There is vacuum that has been left in our spirit man because of sin, come back to Jesus and feel that vacuum though his word, because very soon It'll be too late. God is wrapping up His gospel business here in Earth, any moment from now when He has gathered His elect, He'll come for His own. That's why no one knows the hour only the time interval, He is the one that shows it to us, and He won't do anything without letting his children know. It is only those who are in the house that knows what's going on within the house.
  45. 1 point
    If you're full of the word, you're full of God's power, God's strength, God's nature of righteousness, holiness and purity, you're full of life and if you are full of the word you're full of Jesus. Being born into a world of sin, being born of flesh contaminated with the blood of sin, we have been more of ourselves and less of Jesus, we have been more of sin and less of Jesus, we have been more of flesh, more of the world and less of the spirit of God the holy spirit. Since the fall of man, man has been lesser in every aspect, even lesser than animals, you can imagine how a lady will see a rat or a cockroach and she screams as if she saw something from a horror movie or the devil himself. Just as we have been less, our Lord Jesus Christ came and went on the cross for our sake that we shall be restored and be more of Him. He went that we shall be restored to the original position he made us for, he went to restore that relationship p with God we had lost. Man has no excuse, you have no excuse, Jesus came in the flesh to tell you that; just as you're in the flesh he also went through the flesh as man and overcame sin nailing it to the cross. Jesus coming through Mary, was just a natural process set by God, every soul is from God created by God from above, but for the soul to walk the earth in the physical it needs to be clothed with the flesh as a container, this is where marriage came in. The original purpose of marriage is just for a man and a woman to join flesh and blood to produce a container for a soul to be sent to the earth. However, men lack knowledge of this and so in their sin they got married and have children. When a man who has anger and a woman in bondage of sexual immou come together, they produce a hybrid, thereby contaminating the container of the child with the spirit of anger and lust, and this affects the soul of the child causing the child to live in sin, unless he recieves Jesus. That's why the world is overruned by demons living in men. The increase of men contaminated of sin, is the increase of evil roaming the earth. Now you see why Jesus came through Mary, Mary was the daughter of a priest, a holy virgin without contamination, a container without contamination. Jesus was born as man, with the flesh being weak as yours, but still he lived as an example that through Him man can be saved. Jesus died for us, first: to restore us from sin unto salvation, ( for those who believes in His name, and then paid the price to reach the end were salvation lies.) But, those who are already born again, you who is born again living a life without sin, there is a second restoration; restoration as sons of God, to be restored with the fullness of God, to regain that relationship with God we had lost. How much are you sacrificing, you who is born again? how much price are you paying to be restored? don't think it ends with living a life without sin. You who have been delivered from sin, you have a job to deliver, and you cannot deliver if you're not full of the word. A man cannot give what he doesn't have. To be full of the word is to be full of life, for Jesus is life, if you have life you have Jesus, if you have Jesus you have life, and out of your belly rivers of life shall overflow. But how much is your life? how much can you give? one of the reason people go for envagelism and can't win a soul is because they're not full of life. ( don't get me wrong here the holy spirit is the one who converts, man convince but the holy spirit converts if you're speaking word of holy ghost.) Giving the gospel is giving life and it is like giving water to a thirsty man. If the man to be saved has a jug of water to be filled, because of how far he has gone in sin, ( the deeper he went the bigger the jug.) If he has a jug to be filled and you born again only has a cup of water of life in you, you can't actually fill that jug of water to make that man born again, because of the less of Jesus in you. Untill the Lord sends another of His own overflowing with life, having more than a jug of water, only then can that man's jug be filled. Salvation itself is a mystery, even after filling the man's jug, he can decide to pour out the water given and return to his sin empty. If you really want to win a soul for Jesus, then today, you must begin to fill yourself with the word, to be full of Jesus, so you will no longer speak as a child, but grow the spirit of Christ in you to speak like an adult, words of holy ghost, given by God. A born again not full of God's word speaks as a child, he speaks with little substance, but he that his filled utters the deep things of God. He that is full of the word stands as a channel of salvation, not only from sin, but from impending dangers. A man born again in the holy ghost and full of the word, is a channel, a checkpoint of God here on Earth. There are two channels: " light and darkness," and i tell you the channels of darkness is much, because of the increase of sinful men. Where one in sin stands, he is a checkpoint of the devil to the nearest child of God who is close by and the devil uses him as a medium to frustrate that child of God. Where there's a child of God there is light, because he is a channel of light. If something evil is to happen to someone or a man is to be saved from sin, that child of God nearest to him is the quickest medium God can use to deliver that man, or everybody around him ( like in an accident ). You filled of the word can pray to God and nullify problems of men when being brought to you, for the glory of God, no matter how great, so they can have salvation if possible. I'm not talking of money problem. God delivers men, using his own as an instrument so His name will be glorified, to bring also an invitation to salvation, not for show off. You become a channel of blessing where there's lack, you as a righteous man cannot lack, the Lord sustain the righteous, for God's word sustains both physically and spiritually. A man full of the word is full of spiritual riches and also blessed as the Lord provides. God doesn't give too little, making some curse His name through complaining and he doesn't give too much so some won't forget Him. Still, no one who isn't contented cannot follow Jesus. when you're full of the word, you are shielded In God's fortress, you have the word as a shield, a defence, the more the word dominates your heart, the stronger his shield. If the evil one should project an attack, the word of God stands as a force field to stop that attack, this attack could be of sin, sickness, porverty, death whatever it maybe. But if you're not built on the word, your sheild will be weak and what happens when a barricade is being smash continually without it being fortified, it'll eventually fail. That's why you can see one born again today, but in sin tomorrow, because he didnt devour God's word as food to strength his barrier and when sin hits and hits, it eventually went through and got his heart. If your shield is not strengthened, there are Spiritual attacks you can't withstand as you advance in Jesus, the evil one can touch you anytime he wants. The fullness of the word, the fullness of Jesus is with those that obeys to the last command, to be obedient is to have love for God, to have love is to make sacrifice, you cannot obey if you can't make sacrifice. You have changed masters, to satisfy the new master you must change how you live in your old house to please the new no matter how unpleasing it seems. You must obey every command, no stealing, you obey, no lying, you obey, be gentle you obey, let not your eyes lust after the flesh, you obey. At first it's frustrating, but in time you'll get use to the new master and his household eventually. The Lord only rewards those who obey, he only fights for those who obey, there's are things you don't ask for, there are attacks you're not aware of, but, because of your faithfull obedience to the word, He automatically provides and stands for you. To be full of the word is to live a life of Christ without sin naturally, people struggle to live a righteous life, because they're not full of the word, in the end they give up and starts proclaiming to the world that it's impossible to live without sin. When a man is full of God's word he is full of Jesus, the Jesus in him makes him to live a holy life naturally, the life he lives is no longer his, but Jesus living in him. When he walks Jesus walks, when he speaks Jesus speaks. Men have been full of the spirit of evil that's why it is hard for them to leave their sin. It's like sweeping a house and the more you sweep you keep letting your child to roam the house with dirt from the outside. If you're not full of the word, the spirit of Christ in you cannot grow to conquer that giant of sin you have nutured all these years. This why men live in sin, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, the flesh has encroached so much that you don't want to look that way, but you find your head turning that direction, why don't you get yourself full of the word so that when you want to act Jesus will be the one in controll not you. To be full of the word is to be full of God's power, the word of God is power, it is authority. Jesus is the word. Jesus and God the Father are one, if you're full of the word you're full of Jesus, you have Jesus in you and you in Jesus. When you walk power walks, when you speak power speak, whatever you do in the name Jesus is in the authority of God. Whatever you say in the name of Jesus in accordance to God's will, comes to pass. He hears you immediately, and answers you immediately because He is close to you, because He is in you and has taken over. We can go on and on. The main thing about been full of the word is to be full of Jesus so we can be restored as sons, it is only a son that has a duty in the house and he's the one who inherits of the father. Be full of the word, not to cram but as food, in time you'll have a hunger for it. As a child eats he grows and as he grows, his appetite grows also to have more hunger for food. When you do this you'll be full of Jesus, and you'll be able to know the mind of God, because Jesus recieves form the Father and gives to us. If you're filled with Jesus dominating you, when God speak, Jesus speaks and you hear Him clearly and audibly in your heart. How wonderful it is to be restored. The word also gives weighty prayers. Prayer is our artillery, our hammer and the word is our strength. What do you think will happen when a man whith much strength and the other with little strength were to smash different wall of same build, with same hammer. Of course the one with much strength will smash through in one go, while the other will spend much time smashing. If you're full of the word; you say only few words in prayers and you go your way, it increases faith, you pray once. It's like using a small explosive to bring down a skyscrapper.
  46. 1 point
    Can you always, with permanent conviction, call Heaven your present possession? This is one among many Biblical truths from which believers are to appropriate for exhortation from the “comfort of the scriptures” (Rom 15:4). How eternal life is comprehended will determine whether or not there will be a walk in the encouragement of spiritual growth truths. Concerning the “New Heaven,” believers are considered presently there because of the surety of its inevitable occurrence. Though our present condition is earthly, our present position is heavenly (Eph 2:6), which answers to our Lord’s declaration that, “I go and prepare a place for you and I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” This concurs with the Lord’s action of being our heavenly “Forerunner” (Heb 6:20). NC Heavenly Dwelling The two great subjects of the testimony of the Holy Spirit are the sufferings of the Lord Jesus and the glories to follow. When these two connected truths are received into the soul by the teaching of the Spirit, they necessarily sever it from the absorbing power of earthly interests. Take the Cross, for example. “They are enemies of the Cross of Cross . . . who mind earthly things” (Phl 3:18, 19). On the other hand, take the resurrection. ”If ye then be risen with Christ . . . set your affection (the same as “mind” in the former quotation) on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col 3:2). The great moral of the Gospel is heaven as a present enjoyable reality, as the home of our affections, the center of our interests. This is indeed a wondrous truth, but how little we know the actuality of it in our souls! The characteristic of our present calling is, that it is “heavenly.” We are addressed as “holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling.” Our true tabernacle is in heaven; our only Priest is in heaven. The epistle to the Hebrews sets forth the heavenly worship, which faith alone can recognize in direct contrast to earthly worship, which the senses could recognize. The priest of the Jews was a visible person; the sacrifices, tangible objects; the temple, a material structure: all beautiful and orderly and suitable to the system with which God Himself has connected them; but to faith, they are mere shadows of glorious and eternal realities (God began with visibly-aided proof and gradually minimized it to allow faith to be exercised in its greatest capacity before its time is gone, for soon we will walk by sight—NC). The heart of man naturally lingers about the shadows; and the full-blown evil of the Judaizing tendency (not that Judaism is evil but attempting the admixture of it with Christianity is—NC), with which the Apostle Paul dealt so sternly, is now become habitual to the thought of Christianity, and has helped to form that characteristic of “dwellers on earth.” Judaism has been taken as the pattern of what men call Christianity, and thus Christianity itself is regarded as a mere improvement or refinement of Judaism, instead of being regarded according to Paul as its direct contrast (opposite—NC). The new piece has been added to the old garment, “and the rent is become worse.” We are exhorted to walk worthy of the calling wherewith we have been called (Eph 4:1). This implies the knowledge of our “calling.” It is a “high calling.” The word rendered “high” is the same as that rendered “above” in Colossians 3. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” We are called of God from beneath to above, from earth to heaven. We are bodily on this earth and in this world, yet we belong not to either—“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” Hence also the pilgrim and stranger character of the saint: heaven is his home, and oh, that we as ardently desired to be with the Lord Jesus where He is, as He desires to have us with Him! We are not as “those that dwell on the earth” (Rev 13:14). Moralists, philanthropists and politicians all recognize something valuable in Christianity, and use it as helpful to their own ends; and thus has Christianity been dragged down from its lofty eminence, till almost all that is distinctive is lost amidst so many elements which are foreign. The long continued attempt to apply Christianity to the world, merely as an aid to its civilization, has led to the loss of even the theory of the Church. In time it may well be that nothing will be so offensive to “the dwellers on the earth” as the assertion of the peculiar privileges and special hope of the Church. - Wm Kelly (1821-1906)
  47. 1 point
    “From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God” (Jonah 2:1, NIV). Jonah was on the run, not from some sort of enemy, but from God. He had been given a divine command to preach a message of repentance to the people of Ninevah, but instead, Jonah boarded a ship for Tarshish, about as far away from God as the sea would take him. A severe storm led Jonah’s boatmates to throw him overboard, and, if not for God’s provision of a hungry fish, Jonah would have certainly drowned. Now, Jonah would spend three days in the fish’s belly accompanied solely by his thoughts and, of course, God’s presence. One might think that Jonah would spend his days of seclusion cursing God or, at the very least, his predicament. Jonah, however, used his divinely appointed “time out” to offer God praises. Jonah recognized his mistake in not listening to God and praised God for his rescue and provision. If you’ve been a follower of Jesus for any amount of time, you’ve likely prayed, like Jonah, a belly of the fish prayer. These are the prayers we pray in the dark, lonely, smelly spaces in which we sometimes find ourselves. At times, the fish’s belly is a result of our own poor decisions. Other times, mere consequence lands us in this most desperate of situations. Perhaps your cries to God have pierced through the dark nights of depression. Or maybe an addiction has placed you in dire straits. Illness, unemployment, and shattered relationships can also leave a person broken in the proverbial belly of the fish. It’s important to remember that, in these and all situations, you are not alone. Jesus had his own belly of the fish moments. He prayed in the darkness of Gethsemane and from the cross at Calvary. Jesus has already been through, in some shape or form, what we experience in this life. Jesus even spent his own three days in the belly of a sealed tomb. Yet, he came out victorious. Perhaps you are experiencing a belly of the fish moment right now. Know that God is with you. Call on him. He will answer. You will see the light of day again.
  48. 1 point
    “ For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power” (1 Corinthians 1:17, NIV). Many people view the Apostle Paul as one of the greatest preachers of all time. Certainly, Paul was instrumental in spreading the Gospel like wildfire throughout the region of Asia Minor. Paul, however, recognized that he was hardly the most eloquent of speakers, nor the wisest of men, and that the power behind his words was not in his preaching, but in the cross of Christ. At times, we might be hesitant to share the message of God’s love in Jesus with those around us. We might feel like we don’t know enough about the Bible or that we won’t have the right words to say. Paul destroys this notion as he recognizes his own limitations in speaking about Jesus, but he does it anyway. Again, the power of God is not in the preaching, but in the cross of Jesus. As a pastor, I sometimes have people compliment me on a particular sermon. As a Christian author, people will sometimes remark on the message of my writing. I must admit that I love the affirmation! Still, I recognize that these individuals are not ultimately responding to me, but to the good news of the Gospel. And, while you think that might be humility on my part, it’s actually honesty. There is power in the cross of Jesus. The message of the crucifixion changes lives and saves souls, and we are privileged to share it. Therefore, let’s be bold in our witness and in our less-than-perfect delivery. God will use it to change the world!
  49. 1 point
    "It's a long story." I sighed, brushing my bangs from my eyes and adjusting my glasses. "And we have time, so start." He stood taller and held the pen firmer. "Where should I start?" Feeling uncomfortable with slouching, I sat straighter. "From the beginning would be a good place, but if you want to go ahead and start at the end I'm sure the readers will understand perfectly." He rolled his eyes and smirked. I stuck out my tongue and took a deep breath. "It's amazing how easily we judge books by their covers. Just like we judge people, just like they judged me. They saw my cover and never looked beyond that. Then they would move on to another shelf, another person. Until someone opened my book and read my story, and helped me write a new chapter. That's my story. That's where my adventure began." "I have to say, this 'someone' who helped you seems like a great guy." He smirked. "And very modest too." I huffed and rolled my eyes. "This is my chapter, now be quiet." I glared at him. he raised his hands up in surrender, though I knew he would never surrender. "Okay, Miss. BossyPants." His smirk grew wider. I crossed my arms and raised an eyebrow. He chuckled at the memory. I held my glare. "Fine! I'll be quiet." his shoulders bounced up and down as if he were laughing, but he didn't make a sound. I uncrossed my arms and took a deep breath. "The soft pounding of rain awakened me from my normal nightmares. I wasn't prepared, the tears started to flow. Three years. It's been a year now. A soft moan made me reach for my glasses, making me see I wasn't by the empty casket, I was in my room. I forced my eyes to blink away the tears. I looked at the window, the rain and the wind twirled and danced with the colorful yellow and red leaves. A small smile spread on my lips as memories of my parents dancing in our kitchen play like a movie in my mind. The tears were threatening to break through my walls, but before they had the chance, I jumped out of bed. Thinking only of the plaid shirt and blue jeans. That's how you stay strong, you focus on a subject. You don't move your eyes, or your broken mind. You stay on target until the task is complete and then you move on to another target. This way you will never fade. My new target was the stairs that creaked with every shift of a toe. My eyes traced the darkened brown lines that spread across the wood. Focus. Lines. Dark brown. Focus. Twenty-three steps later, I met the sweet smell of vanilla coffee. I looked up and saw my mom at the counter swinging her arms everywhere, reaching for the milk and the grounded coffee. I forced a smile. I no longer thought I was the only early bird in the town. Mom's pale, blue eyes woke up before the sun ever since the men arrived to tell us the news. She also had to focus to keep from breaking. That's why she moved us into the retired, old building and opened the coffee shop. As soon as I took a step closer to the counter, she turned around and met me with comforting arms and a warm cup of hot chocolate. I didn't need to see that she was holding back tears, she was torn to pieces when the men came. Her husband, my father went missing in action on the field. Who knows how he died, I forced myself to not imagine him bleeding, or suffering. Wondering how he would get home to his beautiful wife and daughter. She continued to hug me, telling me everything I needed to hear without using words. She let go, I could tell she was focusing on my face. The face that had her similar round eyes, slim nose, and high cheek bones. Her eyes studied my thick mouth and deep brown eyes that my father had. She then started focusing on my hair. The soft waves of dark chestnut flowed down to my waist. I smiled the brightest one I could manage and took a step back. She nodded and smiled. We both were comforting each other even without words, sometimes without touch. We both knew what we needed to keep strong. Focus. We moved on in silence. I grabbed five coffee cups and set them down on the counter. She took the grinds of the coffee and set them by the cups. I signed a thank you and she nodded. I turned toward the boiling hot water. I flipped the switch and poured the water onto the grinds stirring it around and around. I poured more hot water as the bell rang signaling the first customer has arrived. Mr. Don, the mayor, seemed to hold a piece of sunshine in his pocket, his eyes traced the room merrily. When his eyes rested on my mom, he melted into a puddle. It was no secret he thought Momma was beautiful, every man in town thought so, but the mayor seemed to see her beauty farther than her skin. I tensed when I saw him fix his hair. I reached up and brushed my bangs away, trying not to get mad. There could never be a man as great for my mom as my dad was. I turned, focusing on my breaths. Turning back to Mayor Don, I put on my best smile. "Good morning Mayor, can I get you your usual?" I asked biting my lip so I wouldn't laugh at my fake southern accent. "Yes please miss. And by the way, I think your accent is getting better." He winked and I chuckled. "It's not good for a mayor to lie, is it?" I asked innocently while brewing his coffee. I focused on his deep chuckle. Momma walked into the back, she wasn't going to talk to him today and the mayor seemed to notice. I caught a hint of disappointment flash in his eyes but he quickly went back to his normal merry self. I poured him a cup, watching carefully for any unwanted grains. Satisfied, I brought the hot cup to him. He held out the exact amount, I suddenly smiled for real this time. Exact, was one of my favorite words. "Thank you, Mayor, have a great day!" I considered his eyes, he was still hurt from Momma's rejection. "Thank you, tell your Mother I said my hello." He turned and walked off, not wanting to hear another word about how I would do so, since he knew she could hear him. I heaved a deep breath and rolled my eyes. The bell rang again and I rushed in front of the counter. In walked my best friend since second grade, Emily Porter. She looked at me with her bright green eyes that held so much compassion and mercy. I immediately started to cry, she knew what today was. She held out her arms and I hobbled into them. She mumbled and clicked her tongue, signaling me to look at what she would sign. Emily was deaf, I met her in second grade. No one could communicate with her and so I set out to make her my best friend. I had made my dad drive me to the bookstore after school so I could pick out a book on sign language. Ever since, we have been the best of friends. "I know this is going to be a hard day for you, but remember, your dad wouldn't want you to mope. He would want you to spend the day remembering the happy moments." She signed with a reassuring smile on her face. My lip quivered. I nodded and hugged her again. She was my rock when I lost my dad. She had loved him like a father since he too learned sign language for her. I let go and signed her a thank you. She nodded and wiped away a tear on my cheek. "How are you feeling today?" I asked. "Fine, I am just remembering the first sleepover at your house and how your parents were so sure about how they were fluent signers and when I asked where's the restroom they freaked out and were confused." We both laughed for a minute, reminiscing on the memory. "Thank you, I needed that." I signed back, she nodded. "I have to go to speech therapy, I'll see you at six." She waited for my nod and hugged me. Emily was an inspiration, though she was deaf, she was working on being able to perform on stage for theater. I watched her turned to wave at my mom who apparently was watching us. My mom jogged up to us and hugged her so tightly. When she let go, Emily put a hand on my mom's cheek. Momma nodded and Emily out her hand down. We watched Emily leave and I turned to my mom. She freely let the tears come. I hugged her as if I was the glue that held her together. She let go and took a deep breath. "It's time to remember the happy times, to remember all the lives he touched. I know this is going to be a hard day, so I'll be in the back making brownies if you need anything." Brownies were my dad's favorite, I nodded and took her hand before she walked away. "And I'm here if you need anything." She nodded slowly and smiled. I let her go and I walked back to the counter. The bell rang again. I glanced up, and had to bit my lip to stop myself from gasping. A guy, who seemed to be about my age, walked in. The stranger was tall, with broad shoulders and had a muscular shape. His black rain coat reached down to the middle of his black boots. He shook off the coat to reveal a tight fitted black shirt and dusted blue jeans. I looked up to his face. I traced his long nose and big lips in my mind. I was drawing him with my eyes. His eyes struck me, I couldn't look away. They were teal blue with hints of gold pecks that could be seen from miles away. He held my stare, a small smirk played on his face. I turned my back, hiding the heat that creeped up on my cheeks. I bent down, reaching the cans of coffee beans. I turned my head just in time to see my mom had walked up behind the counter to get something and smile politely at the stranger and leave the room. Leaving me to help Mr. Handsome. I cast a glare to her but she wouldn't notice, she was in the back. I turned to face the stranger, his face showed that he was amused. I smiled and bit my tongue, I couldn't find the words to say. I silently argued with myself. He was just a guy, yes, he was handsome but still a human being. "Welcome to The Coffee House, what can I get you today?" I broke eye contact to look at the blank screen computer, pretending to read something more important. My ears perked up when I heard the stranger's deep voice echoing through the silent coffee shop. "Hello, I need whatever is the best drink you got please." then he turned and walked away. my mouth was left in a shape of an O. I turned to the machine that creates the best coffee in the world. The Chai Lover Coffee Monster was our number one seller. It is chai that has spice and love all in one sip while still having coffee that could keep you sane for the rest of the day. And of course, always a unique design on the top. Unlike what most girls would've done, I did a mountain view instead of my phone number. I set it down on the counter by the cash register, I waited for him to get up and pay for his drink. but he didn't. I crossed my arms. He watched me, drumming his fingers. I have no clue why this made me so mad, but it did. "Come on 'princess', we aren't bringing it to you!" Confidence seemed to control me, I never yelled at strangers. He smirked. It made the hairs on my arms stand up, I clenched my hands under the counter. I tried to not think about what I just did, instead I thought about the smell of the brownie batter that started to rise in the air. He got up and walk casually toward me. I focused on my heart beat, it was going faster than I wanted it to. Surprisingly my cheeks weren't red with embarrassment. "Yes, Miss. Bossy," He threw a ten-dollar bill on the counter. 'Have a good day." and he turned his back to me and walked out the door like he owned he place." "And that was when my life turned into a crazy rollercoaster." I smiled. "Yes, I did bring fun and adventure to your life, your welcome from Mr. Handsome." He winked. "That's not how I remember it. I remember you bringing me problems and pain." I motioned towards my leg. He rolled his eyes, but I could see the guilt and regret in his eyes. "Hey, You really did turn my world into a beautiful place. Now, it's your chapter." I stood up and leaned forward him. As I locked eyes with him, I took the pen and paper out of his hands and sat back down. "Annnnd, go!"
  50. 1 point
    "And ye are complete in him..."- Colossians 2:10. It is easy to be addicted to compliments but we should not rely on people's approval. Your value does not come from another person approval, it comes from the Creator. Paul teaches in the above verse that we are “complete in Him,” meaning Christ. We need not rely on other people to make us happy. Apostle Peter loved Lord and was always there for Him but when Jesus needed Him the most at the cross, Peter was not there and he denied Jesus three times. Beloved those who celebrate you can also turn around to mock you. Only God endures till the end. God can lead us to kind people but it is important to understand that human beings are not all together perfect. Sometimes your love ones may be in a bad mood or had a hard day at workplace and may want to be left alone. Everyone has his or her challenges once in while, therefore and it will be totally unfair to give someone else the burden or responsibility of always making you happy, its selfish. No one is responsible for your happiness, do not put that extra pressure on them. People may make you feel special and you will feel special but if you are always depending on someone to make you happy, you become needy and insecure. We are complete in Christ. Life is dependent on how God sees you. When you know the Creator of the universe has His Spirit in you and approves you, you should live with your head high. He loved you before you woke up. We are self sufficient in Christ sufficiency. You should not depend on people's applause, you need God's applause. And the Lord will turn the hearts of men for your sake. The Bible states; that when a man's ways pleases the Lord, He will cause even His enemies to be at peace with Him (Prov.16:7). Promotion does not come from people it comes from God. The truth is, no one can meet all your needs only God can. The only one who can satisfy the human soul is the one who made it. Therefore the right attitude is; 'no one owes you anything, you are self- sufficient in Christ'. To expect another person to make you feel happy, secure and fulfilled will leave you disappointed at best and disillusioned at worst. Even a great husband makes a very poor God. Only God Himself can settle those deep heart-needs. Our key verse, Philippians 4:19 reminds us of this, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” If a husband could meet every need his wife has, we’d have no need for God. So, instead of just focusing on finding the right partner, let God work on your heart to help you become the right partner. Marriage is a decision to honour God by honouring the one He has entrusted you. Our goal as Christians is not to seek loved but to be what we want another to be. God wants you to be the conduit through which His character flows, you need to be a reflection of Him. Love is more of a decision you make than a feeling you feel. If you are looking for love then - “delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). We are complete in Christ, He is our only source of true joy. Finally, humans are created to be exhausted and sleep off but only God is always awake and His hands comforts even while we are asleep. No human being can make you whole, only God can. Brethren, if you live for people's acceptance you will die of their rejection. Quit getting people to apologize to you for not giving you what Christ has already provided. Go to God. Shalom!
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