Archive for November, 2007

Check out those curves!

November 30, 2007

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As I sit here at my desk, I hearken back to my ol’ school daze taking the incredibly intricate course called calculus. Now, this course is soooo difficult that few students have a clue as to what it’s all about. In fact, it was years later that I began to understand that we were trying to figure out the rate of change between two sets (whatever that is). The definition for calculus is: a branch of mathematics dealing with the way that relations between certain sets (functions) are affected by very small changes in one of their variables (independent variable) as they approach zero. It is used to find slopes of curves, rates of change, and volumes of curved figures.

I also remember another course called differential equations, and it is defined as: a mathematical equation that relates functions and their derivatives. And now years later – I still have absolutely no idea what it was about, except that it’s used by rocket scientists. In fact, this course was so absolutely baffling that the school dropped it. Apparently they realized that instead of making fine minds they were breaking them! It’s possible that the teachers couldn’t “do the math” so to speak and thus school officials wisely withdrew the course. In the cases of both of these courses we poor befuddled students were graded – on a curve!

By grading us like that our morale was able to miraculously and immensely remain uplifted, keeping discouragement (for the most part) out of the proverbial “equation”. In some cases however, a number of students who received this boon from the teachers did not show appreciate of this grace by studying more. This, of course, rendered them ill-prepared for the next course needed for their academic development. This time around there was no grace given, and I noticed that attendance dropped off precipitously (sharply)! Perhaps if they’d been made aware of the difficulties of the next step, they would have hit the books more urgently.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God (Eph 2:8).” Grace is good stuff (unmerited favor, or goodness – Psa. 23:6) God gives us although we don’t deserve it. Mercy is “bad” stuff (punishment) God doesn’t gives though we do deserve it. Grace and mercy are the acts of love that enabled God to send Jesus to die for Man, thereby entitling us to be redeemed, or to have at-ONE-ment, with the Heavenly Father. It’s the LORD’s way of grading Mankind on a curve because Rom. 3:23 states, “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Having grace, shouldn’t we “…prepare ye for the way of the LORD(Isa. 40:3)” so that we can be ready for the next level? What is the next level?

Let’s start with Step 1, which is to keep My commandments, and live (Psa. 7:2).” “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” – Deu. 6:5. This is the First Great Commandment; “and the second is like unto it, ‘thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets’ (Mat. 22:39-40.” There is no need to concern ourselves with any other step if we are not obedient to these commandments. No matter who we are, or where we are from, obedience is the pre-eminent way to show love to God! This type of love is based on a decision – not just an emotion! God told Cain, If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him (Gen. 4:7).”  Therefore, when we follow the commandments to love we have dominion over sin, and the damnation Satan wants for us (Jam. 4:7; Jhn 10:10).

Step 2 requires us to be morally responsible, and not to shift blame for our misgivings and self-imposed deficiencies as Adam did in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:9-13). We need to understand that the LORD “…neither slumber nor sleep (Psa. 121:4)so it really and truly behooves everyone of us to be “…ambassadors of Christ (II Cor. 5:20).”  

However, let it be noted that our responsibility is not just for us to do the right thing, but also to forgive so that God can forgive us of our manifold sins (Mat. 6:14-15). Then, He can resurrect those of us who have decided to accept His Plan of Salvation, to live eternally in the Kingdom by breathing life into us (Gen. 2:7). Disobedience incurs or burdens us with the need for discipline so that we can understand how to be morally responsible!

 “Eat the flesh of Jesus” is Step 3 which is the LORD’s way of saying that we are to be taught Divine Reconciliation by a salvific God (Jehovah), who sent His Sacrificial Lamb (Jesus) to redeem and show us how to live holy lives (Jhn 6:45-51; Mat. 16:6)! Why should we live holy? So that we can  live free of impending death as His disciples (Jhn. 8:31). While some think that they can flimflam their way through life, Christians understand to, “be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (Gal. 6:7-8).”

Furthermore, blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be fill“righteousness tends to life” (Mat. 5:6; Prv. 11:19). Hopefully, we now understand that our blessing of eternity is generally related to our desire for “right” actions (Jhn. 6:27; “Job experiences” excepted Jam. 1:12 – ” quality control”). This understanding is necessary for us to achieve discipline, self-control, and autonomy. As we LEARN BETTER we DO BETTER! In other words God expects us to act like Him for He says, “be holy for I am holy (I Pet. 1:16).” If what you say, do, or think isn’t holy, then your first step is to get rid of those hindrances to spiritual reward, even if YOU think they’re inconsequential because it’s written a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump (Gal. 5:9).”

In Step 4 the focus is on improving our environment by faithfully walking the path God has revealed to you for His glory (Psa. 85:13). That may mean the dissolution of some cherished relationships, activities, our habitat, etc. (Mat. 10:34-39). Notice how in the 4th dispensation (Gen. 12:1-4) Abram didn’t begin to really be blessed until his relationship with Lot was culminated (last mentioned in Gen. 14). Besides being obedient, responsible, and autonomous, Abram had to be faithful (steadfast) (Heb. 11:6).

In the 25 year span from his pioneer journey to the Land of Canaan, up to the birth of his son Isaac, the Bible says that it was his faithfulness (which God “counted it to him for righteousness” – Gen. 15:6) that empowered him to hold on to God’s promises. Sarai did convince Abram to have a child with Hagar her maid as opposed to waiting on God to fulfill His word (Gen. 16). However, in Gen. 17 God made promises, and gave instructions for circumcisions to Abram after commanding him to “…walk before Me, and be thou perfect.” We know that “Abraham” faithfully endured in his relationship with the Lord.

Step 5 is attained when we develop character as a result of our faithfulness to being righteous, responsible, and obedient. We make it a point to do what is expected of us whether or not we get attention, awards, or any such accolades. This is especially true with regards to the law of the land as we understand that all authority comes from God (Jhn. 19:11). While there may be those who rationalize criminal behavior, that tendency dissipates as our character becomes more defined. For example, we may have been tax cheats, adulterers, involved with illegal contraband, etc.; however, by God’s grace things of this nature have lost their appeal.

In life sometimes we are faced with “gray areas” which are dealt with in Step 6. When we are confronted with issues that are not covered by the law, we have to still maintain our ethics. Healing a blind man on the Sabbath infuriated a lot of people, however Jesus taught that the Sabbath was made for Man, not Man for the Sabbath (Mrk. 2:27). There are those occasions when the situations determine the appropriate ethics, where we must fulfill the greater good. The LORD does not expect us to be so legalistic that we become negligent of our neighbor.

I remember a situation where my Pastor who, while on the way to church, had to stop a conflict between a battling couple and pray with them before things became severely violent. As important as it was to “feed the flock”, bringing peace to these two souls understandably took precedence. It is also vital that we realize that while we need to be law-abiding, we must have compassion for any given situation.

In Step 7 we become new creatures (II Cor. 5:17) by becoming God-centered as opposed to being self-centered. Overcoming problems relevant to any complex or phobia we have, we’re now ready to help someone in their struggles because Php. 4:12 tells us to “know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound; every where and in all things I am isntructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me!” 

“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister…(Mat. 20:28).”

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ACKNOWLEDGE/APPRECIATE GOD’S PROCESS

November 30, 2007

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Christian studies, activities 

“Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn”- Mat.13:30.

To get an idea of God’s Process we should have some understanding of who He is. Those of the Judeo-Christian faith know God by many names. Here are some examples:

a. El, Elohim (plural) – (Creator – Gen. 1);

b. Jehovah-jireh (The LORD will provideGen. 22:13-14);

c. Jehovah-rapha (The LORD healsExo. 15:26);

d. Jehovah-nissi (The LORD is our BannerExo. 17:8-16);

e. Jehovah-shalom (The LORD is peaceJud. 6:24);

f. Jehovah-tsidkenu (The LORD our RighteousnessJer. 23:6);

g. Jehovah-shammah (The LORD is thereEze. 48:35).

While these and other names give us an idea of His capabilities, we should understand that His nature is Love (I Jhn. 4:8, 16), and that these names describe Acts of Love! Remember Jhn. 3:16? Moreover, Moses called Him I AM THAT I AM in Exo. 3:14 to let us know that He is all we’ll ever need.

The Will of God (from which we were created – Rev. 4:11) is threefold: Sovereign, Permissive, and Pleasure. Although His Sovereign Will determines how we are made and His Pleasure Will defines our duty, it is His Permissive Will that allows us to make the decision to obey Him. The Bible says Adam decided not to obey Him and thus relinquished his immortality (Gen. 3:24), along with the idyllic life he was afforded in the Garden of Eden (it was so serenely beautiful and happy, or blessed). However, Jehovah has a Plan of Salvation to redeem Man back to Himself, and it involves an Act of Love!

PASSAGE #1: GOD IS THE ALPHA AND OMEGA

Rev. 21:6And He said unto me, ‘It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son‘.”

                 PASSAGE #2: JESUS IS THE ALPHA AND OMEGA

Rev. 1:7Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen.” 8I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending,” saith the Lord, “which is and which was , and which is to come, the Almighty.”

The name of Jesus also denotes a capability of God, and it is also a name we should indeed cherish because of Rom. 5:8 – “but God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” It’s stated in I Cor. 15:45And so it is written, ‘the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening (life-giving) spirit.”

Due to the disobedience of the first Man sin was introduced into the world, and now a life (“which is the blood” – Gen. 9:4) is required for our iniquities. God certainly didn’t want to kill off the only Man (Adam), so animal sacrifice became necessary; however, the glory of animals is not rated the same as the glory of Man (Gen. 3:21: I Cor. 15:39).

And yet, it’s said in Heb. 3:9but we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” In other words, and it must be stated unequivocally, it took the glory of God to redeem Man through the sacrifice of Jesus (Jehovah savesMat. 1:21)! Now Man only has to “take up his cross and follow Me” to attain God’s salvation (Mrk. 8:34-35)! What does this entail? For starters…

Heb. 11:6 says, “but without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Additionally, our glorious Redeemer tells us to, “…. seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” – Mat. 6:33. Also, Psa. 100: 3 reads “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.” To complete this point, add also I Cor. 3:16 which reads, “know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit dwelleth in you?

So, to get into God’s kingdom we need faith (to please God), the highest standards of morality (God’s righteousness), and be willing to give Him thanks and praise (to worship God)! Moreover, we must look within ourselves to find His Spirit of  love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23) – NOT in the world with its various temptations. Realize, though, kingdom-mindedness aspires to reach the pinnacle in its endeavors, be it in the Physical, Mental, of Spiritual Realm! To reach that plateau spiritually, you also need to know…  

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved (Rom. 10:9).”

Did you notice that even before our personal salvation, we must seek God’s kingdom first! As important as salvation is, God expects us to emulate His Spirit before we are concerned with ANYTHING else! A God “who is not willing that any should perish (II Pet. 3:9)” will surely take care of ALL of our needs (Php. 4:19). Don’t act like the rebellious Children of Israel who, after God used signs and wonders to free them from Pharaoh, complained when they thought Pharaoh would recapture them. Know that our God is able to deliver us from any affliction, any addiction, and any circumstance that causes us undue stress (II Pet. 2:9)! The grace that gives salvation (Eph. 2:8) is the grace which keeps us until we realize that “…no Man cometh to the Father but by Me (Jhn. 14:6)!” Thirdly…

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (II Tim. 2:15)”.

We must learn His commandments (Prv. 7:2), the First and Second being 37 thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Mat. 22:26-40).”

Find a Bible-teaching church to get a strong spiritual foundation, and stick with it so that God can take you through His process in the most efficient manner. Many times people are either too busy church-hopping, or too inconsistent in their attendance for the Word to develop properly. They get a ”seed ” and before it can be “watered” (let alone grow), they’re gone! We need to “be still, and know that I am God(Prv. 46:10)” Read Mat. 11:28.

Wouldn’t you like to be with your loved ones for all eternity? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see them grow into the type of people that live according to the Fruits of the Spirit?! You may be the only person who can reach them. That’s probably why you are together with them. So, after you have been able to lead them to Christ, you will develop the skill to help other people who are lost and without a clue. Then, you will be able to…

“GO YE INTO ALL THE WORLD AND PREACH THE GOSPEL TO EVERY CREATURE (Mrk. 16:15).

Understand, if we:

(1) seek God’s kingdom first;

(2) if we believe that God raised Jesus from the grave;

(3) if we study His Word;

(4) if we testify of His Good News; then

(5) we will be blessed because…

blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city (Rev. 22:14).”

The ultimate blessing is that our name is written in the “Book of Life(Luk. 10:20). It is truly unfortunate that too many of us seek so many things, and not the gift of eternal life. So I, a lowly pastor, asked that you remember to put God first; that your thoughts, words, and actions are holy (Lev. 11:44), so that on the last day He will see fit to breathe His Holy Spirit into your soul (Gen. 2:7).

Proverbs 3:5-6 says to, “5 trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Please understand that the LORD is leading us to salvation, deliverance, and His eternal providence because of His great unfathomable love for us. If you haven’t ask God to forgive your sins, why not do it now. My prayers are with you all!  Amen, Amen, Amen.

M A N U P!

November 30, 2007

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There is a desperate cry being made to the missing segment of society that is blatantly absent from the House of God. What ever happened to the time when a man would actually lead his family in praise and worship? It appears that a large portion of the male population has become overly enthralled with attaining the finite “rewards” of this life as opposed to the incorruptible inheritance that awaits those who seek the Lord.

I praise God for all the women who fill today’s church, and are raising our families; however, we need a stabilizing male presence in our sanctuaries or this generation may not only be seduced by apostasy (rejection of beliefs), but many will be lost to it. That may lead us to becoming devoid of morality, direction, and hope. How can we begin to rectify this downward spiraling trend?

It’s time for men to love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind; …and to love your neighbor as yourself (Mat. 22:37-40).”

It’s time for men to not only love God, but to project His Spirit of “Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control (Ga. 5:22).”

It’s time for men to act as stated in Eph. 1:4, “according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.

It’s time for men to be thou strong and very courageous…that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest (Jsh. 1:7).” 
 Hebrew 10:24-25 has an important message that I would like to inculcate (impress) on the male populace: “consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…”

TO ALL THE MALE READERS, PLEASE JOIN THE WOMEN, AND FIND YOUR WAY BACK TO CHURCH, because…

 It’s time for all of us to

M A N   U P !

WORDS TO LIVE BY

November 30, 2007

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1 “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

2. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, ‘behold, the tabernacle of God is with men’, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.

5 And He that sat upon the throne said, ‘behold, I make all things new’. And He said unto me, ‘write; for these words are true and faithful.’

6 And He said unto me, ‘it is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.’

7 ‘He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be His God, and he shall be My son.’

8 ‘But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death (Rev. 21:1-8)‘.”

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Mat. 11:28).”

9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Rom. 10:9-10).”

38 “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:38-39).”

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.

3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

4 The ungodly are not so; but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous; but the way of the ungodly shall perish (Psa. 1).

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup funneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever (Psa. 23).

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 (Psa. 100).

9 Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven,

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen (Mat. 6:9-13).

HALLEJAH! 

Beguiled

November 30, 2007

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Christian studies, activities 

And the LORD God said unto the woman, “what is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, “the serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” (Gen. 3:13).

1. Charm: to win and hold somebody’s attention, interest, or devotion.

2. Deceive: to mislead or deceive somebody.

3. Cheat: to rob somebody of something.

4. Passtime: spending time in a pleasant way.

If the saying “there’s success in unity” is true, then conflictual disparity (e.g. fire and water, cats and dogs, or a “bad” diet, etc.) must lead to some form of failure. In Gen. 2:24 God said, “therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.” The bond that exists between the Man and Woman was supposed to be life-long, and stronger than any other bond, EXCEPT for that of the Creator. And since He loves us unconditionally surely nothing can break this bond.

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear (Isa. 59:2).” Well, maybe one thing can break this bond. This verse also gives us some insight on what took place in the Garden of Eden. In Gen. 3:9, the usual focus on this story makes God “appear” to  be looking for Adam in the Garden. However when God asked “where are you”, it was to get Adam to gauge himself, especially now that sin has disrupted their relationship. And where was Adam?

“Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit (Jhn. 15:2-3).”

First, when we don’t live the holy life that Jesus exemplified we become spiritually dead (…He taketh away…)! Sin forms a barrier, which in the case of Adam was the result of eating from the “wrong” Tree, and it separated him from the Creator. The “fruit” of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and evil gave Man, who was created good, a duplicitous (double-minded) nature which is NOT in the glorious image of God. Now, instead of being in sync with God (Gen. 2:19) man can say one thing and mean another, although the cost for this ability is life (Rom. 6:23)!

When Adam was all good, God could ask him to name all the animals and it not be a problem. He saw the animal doing horse tricks and called him a horse; the animal doing monkey tricks he called a monkey. The animal he saw doing card tricks – he called him a shark!  

All levity aside, can you feel the conviction of David, a man after God’s own heart who said, I hate the double-minded…” (I Sam. 13:13-14; Psa. 119:113 New King James Version). So we see that a “bad” diet in Eden produced a conflictual disparity – an unholy Adam, eating unholy knowledge, being barricaded from a holy God (Gen. 3:8).

Second, to regain our state of glory and eternal life, Christ reveals to us that God cleanses our Mind (branch) as we undergo, and overcome life situations by His Grace (…He purges…). When we’re “going through”, that’s the time to take stock of “where are we” and realize that our Father is “purging” us, and that He will give us the grace we need to “make it through” (II Cor. 12:9)

Third, as surely as we make the realization that a Gracious and Merciful God cares about us (I Pet. 5:7), we’ll understand that “all things work together for good to them who love love God(Rom. 8:28).” We will be able to “trust in the LORD with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thine ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Prv. 3:5-6).” If we “…not be weary in well doing for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not,” we will bear more of the Fruit of God’s Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23)Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control!

What led to Adam’s indigestion (oops – indiscretion)? Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had madeGen. 3:1. Imagine the charming serpent “wrapping” around the branch (Mind) of the Woman to keep her focus locked in on “the field” (the world or worldliness, especially the carnal “Tree” in the Garden). After besieging her Mind in a stronhold, he commands her focus and leads her to eat of the forbidden Tree, saying that it would make her a god (life-giver Gen. 3:5). She then entices Adam, who calls her “the mother of all living things (Gen. 3:20),” to eat from the evil Tree (Gen. 3:6). After their “fall” from grace the “field” is corrupted with: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, promiscuity, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, dissent, jealousy, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, reveling, and such traits that are listed in Gal 5:19-21.

Realize the Devil fell from Heaven (Isa. 14:13-15), and seeks to deceive us into disobedience, and to war against God (Rev. 12:7-9,16:13-16). He wants so badly to block our royalty (I Pet. 2:9) which is, to be sure, predicated on our following “peace with all men, and HOLINESS, without which no man shall see the Lord (Heb. 12:14).” Jesus taught, “blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God” in (Mat. 5:8).” To be holy is to be pure which is to be incorruptible, unadulterated, and without deception, and is also God’s command (Lev. 11:44-45, I Pet. 1:16).

Satan, though, very cleverly uses the ones close to our heart (Gen. 2:21) to manipulate our Minds to cheat on God. The “world” may think that’s chic, however “when once the Master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open unto us’; and He shall answer and say unto you, ‘I know you not whence ye are (Luk. 13:25)‘.” Unfortunately, we became consumed with expectations of a scintillating passtime; we’re like a duck who hears the hunter’s whistle! Blinded by temptation, we’ve been lured to an impending “death” by our carnality or physical needs (Rom. 8:5). And yet, now that “we are not ignorant of his devices (II Cor. 2:11)“, let’s do what Eve eventually did and dedicate our passtime to the the LORD (Gen. 4:25), so that the rest of our life be the best of our life!

The 7-Fold Divine Plan!

November 29, 2007

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 Christian studies, activities

Praise the Lord, God bless you! It is good to be alive, and doing the works of God. We all could do the works of God by believing on Him who He has sent (Jhn. 6:29), verbally confessing that Jesus is Lord, and then by believing that God raised Him from the dead thereby granting us salvation (Rom. 10:9). Simple isn’t it?

However, SANCTIFICATION IS THE PROCESS whereby we become holy (I Pet. 1:13-25), and requires that we take on the righteous mind and personality of the Lord Christ Jesus (Php. 2:5, Luk. 22:42). As we journey through this life we get connected, and closer, to the Source of life by patterning our lives to the life of Christ, whose resurrection gives us hope for eternal life (Col. 1:27)!

Isn’t it amazing how some people, who one day just sort of happened to realize that they were alive – think they know all the mysteries of life! Wisdom says, “I was set up from everlasting, from the begining, or ever the earth was (Prv. 8:23).” There are “teachers” among us however, who promulgate or proclaim, that there is no afterlife, and that reality only consist of two realms – the physical and the intellectual. Yet, any intelligent person can’t help but notice that:

(1) eternity is a reality, therefore the Cause for eternity exists, and must be the Source of the physical and mental planes of reality also (no Cause, no existence);

(2) that matter has three states (gas, liquids, solids – represents planes);

(3) and that basically every creation generally includes three stages (conception, planning/development, production). 

The Bible tells the story of our earthly existence from the beginning to the end, despite what dissenters may say! In this life some of us are going to want “the best” it has to offer, some will settle for “just enough”, and the rest will have varying “degrees of apathy”. Similarly, spiritually speaking, the Bible teaches that some people aspire for the idyllic life of The Kingdom, some settle for a “good” earthly existence, and the rest have little or no knowledge about their origin, purpose, or direction (Mat. 13:1-23).

If, however, you are interested in understanding the path to personal fulfillment, this synopsis of the Dispensations (ages, or time periods which God used to sequentially “test” Man’s righteousness with respect to His will) may be of service to you as it is an attempt to reveal the order of God’s will for the inhabitants on earth and in Heaven (Mat. 6:10).

NOTE: I would be happy to discuss any discrepancy with this outline upon notice.

I.    DISPENSATION: Innocence (Gen. 1:28).

            A. Test: Obedience.

            B. Covenant: Edenic (grants conditional life – Gen. 2:15-17).

            C. Controversy: Unanimity (Gen. 2:19)/Duality (Gen. 3:9).

II.   DISPENSATION: Conscience – (Gen. 3:7).

            A. Test: Moral Responsibility.

            B. Covenant: Adamic (humility through work, labor pains – Gen. 3:14-19).

            C. Controversy: Rights (Gen. 4:1-24)/Righteousness (Gen. 4:25-26).

III.  DISPENSATION: Human Government (Gen. 8:15).

            A. Test: Autonomy.             

            B. Covenant: Noahic (No more floods – Gen. 9:1-19).

            C. Controversy: Homogeny/Diversity (Gen. 11:1-9)

IV. DISPENSATION: Promise (Gen. 12:1-4).

            A. Test: Faithfulness.

            B. Covenant: Abrahamic – Conditions for blessings.

            C. Controversy: Task-orientation (Gen. 16)/Purpose-driven (Gen. 21:1-21; Gal. 4).

V. DISPENSATION: Law (or “The Pedagogue” Exo. 19:1; Gal. 3:19-24).

            A. Test: Discipline for following Law.

            B. Covenant: Mosaic – 10 Commandments (Exo. 19:5).

            C. Controversy: Compliance (Prv. 7:2)/Complaints (Num. 14:26-45).

VI. DISPENSATION: Church (Act. 2:1).

            A. Test: Evangelize.

            B. Covenant: PalestinianDeu. 30:3-10.

            C. Controversy: Law (Act. 10:9-15; Gal. 2)/Liberality (Gal. 3:21).

VII. DISPENSATION: Kingdom (Rev. 20:4).

            A. Test: Apostasy.

            B. Covenant: Davidic (II Sam. 7:16; Psa. 89:3-4).

            C. Controversy: LAMB/Beast (Rev. 16:16)

The Eighth Covenant (or New CovenantHeb. 8:8-13) secures the eternal blessedness of the Fourth/Sixth Covenants to all Believers. It began with the Crucifixion and is the final irreversible agreement to Man. God will put His law in our minds and write them in our hearts to forgive us of sin (making it disappear into oblivion).

Overcoming disobedience, irresponsibility, anarchy, idolatry, irreverence, traditionalism, and materialism are some of the lessons we are to learn from studying these Dispensations. We should get an idea of how God is “walking” Mankind to higher levels of spiritual maturity to enrich life on earth. May God strengthen your resolve to have dominion over these evil traits by overcoming “triggers” such as: (1) Anger, (2) Lust, (3) Greed, (4) Attachments (emotional bonds), (5) and Ego, (6) along with Laziness (7) and Envy.

“Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven.”Mat. 18:3. If you want the opportunity to walk into the Kingdom, you must learn how to attain a Closer Walk in this life! Let each one teach one in the ways of Peace, Understanding, Servitude, and Humility ‘til all of God’s Children are reached!

Which is the Best Religion, yours or MINE?

November 27, 2007

sunset.jpg

Christian studies, activities 

Since the dawn of civilization Man has tried to establish the best religion, or way to worship a god(s), in an effort to gain an understanding, and even dominion, over creation – including other men.

In Genesis chapter 4, we find that a demonic Cain (possession), the older brother of the world’s first two sons, killed Abel (vanity) who, unlike Cain, worshipped in the manner revealed by God to his father Adam (Gen. 3:21). Note that Jesus called Abel “righteous(Mat. 23:35), so naturally the Devil would want him dead as this bodes well with his desire to derail God’s plan for Mankind. Conversely, a disobedient and obstinate Cain offered a bloodless sacrifice, and thus is known as the father of false religion (Scofield Bible, Gen. 4) typifying those who seek to worship God in their own way!

Even though Cain was banished from the Lord he erected a city, naming it Enoch after his firstborn son. The Cainitic civilization (according to the Bible) possessed both city and agricultural life, and included the development of music and metallurgy (study of metals). Yet, they excluded God from their lives; of this type of people the Apostle Paul would say in Rom. 1:22 that by, “professing themselves to be wise, they became fools (Psa. 14:1, 53:1).”

In fact, it was only after the world’s third brother Seth (appointed) begot a son named Enos (mortal) that men began to call on the name of the Lord (Gen. 4:25). So now even with the death of Abel, it’s clear that Satan couldn’t prevent the judgment of eventual defeat with the Advent (coming) of Jesus as inferred in Gen. 3:15 (“it [Mary’s seed, or Jesus] shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”).

 So, purportedly in Gen. 6:4 he attempted to prevent Christ from coming to redeem Man by corrupting the line of Seth (sons of God) with the line of Cain (daughters of men). This move obviously produced an admixture which consisted of  two distinctly different ideologies. God made known at that point His intent to cleanse the earth of Man, except for Noah and family who restarted the world’s population (Gen. 6:7-8, 7:11, 9:1, 10).

IDEOLOGICAL DIVERSITY IS THE RESULT OF AN ACTION ON THE PART OF THE LORD HIMSELF!

Man, ever the disobedient child who NEVER wants to submit to the Creator/Sustainer of his life, has aspired to replace God since Gen. 11:4, and (for the most part) is the unwitting dupe of The Enemy, who is trying to “exalt (my) throne above the stars of God (Isa. 14:12).” Remember, the devil is attempting to circumvent God’s judgment, AND is gathering his troops for (Rev. 16:16) – Armageddon! Paul warns us in Rom. 6:16, “know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” Incidentally, “…righteousness tends to life (Psa. 11:19).”

Now we see in Gen. 11:6-9 that God scattered a self-willed Man, which would ensure the preservation of those who would learn to follow Him (righteousness) – and live! How? By freeing the world of an ungodly initiative thereby creating the opportunity for the righteous to choose God. The people then left to build a city and named it Babel (confusion), and it is near here where God called Abram to come out from in order to bless him and future generations (Gen. 12:1-3). It is because of the faith of this great man that we have the monotheistic Abrahamic Religions! Which one is the best?

Jam. 1:26 reads “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. 27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their afflliciton, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

The best “religion” is when we display temperance and lovingkindness, and if yours is best – PRAISE GOD!

Why Are Good Pastors Necessary?

November 27, 2007

sunset.jpg

 Christian studies, activities

Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” – Prv. 29:18.

Theologians indicate that chapters 12-17 of the book of John symbolizes a progression of approach through the tabernacle of God (Scofield Bible, John – chapter 12). Chapter 12 corresponds to the brazen altar of burnt offering, and foretells the crucifixion; 13 the laver – is where Christ washes the disciples’ feet; 14-16 – enters holy place with the newly purified believer-priests; 17 – as the High Priest, Jesus intercedes for those redeemed after His sacrificial death. How many people do you think would have notice these correlations, or path, except perhaps those that had the type of diligence necessary to serve the Lord as a servant/leader of His flock?

In fact Prv. 27:23 advises pastors tobe (thou) diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.” The remaining four verses allude that worldly wealth may be short-lived, but God will provide for the pastor’s entire household. Now, why is this passage significant?

Well, let’s examine Isa. 56:10-11 which state, “His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are SHEPHERDS (pastors) that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, EVERY ONE FOR HIS OWN GAIN, from his quarter.” Get it? Without trusting in God to fulfill their needs, some pastors seek to use the Word of God, and any gift He bestows on them, to become rich and famous as the prophet Balaam (Num. 22:5-35).

Unscrupulous pastors forget the main thing which is to look after our spiritual well-being! God informs the Watchman that if he sees the “sword” (troubles) coming his way and doesn’t warn the people, that the blood of the sinners lost will be required of the Watchman by God (Eze. 33:6). Apostle Paul eloquently concludes that the preacher must spread the gospel so that the world may come to know, believe, and call on the name of Jesus to be saved (Rom. 10:13-15). Also, Jesus points out that He told the disciples ALL that God told Him (Jhn. 15:15).

Imagine if this act had been performed by Adam – there possibly would not have been a Fall (just thinking out loud). As an act of righteousness (to follow God’s example), Adam was to reveal to Eve what God had revealed to him in terms of the Tree of Good and evil; his disobedience (eating forbidden fruit) led to his blood being required (Heb. 9:22). But the Good News is that the requirement of blood from the “Last Adam” freed us from death inbred from the First Adam (Rom. 5:17; I Cor. 15:45)! Hallelujah!

Some people are willing to sell their soul for perishable “forbidden fruit”, even as Esau did by selling his birthright for “perishable” rewards (Gen. 25:27-34; Jhn. 6:27); however, God is not willing that ANY should perish (II Pet. 3:9, Jhn. 6:39-40). We have the chance to accept His plan of salvation BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE! Do we want to end up apart from Him and the idyllic life He wants us to enjoy – only to burn eternally in hell (Mat. 13: 24-30)? Pastors must be able to communicate how enduring the momentary hardships of this life, prepares us for the Kingdom!

By the grace of God we have some examples of the restoration of life as they appear in II Kgs. 4:32, and Job 19:25; however two future vital resurrections are in Jhn. 5:25-29. The first resurrection, (of life), takes place with the return of Jesus, the rapture, along with the tribulation coming to a close. Then Christ the King of Kings begins His rule for a thousand years. And now after this period, the second resurrection for judging the wicked will now begin; these souls will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:4-15). Things that seem SO necessary, SO beneficial, SO pleasing, will turn out to be SO useless for salvation (Rom. 10:9) or our spiritual growth (II Tim 2:15) SO, when people try to impress or intimidate you with worldly rewards, “let the redeemed of the Lord say SO…” (Psa. 107:1)!

If you haven’t done so already

WHY NOT ACCEPT JESUS AS YOUR PERSONAL SAVIOR RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT!

(see Isa. 55:6).

THE NUMBER ONE KILLER?

November 27, 2007

sunset.jpg

Christian studies, activities 

 Abram (exalted) was called by the Almighty God (El Shaddai) (Gen. 12:1-3) to come out of his hometown of Ur (light), which is near Babel (confusion), the capitol of Babylonia. Now, because Babylonia was paganistic, Abram was undoubtedly vexed by his nihilistic (lawless) neighbors. Their commerce was based in part on idolatry, astrology, high interest loan resulting in slavery if unpaid, etc. (see Php. 3:19). So, it’s proclaim in some traditions that Abram, and his father Terah (who died in Haran before God called Abram), was asked to leave because of his nonconforming ways. Either way, Abram displayed a tremendous commitment by obeying God’s piteous command to uproot, so God accounts his faith as righteousness (please read – Gen. 15:6-21).

Moreover:

(1) he believes God will give him an heir;

(2) God tells him that his “scions” (or his descendants) will become slaves for 400 years in a strange land; 

(3) however, they will come out with great possessions after the fourth generation (Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses) when the iniquity of the Amorites is complete (to be addressed by an exhaustive Law);

(4) and God informs him of the new land his progeny (offspring) will get from the incumbent civilizations (contemporary societies).

A list of the civilizations in the region he vacated, and how they evolved, includes the:

(1) Summerians,

(2) Akkadians,

(3) Empire of Ur III,

(4) Old Babylon Empire,

(5) Assyrian Empire,

(6) Neo-Babylon Empire,

(7) Mesopotamia under the Persians & Greeks,

(8) Mesopotamia under the Arabs,

(9) Iraq under the Turkmen tribes,

(10) Iraq under the Safavids of Iran,

(11) Iraq under the Ottoman Empire,

(12) Iraq under the British control, and

(13) Modern State of Iraq.

While this locale underwent intensive and extensive assimilation with the advent (arrival) of each empire, these descendants of Abram (“Exalted father” a.k.a. “Big Poppa“) are still recognized by their  faith (confirming God’s promise to make Abram a great name, as he was later called Abraham, or “father of a multitude” – Gen. 17:3-8).

The recognition of his offsprings is still viable even with Hellenization (Greek influence) which, at a point in world history, was the most dominant ideology; faith is also the influential factor in the Movements of Christianity, including the purportive Gnostic (secret knowledge), Pauline (Catholic or Universal Church), and Protestant (addresses theological rifts) Movements.

His grandson Jacob’s name was changed to Israel (Gen. 35:9-12), so nationally/culturally his descendants are known as the Children of Israel. Let the reader note however, that “he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter (Law); whose praise is not from men but from God (Rom. 2:29).” So God’s promises are due to those with Abrahamic faith, not the Law (Rom. 4:13-25). Incidentally, while “faith without works is dead (Jam. 2:17)“, “without faith it is impossible to please Him…(Heb. 11:6).”

The tiny country of Israel was indomitable – when they were obedient! What brought their nation down? The same thing that makes one an unbeliever; the same thing that makes one stray from the Fruit of the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-ControlGal. 5:19-22); it’s the same thing that introduced sin, making it the #1 killerDISOBEDIENCE, which leads to death! – Rom. 5:17-21.

This is My Son in whom I am well pleased!

November 26, 2007

sunset.jpg

Christian studies, activities 

This title, which is part of the verse found in Mat. 17:5, finishes with “hear ye Him,”  and testifies of God’s feeling for His only begotten Son. In Jhn. 8:29 Jesus says that He (Jesus) “…always do those things that please Him (God).” Also in the chapter (:37-47) Jesus explains the roles of the different “fathers”:

(1) Abraham (father of the Jews);

(2) Satan (father of liars, murderers, fornicators, disbelievers, etc.), and

(3) God (the Father of our Beloved Lord Jesus the Son, whose life is to be an example for His followers).

Verses 48-59 show how JESUS ALWAYS GIVES GOD GLORY, WHO ALWAYS GIVES LIFE TO BELIEVERS IN JESUS! The problem is that non-believers want to put a limit on God’s Gift of Life; however, Christ revealed the infinitudinal (boundless) nature of the Father. Peruse the short list of verses below to see that very point:

“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceedeth from the mouth of God,” – Mat. 4:4;

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Words will by no means pass away,” Mat. 24:35; and along with

Thy Word is truePsa. 119:160,

they indubitably connote (imply) the Word’s property (quality) of eternality, and as such are descriptive of God, who is also Good and Love (Mat. 19:16- 22, I Jhn. 4:8, 16). The Will of God wants us to live (Jhn. 6:40) by the Word of God.

It was NEVER the Lord’s plan that Man should be a finite creature; Man made that decision on his own (Gen. 3:6). So what is this Word God seeks to restore Man with? It’s God’s essence beyond time and space which we were born to connect with – a state of unlimited consciousness! More to the point – it’s God Himself (Jhn. 1:1)! Sadly, Man has consistently rejected God’s Word only to be imprisoned by the limited scope of human frailty.

Example: God sent His prophets; many didn’t acknowledge their prophecy saying it’s irrelevant because it’s only for future generations (can one prognosticate the past?). Yet, dissenters use this seeming ambiguity in an attempt to corrupt our faith even though, in a strange twist, some of these same dissenters promote some variation of a ‘Save The World’ campaign for the benefit of – future generations! Why? Indeed, for fame and fortune like the prophet Balaam (Num. 22-31:8). Mat. 16:26 asks, “for what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

It would be better for us to get “the Word turned flesh(Jhn. 1:14), who was “sanctified and sent into the world” (Jhn. 10:36), to give us “eternal life” (Jhn. 17:1-5); He “is alive forevermore” (Rev. 1:18), and is “faithful and true(Rev. 19:11).

How important is it to know Jesus the Christ? Well He said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Light. No man cometh to the Father but by Me (Jhn. 14:6).” Furthermore, He was “made so much better than the angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they (Heb. 1:4).”  He isthe stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must saved (Act. 4:11-12).”

For the FREE gift of salvation read Rom. 10:9, and accept Christ today!