Posts Tagged ‘Bible Class’

BIBLICAL MARTYRS

August 25, 2008

Abel – Slain by his older brother Cain (Gen. 4:8).

Andrew (Peter’s brother) – was crucified, suspended on an olive tree, at Patrae, a town of Achaia [Greece];

Bartholomew (aka Nathanael) – was beaten then crucified with his head downward, and was buried in Allanum, a town of the great Armenia (modern day southern Georgia).

Isaiah – tradition says he was encased in a tree and ‘sawed asunder’.

James (The Lesser), Son of Alphaeus – stoned to death in Jerusalem.

James (The Greater), Son of Zebedee – when preaching in Judea, was beheaded with the sword by Herod the tetrarch, and was buried there.

John (the disciple “that Jesus loved) brother of James and son of Zebedee – was banished by Domitian to the Isle of Patmos, and later died of “old age” in Ephesus.

Judas Iscariot – suicide by hanging.

Matthew/Levi – Matthew wrote the Gospel in the Hebrew tongue, and published it at Jerusalem, and fell asleep at Hierees, a town of Parthia, near modern day Tehran. OR speared to death!

Matthias replaced Judas (Acts 1:26).

Paul – was beheaded in Rome by Nero (Paul as a Roman citizen could not be crucified but got an “easier” death sentence).

Philip – preached in Phrygia, and was crucified in Hierapolis with his head downward in the time of Domitian, and was buried there.

Simon Peter – crucified upside down under Nero in Rome, and was buried there.

Simon the Zealot – the son of Clopas, who is also called Jude, became bishop (or 2nd Patriarch) of Jerusalem after James the Just, and fell asleep and was buried there at the age of 120 years OR crucified.

Thaddaeus/Judas son of James, Jude, who is also called Lebbaeus – preached to the people of Edessa, and to all Mesopotamia, and fell asleep at Berytus; was stoned to death and buried there. He is somtimes identified as Thomas in eastern Syrian tradition. 

Thomas – preached to the Parthians, Medes, Persians, Hyrcanians, Bactrians, and Margians, and was thrust through in the four members of his body with a pine spear at Calamene, the city of India, and was buried there.

ZechariahMat. 23:35.

“Why I No Longer Believe!”

August 15, 2008

  

KEY SCRIPTURE

Rom. 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Rom. 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

Certainly this title has surely inundated the mind of many us in the world, so let me clarify that it is not my personal sentiment – it’s just a premise I’ve chosen to work on! The Lord has brought me too far for me to turn around. Now, please observe the following scriptures.

II Tim. 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

II Ths. 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

Throngs of people take the position to denounce God in order to be the first to say “You’re useless!” When Adam blamed Eve for his “discretion”, he denounced God for creating a helpmate. When Cain killed Abel, he denounced God for establishing the righteous sacrifice. When Noah got drunk, he denounced God for being the healthiest source of joy and strength. When Abram used Sarai for deceiving Pharaoh and then for her plan to father an heir, he denounced God for His method of fulfilling His promise. When the humble servant Moses struck the rock, he denounced God for the steadfastness God bestows on even the rebellious! Though all these great men fell because of a moment of weakness which is universal, we can overcome the “…sin that dwelleth in…” to be “raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father” (KEY SCRIPTURE) by obeying the One whose most excellent name makes demons tremble, and is the only name that saves!

“What’s In Your Wallet?”

August 15, 2008
  
KEY SCRIPTURE 
 
Rom. 4:13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. 16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, 17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. 
Rom. 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

“Paul’s Prayer!”

August 13, 2008
   KEY SCRIPTURE

Rom. 1:8 (NLT) Let me say first that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith in Him is being talked about all over the world. 9 God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God, whom I serve with all my heart by spreading the Good News about His Son. 10 One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you. 11 For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. 12 When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. 13 I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to visit you, but I was prevented until now. I want to work among you and see spiritual fruit, just as I have seen among other Gentiles. 14 For I have a great sense of obligation to people in both the civilized world and the rest of the world to the educated and uneducated alike. 15 So I am eager to come to you in Rome, too, to preach the Good News. 16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.
 
The first point to notice in this passage is that in all actuality, it is reminiscent of a prayer! Prayer is how we talk to God, while meditation requires us to “hear” from Him. They both require us to get in God’s presence, and to do that we must “enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name (Psa. 100).” However, note how Paul gives praise to the Romans. Is it wrong to praise them? Of course not!So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them (Gen. 1:27).”
 
Being created in God’s image we also like praise, and that’s what it usually take to bring out our best. So, it is apropos for Paul to let the Romans know of their positive effect on the world. Yet, only God deserve worship which is adoration, love, reverence, respect, devotion – all requiring dedication, perseverance, and focus. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve (Mat. 4:10; compare Gen. 2:16-17; Psa. 119:113 NKJV).” (All verses KJV unless noted otherwise). 

 

 

 

 

 

Fittingly, Paul admonishes all of us on several occasions to pray, and to do that we must get into God’s presence, which requires us to give thanks and praise! As Paul desired to, we should also want to heartily give our best service by spreading the Good News (KEY SCRIPTURE)” which is life-giving, and reflects God’s will(Jhn. 6:40). He also wants to bring the Romans some “spiritual gifts” to help them “grow strong in the Lord” (mature). Note how he wanted to encourage them and to be encouraged by them, which is akin to how God first expects us all to be righteous (or to follow Him – Psa. 85:13), and then to walk before Me, and be thou perfect.” God later renames him to Abraham, and after giving him that instruction God is “encouraged” to make a covenant with him (Gen. 17, Gen. 18:19; Jam. 2:23)!

The point we are to extrapolate from all of this is that God gives us an example, and then examines us in preparation of gaining spiritual fruit (converts)! Who was Abraham’s example? Heb. 7:1 states, “… Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him…” This king is believed to be a pre-incarnation of Christ (theophany Gen. 14, 15:1-16, 18:1).

Finally, like Paul we can’t be humiliated, deterred, or “ashamed” about the gospel of Christ, and we must also be exemplary (I Pet. 5:1-4), by following the example of He (Mrk. 8:34) who said, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work (Jhn. 5:17).” Continue to “pray without ceasing (I Ths. 5:17)” like Paul, who prayed for the Romans day and night (KEY SCRIPTURE)! Amen. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth

December 3, 2007

sunset.jpg

Don’t question a gift’s value. When given a present, be grateful for your good fortune and don’t look for more by examining it to assess its value. Additionally, this proverb refers to the practice of figuring the age of a horse by looking at its teeth, and is also origin of the expression “long in the tooth” (meaning old).

 http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings.117000.html

Let’s examine the first example.

Who ordains ministers?

First off, let us define a minister as a member of the clergy; one who helps. Whether you’re clergy or not, you are capable of giving help, caring for strangers, and enduring more stress! I’m sure you can recall doing a service with no thought of reward though some sacrifice by you was required. Even in the beginning Man was expected to be his brother’s keeper (Gen. 4:9).

Beyond that, God intended for Man’s relationship with Him to be maintained for eternity. Even though we, as the progeny (offspring) of Adam, are born into sin – God has made a way for us to be redeemed! Since the LORD is eternal, His offspring is therefore eternal. Rom. 8:14 states, “for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” It would be unfortunate for anyone to think that without a title they can’t be a minister as that would hamper them from performing their most sacred duty. What duty? To be led by the Spirit of God (or Word of God – Eph. 6:17), and to help others to do the same!

Our duty is to learn the Word so that we can follow His holy commandments and enjoy life for ever, and then to help our fellow Man follow suit! Who ordained this? God did! “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations (Jer. 1:5).” The only real question is will you, like Isaiah, accept His call? “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then said I, Here am I; send me (Isa. 6:8).” Jesus said, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few” (Mat. 9:37). Have no fear, “for God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (II Tim. 1:7).”

What about qualifications?

Dr. Fitzpatrick, a pastor from Chicago, says, “favor ain’t fair, but it looks good on you.” Even though two workers may look quite similar, one is favored more because of his productivity! Mat. 25:29 states, “for unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” Ministers who do God’s work are kings.“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter (Prv. 25:2 – my favorite verse!).” It stands to reason that to be favored you must be led by the Spirit, be free of fear, and be a student of the Bible in order to get the concealed truths (revelations) in which to minister to God’s people. Then by studying, ministers become approved by God (II Tim. 2:15)!

So, is being a good minister about numbers? Well, while we want God’s Word to reach as many people as possible, we don’t want to subscribe to a win-at-any-cost attitude. Children of God, particularly those who use their talents for people (ministry), must realize the importance of “…how you play the game.” Prv. 31:4It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: 5 Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. 6 Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. 7 Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.” Clearly this passage indicates the level of favor for kings, princes, and the miserable and invokes temperance (read Gal. 5:22-23) that leads to life. Temperance is one of the nine “fruits of the Spirit”, and the Spirit gives us life! “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life (Jhn. 6:63)”.

Ministers’ do’s and don’t’s! (I Tim. 3)

1. Bishops (overseers) DO desire to do God’s will.2. DO be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, kind, apt to teach.

3. DON’T be given to wine, be a striker, be greedy of dirty cash; be impatient, be a brawler, nor covetous.

4. DO rule your own house, having children in subjection with all gravity.

5. (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

6. DON’T be a novice, lest being lifted up with pride you fall into the condemnation of the devil.

7. DO have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

8. Deacons must also be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;

9. Deacons must hold the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

10. Deacons must be proven, found blameless.

11. Deacons’ wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.

12. Deacons must be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

13. Deacons that use their office well purchase great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

14These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: 15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”

NOTE: Bishop/deacon relates to king/prince in Prv. 31:4-5.

Reward for serving God.

Deu. 28:1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: 2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. 3 Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. 4 Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. 5 Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.

6 Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. 7 The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. 8 The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. 9 The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways. 10 And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee.

11 And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee. 12 The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. 13 And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them: 14 And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

Stop scoffing, complaining.

Psa. 1:22How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? 23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. 24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; 25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh…” This passage illustrates God’s dislike of scornfulness, however, to see how He views “cry babies” please read what happened to the dissenting Israelites in the wilderness (Num. 14). By attempting to obfuscate the mission of the minister the LORD gifted them with (Moses), they didn’t get the chance to experience God’s blessings in (The Promise Land) Jsh. 1:2! If you don’t won’t to miss out – DON’T LOOK YOUR GIFTHORSE IN THE MOUTH!

ACKNOWLEDGE/APPRECIATE GOD’S PROCESS

November 30, 2007

 sunset.jpg

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.

The 7-Fold Divine Plan!

November 29, 2007

sunset.jpg

 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!

WHY CAN’T JOHNNY READ?

November 26, 2007

sunset.jpg

Christian studies, activities 

 It’s written “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hos. 4:6).”

Undoubtedly you’ve heard the story of the man stranded on the island who prayed for a means of escape, only to die because he didn’t recognize that God sent help in three different forms. Symbolically the island could represent the world, while the three means of escape may well portray God’s messengers sent to lead him to His salvation.

The First Messenger (represented by a canoe) may be a person(s) viewed as incapable of a rescue mission due to their seeming lack of seaworthiness (metaphor for a lack of spiritual knowledge). So God sends the Second Messenger (a speed boat) which the “stranded man” (our soul) dismisses again while seeking a more exciting provision (infers a lack of prestige, charisma, etc. on the part of the messenger).

Lastly, the Lord sends the Third Messenger (a highly-sophisticated helicopter) and the soul still refuses a Heaven-bound WORD because he’s “waiting for the Lord!” Mat. 4:4 says Man shall live by EVERY Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, so why is it so hard to realize that whenever, and from whoever, the Word goes forth we should take to it like a flower takes to sunlight? Not the person; the Word!

Jhn. 10:10 tells us that the “thief seeks but to kill, steal, and destroy“; and it is also true that the goal of the Prince of Darkness includes confusion. After being kicked out of Heaven, the devil is keenly aware that he doesn’t have long; (Rev. 12:12); in fact II Tim. 3 refer to the last two millenniums as “perilous times”. The Apostle Paul informs us that the world would become “lovers of pleasure more than God (:4)”, making them far more concern about things that declines, dissipates, and/or dies than the Source of their being!

Paul also expounds on our two natures: carnal and spiritual in Rom. 7th and 8th chapters. Of course this dichotomy gets its roots from the Garden of Eden where the woman saw the forbidden Tree as good and, with the subsequent disobedience of her husband, manifest itself as destructiveness in our species. You have heard “all that’s good to you is not good for you.” Like Johnny, we must overcome carnality because the truth is that nothing is more important than the Word of God because it is the Truth (Psa. 119:160).

It is the glory of God to conceal a thing; but the honor of kings is to search out a matter” – Prv. 25:2. The God-appointed kings are those who search the concealed Truths of the Word!

JOHNNY STILL WON’T READ?

November 26, 2007

sunset.jpg

 Christian studies, activities

(For many walk of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ. Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is their shame, who mind earthly things)Php. 3:18-19.

Let’s say you just read Col. 3:23 which states, “do everything cheerfully as to the Lord, and not unto men…” Now you’re in church and you see it needs to be tidied up and you do it. The pastor notices the effort and not only pays you a compliment, but, unexpectedly, a little sum of money as well. Johnny sees this and wonders why you’re getting attention, and how can he get paid. Is he being carnal or spiritual? Obviously, he’s being carnal because his focus is not purely on the love of God; his focus is centered on the money. Life’s concerns makes it hard for Johnny to devote time to getting into the Holy Bible the way you do. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” – Mat. 6:33.

If only he’d read I Cor. 15:35-49 he would learn to care for his more glorious incorruptible spiritual body. If only he’d read I Pet. 1:3-5 he would discover the incorruptible inheritance reserved in Heaven for saints. If only he’d read I Cor. 9:25 he would know gaining self-mastery would earn him an incorruptible crown. Also, if only he’d read Eph. 2:4-10 he would see God’s grace, not his works, gives us the greatest reward which is an undeserved salvation!

O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” – Rom. 7:34-35. To serve the law of God includes doing the works of God, which is to believe on Him who He sent (Jhn. 6:29). In Mat. 11:28 Jesus call for all those “…who labor to come unto Me and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me.” Learning about Jesus, who “do always those things that pleases Him (Jhn. 8:29), makes one royal.

Prv. 25:2 reads, “it is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honor of kings to search out a matter.” Anger, Lust, Greed, Attachment, and Ego (add Envy and Laziness) are traits that displeases God, which Johnny could overcome by reading! It’s written “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge(Hos. 4:6). In each situation Johnny gets so distracted from one or more of these seven sinful traits that he gives up trying to find life’s purpose, which is to connect to The Source by faith and to grow by studying His Word!

Beat down by the Devil (and, egad, “worldly Christians”), Johnny then becomes estranged from the church. “A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a castle (Prv. 18:19).” Now he’s like the Prodigal son (Luk. 15:11-32) and fixates on carnality, until he realizes the need for wisdom.

How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver (Prv. 16:16).” The King of Kings allows to Heaven those who studied, locking out the hedonistic, or heathen (Luk. 13:25). “but ye…are a royal priesthood…” I Pet. 2:9.

FINALLY, JOHNNY GETS IT!

November 26, 2007

sunset.jpg

Christian studies, activities 

Several months ago there was a publicized debate between two pastors over an issue that should have been resolved by them in private. One pastor accused the other of being worldly because of an approach utilized in his church although the other pastor acted in accordance with the Bible! Sometimes we in the Church prefers being “right” in our minds over being “righteous“. Some readers may be confused about that last statement; is it any wonder why Johnny experienced difficulties reaching the Next Level!

We go from faith to faith and not everyone is on the same level, consequently, everyone won’t have the same perspective. There are those who are so concerned that they’re right, and that you’re not. Well the Bible says that “he who trusts in his own heart is a fool (Prv. 28:26)!” Moreover, “the fool has said in his heart ‘there is no God’ (Psa. 14:1, 53:1)!” Without faith you can not be righteous since that requires obedience to God (Rom. 5:19-21).

However, faith alone will not get you into Heaven. In fact, II Pet. 1:5-9 says to “add virtue to your faith“, even though we know that our goodness is not enough to get into Heaven. Next “add knowledge“; II Tim. 2:15 requires us “to study to show thyself approved to God.” The next requirement is “self-control“, which is the very last one of the Fruits of the Spirit that is mentioned in Gal. 5:22-23.

Now “Perseverance” is that needed ingredient to get us, for example, to overcome fruitless labors like anger, lust, greed, attachments, and ego. “Godliness” is the trait which promotes selflessness (Mat. 20:28), and note that it also gives compassion for brotherly kindness (Mat. 9:35). Now, what was seen as just a “mustard seed of faith (Mat. 17:20)” is actually a kernel of L O V E – the First Fruit of the Spirit, which heats up by God’s grace until it “pops” and is ready to be of service!

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” – I Cor. 13:13. Love improves our ABC’s: ATTITUDE (feelings), BEHAVIOR (actions), and CONDITIONING (mental preparation), and gives us a Godly perspective. We feel no evil toward anyone, nor do we perpetrate harmful acts, while focusing on maintaining our composure. 

Even Johnny finally realized that in order to change his feelings and actions, he had to improve his mentality with the most powerful tool we have – LOVE! After reading I Jhn. 4:8 he knows that “God is Love!Jhn. 4:24 teaches him that “God is a Spirit!” And plus, the verse in John 6:63 states, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh profits nothing”.

The Spirit of God moved upon the waters of the earth (Gen. 1:2).” Since the Spirit moves, Johnny concludes that he must move with It; since It gives life, he must win souls; and since It’s love, he must STUDY I COR. 13, and then do as Jesus commands in Jhn. 15:9-17. We must love one another and Him, which we do by keeping His commandments.

The above ABC’s will aid the Church to get rid of schisms and to righteously go into the world in order to save it (Mrk.16:15).

Question: What are the fruit of the Spirit?