Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

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.

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“Prejudicial Election!”

August 16, 2008

 

KEY SCRIPTURE

Rom. 10:3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. 5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above🙂 7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) 8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 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.

Rom. 11:27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. 28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes. 29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. 30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: 31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

We are living in an age where the Presidential Election of the United States feature the campaigns of a female, and a African-American male! While this is certainly exciting, it is not the first time that members of these two demographics ran for this office. Take a look at past presidential hopefuls of these two segments of society, ladies first:

Victoria Claflin Woodhull – 1870, Belva Lockwood – 1884, Margaret Chase Smith – 1964, Patsy Takemoto Mink – 1972, Shirley Chisholm – 1972, Ellen McCormack – 1976 & 1980, Sonia Johnson – 1984, Patricia Schroeder – 1988, Lenora Fulani 1988 & 1992, Elizabeth Dole – 2000, Carol Moseley Braun – 2004 (withdrew), Hillary Clinton – 2008;

Jesse Jackson – 1984 & 1988, Alan Keyes – 1996, 2000, & 2008, Al Sharpton – 2000, Barack Obama – 2008 (beat Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Nomination).

A prevalent thought that most assuredly must be on the collective minds of Americans, and indeed the world, is if an African-American can be President. What a phenomenal accomplishment that would be, possibly more momentous than Michael Phelps winning eight gold medals! That would be true whether it’s this election or not; not just for the election itself, but also for outgrowing our prejudicial attitudes!

However, another type of election involves the race of faith in Christ vs. non-believers. Among the latter group are those who believe “the righteousness which is of the law, that the man which doeth those things shall live by them; …as concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes (KEY SCRIPTURE).” These “enemies”, who equate righteousness with national preeminence, are prejudiced against God’s elect being saved by His grace, which stresses the universality of His love through the sacrifice of Jesus (Rom. 8:5). Nevertheless, in this heavenly election, victory belongs to those who elect to follow the campaign strategy in Rom. 10:9 above!

“Making The Cut!”

August 16, 2008

 KEY SCRIPTURE

Rom. 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Rom. 9:27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, : 28 For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. 29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha. 30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.

As a freshman in high school, I remember trying out for the jr. varsity basketball team with a pal of mine. The coach had us display our dribbling skills, however we were all so nervous that initially we looked tight. Coach then told us to show him a lil’ something something which we did. Tryouts continue for the next few days, and it included the usual regiment of laps, scrimmages, etc. My friend and I survive every cut until the final day. Earlier in one of the scrimmage game, my friend injured his thumb, and on that final day he was competing with a guy whose brother was on the varsity squad. Though I made the team it was difficult to handle the departure of my buddy.

However, it was also difficult to overlook the good news of my making the team, and keeping my NBA dream alive! To imagine the odds, let’s assume there’s 25 NBA teams with 12 players each. If there were only two major colleges for each of the 50 states in America, that would amount to 100 players. It would take an average of at least four NBA players per team to retire from their dream occupation and lavish lifestyle to open up slots for all the aspiring college players to be accommodated. If an NBA career is just five years, would that affect a 4-year college grad? To add to that improbability, today the league has seen an influx of international players, further decreasing the odds of achieving this dream. Furthermore, there are other factors including small colleges, walk-ons, NBA returnees, etc. The NBA was not my destiny.

In the ‘Sower Parable’ Jesus said that only 1 out of 4 seekers who received the Word was “good ground”, and that it produced some 30, 60, and 100 fold (Mat. 13:1-23). Some “good ground” are church goers (fruit), some are church leaders (more fruit), and then there are those disciples of Christ who make God’s team of Soul Winners (much fruit – Jhn. 15:1-6)!

How does one qualify to be a part of the Soul Winners? One must be willing to “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (KEY SCRIPTURE).” As “branches” we are all part of God’s tryout, and the “Coach” is looking for us to show Him a lil’ something something! This is not just the opportunity of a lifetime, it’s the opportunity of ALL TIME! Jhn. 15:13 states “greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” As hard as it was to see my friend not make a basketball team, it can’t compare to how I would feel if you, my friend, miss out on the Kingdom! Please pay heed to these words “though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved…(KEY SCRIPTURE)” For those who have already accepted Jesus as their Savior understand that your spiritual walk has only just begun. As fruit we must become more fruit (Gal. 5:22-23), and then much fruit (Php. 1:11-30)! Amen!

“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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Characteristics of a Good person!

December 3, 2007

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Mat. 19:16 A man came to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to have eternal life?17 Jesus said to him, “Why do you ask Me about what is good? Only God is good. If you want to have eternal life, you must obey His commandments (Contemporary English Version).”

It is significant that we understand that THE standard for good is God Himself, and this criterion entails belief in “the King, eternal, immortal, invisible (I Tim 1:17)!” Jesus said, “God is a Spirit (Jhn. 4:24), to which the Apostle Paul adds in Gal. 5:22,”God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, 23 gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways.” Therefore, by concentrating on these nine attributes of the Good Spirit we are emulating the Standard for good.

Why don’t we readily jump at the chance to be a god-like person? There are some impediments which trip us up including: Anger, Lust, Greed, Attachments, and Ego (other obstacles include envy and laziness). Again, Paul says in Gal. 5:19people’s desires make them give in to immoral ways, filthy thoughts, and shameful deeds. 20 They worship idols, practice witchcraft, hate others, and are hard to get along with. People become jealous, angry, and selfish. They not only argue and cause trouble, but they are 21 envious. They get drunk, carry on at wild parties, and do other evil things as well. I told you before, and I am telling you again: No one who does these things will share in the blessings of God’s kingdom.”

What the Apostle is saying is that our desires for attributes that are contrary to God’s Spirit is what get us in trouble! When tempted we have strength through Christ (Php. 4:13) to enforce godliness (Mat. 4:10) “go away Satan!” This  Scripture says: “worship the Lord your God and serve only Him.” The Standard for good says to us, “I am the LORD your God, and you must dedicate yourselves to Me and be holy, just as I am holy (Lev. 11:44).” Why should we try to be a god-like person? Well, in Act. 17:28 we are informed that “He gives us the power to live, to move, and to be who we are. We are His children,’ just as some of your poets have said.” By being god-like we are given the power to live and move eternally because we follow God’s Spirit (Rom. 8:14)!

What about all the people who are rebellious, cantankerous, and/or animalistic? “The LORD protects everyone who lives right, but He destroys anyone who does wrong (Prv. 10:29).” Peter, a disciple, states, “God is patient, because He wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost (II Pet. 3:9).” Obviously sin is not god-like and can not make one a good person. Rom. 6:16 asks, “don’t you know that you are slaves of anyone you obey? You can be slaves of sin and die, or you can be obedient slaves of God and be acceptable to Him.”

What does it mean to be an obedient slave? It means to be righteous, which denotes that one follows the commands of God. “Obey Me, and you will live! Let My instructions be your greatest treasure (Prv. 7:2).” To be a good person involves righteously following God’s commandments – particularly The Great Commandments. Mat. 22:36Teacher, what is the most important commandment in the Law?”37 Jesus answered: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. 38 This is the first and most important commandment. 39 The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, ‘Love others as much as you love yourself.’ 40 All the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Why is love so important to be a good person, or god-like? Once again referring to the Bible we learn that “…God is love(I Jhn. 4:8, 16),” and “that no one who loves others will harm them. So love is all that the Law demands (Rom. 13:10).” Furthermore, we find in I Cor. 13:4 that “love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or 5 rude. Love isn’t selfish or quick tempered. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do. 6 Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. 7 Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. 8 Love never fails!

The question we’re now faced with is should we believe in God? Some people believe that they can be a good person without being godly, however that’s metaphysically erroneous (Psa. 14:1, 53:1). To be a good person we automatically project God’s Spirit (see above), and as Christians we are to follow His commandments with our whole heart (Psa. 119:10). Ultimately, it is our heart that determines whether we are, or are not, a good person or morally defiled (Mat. 15:11)! Are we living to just enjoy the pleasures of this materialistic world, or are we interested in becoming a truly “Good Person” in order to receive the gift of eternal life?

Jesus said “you can not serve God and mammon (Mat. 6:24).” To be a good person the focal point of our lives can not be greed, ambition, and/or money. We should be more apt to think qualitatively than quantitatively; more concerned with living righteously than being rich. We should think in terms of the infinite and not just the finite! Mat. 6:19 reads, “don’t store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them. 20 Instead, store up your treasures in Heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them. 21 Your heart will always be where your treasure is.”

Being a good person requires us to value the treasures of our God more than earthly “booty”. Why? Because Heavenly treasures are endless! However, why should we believe in God? Why not be a materialist who only believe in what we see? If you understand that the universe is only about 14 billion years old, than you’re faced with the question of what Entity existed during the period prior to the beginning of time and space? How do you explain the concept of how “something” came from “nothing”? “Because of our faith, we know that the world was made at God’s command. We also know that what can be seen was made out of what cannot be seen (Heb. 11:3).”

Those who consider themselves to be a “Good Person” as in being god-like may easily accept this verse; however, non-believers may still have a huge problem with it, so let’s take a scientific approach. The belief in atoms, though commonplace now, was initially met with a gargantuan amount of skepticism until Albert Einstein made his discovery in the early 1900’s. Of course since then smaller and smaller particles have been discovered, leading some in the scientific community to surmise the possibility of “something” resulting from nothing! This is significant because there are some who are entertaining the notion of the infinitude of the material plane.

By overcoming our rebellious nature we can admit that there is an existence beyond that of the physical world, and it is where the Spirit of God dwells for all eternity. Just as sure as He is able to create this plane of existence, He is able to convey to us what we must do to be a good person since He is The Standard. The following Five Steps will give us an idea of His expectations.

1. “But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what He wants. Then the other things will be yours as well (Mat. 6:33).”

2. “So you will be saved, if you honestly say, Jesus is Lord,’ and if you believe with all your heart that God raised Him from death (Rom. 10:9).”

3. “Do your best to win God’s approval as a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed and who teaches only the true message (II Tim. 2:15).”

4. Mrk. 16:15 “Go and preach the good news to everyone in the world.” 16 “Anyone who believes me and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe Me will be condemned.”

5. “God will bless all who have washed their robes. They will each have the right to eat fruit from the tree that gives life, and they can enter the gates of the city (Rev. 22:14).”

So, what are the characteristics of a good person? According to the Bible, we must be Christ-like! Php. 2:5 instructs us to “think the same way that Christ Jesus thought.” We must be ready to put the needs of others – even before ours sometimes. More importantly, to be a good person we must do the things which pleases the Father.” The Son of Man did not come to be a slave master, but a Slave who will give His life to rescue many people (Mat.20:28).” “Father, if You will, please don’t make Me suffer by having Me drink from this cup. But do what You want, and not what I want (Luk. 22:42).” To truly be a good person we must submit to our Heavenly Father, who is the Standard, and be willing to serve people! I challenge you to take those Five Steps so that you can reap the everlasting rewards for being a Good Person!

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth

December 3, 2007

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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!