Posts Tagged ‘training’

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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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!

A HEADBANGER!

November 23, 2007

The cheetah lies low watching the herd of antelope as they cautiously graze the grass. Knowing that there is a possibility of danger, they eat fast and then move. Some of the weaker, and younger ones aren’t able to keep up, and become separated from the pack. This is the opportunity the cheetah has been waiting for – the chance to pick off one of the antelopes who can’t defend himself.

As in the above illustration, Satan attempts to get us in isolation so that he can strike us more effectively! God wants to be our Protector, and wants us to be His people.

“…This evil people, who refuse to hear My words, who follow the dictates of their hearts, and walk after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be just like this sash which is profitable for nothing. For as the sash clings to the waist of a man, so I have caused the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to cling to Me,” says the LORD, “that they may become My people, for renown, for praise, and for glory; but they would not hear Jer. 13:1-11.

Isa. 59:2 reads,but your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that he will not hear. Prv. 1:25-26 states, because you disdained all My counsel, and would have none of my rebuke, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes…”

The Law gave Man a basis for understanding why the sacrificial death of Christ grants us salvation! “…For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law (Gal. 3:21).” After failing to prevent God’s pronouncement in Gen. 3:15 with the death of Abel; The Flood; The Tower; The Enslavement; The Captivity; and the Massacre of the 144,00, Satan wants to confuse us of the need of God’s salvation through Jesus alone (Jhn. 14:6) by undermining the 1st Coming (IJhn. 4:1-6).

By doctrinally dividing those who seek righteousness, The Enemy is able to pick us off (Mat. 12:24-30), and in order to accomplish this, one of his main goals is to keep us froward (Prv. 2:12-15). Now instead of us moving FORWARD in the Lord, the devil tries to keep us stuck in “the good ol’ days.” He wants to convince us that our life was better BEFORE we converted to Christ! God gives us new mercies everyday; Satan tries to trick us into pursuing “old snares” (old habits, philosophies, etc.) in hope of a better result (fulfillment, salvation, etc.). Insanity is when you try to escape a predicament by banging your head on the wall expecting to get through even though all you have to show for your efforts is a bloody head!

You may get through (Heaven) – if Someone (Jesus) opens the door (salvation) and lets you back inside (reconciled) where you can get washed (baptized), bandaged (delivered), and fed (Fruit of the Spirit). “…For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin death (Rom. 8:1-11)…” Are you still banging your head?

LET IT GO

November 16, 2007

sunset.jpg

 

Christian studies, activities

KJV: “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things (I Cor. 13:11).

Have you ever had the experience of telling a favorite story, and while you were in the middle of it, you realize that your heart REALLY wasn’t in it. Why? Perhaps because you realize a new elevation in your outlook, and so now you’ve undoubtedly outgrown that particular type of material. At some point we all must move from one point of our lives to the next, and this movement is necessary for our personal growth. Even when our bodies start to deteriorate we can still maintain this growth. In fact the Apostle Paul said, “though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day (II Cor. 4:16).”

Unfortunately, some of us have been bamboozled into the “I ain’t changing” attitude, and when there’s no change there’s no growth; when there’s no growth, “death” is on the horizon. This death may not render a cessation of our physical life, but it misguides us into favoring stubbornness over maturity. This attitude is an impediment which may cause our spiritual demise by becoming a blockage that retards any growth in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

If you recall these nine traits are referred to as the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22), and we need to understand that it is the Spirit that gives life (Jhn. 6:63). Our God is not willing that any should perish (II Pet. 3:9) but that we “bring forth more Fruit ” (Jhn. 15:2), and that requires all of us to sometime make painful changes. But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye … not sons (Heb. 12:8).”

To be a child of God we must “…be holy for I (God) am holy… (Lev.11:44).” We must endeavor to be straightforward, discerning, moralistic, progressive, law-abiding, cultured, and universal as derived studying the Days of Creation. “…a just man falleth seven times and riseth up again (that amounts to one deficiency of each representation of the Days) ; but the wicked shall fall into mischief (Prv. 24:16).” How does a “just man” rise after falling? He must let go of the heartache, curiosity, and/or pleasure of our deficiency! 

In Gen. 19 Abraham’s nephew Lot was granted the opportunity to flee the impending doom of Sodom and Gomorrah, cities known for their sexual immorality. God sent angels to warn Lot of the destruction to come, however he didn’t take his family to the mountains as he was first ordered. This, of course, demonstrated the different level of faith between Lot and Abraham who, upon God’s command, went to a completely foreign land. However, Lot’s wife showed the lowest level of maturity by being disobedient, and thus paid a heavy price! “But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt (Gen. 19:26).

The Lord always sends angels (messengers) to instruct us on reaching “higher ground” (spiritual maturity) to help all of us produce more Fruit of the Spirit. However, we must be willing to let go of whatever it is that distracts us from God’s Word which is life-giving, and life-changing! It behooves us to study the Bible, sanctify ourselves, and to let go of worldiness because “the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death (Rev. 21:8).”