Antichrist, False Prophets

Believe not every spirit

 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

1 John 4:3

“Beloved, believe not every spirit,” exclaimed the Apostle John. There are spirits in the world today that are contrary to the word of God. These spirits bring a false witness into the body of Christ. As Christians we are not to be so gullible and believe every spirit we meet. In fact, the Apostle John mentions Christians as little children. John knew that as little children it is easy to go astray.  Children need help, guidance, and instruction to help them grow and the Apostle John is warning Christians to be aware of lying and deceitful spirits.    Christians are to try [test or prove] the spirits to see whether they are of God. Not all spirits are of God. I remember Smith Wigglesworth talking about voices that some Christians hear in their head thinking it is from God, but this is not always true. Not all voices or spirits are from God.

We must test the spirit to see if it is from God. The Apostle John gives us instruction on how to test the spirit by asking if Jesus Christ came in the flesh [see verse 2 of 1 John 4]. If they do not believe that Jesus Christ came in the flesh or took on human form, they are not of God, but rather they are of the spirit of the antichrist.   The spirit of the antichrist is a spirit that is against Christ deity as the Son of God that came in human form, died on the cross and arose.  Christ death and resurrection defeated the power of death who is the devil [see Hebrews 2:14].   It is rarely preached about in the pulpit today, but it is a warning to all Christians to not to believe every spirit you hear. All speech needs to be tested and prove to see if it aligns with the word of God. This is because of the many false prophets and teachers that would arise in the latter days in the world. 

For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.

Mark 13:22

To think that even the elect [a person who holds a specific public office] such as a pastor, deacon, or elder can be seduced by a false prophet is very serious especially for the Pentecostal denominations where signs and wonders can become commonplace.  These spirits come in and change doctrine that is contrary to the word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ.  All Christians should heed the warnings that the apostle John is giving, and He is not the only one in the Bible that gives Christians this warning.  Hearing any kind of voices and not testing to see if they are of God can lead to spiritual death.  It is what defiles a man that we should remember what Jesus said in Matthew 15:16-20, and he said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies.” We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God; therefore, we should know a little about the darkness we have all come out of. Those vain words spoken to deceive us back into darkness.

No, we must not heed those vain words because as Christians our sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, and we have overcome the wicked one [see 1 John 2:12-14]. Those who are in Christ have overcome those who are in darkness including false teachers. The Apostle John encourages the children of God by saying, “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world,” [see 1 John 4:4]. It is through the blood of Christ and his resurrection that overcame the spirit of darkness. The Apostle Paul calls the darkness the mystery of iniquity in 2 Thessalonians 2:7.   Paul also exclaims to let no man deceive you by any means [see 2 Thessalonians 2:3]. There will be a falling away or [apostasy] that will take place before the man of sin will be revealed. Some well-known pastors have already given the warning of denominations falling away from the rudimental teaching of the gospel of Christ.

There will be a time when many will not endure sound doctrine but will enlist teachers who will teach what they want to hear. Some would pervert the Gospel of Christ for their own pleasure of seeking monetary gain. I have personally witness removal of pastors who had a personal agenda instead of being a true servant of Christ. Let us heed the warnings in the word of God and pray that we do not fall short of the glory of God but prove all things and hold fast to that which is good [see 1 Thessalonians 5:21]. The Apostle Paul goes on to say in 1 Thessalonians 5:22-23, to abstain from all appearance of evil and he prayed that our whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Stay on the road of the Gospel of Christ in love and know that you do not stand alone, for greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.  Know that the true spirit of God will always point to Christ who came in human form, died on the Cross, and arose from the dead, and now sits on the right hand of God.  It is Jesus, the son of God, who came in the flesh to save humanity.  Praise God who gave us His son as a sacrifice to save all humanity.

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Be renewed in the spirit of your mind. . .

Sometimes the grind of everyday living can bring a state of exhaustion, or an emotional drain that brings a negative response out of us. It is as if we have worked up a sweat and gotten dirty from having been exposed to the day’s activity. I have heard of decompressing from the day’s activities especially when the day has brought unexpected results of frustration. It can feel like we have been in a fight and now we need a bath to wash off the grime of the day. How do we decompress? Everyone needs space to decompress. Even Jesus decompressed by going up the mountain to pray. I can only imagine what his day brought when he went about his father’s business of sharing the gospel and witnessing negative unbelieve responses everywhere he went. He had to have time with the Father in prayer to work out those negative responses.

Whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

Matthew 10:14

Maybe we should take a look at what Jesus told the twelve disciples in Matthew chapter ten. It is all about keeping the peace within ourselves if we are not received well from others. Look at verse 13 of chapter ten of Matthew where Jesus said to “let your peace return to you.” How do you shake off the dust of your feet? Conflict these days seem to be commonplace and it is easy to get worked up for nothing. Everybody has an opinion and sometimes others do not want to listen to what you have to say. It is time to shake off the dust of your feet. Have you ever wondered why Jesus washed the feet of the disciples? It is a form of purification from our attitude of the days conflicts. The spiritual renewing of washing the negative grime that we have picked up during the day. Jesus said to the disciples that they should wash one another’s feet [see John 13:14]. In other words, in the process of washing another’s foot, it will bring compassion and consideration for that individual. This is the Christian response in serving one another. It means to listen and respond in love. To help each other to renew our minds by the washing of water by the word.

Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

John 15:3

The word is so important because it helps us to focus on what is good, pure, and honest. It is why some churches have midweek services because the pastor realized that his congregation needed the washing of the word for the renewal of the mind. Some churches have midweek bible studies to help with the renewal of the mind. It is also why we have devotionals written to help Christians to renew their mind so that their attitude may be transformed into the image of Christ. The renewing of the mind is to put on the new man that is created in God through Christ where righteousness and true holiness resides [see Ephesian 4:24]. Anger, malice, and lying is to be put away so that we do not allow the devil room within our hearts [see verse 27 of Ephesians 4]. Having been in the world, we are not to be conform to the world’s characteristics.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12:2

We are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind so that we can prove what is good and acceptable will of God. That we may know the will of God through the word. Just as you take a shower every day to cleanse your body, you should cleanse your mind from the daily grind of living by reading the word of God for the renewal of your mind. Like Jesus going up to the mountain to pray, we should find the time to read the word to help us to decompress ourselves from the daily grind of the world. Have you ever experienced a foot bath? Everyone should have this experience and know how soothing and refreshing it is and it also helps to relieve the stresses of the day. It is a very special time when Christians can wash one another’s foot by listening and sharing the word with each other. Remember that the world may not receive you, but let your peace remain within you, shake off the dust of your feet, and renew your mind with the word of God and relax in his love that He has for you today.

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Baptism, Sanctification

Walking in Newness of Life

Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death, that as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:4

How does one walk in “newness of life?” What does it mean to be baptized into Jesus Christ death? We were taught in the Christian faith that baptism means immersion or dip under water for the washing and purifying the body from the flesh [from all sins]. The apostle Paul reaerated in verse three of chapter 6 of Romans that those who were baptized into Jesus were also baptized into his death. It is hard to conceive that we were united with Christ through his death, but it is a process of sanctification. Sanctification is to be set apart for a special use or purpose. Like a vessel that is used for specific tasks. It is to be set apart for a purpose that is united with Christ. This is a holy purpose that takes on the divine nature of Christ. I ponder upon this aspect of the Christian life and understanding how we are to be complete in Christ.

How many Christians are truly set apart for Christ to be used as a vessel of honor. Does our walk-in life reflect Christ true meaning of holiness? These are questions we each need to answer for ourselves. This is an individual choice we make, and it should not be taken lightly, for sanctification is a dedication to Christ in that it is a marriage. When a husband and wife are separated because of a disaster, there is an emptiness that resides within the individual. It is like the lines in the song titled, “Dedicated to the One I Love.”

While I’m far away from you, my baby

I know it’s hard for you, my baby

And it’s hard for me, my baby

And the darkest hour is just before dawn

That separation is painful to experience. Jesus felt that pain on the cross. Jesus experienced the human condition like no man has ever done in history on the cross, and that is why he is acquainted with all our ways [see Psalms 139:3]. Myer Pearlman, a theologian, and author stated that sanctification is positional and progressive in his book titled, “Knowing the Doctrines of the Bible.” He explained that the setting apart is the beginning of the process of sanctification. Pearlman states that this is a daily process and responsibility of every Christian. It is why some Christians are still carnal [see 1 Corinthians 3:3], because they have not move on towards growth in Christ. At this stage in their Christian walk they are not fully walking into the image of Christ. A cleansing needs to take place to wash the carnal desires away.   This is the reason why we hear the apostle Paul’s statement “to mortify our sinful members, and to put off the old man.” In other words, it is the function of the human personality that is not conforming to the image of Christ.

What many Christians do not understand is that they cannot do it all within themselves. Very few can maintain their image to be perfect without some human flaw revealing itself. There needs to be divine intervention to help both the positional and progressive process along. Every person progresses at a different stage in their Christian walk until we all come to unity in Christ. Sanctification is through the blood of Christ and worked in the human being through the Holy Spirit and the word of God. The blood of Christ does the cleansing while the Holy Spirit with the word of God helps lead us into the full knowledge of truth [see John 17:17]. It is a daily task to put away anything that does not reveal the image of Christ within our human behavior. The imperfections that we have are revealed in the word of God. Deliverance can only come through faith in the atonement with the working of the Holy Spirit.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God

Ephesians 2:8

John Wesley dealt with the aspect of sanctification by affirming it as another work of grace. Our position is assured but our daily walk is a dying to self and taking up the cross of Christ in daily prayer asking the Lord to guide us to become more like Christ. We must have the love of God residing within our heart to allow the Holy Spirit to work through our character for change to take affect knowing that to be spiritually minded is life and peace [see Romans 8:6]. Whatever state we are in we are more than conquerors through him that loved us [see Romans 8:37]. May we continue to walk in newness of life through Jesus Christ, knowing His love is a sure thing, and through His love we can grow above whatever imperfections we may have. We can walk in newness of life every day by faith through Christ who gives us the victory.

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Seven Abominations

Six Things the Lord God Dislikes

Do you know the six things that the Lord dislikes? Actually, it is seven things that the Lord dislikes and they are an abomination.

These six things doth the Lord Hate; yea seven are an abomination unto him.

Proverbs 6:16

Have you read Proverbs in the Bible? Proverbs was compiled in the 10th Century B.C. and is full of wisdom about life. It deals with faithfulness, honesty, business relationships, eating, drinking, and keeping bad company. Most of Proverbs comes from King Solomon, who was incredibly wise in dealing with justice in his court. It is rare that one hears a sermon taken from Proverbs, but when I read chapter 6 verses 16 through 19, I thought this should be taught for everyone would like to be treated fairly, plus no one wants to be lied to or have a false witness. We should not forget about having good manners when dealing with people in general. If we can follow the golden rule of doing unto others what you would want others to do to you, we would all be happy instead of cutting each other down. 

Do you remember “Miss Manners”?  Judith Martin was an American columnist, who wrote about etiquette. She wrote about problems about people having good manners and being polite. It is all about how we treat one another and in church it can be a big issue in how people behave around other people. Board members and committee members many times loose cohesion when they argue about a specific topic of concern. Division is just around the corner when there is no unity among members of a congregation. It is important to remember how the enemy who is Satan revels in the Christian saint’s discord.

If you behave in a way that offends the people you’re trying to deal with, they will stop dealing with you.

Judith Martin

Our behavior can offend others and these days that offence can lead to retaliation and other negative behavior we do not want to see in our communities. Judith Martin stated that “blatant greed” is the most serious etiquette problem in the United States. Keeping that in mind we can look at the seven listed things that bring disgust and repulsion in the seven things listed in Proverbs chapter 6.

A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that are swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Proverbs 6:17-19

A Proud look is the first on the list because it is a person who lifts himself up above others. It is all about “Me,” and no one else manners. Second on the list is a lying tongue. The tongue always gets us in trouble for saying something we should not have said. It is why James said in chapter 3, “the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” It is more than a slip of the tongue because it is what we are feeling within our heart. Many of us need healing of past hurts that someone caused. Someone who is offended can lead to the shedding of innocent blood. It can be a proud look, or something that was said that ignites like a dynamite and someone gets shot. The hands that shed innocent blood is happening all over the world. Sometimes we do not even know that what we do can cause violent outburst.

Beware of the heart that plans to harm someone and brings in others to do his or hers bidding. You do not need to be a puppet on someone else string to pull you into mischief. Learn to say no and turn away from getting involved in any plan that harms an individual or an animal. We tend to forget that God created animals for our benefit. We are to be good stewards of our pets and animals.

Then there is the false witness that is lying. They can be so nice to your face but stab you in your back by giving a false witness about you. This happens so often in churches as well as everywhere else like where you work and even among your friends. They do it in fun, but the fun turns into outrage. That is why the Bible tells us to build one another up and not to tear one another down. Do not be mischievous in what you are doing with others. Remember the saying, “what comes around goes around.” Eventually one will have to face the consequences for their actions.

The last thing is sowing discord among the members of a congregation is no way to behave. There should be no animosity, contention, or controversy among the people of God, and if there is, let us strive for peaceful resolution. Any animosity or grievances should be dealt with immediately between the individuals that are having the issue. We are to go to the person that has violated decent social boundaries and speak to them about it.

Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

Matthew 18:15-16

If that person does not listen, then the next step is to bring in witnesses. Hopefully, one will listen, so other witnesses will not have to be brought in. We are saved by Grace and there is liberty where the Spirit of the Lord is [see 2 Corinthians 3:17]. Do not use that liberty as a stumbling block against those who are weak [ see 1 Corinthians 8:9]. Ask God to help cleanse your heart and mind from all false witness, lies, and mischievous deeds. Ask God to forgive you and help you to forgive the other person too. Ask God for reconciliation. Allow God’s love to rule your heart again in the liberty that we have in Christ Jesus.

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Contentment, Godliness

Godliness with Contentment

Godliness with contentment is great gain.

1 Timothy 6:6

Why is contentment related to godliness? Contentment frees us from having to focus on achieving something that may not always be a benefit to us personally. It frees one from envy, strife, and vanity. It is what is of value or profitable in our growth that we should be concerned with. Contentment not only deals with our speech, but with our way of living. Striving after objects and forsaking our health, relationships, or personal growth is not advantages. Sometimes it becomes an obsession where the object controls you rather than you are controlling the object.

For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

1 Timothy 6:7-8

As Christians we are to be content with having food and clothing for our bodies. Object and things are not a priority like food and clothing. Jesus talked about not to be anxious about food or clothing for He knows we need these to survive [see Matthew 6:25-32]. It is through faith that these things are supplied. In fact, Jesus said that we should seek the kingdom of God so that these things shall be added unto us [see Matthew 6:33]. This speaks to our devotion and reverence towards God, and that is where godliness brings the point home on what our focus should be. Godliness means to step back from something and refocus where our attention is. It is an attitude of where our commitment and loyalty are in our every day of living.

Maybe we should look at the Minimalist. Some may think it is all about restrictions, but this is not the case. It is a way of living in the moment without the added aggravation of dealing with dissatisfaction. Minimalism is all about having freedom from fear, worry, and guilt. Freedom from the consumer culture in possessing things that bring bondage. Minimalism is not just about getting rid of excessive stuff, although we probably should re-consider the extra storage that some of us are paying for just to store the excess stuff. For the minimalist it is about reclaiming time and sometimes our sanity from the constant desire of wanting or keeping things.

Consuming things is tied to the root of loving money. The apostle Paul states that it has caused some Christians to fall from faith [see 1 Timothy 6:10]. The pursuit of having things can lead to sorrows because it is not only the individual that is affected but those who are close to that individual such as family members or friends. It can cause strife among family members and friends.

Let your manner of life be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have.

Hebrews 13:5

This should be our manner in life, a new course in direction. Consume less and be more creative. Discover your mission and purpose in life and the attitude of contributing to others needs. It is sharing with others and meeting needs. You will gain back your mental health and freedom of your time when you are content with what you have.  The apostle Paul said, “whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God,” 1 Corinthians 10:31.

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Great Tribulation

Who holds the future?

Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

Matthew 24:34 KJV

Who holds the future? Many would believe that they have a stake in their future. Have you ever considered your destiny? Franklin D. Roosevelt said during the Great Depression that “this generation… has a rendezvous with destiny.” What appointment does this generation have with destiny? Most of us just do not have time to think about it, or we are too busy trying to figure out our next move in life that the future is nothing to be concerned about. I do hear some asking if we are living in the last days. I have been wondering this myself. Christianity through the ages has had many so-called prophets stating that the end is near, and that Jesus is coming on a certain date. Do you remember the Y2K bug? The bug in computers regarding the changing of dates correctly. People panicked that the worldwide infrastructures would collapse. This led to people panicking and stocking up on food, water, arms, the purchase backup generators, and withdrawal of large sums of money in anticipation of the collapse. We recently seen the same thing with COVID-19. This is known as a global catastrophic risk or an apocalypse.

What are these things referring to in this scripture verse in Matthew 24:34. One must backup and start at the beginning of this chapter where Jesus is talking about the end time or the great tribulation. These things are the false Christ and prophets who deceive many, wars and rumors of wars, nations against nations, famines and pestilences, earthquakes, lawlessness shall arise, and people’s hearts will grow cold [see Matthew 24:4-13]. Each year there has been events where we have heard about these things taking place somewhere in the world, and some of us have experienced these things firsthand, but” let us not be troubled,” said Jesus, “for these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet,” [see Matthew 24:6]. The key verse is the preaching of the “gospel of the kingdom” in all the world for a witness before the end comes [see Matthew 24:14]. The importance is the Gospel of Jesus Christ to save humanity from eternal punishment in hell. Those who are Christians have a voice to preach the gospel to those around them.

“Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.”

Isaiah 52:8 KJV

Lift-up your voice and break into joy for your salvation has come. Deliverance is here right now through the Son of God. Let not your heart grow cold, believe in what Jesus did on the cross for you. That He delivered you from the bondage of corruption, the chains of darkness, and now you are waiting for the redemption of your body when He shall return. Oh, what a glorious day that will be. Christians are to watch and lift their voice, for no one knows the hour when our Lord will come. That’s right! No one will know the exact hour [see Matthew 24:42]. It will be as it was in the days of Noah when no one believed in Noah as he continued to build the ark. Noah believed in what God told him and he was busy building the ark until the day of the flood.  Many mocked him and made fun of him.  They knew not until the flood came stated Jesus in Matthew 24:39, so it will be the same when the Lord comes, no one will know the hour until it comes.  Let your testimony of Christ be confirmed in you, for remember in the end you will “overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of your testimony, [see Revelation 12:11].  It is the blood of the Lamb [Christ sacrifice] and the word of your testimony that the preaching of the “gospel of the kingdom” is to go out into the world as a witness.  Every believer is a witness, every believer has a voice, for they have overcome the evil one through the word of their testimony.  This is our victory that we have through Jesus Christ.  Watch, pray, and be a witness for Christ.

“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57

“O victory in Jesus, my Savior, forever! He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood,” is the chorus sung in this wonderful hymn written by Eugene Bartlett. Listen and sing along with Lynda Randle.

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Ask and Receive, Believe, Faith

The Power of Faith – Believe, Speak, and Receive

Whatever things ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

Mark 11:24

Did you know that faith has power? Whatever you believe is what you will speak. What you speak produces the results you are living out every day of your life. Many people do not take stock on what they say every day. In James 3:6, it is stated that the tongue defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of nature, or our path in life. With such a warning, maybe we should reconsider the words that flow out of our mouth. Jesus spoke to his disciples about the power of faith by believing in prayer that what you speak, you will receive. Just think about the fig tree that Jesus cursed because it had no fruit [see Mark 11:12-14 and 20-24]. Peter the disciple of Jesus, pointed it out to Jesus that the fig tree had withered away, and Jesus said, “Have faith in God.” Jesus explains to his disciples that they too can have this kind of power if they would “believe what they say”.

The power of words is amazing, and we just do not think about it when we speak every day to those who we are in contact with. Just think about the words spoken on social networks. The slandering is out of control, and many are hurt at what is being said. Today we have employers dismissing people by email, rather than facing the individual in person. Add to the list cyberbullying which is posting rumors and treats. Words are powerful and we need to check take stock of our speech and behavior to that of a more positive tone rather than a negative tone. What we speak can be in the power of God and not in the power of man. Knowing that Jesus is the author of our faith [Hebrews 12:2] helps us to understand that our minds can be renewed to having the power of faith in what we speak.

The apostle Paul stated in 2 Corinthians 4:13, “having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak” [KJV]. We speak what we believe and this of itself is powerful. Paul has complete confidence in God, whom he believes that what is spoken will reveal the nature of God. We must choose blessing or cursing, life, or death, in the words we speak. Are the words we speak based upon faith? In 2 Corinthians 4:18 it states that we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” When we pray, we look at what is not seen instead of what is right before us.  I remember Smith Wigglesworth commenting how when he prayed for the sick in bed, they look to Jesus rather than the condition of the person in bed.

Can we “Have Faith in God?” Yes, we can, when we put our trust in God through His son Jesus. However, there is a condition listed in Mark chapter 11 that is overlooked.

When you stand praying, forgive, if ye have anything[ought] against any, that your Father also, who is in heaven, may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father, who is in heaven, forgive your trespasses.

Mark 11:25-26 [KJV]

Many forget that to receive anything from God one must have a pure heart and motive. So, if you have anger, or unforgiveness against anyone, you must forgive them. This is one reason why we have unanswered prayers. We only look at what we want, but when it comes to forgiving it can be very painful to let go of the hurt that an individual has done to us. This includes not only actions but the many unkind words that has been spoken. Do not let those behaviors or words pull you down to becoming burdened and angry. Let it go and place it in God’s hand. Remember that you cannot change another person, but you can be the reason why somebody changes. When your heart is in the right place you can ask and it shall come to pass, but forgiveness is the key to the prayer of faith. We can believe, speak, and receive just like Jesus did.  May we grow in having more faith in God and by taking stock in what we speak.

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Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly. . .

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

Psalms 1:1

How is our walk today? Who do we get advice, direction, or guidance from? Usually, we think about making a change after New Year by making a new resolution, but sometimes the Lord is steering us to move in a different direction at a given moment in time. Sometimes a move can be a blessing away from ridicule or mocking that one may experience every day. Standing in the way of sinners is to become like them. To sit in the seat of the scornful is to make fun of someone or put them down. This is the opposite of exhortation and encouraging one another. We are living in a world of gossip and sneering without confirmation of truth, and everybody is doing it. What is your moral code of living today? Is society moral code changing from that of the ten commandments? This is what we as Christians should be contemplating and thinking about every day.

Psalms chapter one is talking about two different ways of living. One is living by faith in God while the other has no faith or is wavering in their faith in God. Every day we have a choice to make on how we will walk as Christian’s. We will either choose to learn God ways, or we will choose the way of the world. We are not to be seated with the counsel of the ungodly or be friends with an angry furious man. Why? Because we may go that way instead of the way of the Lord.  Knowing your own weaknesses and how you personally may be tempted are the warning signs one needs to be aware of the possibility of falling into temptations.  It is the same for an alcoholic who is said to “fall off the wagon” and going back to drinking.  It is a snare to your own soul as stated in Proverbs.

Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.

Proverbs 22:24

Which way will you choose? Maybe we should read more of Proverbs in the Bible for it is full of human failures and ways in which a person should not go and what one should be aware of in life. Proverbs 29:22 states that “an angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.” Strife and rebellion are seen within society when a person cannot get what they want. The reason why we have laws is to have peace within society. However, laws change every year to bring new rules within society and not all rules are for the better when it comes to equality. What kind of justice can we have if we do not have the ten commandments, or the Bible? Is all about what we worship? Maybe we should look at what we worship every day.  In Matthew 6:21, it states that where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  So, reevaluating where we stand is important to our walk.  This brings us to the question if we meditate in the law of the Lord, day, and night? I know I fall short in doing this and ask the Lord to draw me in and give me revelation to see and understand His way.

Psalms chapter one says that one will prosper when they delight in the law of the Lord [see Psalms 1:2-3]. That person shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water and bring forth fruit in due season. When a year of drought comes, they shall still bring forth fruit [see Jeremiah 17:8]. The person who brings forth fruit is grounded and rooted in God’s ways. When we can gain an understanding that the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ and that we are justified by faith [see Galatians 3:24] as the apostle Paul states, we can begin to see that we fall short of living a gracious life in the Love of the Lord. As a believer we are not under the law but under grace. Not to sin, but to love one another. This is how we are perfected by keeping his word on a daily basis. We mature as a Christian by gaining wisdom and revelation to the meaning of His Word.

Whosoever keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected; by this know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

1 John2:5-6

God puts it in our heart through the love of His son Jesus Christ. We are to share that love with others. We are to be separate from sinners and not walk in darkness. Walking in darkness means you do not know where you are going. With Christ we know where we are going and that there is a place prepared for us in heaven. We do not conform to the world, for we are being transformed by the renewing of our minds [see Romans 12:2]. Our counsel is from the word of God, our path is the path of Christ, and we are to walk in the love of God. Our confidence is in God knowing that when Christ shall appear we shall be with him.   If there is anything in our heart holding us back from the way of Christ, put it down at the feet of Christ.  Ask him to purify your heart so that you can be blessed and be that tree planted by the rivers of water who will bring forth fruit in due season.  Ask the Lord in prayer to guide you to receive good counsel.  Ask the Lord to give you the desire to meditate and read the Bible daily.  Ask the Lord for you to not “Fall of the wagon” and go back to your old ways.  No matter what state you find yourself in, the Lord is there with you ready to hear your prayer.   

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Cross, Resurrection

That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.

Philippians 3:10

Do we really know him (Christ), and the power of his resurrection? How can we experience the power of Christ resurrection? The apostle Paul is pressing into Christ being made more to be like Christ. Most Christians have just made it past the point of being saved by faith in Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. Many have not pressed in further to really know Christ and the power of his resurrection. The Bible speaks of continued growth for those who are saved, and this growth involves the power of his resurrection, the fellowship of his sufferings, and being made conformable unto his death. At least this is what the Apostle Paul is stating in the letter to the Philippians in Rome while he was in prison. “To live is Christ, to die is gain,” stated Paul in Philippians 1:21. The Apostle Paul wants to experience the power of Christ resurrection. The Hebrew meaning for resurrection is standing or rising.

Our standing is in Christ and our rising up from the dead is in Christ also. Jesus said that He is “the resurrection and the life,” [see John 11:25]. Our own life is made possible through the power of Christ resurrection. This resurrection power gave the victory over the power of death. It is the devil that had this power [see Hebrews 2:14] until Christ death and resurrection gave all those who believe a new standing over the power of death. The resurrection is also a part of our inheritance as a Christian for that future date. Now we have the down payment of our inheritance through the promised Holy Spirit to help us in our walk and conformity to Christ. The apostle Paul counted all things at a loss to know Christ more. Paul did not look at his personal possessions, his focus was on Christ and pressing on towards that high calling. Paul was reaching forward to his future as a citizen in heaven [see Philippians 3:14-20].

The Apostle Paul’s journey in life is the desire to know Christ, fellowship in Christ resurrection power, and being made conformable unto His death. Have we as Christians really thought about that fellowship we have with Christ and being made conformable unto His death?  For many, this is not what they had in mind.  Any talk about being made conformable to Christ or his suffering is far from what they think a Christian is.  Some just want the easy life, but this is not reality.  There are all kinds of real human suffering today.  What can we gain in life when it only brings death?  Can we have the mind of Christ? We must press toward the mark with the Apostle Paul for Christ asking to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to know Christ and the power of his resurrection. We need the Holy Spirit’s help in becoming like Christ in love, patience, and holiness. We need to continue to spiritual maturity daily knowing our standing in Christ that we have the forgiveness for our sins, and the Holy Spirit of promise to continue our walk as followers of Christ. Not that we have attained righteousness on our own, for it is through Christ that our position is in righteousness, and this is through faith in Christ only.

Charles Spurgeon expressed it this way, “that the less you value your own righteousness, the more will you seek after true holiness; the less you think of your own beauty, the more ardently will you long to become like the Lord Jesus.” The way to the mind of Christ is to know Him in a more personal way. Christ emptied himself of his status and took on the form of a servant [see Philippians 2:7]. The mind of Christ is to have love for one another, tender mercy, and compassion. As Christians we are not to create strife by arguing, quarreling, or gain self-glorification. We are to esteem others better than ourselves [see Philippians 2:3-5]. Our future is assured through Christ. Jesus said that if you believe on him, you have everlasting life, and He will raise us up at the last day [see John 6:40]. This is the power of his resurrection to gain victory over the evil one and be brought out of darkness and into His wonderful light. We barely know Him and the power of His Resurrection. Let us press in to know Him more like the apostle Paul.   If you want to read more about this subject click on the link below to read Charles Spurgeon take on the power of his resurrection written in 1889.

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Ask and Receive, Joy

Ask and receive that your joy may be full . . .

Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name; ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

John 16:24

Ask and receive, that your joy may be full. Do you have joy in your heart? The meaning for joy is gladness and delight. Joy is tied to a person, place, or thing. While happiness is short term, joy is said to be long lasting. Joy is also said to be a natural outcome of your faith. As a Christian, your joy should be tied to Jesus. In this passage of John chapter 16 verse 24, it is the word of Jesus speaking to his disciples, but if you have believed in who Jesus is, He is speaking to you too. This is because we are all one in the body of the Lord. Joy is selfless since it is tied to the person of Jesus. As the disciples had a relationship with Jesus, those who believe should also have a relationship with the Lord. That relationship is based on what we know about Jesus and the Father. That relationship is carried through the Holy Spirit through prayer. Believing opens the door to understanding who we are in Christ. Jesus expresses that we are one with the Father and Jesus [see John 17:21-22]. We have been baptized into one body through the Spirit [see 1 Corinthians 12:13].

When a child comes to a father for something such as asking for a new toy, what will the father say? This depends on the situation and circumstances of the family environment. The child’s role within the family and financial ability to purchase the new toy will depend on the answer. With compassion and understanding of the sensitivity of the child’s feelings, a discussion will take place as to why the child needs this toy. How does this relate to asking our Heavenly Father in Jesus name to receive what we pray for so that our joy may be full? Parents tend to spoil a child by giving them what they want, but in real life we do not always get what we want. As a parent we desire our children to always ask even though we may not always be able to give what is being asked for. There comes a time when we know what to ask for because we know we will receive what we ask. This is knowing the will of the giver. In the case of our Heavenly Father, we ask so the Son of God may be glorified through what is being ask such as healing for the body. We ask the Father for restoration to eternal glory, for safety from the world or the evil one, and that unity in the church may prevail.  We know that it is in the will of God to answer these petitions.

We ask because we cannot change the situation without divine intervention. It is through divine intervention that our prayers are answered to the glory of God. This will bring joy within our heart and this joy becomes a long-lasting joy through a relationship of prayer in asking and receiving. Our prayers will always be answered when we ask with a sincere heart. Even if we do not know God’s will, we should still ask as a child. The answer will come if we are patience. Do not stop asking in prayer what you need including joy. Joy is part of the Fruits of the Spirit [see Galatians 5:22], so ask God for joy to come up within your heart. Ask God for the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness that you may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified [Isaiah 61:3].

Let us rejoice with Joy Unspeakable and full of glory [see 1Peter 1:8] for answered prayer, receiving the end of our faith, and for salvation for our souls. Many times, I have asked God to send someone to help me and give me understanding and my prayer has always been answered. In fact, I have been amazed how my prayer has been answered through unforeseen divine intervention. This has bought me great joy to my soul that I want to sing that song titled, “Joy Unspeakable.” I have sung this song at railway stations in the city of Perth in Australia not knowing the real meaning of what the song meant. I have not heard it sung for quite a while, but I found on YouTube a joyous rendition for you to enjoy. 

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Backsliding, Lack of knowledge, Unfaithful

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. . .

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because thou has rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me, seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

Hosea 4:6

In Hosea chapter 4, verse 6 is one of the most quoted scripture verse. It has been used throughout generations as a warning against ignorance. No matter what kind of book you read today, some kind of knowledge is being withheld, only to be exploited at a later date in time. Let’s just say that ignorance is not always bliss as the poet Thomas Gray portrayed in his poem. Even a child must face certain circumstances that is not always pleasant such as having their favorite toy taken away because they did not listen to instruction. What can we learn about what it means to have a lack of knowledge as is stated in Hosea 4:6. How can a lack of knowledge destroy people? I learned that knowledge in this verse means to be able to discern and the Hebrew word is da’at, which is taken from the Hebrew letter dalet, and comes from the Hebrew word “delet,” which means open door. Now we can understand that knowledge is an open door to discern something new, recognize, or notice something we have not known before.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 1:7

We read in Proverbs chapter one, verse 7, that to fear the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. It is where knowledge begins because a door is open to a room where one can see something new. Fools despise this kind of wisdom and instruction. The meaning of “fools in this verse is those who are arrogant and live their life without God taking no thought to their eternal well-being. They work for money and live to be happy by what they have possessed. They are proud to be self-sufficient. This attitude is opposite from what the Bible is portraying. Our sufficiency is from God [see 2 Corinthians 3:5]. It is God who can perform supernatural power and to create and give what man needs. Can we believe that He is our provider? Can we be faithful and trust God for all our needs? The fear of the Lord means to have complete reverence and honor to God, for He is merciful and full of love and grace. If you want tranquility in your life, you must have the knowledge of God to know the purpose of man.

Knowing the purpose of man is the beginning of knowing who you are. Let us look at Hosea which means “the Lord saves.” Hosea prophecy is all about unfaithfulness. This is depicted through Hosea’s wife who was a harlot. She went back to her own way of life, but Hosea brought her back with a price. God is telling Hosea about the people willful ignorance to go their own way and eat of harlotry and wine [see Hosea 4:11]. Harlotry means illicit sex and commerce for gain. Harlotry is a spirit among those who have departed from God. Harlotry is an intense desire towards deceit and betrayal for power and gain. They deny knowledge of the truth as revealed in the word of God and have departed from faith in God to faith in something else. It is going back to a former way of life and this is called backsliding.

I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely; for mine anger is turned away from him.

Hosea 14:4

The word backsliding in Hosea 14:4 means to turn back or away. God is calling for a people who have obtained mercy. Mercy is God’s loving kindness towards man. God is calling people to return to Him and be healed. There is forgiveness with God through the cross of Christ. Forgiveness from all sins no matter what a person has done in life. He hath delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son [see Colossians 1;14]. This is something to rejoice in, our redemption through the blood of Christ. Restoration is on its way towards all people who confess their faults. “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit,”[Psalms 51:12] David cried out. May God give us understanding in all things. Help us Lord to remember that “the merciful man doeth good to his own soul, but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh,” [Proverbs 11:16].  Help us God to be a faithful people unto the glory of your Son.  Help us Lord God to be a chosen generation, a people of God who has obtained mercy [1 Peter 2:9-10].

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Holy Spirit

Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God

Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, by whom ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Ephesians 4:30

What does it mean to not grieve the Holy Spirit of God? The Holy Spirit of God is the third person of the Trinity. He is a person who points to Christ and is known as the Comforter [see John 14:26 and 15:26]. The Holy Spirit of God will guide us into all truth and will not glorify himself. He will glorify Christ [see John 16:14]. The Holy Spirit of God is not egotistical, for he will always testify of Christ. As a comforter He is a helper that has come alongside a person to help us in our Christian walk. We are sealed by the Spirit of God unto the day of redemption. This means that we have been delivered by a price that was paid by the blood of Christ. We are no longer a slave sold under sin but have been set free from the power of sin by the blood of Christ. We have been bought and purchased by the blood of Christ. 

The Holy Spirit is himself the seal, which is the finished transaction of ownership. A Christian is a believer of Christ birth, death, and resurrection for the remission of sins. A Christian belongs to God because of the death and resurrection of Christ. A Christian is delivered from being sold under sin through the fall of man. Therefore, a Christian should not be under Satan’s rule of sin, or falsehood. A Christian should be under the rule of God’s love and forgiveness. The apostle Paul is telling us in Ephesians chapter 4, verse 30 that we should not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by speaking evil or having malice within our heart. In verse 31 of Ephesians chapter 4, Paul tells us to put away all bitterness, wrath, anger, and evil speaking. We are to get rid of every form of malice and be kind and forgiving. As a Christian we are not to be deceived by vain words that have no value such as dirty jokes.

Acting contrary to the love of God grieves the Holy Spirit of God, who has sealed us unto the day of redemption; therefore, we should be careful how we act and ask God to take these desires from us and lay it down at the foot of the cross. Ask God to help you to walk in love as children of light and not darkness. We must recognize that no unclean person or covetous man will have any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ [see Ephesians 5:5]. The apostle Paul is warning Christians about their behavior and walk as a child of God. That is why it is so important to having our mind renewed by the word of God which is the Bible. The Bible is the word of God that reveals what God’s will is. The Spirit of God helps us to understand God’s will and helps us to be formed into the image of Christ. Christ in us is the hope of glory every day.

We must remember that when we are contrary to the love of God in our action, there is a struggle of the flesh taking place against the Spirit and vice versa [see Galatians 5:17]. That is why Paul tells us in Galatians 5:24 that those “that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Crucifying the flesh means to lay it down at the feet of Jesus and ask him to change those desire. It is to surrender your will to the will of God and ask him to cleanse your desire to become the desire of Christ. This is when the Holy Spirit comes in as our helper and comforter to assure us that we are the child of God and that through grace we can come to the Father and ask for help. Like David in Psalms 139 we ask God to search our heart and mind to see if there is any wicked way in us so we can be led into the everlasting life and not death. Thank God that we are not alone and that we have a comforter that comes and helps us to walk the way of Christ and to live in the love of God.

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