As we enter this season of gift exchanging, it is easy to allow thoughts of what we are going to give those we love most, to overwhelm us. It is a natural desire to want to bless those who bless us. That being said, what gift can we give to Him who has given us the greatest gifts of all – our very life, and breath, hope, and future?
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” – (Ephesians 2:8-9) His gift to us is one that is freely given, that we do not deserve. We cannot earn it, nor can we somehow repay the blessing He has provided. All that we can do is receive what we have been given, and respond with gratitude, praise and joy.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – (Ephesians 2:10) Because we are created, hand-crafted works of art, His intent is that we share ourselves with the world. Not in our own efforts, but by His grace, as He presents opportunities – we ought to be open and willing to share of the great things that He has done in us. The gifts that we give best, are those that He has created in us, that we choose to use as He intended for us all along.
to my God and King?
For He has made all,
A heart that is true,
and willing to give;
my time, my talents,
unto Him, I live.
The grace He’s given,
I will too, extend;
for without mercy,
our lives would all end.
I’ll give You my more,
so I become less;
may You be Who’s seen,
so many are blessed.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You gave, and continue giving, not because we have earned it or deserve it somehow, but rather because You are a gracious and merciful God, who loves us with an everlasting love. Thank You that You made the way for us to enter into an eternal relationship with You, through the life, death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus. Thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit to dwell in the hearts of all who believe, to lead, guide and equip us to do Your will. Thank You that we are Your hand-crafted works of art, created with a purpose. Forgive us for disregarding Your power that dwells within us, when we feel that we have nothing to offer. Thank You that in You, we always have You to extend – Your grace, Your love, Your mercy, Your hope. Teach us to trust You more, and help us to hear You clearly, so that we may move confidently as we navigate this Christmas season. May many come to know the greatest gift of all this season, as they choose eternal life in You. Let our light shine brightly before all. Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.
1 Corinthians 15
King James Version (KJV)
15 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.
12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?
30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?
31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.
33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?
36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:
37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:
38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
47 The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.
48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
American Minute By Bill Federer
His death went unnoticed, as he died the same day John F. Kennedy was shot.His books are some of the most widely read in English literature, with over 200 million sold worldwide and, nearly 50 years after his death, continue to sell a million copies a year.
His name was Clive Staples Lewis, born NOVEMBER 29, 1898.
An agnostic, he became a professor at Oxford and Cambridge.
C.S. Lewis stated (The Oxford Socratic Club, 1944. pp. 154-165):
If minds are wholly dependent on brains, and brains on bio-chemistry, and bio-chemistry (in the long run) on the meaningless flux of atoms,
I cannot understand how the thought of those minds should have any more significance than the sound of the wind in the trees.”
In Mere Christianity, 1952, C.S. Lewis wrote:
“All that we call human history – money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery – is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.’
That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.
You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.
You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
“The safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
C.S. Lewis wrote:
“God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”
“There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.’”
“Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.”
“Christianity…is a religion you could not have guessed…It is not the sort of thing anyone would have made up. It has just that queer twist about it that real things have.”
In Mere Christianity, 1952, C.S. Lewis wrote:
“The Eternal Being, who knows everything and who created the whole universe, became not only a man but (before that) a baby, and before that a fetus in a woman’s body.”
American Minute is a registered trademark. Permission is granted to forward. reprint or duplicate with acknowledgement tovwww.AmericanMinute.com
The matter of our approach into the presence of God is one of vital importance, yet it is one (like so many others these days) upon which much confusion and misconception exists. We will not now attempt to canvass the principal errors pertaining thereto, for there would be little profit for either writer or reader in prosecuting such a task. Rather do we wish to call attention unto the various aspects of the subject, for it is failure to perceive these and hold their due balance which has resulted in the fostering of false impressions in quarters which some regard as being the most orthodox sections of Christendom. If one essential aspect of this subject be ignored, or if another one be emphasized to the virtual exclusion of everything else, then the most misleading and dangerous ideas must result therefrom.
Let us begin by asking the question, Is it possible for a depraved and defiled creature to obtain access unto the thrice Holy One? If there is one thing taught more plainly in the Scriptures than another it is that sin separates the sinner and God. This fearful fact is impressively set forth in Genesis 3:24: that flaming sword was the symbol of a sin-hating God, barring approach unto the emblem of His presence. When Jehovah appeared on Sinai, amid the most solemn manifestations of His awful presence, even the favoured Hebrews were commanded under pain of death to keep their distance from Him. An Israelite who became ceremonially unclean was rigidly excluded from the Camp. Even when the tabernacle and the temple were erected, the common people were not allowed to enter the holy places. In how many different ways did God make it evident that sin obstructed any access to Himself!
But not only does God debar the sinner from access, the sinner himself has no desire to approach unto Him—rather does he wish to flee as far as possible from His presence. A sense of sin and the guilt of it upon the conscience drives the sinner from the Lord. This fact was also solemnly exemplified at the dawn of human history—just as long as our first parents remained in dutiful subjection to their Maker, walking in obedience to His commandments, they enjoyed blissful communion with Him; but as soon as they became self-willed and rebellious, all was radically altered. After they had eaten of the forbidden fruit and they heard the voice of the Lord God in the Garden, they fled in terror, seeking to hide from Him. And thus it has been ever since.
Is there, then, no access to God for the fallen creature? If there were not we should not be engaged in writing this article. Access to God is possible—possible for the chief of sinners—but only via the appointed Mediator. As the Lord Jesus so emphatically declared, “No man cometh unto the Father but by Me” (John 14:6). It is through the Lord Jesus Christ, and by Him alone—not through priest or pope, Mary or the angels, good works or tears—that we may obtain access to God. “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access” (Rom. 5:1, 2). In pointing this out we are covering ground which is thoroughly familiar to all our readers, truth which is still proclaimed in many places. Yet it is by no means the whole of the truth on this subject, though it is all that is presented thereon in certain quarters. It is those neglected aspects which we now desire to particularly stress.
Once again we would point out that unless we differentiate between things that differ there is bound to be confusion and error. So here. We must distinguish between the way of access which Christ has opened for sinners into the presence of God, the qualifications which are required from those entering that way, and the exercise of those qualifications so that the way is actually used. But the moment we mention “qualification” and the necessity for “exercising” the same, some will demur, insisting that we are thereby sounding a legalistic note and destroying the simplicity of the Gospel. Then let us ask- such objectors, Are hypocrites entitled to use that way of access which Christ has opened? Do “Christians” who exercise no faith, but simply offer cold and mechanical prayers, enter into God’s presence? If the objector answers No—as honesty compels him to do—then he has granted our contention, whether or not he agrees with us in detail.
How many professing Christians do really obtain personal access to and enjoy conscious communion with the Holy One? What percentage of real Christians are actually accustomed to do so? Alas, what multitudes have been deceived by Satan into supposing that all they have to do is get down on their knees, plead the name of Christ, and automatically they obtain audience with the Most High. Not so. It still holds good that, “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened that it cannot save, neither His ear heavy that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear” (Isa. 59:1, 2). The principles of the Divine government know no alteration, and allowed and unconfessed sins act as an impassable barrier between the soul and God as truly today as they did under the Old Testament economy. No change of dispensation modifies the requirements of God’s holiness or reduces the enormity of sin.
Three things are absolutely necessary if any is to have access to God. First, he must have the legal right or title to do so. Second, he must possess the necessary moral fitness. Third, he must be spiritually and experimentally empowered. Our legal right to approach unto God is found alone in the merits of Christ: His sacrificial work and the present exercise of His Priesthood give me title to draw near unto the Throne of Grace. But does that cover the whole matter? Is nothing more than a legal title required? Ah, the real saint knows otherwise from painful experience. How often has he entered his closet, sought audience with the Divine Majesty, pleaded the blood of Christ, yet without any conscious access. So far from any conscious approach to Him, God seems far off, and all is darkness and deadness in the soul. Like the Spouse in the Canticles, he seeks his Beloved, but finds Him not.
“Behold I go forward, but He is not there: and backward, but I cannot perceive Him. On the left hand, where He doth work, but I cannot behold Him: He hideth Himself on the right hand, that I cannot see Him” (Job 23:8, 9). Has that painful experience of Job’s never been duplicated in your own? Was his case altogether exceptional? Far from it, as the recorded lamentations of others of God’s children clearly show. “Why standest Thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest Thou Thyself in times of trouble?” (Psa. 10:1). Yes, even the sweet Psalmist of Israel knew what it was to feel God’s distance from him and to be denied conscious access to Him. “How long wilt Thou forget me, O LORD, forever? how long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me?” (Psa. 13:1). Again and again this was his agonizing experience. And there are seasons in the history of all believers when such language is just as suitable to express their experience as Psalm 46 or Psalm 150 is suited to their cases on other occasions.
“For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father” (Eph. 2:18). The words we have placed in italics present another vital aspect of our subject, showing as they do the Christian’s dependence upon the agency of the Holy Spirit. Herein each person of the blessed Trinity is accorded His own distinctive place in the economy of re- demption: access is unto the Father, it is through Christ, but it is by the Spirit. The sinful believer can no more approach unto the Father without the gracious operations of the Spirit than he could without the mediation of the Lord Jesus. One has procured for us the legal right; the Other supplies the experimental enablement. The exercise of faith, as we shall yet see, is another essential prerequisite for drawing near to God, but the actings of faith lie not within our own unaided power—He who first imparted this heavenly gift must quicken and energize it if it is to function properly.
“For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” What place is given to this part of the Truth in most sections of Christendom today? None at all. And even where the third Person of the Godhead is duly owned and honoured, how feebly do the saints apprehend their imperative need of the Spirit’s daily working within them. His operations are essential if our leaden hearts are to be raised above the things of time and sense, if our affections are to flow forth unto their rightful Object, if faith is to be duly acted upon Him, if a sense of His presence is to be communicated unto the soul. But will the Spirit perform these gracious operations if we are indifferent as to whether or not our conduct grieves Him? If a Christian has spent his evening at the card-table or the theatre, and before retiring to rest bows his knees, will the Holy Spirit, at that time, draw out the heart of such an one and grant him conscious access to the Father?
What has just been raised brings us to still another aspect of our subject—there must be a moral fitness if the suppliant is to obtain access to God. Alas, that so little is heard about this in the ministry of the day. Yet the reason for this omission is not far to seek: where the dominant object is the pleasing of the hearer, little will be said in condemnation of a carnal walk, and still less of the serious consequences thereof. But though the pulpit has become so unfaithful, God abides faithful, and He will not wink at evil doing. No, not in His own children, nor will He allow the sacred name of Christ to be used as a passport into His presence by the workers of iniquity. Is it not written, “With the pure Thou wilt show Thyself pure; and with the obstinate Thou wilt show Thyself obstinate” (Psa. 18:26); that means what it says, and says what it means.
Loose walking severs communion with God, and then will He act distantly toward us. An earthly parent (who is prudent) will not conduct himself with the same familiarity and cordiality toward a disobedient child as he will unto a dutiful one. Our folly must be repented of and humbly acknowledged before fellowship can be restored with God. Yea, even if our fault be only against a fellow-creature it must be righted before God will accept our worship: “If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift” (Matt. 5:23, 24)—how many are unable to obtain conscious access to God through failure at this very point! “Turn ye unto Me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you” (Zech. 1:3): if we would have God turn unto us in mercy we must turn unto Him in obedience.
“Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace” (Rom. 5:1, 2). This brings before us still another aspect of our subject: the necessity for the exercise of faith in order to approach God. The same truth is presented again in, “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him” (Eph. 3:12). Faith is the appointed means of access, for it is the hand which receives every blessing from God. Faith in God’s willingness to grant us an audience, faith in the sufficiency of Christ’s atoning sacrifice to provide us with the title of approach: faith in the Divine promises that if we contritely confess our sins He will cleanse us therefrom. At first a small degree of faith enables the Christian to approach unto God, but as he advances in the knowledge of his own heart and of God’s hatred of sin, stronger faith needs to be exercised if we are to draw near the heavenly Throne with confidence. Yet we must be very careful not to mistake blatant presumption for holy assurance.
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us through the veil (that is to say, His flesh); and having a High Priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water” (Heb. 10:19-22). This is what may be termed the classic passage on our present theme, gathering up as it does into one comprehensive statement the essential features thereof. But what a solemn example it affords of the lack of proportion which now so generally prevails: we are probably safe in saying that for every once verse 22 is quoted, verse 19 is cited 20 times. It is this disproportion which has distorted the Truth and led to the error mentioned by us in the earlier paragraphs. Let us now carefully examine these verses.
The passage opens by announcing that Christians have “liberty” (margin) or a “freedom with confidence” to approach unto God, this language presenting a designed contrast from the case of national Israel under the old economy. This liberty to draw near unto the heavenly Mercy-seat is “by the blood of Jesus.” The foundation of all confidence in our access to God and the title to approach unto Him lies in the infinitely meritorious sacrifice which Christ offered unto God on our behalf, and this we must ever plead before Him. Our encouragement so to do lies in the office which our Saviour now exercises on behalf of His people, namely, “High Priest over the house of God.” This is most blessedly brought before us in, “for we have not a High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin: let us therefore come boldly (freely) unto the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:15, 16).
In what next follows in our passage we are shown the way or manner in which we are to make use of the unspeakable privilege described in verses 19-21. In other words, we are required to meet the terms of verse 22 if we are to enjoy conscious access unto the thrice holy God. First, let us draw near with “a true heart.” This is the principal qualification. A “true heart” is one that beats true unto God. It denotes sincerity in contrast from hypocrisy. It is not the reverent posture of the body or the language of the lips with which God is chiefly concerned, but rather with the heart—the seat of our affections. They who worship Him, “must worship Him in spirit and in truth,” or their performance is utterly futile. The mere outward performance of religious duties, no matter how scrupulously undertaken, is not sufficient—it is with the sincerity of our hearts God has chief regard to in all our approaches unto Him. God will bear with infirmities, but not with hypocrisy.
You may think it is an honor to be called ‘people of the book’. This is the islamic term referring to Christians and Jews in the Islamic scriptures, but what you are not told is that it is of the lowest infidel ranks worthy of death. These words are written and confirmed in the quran and haddith. They do not want you do know the truth. It’s the perfect term so we don’t start ripping our ‘coexist’ bumper stickers off. It’s a term that pretty much shuts us all up. It’s clear that Islam has taken over many countries and they do so because of the ignorance of the people. You may have heard the term taqiyya or kitman, these are ways of deceiving people for allah, which is allowed as long as it spreads their cause.
It is written very clearly throughout the quran that muslims are each called to fight. In fact, fighting is mandatory. You need to know this and the children in public schools need to be taught the truth. Students are taught that Jews and Christians are honored as people of the book, they share the same god, allah, they are similar to Muslims, but they have different rights but still enjoy religious freedom in many Muslim countries. This couldn’t be further from the truth, yet our schools continue to teach the lies in ignorance of the truth and people continue to believe every word they hear without searching for the truth.
TRUE DEFINITION of ‘PEOPLE OF THE BOOK’ aka ‘JEWS AND CHRISTIANS’ FROM THE WORDS OF THE QURAN:
- ignorant pagans cursed by allah
- perverted transgressors with no faith
- rebellious deceivers with falsehood that try to cover the truth of allah
- try to trick muslims to believing them
- allah sends terror in their hearts because they have no understanding
- they are the worst of creatures
- they are the worst of beasts
- have been deceived intentionally by allah
- have a disease in their heart that allah increases
- disobedient of no understanding
- will be transformed to swine and apes
- will be burned over and over again in the fires of hell
- blasphemy by saying God has a Son
- full of selfish envy
- they think they are going to heaven but those are vain desires
- shame pitched over their faces
- will be mutilated to the point of unrecognition if they don’t turn to allah
- they believe any lie
- are to be treated with enmity and hatred
- cursed by allah
- are always plotting schemes
- they are hypocrites steeped in self glory (verses listed below, please see)
You see, it’s not politically correct to say such things, that might offend the muslim. Do you see how twisted the play on words gets? It actually should offend the Christians, but to manipulate and downplay the words of the Quran they stand up and fight back when we quote the true words of Mohammed. This silences the people and opens a door for sharia to come in.
I have met many muslims people and they have been very kind people, but their teachings say another thing. Allah tells them they must fight all unbelievers even if they don’t want to( Surah2:216). I’m not here to argue, but to inform Christians and Jews of the real definition they have of you, that you know they are not to be friends with any unbeliever and each one is called out to fight for allah and his cause. Some will counter the scripture with another and others will say it cannot be translated from Arabic, but if it cannot be translated it cannot be and therefore is not- which it is, so that’s not an excuse either.
If you are a Muslim reading this, this message for you:
For God so loved you, that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned,
but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. John 3:16-18
Isaiah foretold of this: A child will be given unto us He will be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign forever Isaiah 9:6-7 Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel which means God with us Isaiah 7:14 “I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8 Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. 9 You shall break[a] them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’”Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you perish Psalm 2:4-12 God has a Son Proverbs 30:4 Matthew 27:54, These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life,[a] and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God 1 JOhn 5:13, Revelation 2:8, John 3:19,
Jesus is the Son of God: Then when daylight came, the assembly of the elders of the people, which included both chief priests and scribes, met and marched him off to their own council. There they asked him, “If you really are Christ, tell us!” “If I tell you, you will never believe me, and if I ask you a question, you will not answer me. But from now on the Son of Man will take his seat at the right hand of almighty God.” Then they all said, “So you are the Son of God then?””You are right; I am,” Jesus told them luke 22:66-70 Isaiah 53 1 Corinthians 1:18, 1 peter 2:24, mark 15:24, Hebrews 6:6, Eph 2:16, Gal 3:13, Rev 1:7, John 19:33-37
ARE MUSLIMS PEACE LOVING? Verses from the Quran: “Unbelievers are your enemies” Surah 4:101 “Rouse them to fight for they are without understanding. 8:65 You cannot have a prisoner of war until you have subdued the land 8:67. You must fight all who fight allah 2S196And slay them wherever ye catch 2S191 Fight them and allah will punish them by your hands 9:14 Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing that is good for you, and that you love a think that is bad for you. 2S216 Fight the cause of Allah to him who fighteth in the cause of allah soon shall we give him a reward of great value 474Fight allahs cause 484Seize them and slay them wherever you get them, we have provided you with a clear argument against them. 491fight those who believe not in allah nor the law even if they are people of the book, until they pay the jizyah with willing submission and feel subdued 929 when you meet unbelievers in fight, smite at their necks, at length when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly on them. Those who are slain in the way of a. he will never let their deeds be lost Surah 473-4. allah loves those who fight his cause Surah 61:4 and the people of the book , (allah) did a cast terror in their hearts, so some you slew, and some you made prisoners. Suah 31
DOES THIS LINE UP WITH THE WORDS OF JESUS? ” I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
According to the Quran, the muslims believe the following about the PEOPLE OF THE BOOK:
- Jews and Christians are people of the book
- The people of the book reject the truth and will not depart until they see clear evidence. Those who reject the truth ( the people of the book) will be in hell fire to dwell in , for they are the worst of creatures. But those who have faith and do good deeds are the best of creatures, and their reward is gardens of eternity. 98:1
- say people of the book, do you disapprove of us, for no other reason than that we believe in allah, and the revelation , and perhaps that most of you are rebellious and disobedient 5.59
- but you are stronger than they are because of the terror in their hearts sent from allah they are men of no understanding. 59:13
- say, To them, he transformed them into apes and swine, those who worshipped evil, these are many worse in rank 5.60
- It is the wish of the people of the book to lead you astray. But they lead themselves astray and do not perceive! 3.69
- Ye people of the book! Why do you reject allah? 3.70
- Ye people of the book! Why do you cover truth with falsehood? 3.71
- People of the book- there is no call on us to keep faith with these ignorant pagans, they lie against allah and they know it. 3.75
- The jews say, a hand is tied up, be their hands tied up and be they accursed for the blasphemy the utter, nay, they are obstinate rebellious 5.64
- say, o people of the book, you have no ground to stand on unless you stand fast by the law, they are obstinate and rebellious but don’t fret over these people without faith. 5.68
- they do blasphemy who say allah is one of three in a trinity, for a grievous penalty will befall them 5.73
- if any believe not in allah and his messenger, we have prepared for those who reject allah a blazing fire. 48.13
- They have a disease in their heart and allah increases it 2:10
- People of the book wish they could turn muslims back to infidelity only because o of their selfish envy 13:109
- People of the book say only they enter paradise, but they say it with vain desires, say ‘prove it’ 13:111
- Even if you were to bring to the people of the book all the signs, they would not follow. They follow their own desires and are indeed clearly wrong S 2:5 .
- Say, O people of the book, come to common terms as between us and you, that we worship non but allah that we associate no partners with him. 3:64
- Abraham was not a Jew nor a Christian, but he was true in faith and bowed to a. .3.67
- People of the book obstruct those who believe in allah and make it crooked 3.99
- People of the book have no faith, they are perverted transgressors 3.110.
- Shame is pitched over the people of the book like a tent. 3.112
- Soon we will cast terror into the hearts of unbelievers 3.151
- Allah has cursed the Jews for their unbelief 4.46
- O ye people of the book, believe us before we change your face of fame to beyond recognition or curse them 4.47
- Unbelievers believe in sorcery and evil 4.51
- Those who reject us will be cast into the fire as often as their skins are roasted through, we shall change them for fresh skins, they may taste the penalty People of the book broke their covenant 4.155
- They said (People of the book) , in boast , We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, – but they killed him not, nor crucified him, it was only made to appear to them and those who differ therin are full of doubts, with no knowledge, for they killed him not 4.157
- O People of the book! Commit no excesses in your religion, Christ Jesus the son of mary, was no more than a Messenger of Allah Do not say trinity, for it will not be good for you. Allah is above having a son 4.171
- we had a covenant with the Christians, but they forgot a good part of the message so we estranged them(Christians) with enmity and hatred 5.14
- O people of the book! There is a new light and a new book 5.15
- It is blasphemy to say that allah is Christ 5.17
- The Jews and Christians say: We are sons of Allah and his beloved, but say to them, Why does then he punish you for your sins? 5.18
- Jews will listen to any lie, they are fond of listening to falsehood 5.41
- we sent Jesus to confirm the law and we sent him the gospel 5.46
- If people of the book fail to judge by the light of allah, they are as those who rebel 5.47 5.52
- These people have a heart of disease 5.72
- They do blasphemy those who say God is Christ , son of mary, but said Christ O children of Israel, worship alllah Curses were put on the children of Israel, by the tongue of David and Jesus 5.77
- strongest among men in enmity to the believers with thou find in Jews and pagans and who say we are Christians, but they are arrogant 8.82
- Oh you who believe, Do not question what has been made known to you. 5.101
- I inspired the disciples 5.111
- The deaf and dumb (unbelievers- people of the book) are the worst of beasts, if allah had found in them any good, the would have made them listen 8.22-23 9.30
- the Jews call uzayr a son of god, and the Christians call Christ the son of God, but is only a saying from their mouth and allah curse is upon them because they hide the truth. Those who oppose allah will go to hell 9.61
- The hypocrites join in evil and forbid what is just. They are perverse and rebellious. 9.64
- you cannot guide the blind unbelievers or prevent them from straying, only those who listen will bow down to islam 27.81
- and when the word was fulfilled against the unbelievers, we will produce from the earth a beast to face them, he will speak to them because mankind did not believe surah 27
- and the unbelievers say to those who believe follow our path and we will bear the consequence of your faults. Never in the least will they bear their faults, in fact they are liars. 29:12
- unbelievers are steeped in self glory and separatism 38:2
- say, is it ye that deny him, who created the earth in 2 days? And do ye join equals with him? 41.9
- The unbelievers say, listen not to this quran, but talk at random in the midst of its reading. That ye may gain the upper hand, but we will certainly give the unbelievers a taste of sever penalty and we ill require them for the worst of their deeds- fire will be their eternal home, a fit requital. 41.26
- we gave Moses the book 41.45
- When the son of mary is held up as an example, behold, they people raise a clamor thereat in ridicule and the say, what god is best? 43. 57
- Muhammad is the messenger of allah and those who are with him are strong against unbelievers, but compassionate to each other. 48.29
- have you seen the hypocrites say to their misbelieving brethren among the people of the book? If you are expelled, we will go with you, but a. is witness that they are liars 59:11: unbelievers are plotting a scheme, but allah is plotting a scheme also. 86:15-17 87:8
- and we will make it easy for thee to follow the simple path (Jesus said the way is narrow and difficult and few men enter)
- Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment. Surah 5:33 (Surah means chapter- all verses above are from quran, their haddith has more)
pc from huffingtonpost
Wake up! Read the Word of God and pray for discernment. The Lord has said to Israel – and His word stands forever- He has loved them with an everlasting love. Jesus said “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled”
At the same time,” says the Lord,
“I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.”
2 Thus says the Lord:
“The people who survived the sword Found grace in the wilderness— Israel, when I went to give him rest.”
3 The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.
4 Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel!
For God so loved you, that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned,
but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. John 3:16-18
I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. Galations 1:8
But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it! 1 Cor 11:3-5
- Allah has the Same Behavior as Satan (justiceshallovercome.wordpress.com)
This is the very last chapter of the quran, it is surah 114- I thought it was interesting. Muslims believe it says to protect them from evil, but the words are tricky. It’s as if the true author of the book is revealing himself:
Say, “I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind,
The Sovereign of mankind.The God of mankind,From the evil of the retreating whisperer -Who whispers [evil] into the breasts of mankind -From among the jinn and mankind.” (jinns are spirits)
Always the decisive conflict in religion will be where important concepts are joined in opposition, concepts so vital that they are capable of saving or wrecking the Christian faith in any given generation. At this critical juncture in church history, the real conflict is between those who hold to an objective Christianity capable of being grasped in its entirety by the human intellect and those who believe that there are far-in areas of religious experience so highly spiritual, so removed from and exalted above mere reason, that it takes a special anointing of the Holy Spirit to make them understood by the human heart. The difference is not academic merely. Should the advocates of religious intellectualism succeed in setting the direction for the church in this generation, the next generation of Christians will become helpless victims of dead orthodoxy.
In conversation with one of the better-known devotees of neo-intellectualism in evangelical circles, I asked the question bluntly, “Do you actually believe that everything essential in the Christian faith may be grasped by the human intellect?” The answer was immediate–”If I did not, I would be on my way toward agnosticism.” I did not say, but might properly have said, “And if you do, you are on your way toward rationalism.” For such indeed is the truth.
Having as the High Priest of our profession the incarnation of all divine wisdom and having as our source book of religious knowledge the holy Scriptures, the soundest and saltiest work ever written, why do we tend so easily to become confused about things spiritual? I believe the causes are four, and I propose to state them in this and the next chapters.
The first cause of religious confusion is our failure to understand that the truth as it is in Christ Jesus is a moral and spiritual thing and not something intellectual merely. Let a man approach the burning bush of divine truth with the desire to grasp it in his hand and the intensity of the fire will blind his eyes and cauterize his hands and face to the point of insensibility. Before the awesome vision of revealed truth, the human intellect should kneel and hide its face in trembling adoration. Because Moses was afraid to look upon God, the Lord could speak to him face to face as a man speaks to his friend; but God hides His face from the man who does not instinctively hide his own.
Intellectual pride, then, with its corollary, irreverence, is one cause of religious confusion. Satan’s original doctrine, “You will be like God, knowing . . .” (Genesis 3:5) has been accepted by millions of religious persons through the centuries and commands a big following today even among professedly orthodox Christians. In spite of all Christ said while among men and all His inspired apostles wrote after His ascension, we seem never to learn that the inner essence of truth cannot be apprehended by the mental faculties. We still come at the awesome supernatural reality headfirst.
I wish it were possible to anoint the head of every Christian preacher so that he would never sin again while the world stands. Perhaps some would consider that a happy way to deal with the subject. But, in fact, if any person can be removed from the possibility of sin, he or she can only be some kind of a robot run by pulleys, wheels and push-buttons. A person morally incapable of doing evil would be, by the same token, morally incapable of doing good. A free human will is necessary to the concept of morality. I repeat: If our wills are not free to do evil, neither are they free to do good….A.W. Tozer
From the villain in the C.S. Lewis story “That Hideous Strength”, ”The world I look forward to is the world of perfect purity… What are the things that most offend the dignity of man? Birth and breeding and death..” I would add God into that mix for many. It is as if they are not willing to credit anything for change, those who call themselves “progressive”, are so often the very ones who do all that they can to prevent any real progress for humanity. So often their policies are policies that lead to the death of humanity and a loss of morality to all men.
They treat the environment as if it were sacred and do their best to forbid the ability of any to practice their faith. Especially if it is a faith that say’s that God gave control of the world’s resources to man to oversee and benefit from. These are the same people who promote promiscuity and perversion, and yet condemn those who commit such to the final death. No promise of eternal salvation in their eyes.
One of my favorite authors when I was growing up was H.G. Wells, especially the “Time Machine.” It was fascinating to see different levels of society and when the time machine reached the very end of civilization, there were two classes. One a class of people who could be considered perfect by the standards of the day. Beautiful people who cared for nothing, did whatever they wished, had no responsibility nor any wants. Everything was taken care of for them, but at the same time, they had no curiosity, no desire except to fulfill their physical desires. The catch was that they had a master that they didn’t even realize that they had. This was who provided for all their needs. Unfortunately for them, they were the sacrifice that fed the master.
The gods of today always require a sacrifice but so often many people don’t even realize that they are being asked for one. Promiscuity leads to many things, including disease and pregnancy. Disease leads to death, and pregnancy to them leads to abortion and death for the child created by the promiscuity. The constant pressure to improve your situation in life by buying more stuff, leads to debt that is often inescapable and people wind up with nothing. The search for beauty is a black hole that leads to indebtedness for some, and death for others who are so obsessed with perfection that they are willing and need to go under the knife in order to reach that perfection. We are bombarded with things that we are told we need, when in truth, if we have faith in God, we are promised that He will provide our needs.
The good news is that our God gave a sacrifice for us and that we don’t have to give one on this earth in order to have the opportunity for eternal life with Him. He sent His son to earth to be that Sacrifice and Jesus made it willingly. He gave Himself in order that we could be saved. Unlike the gods of today who insist that we must do things their way, He has given us the opportunity to ask for Him to help us. Nothing is forced upon us and it is offered freely.
While C.S. Lewis’ villain looked forward to a world of perfect purity, and says that “birth, breeding and death” offend the dignity of man, these are the very vechicles of creation. Birth and the bringing of new life into a family or the world is one of God’s miracles and to witness it is to know that it is something special. Breeding, two becoming one and the product of that is also one of the miracles of God’s creation. Death, while something that many fear, is a step to a new life for a believer of God and to one who has accepted Jesus as their Savior.
How sad it must be to think that all that you can expect is here on earth alone and that there is nothing else. It is to say that nothing is important but what you can get for yourself. To not be able to envision the wonder of what God has created.
How sad to think that it is progress to have and use the ability to kill those you think are not worthy to survive. The morality of me leaves little for those in need. And so often while those who claim the mantle of progressiveism, what they really practice is regressiveism. They want man to kill those that they consider weak, ugly, non-intelligent or non-productive. They want the environment protected to the point that man does not interact with it. They want what they want and yet never see the consequences of their wants. They seem to forget that many of the great works of man were created by imperfect people and that an environment that is not inhabited by man is still inhabited and whatever their idea of perfection is, they cannot control God! Man does not control tornado’s, earthquakes, volcano’s, floods or any other aspect of nature. These things will still happen and the environment will not be static and remain in whatever idea of perfection that they have. They may think that by encouraging the abortion of the weak, ill and disabled, or even the euthanizing of them later, that perfection will enter in. They fail to recognize that what they consider perfection is just a reproduction of sameness. They champion diversity and yet do everything that they can to stamp out diversity of everything, whether it is physical or diversity of thinking.
Growing up in the country you learn a few things that perhaps those who never have that experience don’t seem to realize. A tree that is challenged by whatever weather and circumstance that affects it in the wild is much stronger that a tree that is planted in a nursery and nurtured until it is ready to set out in someone’s yard. Drought makes it’s roots grow deeper in order to reach water, wind shakes it and make the roots reach for a better hold. All these things make it able to endure. People are the same way, and no matter how much progressives want to provide their version of equality to mankind, by doing so they take away that very ability to grow stronger and endure the difficulties that will appear in the future. And they will appear, since man is not and never will be God, there will always be something unexpected to come along and if we take away people’s ability to survive, we leave them vulnerable.
Personally, I will put my strength in the Lord and accept His promise that He will provide what I need. I look forward to sharing the future with Him and death is just the doorway that I hope to walk through and meet Him on the other side.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. Psalm 100:4-5KJV
At the heart of salvation is the notion of loving God with all our heart, mind and soul, and as Jesus said, to love our neighbor as ourselves. It is impossible to pass this test and break any of the commandments. We can visualize the latter concept as a package of virtue, consisting mostly of love, acceptance & forgiveness. I cannot imagine being like Christ, while lacking one of these traits.
I would like to introduce you to my grandson, Dylan. He is also one of my best friends. He calls me Papa. He is a model of acceptance for me, because he never rejects me, is always happy to see me, and lets me know this with a greeting and a big hug. He is impressive. He embodies the meaning of the Apostle Peter, where he says,
“Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything.” 1 Peter 4:11 [MSG].
[Picture above: Love doesn’t begrudge one an extra glass of milk at Denny’s!]
Love is essential to relationships, in order for them to endure. People tend to shun relationships that have no payback. Acceptance is also important to all of us. We fold to peer pressure because we are looking for acceptance, but Dylan is pure in his love and acceptance. He doesn’t put any conditions on it; like the love and acceptance we get from Jesus – unconditional! It’s too bad that some others are not as loving and accepting of Dylan. They are missing out on a terrific relationship.
As you can tell from his picture, Dylan has Down ’s syndrome; thus he has not been blessed with a totally ideal life. He has faced challenges from birth. Despite this, he has great compassion for others.
Some time ago, I had some minor surgery on my leg. Dylan saw the bandage near my knee and demanded to see beneath it. ”Poor Papa,” he exclaimed, asking if it hurt. He insisted on monitoring the progress of the “scar” every time we were together, until you could hardly notice it any more. This is a level of caring that you do not see in others that often.
I Corinthians, chapter 13 describes love in certain ways, some of which are particularly characteristic of Dylan.
- Cares more for others than for self.
- Trusts God always,
- Never looks back, but keeps going to the end.
Dylan has learned to operate in this world in a way that illustrates clearly to all who know him, that the nature of Christ is transcendent to all of us, if we dare to embrace it. Love and acceptance needs to be cherished and celebrated, because it is rather rare. I am very fortunate to receive these gifts from Dylan.
It costs nothing to experience the love and acceptance of Jesus. He did it all! But I would like to be a disciple of Jesus. Stopping at (free) salvation and an eternity in Heaven is OK for some, but I want to be like Jesus. Part of the cost of discipleship is to give the gift of love and acceptance to others, like Dylan, thus emulating Jesus, who gave so freely to us!
Pray for me, I have a long way to go. It’s hard to love and accept some people, but I am trying to let The Holy Spirit work through me to accomplish things in my heart that I could never do!
Forgiveness also seems inherent to some of us.
It has been several weeks since I wrote about the remarkable capacity for love and acceptance demonstrated by my grandson (and best friend) Dylan. A lot has happened since. Unbeknownst to me at the time I first wrote the article, there was a controversy at Dylan’s school concerning a teacher that he used to have. He had been in her class about 2 1/2 years, but not currently. [Dylan attends a public school and takes special needs classes.]
This teacher and Dylan were in the same school district for over ten years, as Dylan took pre-K classes there. That is where Dylan met her. It came to the parents’ attention that all was not right in her current classroom. Reportedly, loud voices could be heard whenever approaching the classroom. A student with Down’s syndrome was found wandering alone out in the school parking lot. Someone inside the classroom stated that the teacher was upset with an autism student, because he would not join the group at a table; She reportedly went to him and yanked him out of the chair, where he fell to the floor. Accordingly, she kicked him several times.
Even more was to come to light, as it turns out that there was a poorly documented history of incidents with this teacher. It is suspected that the pattern went back to the time Dylan attended her class. Dylan has not said anything about any incident. One wonders what he possibly went through. This is a hard thing for parents/grandparents to forgive. I believe it is a test for us to see if we can walk the walk we have been talking! Can we separate the “sin” from the “sinner?” I am proud of my daughter-in-law, who went to the public meetings, concentrated on change, not punitive measures and helped point others that way also. This was hard for her, because the authorities moved this teacher around and did not fix the problem while it recurred, over and over.
At one of several meetings held to remedy the matter, when it was time for Dylan’s mother to speak, focusing on the heart of the issue, she took 1 1/2 of her three minutes at the podium in total silence. She explained, “That is all my child could do while witnessing events such as this.”
It is part of the prophet Isaiah’s message to help the helpless (loose translation). What should the role of the Parent/Grandparent/Concerned Citizen be in a situation such as this? Good Question…it will not be totally answered on this blog. But I would like to point out what I do know, so that we can at least head in the same general direction in unity. The Lord’s Prayer has us ask God to forgive us, “as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Ouch! I want to be forgiven, because I am certainly in need of that, but when someone else (deliberately?) wrongs me, I want justice. No world can be equitable, where certain people are always judged with mercy, and others always face the sword of justice. I’ve chosen to err on the side of mercy and let God balance it out. I trust Him more than the courts, anyway.
Then there is the account of Christ on the cross as recorded in Luke 23:34 (NKJV) Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” I do not know the mind of Dylan’s teacher, but I suspect she did not know the impact of her continued disrespect for her students. And as much as it goes against the grain, I have to fall on the side of Jesus’ guideline; from the cross where he was dying He encourages us to forgive the offenders. How powerful is that?
While I do not have all the answers, I know that the path of forgiveness is the answer for me. I am earnestly following that path, because there are some obstacles in the path of true forgiveness. I will face them honestly and adjust my attitude to meet God’s expectations. As for Dylan, just like his love and acceptance, he is a whole-hearted forgiver. And although he has not mentioned anything about abuse, if it happened or even if he witnessed abuse of others, Dylan is passed it. He is much more advanced in the fine art of forgiveness than many of us.
Finally, I am not saying that all of this should go unpunished. But if God takes care of it, any judgment will be appropriate and those of us who refrain from judging will not be destroyed in the process.
My prayer for you today, is that those of you who are seeking forgiveness will find it and that every one of us will be as liberal with our forgiveness as Jesus is with us!
P.S. The Brentwood Unified School District subsequently announced that the teacher in question has had her credentials revoked. The superintendent was placed on administrative leave and three other employees were fired. I take no special joy in this except to note that the battle was The Lord’s all along. He took care of it, so I didn’t have to worry about it. And that, my friends, is known as grace! Amen!
THE TWELVE APOSTLES:
1. Andrew – crucified
2. Bartholomew – beaten then crucified
3. James, son of Alphaeus – stoned to death
4. James, son of Zebedee – beheaded
5. John – exiled for his faith; died of old age
6. Judas (not Iscariot) – stoned to death
7. Matthew – speared to death
8. Peter – crucifed upside down
9. Philip – crucified
10. Simon – crucified
11. Thomas – speared to death
12. Matthias – stoned to death
(source: Fox’s Book of Martyrs)
Chart courtesy of Every Student.com
Do you want to follow Jesus Christ? How much? What are you willing to give up? Your life? Will you stand in civil disobedience when you are told to obey the laws of whichever government in power over you?
We are quickly coming to a point where here in America, although we are supposed to have freedom to practice our faith, we are being restricted on how and where we can do so. The current administration argues that if you are a business, even though you have always used Christian principles for your business, that you should not be exempt from laws that violate your belief. This includes providing abortion services, along with honoring marriages between same sexes, to just name a few. Whether this will stand we don’t yet know. There are currently arguments before several judges with some of the cases either at the Supreme Court or on there way.
Then there is the school system. Our children are taught at church and at home that certain things are unacceptable in the eyes of God, yet when they are as school, these things are often promoted. Our children are taught that both their parents and their churches are wrong, bigoted, racist and evil. Schools are becoming less a place to teach our children what they need for the future and more a place for those who have differing values to indoctrinate our children. They are also being taught that the government comes before God.
Even as individuals we are not safe, we are being forced to pay for abortion in the insurance that we have, even though this practice is abhorrent to us. Recently Pastors that speak out in public or hand out tracts have been arrested. Even praying in public has been a cause for arrest and harassment.
Our men and women in the military have lost the ability to even talk about their faith to their fellow men and women. They are told to shut up and be quiet or they will face a court martial. We have in the last six years seen Veterans families told that they cannot say Jesus name in prayers at funerals, in hospitals, or anywhere on federal land.
We are told that instead of the Constitution saying we have freedom of religion, that instead it is a document that protects all others from having to either hear, or even know that we are a people of faith and follow Jesus. At the very same time we are told that Muslim’s should not be insulted, their prayers’s need to be respected and special places allowed within schools, and that laws that apply to everyone else, such as head covering when you are photographed at the DMV.
You read the history of the apostles and how they were treated, we know that they were tortured and killed because they followed Jesus, but how often do you consider what they were doing when this happened and who did it? It wasn’t always at the hands of the Jews. Often it was because they angered the government of the time. Consider the Apostle Andrew:
Concerning the cause and manner of his death, the following is contained in Apophthegm. Christian. Baudart., page 3: AtPatras, a city in Achaia, he converted besides many others, Maximillia, the wife of Aegaeas, the governor, to the Christian faith. This so enraged the governor against Andrew, that he threatened him with death of the cross. But the apostle said to the governor, “Had I feared the death of the cross, I should not have preached the majesty and gloriousness of the cross of Christ.”
The enemies of the truth having apprehended and sentenced to death the apostle Andrew, he went joyfully to the place where he was to be crucified, and, having come near the cross, he said,”O beloved cross! I have greatly longed for thee. I rejoice to see thee erected here. I come to thee with a peaceful conscience and with cheerfulness, desiring that I, who am a disciple of Him who hung on the cross, may also be crucified.” The apostle said further,”The nearer I come to the cross, the nearer I come to God; and the farther I am from the cross, the farther I remain from God.”
The holy apostle hung three days on the cross; he was riot silent, however; but as long as he could move his tongue, he instructed the people that stood by the cross, in the way of the truth, saying, among other things, “I thank my Lord Jesus Christ, that He, having used me for a time as an ambassador, now permits me to have this body, that I, through a good confession, may obtain everlasting grace and mercy. Remain steadfast in the word and doctrine which you have received, instructing one another, that you may dwell with God in eternity, and receive the fruit of His promises.”
The Christians and other pious people besought the governor to give Andrew unto them, and take him down from the cross., (For it appears that he was not nailed to the cross, like Christ, but tied to it). When the apostle learned of this, he cried to God, Saying,”O Lord Jesus Christ! suffer not that Thy servant, who hangs here on the tree for Thy name’s sake, be released, to dwell again among men; but receive me. O my Lord, my God! whom I have known, whom I have loved, to whom I cling, whom I desire to see, and in whom I am what I am.” Having spoken these words, the holy apostle committed his spirit into the hands of his heavenly Father. M. W. Baudart. in Apophthegm Christian. lib. 1, super Andream, ex August. de Vera et Falsa Poenitentia., cap 8, Bernhard. in Sermon. de Andrea. Lanfrancus contra Berengar. Niceph., lib. 2, cap. 39, and lib. 15, cap. 39. Remigius in Psal. 21 and 40. Johan. Strac. in Festo Andreae, p. 23, haec et alia. Also, Konst-tooneel van veertig, by N. D. C., Concerning the Life of Andrew. MARTYRS MIRROR
But it wasn’t just the Apostle’s who faced the wrath of the rulers or Synagogues. It was almost any Christian that came to the attention of the leaders of that time. Paul himself was one of those who participated in imprisoning and killing followers of Christ. Consider the case of
FELICITAS WITH HER SEVEN SONS, JANUARIUS, FELIX, PHILIPPUS, SYLVANUS, ALEXANDER, VITALIS, AND MARTIALIS, PUT TO DEATH FOR THE FAITH, AT ROME, A. D. 164
Felicitas was a Christian widow at Rome, and had seven sons, whose names were Januarius, Fe-
lix, Philippus, Sylvanus, Alexander, Vitalis, and Martialis. These lived together with their mother in one house, as an entire Christian church. Of the mother it is stated, that by her Christian communion, (conversation) which she had with the Roman women, she converted many to Christ. The sons, on their part, also acquitted themselves well by winning many men to Christ.
Now, when the heathen priests complained of this to Antonius, the Emperor-who had resumed the persecution which had begun with Trajan, but had subsided-saying, that there were not only men, but also women, who blasphemed the gods, despised their images, trampled under foot the Emperor’s worship of the gods, yea, turned away many from the old religion of the Romans; that this was principally done by a certain widow, named Felicitas, and her seven sons, and that, therefore, in order to prevent this, they must be compelled to give up Christ, and sacrifice to the gods, or, in case they should refuse to do so, be put to death, the Emperor, prompted or instigated hereby, gave . to Publius, the provost, or chief magistrate of Rome, full authority over them.
Publius, willing to spare Felicitas, as being a highly respectable woman, first secretly summoned her and her sons into his own house, where he entreated them with fair words and promises, but afterwards threatened to punish them with severe tortures, unless they would forsake the Christian religion, and readopt the old Roman worship of the gods. Felicitas, remembering the words of Christ,”Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven,” did not seek to evade the issue by using dissimulating or indirect words, but answered briefly thus, “I am neither moved by thy flatteries and entreaties, nor am I intimidated by thy threats; for I experience in my heart the working of the Holy Ghost, which gives me a living power, and prepares me for the conflict of suffering, to endure all that thou mayest lay upon me, for the confession of my faith.”
When Publius could not move the mother from her steadfast purpose, he said to her, “Very well; if it seems pleasant to thee , to die, die alone, but have pity and a mother’s compassion for thy sons, and command them, to ransom their own lives at least, by sacrificing to the gods.”
Thereupon Felicitas said to the judge, “Thy compassion is pure wickedness, and thy admonition is nothing but cruelty, for, if my sons should sacrifice to the gods, they would not ransom ‘their lives, but sell them to the hellish fiend, whose slaves, yea, whose serfs in soul and body, they would become, and be reserved by him, in chains of darkness, for everlasting fire.”
Then, turning away from the judge, to her sons, she said, “Remain steadfast in the faith, and in the confession of Christ; for Christ and His saints are waiting for you. Behold, heaven is open before you; therefore fight valiantly for your souls, and show, that you are faithful in the love of Christ, wherewith He loves you, and you Him.”
This filled the judge with rage against her, and he commanded them to smite her on the cheek, while he at the same time upbraided her vehemently, saying, “How darest thou thus impudently exhort thy sons in my presence, and make them obstinate to disobey the commands of the Emperor; whereas it would be far more proper for thee to incite them to obedience toward him?”
Felicitas, notwithstanding that death had been threatened her, answered with more than manly courage, saying, “If thou, O judge, didst know our Saviour Jesus Christ, and the power of His Godhead and majesty, thou wouldst undoubtedly desist from persecuting the Christians, and wouldst not seek to draw us away from the Christian religion by blaspheming His holy name; for whoever curses (or blasphemes) Christ and His faithful ones, curses (or blasphemes) God Himself, who, by faith, dwells in their hearts.”
Thereupon, though they struck her in the face with their fists, in order to silence her, she did not cease to admonish her sons to remain steadfast, and to fear neither tortures nor rack, nor even death itself, but to die willingly for the name of Christ.
Therefore, Publius the judge took each of her sons separately, and talked first to one and then to the other, hoping by this last resort to draw away from the faith, by promises as well as by threats, some of them at least, if not all. But as he could not prevail upon them, he sent a message to the Emperor, stating that they all remained obstinate, and that he could in no wise induce them to sacrifice to the gods. Thereupon the Emperor sentenced the mother together with her seven sons, that they should be delivered into the hands of different executioners, and be tortured and put to death in various ways; yet, that the mother was first to see all her sons die, before she herself should be put to death.
In accordance with this sentence, they first scourged Januarius, the first-born, to death, in the presence of his mother. The scourges were made of cords or ropes, to the ends of which balls of lead were attached. Those who had to undergo this mode of torture were scourged with them on their necks, backs, sides, and other tender parts of their bodies, either to torture them, or in order to martyr them to death as was the case in this instance. Felix and Philippus, the two brothers next (in age), were beaten to death with rods. Sylvanus, also called Syllanus, was cast down from a height. Alexander, Vitalis, and Martialis were beheaded. Last of all, the mother was beheaded or put to death with the sword. This took place under Emperor Antonius Pius. A. Mell. 1st book of the Hist., fol. 33, col. 4 and fol. 34, col. 1-3, ex Prudent. in hincentio. Also, Acto. Adon. Mart., 23 Novemb. Greg. P. in Natali. S. Felic. Homil. 3, in Eu. Bet. Chrysol. Serm. 134. Arta apud Mombrit. MARTYRS MIRROR
Could we stand the same type of persecution? Many in the Middle East are doing so now. We have heard and read of people even in the last few weeks being crucified or dismembered. And yet there are those in this country who think that we should just go along with the government because the Bible tells us to obey them. They ignore the part of the Bible that tells us in all things God comes first.
Many of the ways in which we have to make decisions everyday are not even known by many people. Take a recent case where nurses were required to take part in abortions even though it is against their faith to murder. Or Pharmacists who are forced to give drugs that cause abortions. Or Doctors who are forced to provide abortions. The same with hospitals, especially under the new laws, if they don’t they are forced to close their doors in many instances because the government will not pay for patient care at them and they cannot get by without it.
Or consider teachers who are not allowed to wear a cross and are made to participate in practices at school that promote homosexuality. They are often fired if they pray with their students. Instead of protecting our ability to practice our faith. We are being pushed further and further into secrecy.
And yet if those early Christians had listened to the rulers of the day, they would not have lost their lives. For those who say that we should not practice “civil disobedience”, I must ask, what was the beginning of Christianity if it was not “civil disobedience?” The definition of civil disobedience is “the refusal to comply with certain laws or to pay taxes and fines, as a peaceful form of political protest.”
While these early Christians did not go to battle to change peoples and we should never do that, they did stand when those in power tried to force them to kneel to whomever was in control. They didn’t cease converting people to Christianity. They didn’t sacrifice to the false gods of the time.
Even before Jesus we have examples throughout the Bible of men and women of faith who disobeyed the rulers of their times. Daniel didn’t bow down. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, did not either. We have only to look to these to see examples of civil disobedience.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about
with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us,
and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God….
For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched,
and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words;
which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God,the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel… Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
Thou art my God, and I will praise thee:
thou art my God, I will exalt thee.
O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
”Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” Check your heart and your life for anything that may be slowing down your walk with the Lord. Has anything crept in that has taken the place of the Almighty in your life? Ask the Lord to show you anything that needs to be changed. Have I become lukewarm? Do I put Christ first or the things of this World? Check your heart today. Everything you do and say and all your motives are being recorded. Let your words be pleasing unto the Lord this Thanksgiving weekend. Pray for Israel and all God’s people around the world.
(A Thanksgiving Psalm)
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
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.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
(A psalm of thanksgiving)
O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.
Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
Let them now that fear the Lord say,
that his mercy endureth for ever.
I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place.
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?
The Lord taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me.
It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.
All nations compassed me about: but in the name of the Lord will I destroy them.
They compassed me about; yea, they compassed me about: but in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.
They compassed me about like bees: they are quenched as the fire of thorns: for in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.
Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall: but the Lord helped me.
The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.
The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly.
The right hand of the Lord is exalted: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly.
I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.
The Lord hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.
Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord:
This gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter.
I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.
The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord:
O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.
Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord: we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord.
God is the Lord, which hath shewed us light:
bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.
Thou art my God, and I will praise thee:
thou art my God, I will exalt thee.
O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Thou art my God, and I will praise thee:
thou art my God, I will exalt thee.
O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.
That is the name of the sermon that my Pastor gave this morning and it was a very needed word. All to often we worry about what Pastor say’s this and what movement teaches that. Instead of worrying about which one of them is following God and teaching what is the right way, it is important to make sure that it is not themselves that they are promoting. If they are giving the glory to God and what they teaches is not against what the Bible says, then does it make any real difference what they call themselves?
Pastor pointed out so many of the old jingles and commercials that get your attention and make you listen. You never see the name of the company or person who wrote it applied to the product, they are there to promote the product and not themselves. That is what we should be doing! Promoting God’s word and not haggling over who does the best job or who does it the correct way. After all it isn’t important who does what, it is important if people hear about the product and want to know more.
If we spend ourselves on God, He will get the glory and that is all that counts in the end. Everything else is just fluff that will get washed out in the rain of Jesus return. And if we spend too much time worrying about correctness, like the Pharisees, we will be trying to make things fit how we want instead of how He wants.
1 Corinthians 2
New International Version (NIV)
2 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.[a] 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
God’s Wisdom Revealed by the Spirit
6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this ageor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mysterythat has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”[b]—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughtsexcept their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.[c] 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,
“Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”[d]
But we have the mind of Christ.
Luke 3:16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
Smith Wigglesworth said:
“The fire fell and burned in me till the Holy Spirit clearly revealed absolute purity before God. At this point she (the Sister who laid hands upon him) was called out of the room, and during her absence a marvellous revelation took place, my body became fill1 of light and Holy Presence, and in the revelation I saw an empty Cross and at the same time the Jesus I loved and adored crowned in the Glory in a Reigning Position. The glorious remembrance of these moments is beyond my expression to give-when I could not find words to express, then an irresistible Power filled me and moved my being till I found to my glorious astonishment I was speaking in other tongues clearly. After this a burning love for everybody filled my soul. I am overjoyed in giving my testimony, praying for those that fight this truth, but I am clearly given to understand that I must come out of every unbelieving element. I am already witness of signs following. Praise Him.” SMITH WIGGLESWORTH
“My heart was not in the work of begging,” he said. “I could not appeal. I was crying all the time that God would fill me with His Spirit. Well, one day, in the city of New York — oh, what a day! — I cannot describe it, I seldom refer to it; it is almost too sacred an experience to name. Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for fourteen years. I can only say that God revealed Himself to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask Him to stay His hand. I went to preaching again. The sermons were not different; I did not present any new truths, and yet hundreds were converted. I would not now be placed back where I was before that blessed experience if you should give me all the world — it would be as the small dust of the balance.”
Luke 4:1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
Luke 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
Jesus had the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and He said that if we ask it will be given: Luke 11:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Jesus said in Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
If this is not happening in our churches should we ask the relevant question? Are they really believers? Or are they teaching something that they don’t truly believe or have never experienced? Because if you are filled with the Holy Spirit, it is not something that you will doubt. The power of the Holy Spirit affects people in different ways, some just cry because they can do nothing else, it is simply overpowering. Others speak in tongues and while many don’t believe and even go so far as to say that it damages Christians position in the world. I really wonder what is so great to have a powerful face in the world. Are we not instructed to be humble? It seems that the more prosperous that a church or church leader becomes, they start worrying in how the world perceives them.
R.A. Torrey said “ It has brought a joy into my soul that I never dreamed of before; a liberty in preaching that makes preaching an unspeakable delight where before it was a matter of dread;”
C. H. Spurgeon said “Let the preacher always confess before he preaches that he relies upon the Holy Spirit. Let him burn his manuscript and depend upon the Holy Spirit. If the Spirit does not come to help him, let him be still and let the people go home and pray that the Spirit will help him next Sunday.”
Were all these men of old mistaken? Is it not necessary to be filled with the Holy Spirit? If the Holy Spirit fills you with the ability to speak in tongues, is this something that is unacceptable today? Who decides that it is unacceptable? The one who hasn’t been filled or the one who has?
Jesus said “John 14:17-19 King James Version (KJV)
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
There is only one caveat with this, it must be something that we ask for, something that we are willing to receive. How many who have not experienced it are not truly willing to receive it? How many are so afraid of losing control that they forget to truly know God, you have give yourself away. How can the Holy Spirit filled you with God’s grace if you are already full of yourself? That is not to say that those who don’t speak in tongues have not been baptized in the Holy Spirit, it is just that they haven’t quite reached the point where they have given in and given God the opportunity to fill that space with something besides their own knowledge and beliefs. Something that truly transcends what we normally feel.
Take any vessel that you can think of, if you mix water into what ever is already in the vessel, what you have is no longer water, instead it is a diluted version of what was already there. And yet if you totally empty the vessel and fill it with pure water, then that is what you will have. So many times we are not allowing ourselves to be emptied to the fullest, we hold a portion back, for what ever reason, and therefore, we are not filled with what God wants to give us, but instead a weaker portion of what we already are.
We are told that we must put off the old before we can become the new, and yet we have this tendency to hold on to parts of the old. Whether it is from fear or change, or just because we are not quite ready, it is different with different people. Another way that we are told the same thing is the parable of the wineskins:
“And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.”—Luke 5:36-39, KJV
A.W. Tozer said:
But how can a Christian know the fullness of the Spirit unless he has known the experience of being filled?
It would, however, be useless to tell anyone how to be filled with the Spirit unless he first believes that he can be. No one can hope for something he is not convinced is the will of God for him and within the bounds of scriptual provision.
Before the question ‘How can I be filled?’ has any validity the seeker after God [i]must be sure that the experience of being filled is actually possible[/i]. The man who is not sure can have no ground of expectation. Where there is no expectation there can be no faith, and where there is no faith the inquiry is meaningless.
The Doctrine of the Spirit as it relates to the believer has over the last half century [written in 1957] been shrouded in a mist such as lies upon a mountain in stormy weather. A world of confusion has surrounded this truth. The children of God have been taught contrary doctrines from the same texts, warned, threatened and intimidated until they instinctively recoil from every mention of the Bible teaching concerning the Holy Spirit.
This confusion has not come by accident. An enemy has done this. Satan knows that Spiritless evangelicalism is as deadly as Modernism or heresy, and he has done everything in his power to prevent us from enjoying our true Christian heritage.
A church without the Spirit is as helpless as Israel might have been in the wilderness if the fiery cloud had deserted them. The Holy Spirit is our cloud by day and our fire by night. Without him we only wander aimlessly about the desert.
That is what we today are surely doing. We have divided ourselves into little ragged groups, each one running after a will-o’-the-wisp or firefly in the mistaken notion that we are following the Shekinah. It is not only desirable thatr the cloudy pillar should begin to glow again. It is imperative.
The Church can have light only as it is full of the Spirit, and it can be full only as the members who compose it are filled individually. Furthermore, no one can be filled until he is convinced that being filled is a part of the total plan of God in redemption; that it is nothing added or extra, nothing strange or queer, but a proper and spiritual operation of God, based upon and growing out of the work of Christ in atonement.
The inquirer must be sure to the point of conviction. He must believe that the whole thing is normal and right. He must believe that it is God’s will that he be anointed with a horn of fresh oil beyond and in addition to all the ten thousand blessings he may already have received from the good hand of God.
Until he is so convinced I recommend that he take time out to fast and pray and meditate upon the Scriptures. Faith comes from the Word of God. Suggestion, exhortation or the psychological effect of the testimony of others who have been filled will not suffice.
Unles he is persuaded from the Scriptures he should not press the matter nor allow himself to fall victim to the emotional manipulators intent upon forcing the issue. God is wonderfully patient and understanding and will wait for the slow heart to catch up with the truth. In the meantime, the seeker should be calm and confident.”
There are those that claim that baptism in the Holy Spirit is an absolute essential to being a Christian, and others who say that it comes upon you when you accept Jesus as your Savior. Perhaps they are both right, perhaps, it is simply in varying degrees due to our own ability to accept it, and to what we can handle. I know that myself at times it is different in it’s appearance. Sometimes it is just an overwhelming sense of peace, a peace that I sometimes crave to experience everyday. Other times it is indescribable joy, and love that I long to have forever. I have witnessed the speaking of tongues, I have witnessed and been part of miracles.
The greatest experience that we can have on this earth is to be filled with the grace of God. That is something that I desire continually. I would never tell any person that being filled with the Holy Spirit is something that they have to experience but I would tell them that it is a wonderful experience. Neither would I tell them that being filled with the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues does not look well in the eyes of the world. It is not the world that I strive to please and if He desires that I speak in tongues or that others do, it is Him that I listen to.
It is by His grace that I live, and it is by His grace and the Holy Spirit that I will continue to spread the word of the Living God. Jesus is my Savior and I have given my life to serving Him. To Him is the glory and I give thanks every day that He gave His life for me. God bless!
I recently began home schooling one of my daughters. It was day three of High School and she was completely overwhelmed. She quit swim team because of the work load -3 math classes, plus a mandatory online class added to a full day of classes. I went to the school counselor many times, but the counselor wouldn’t budge on the work load they had given her. I knew this wasn’t right. Within 24 hours, I read up on the laws, found a local home school group, selected a curriculum, asked millions of questions and sent my letter of intent to our county school board the next day. I always thought about home schooling but I could never figure it out, it seemed difficult and impossible. I know without a doubt, the hand of the Lord was leading in all of this. It was truly amazing to see how everything worked out. Even in my chaotic world, everything worked out perfectly as if pieces of a puzzle were all being pieced together.
It was as if I had jumped off the security of trusting in the schools and all they had to offer- like the safety of a ship and do something impossible- walk on water.
For me, it was about trusting God. It is about faith.
Fix your thoughts if you want to walk on the water
As I begin this unfamiliar journey, I know there is a lot at stake. It’s a huge risk but the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. Will she make it? Will she succeed? Can I do this? Will she get into college? How can I prepare her for the SAT? How can I make up for all the lost years of knowledge she never received in the public schools? Is she learning enough? Do I remember World History? Can I teach? What if? What if? What if?
Those are thoughts I refuse to entertain. I know the Lord is with me. I started this race and I will run to win, and that’s it. There is no other thought than that for me to entertain. I have learned that our thoughts keep us grounded in our faith and trust in the Lord. I remember to Philippians 4:8 my thoughts at all times.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you”
Another version says “Fix your thoughts”. Notice how it ends with a promise of God’s peace. How do I keep my faith up so I don’t drown? I fix my thoughts. Maybe the last few (many) years have been my training ground to get to this point – where I have the strength and discipline to fix my thoughts.
You can’t walk on water if you are worrying and complaining – it’s weight that will sink you
The same rule of Philippians 4:8 can be applied for finances, sickness, family issues and other worries. Jesus said worrying won’t add one more day to our life. A few years ago I cried out to the Lord in my distress. It seemed like my entire world was about to fall apart. By the world’s standpoint, we couldn’t survive, it was impossible. I began to pray telling God about my situation and what was going to happen. As I was praying I saw a verse come out of the heavens towards me. I couldn’t read it at first because it was so far away, but as it got closer and closer to me I could see it. I saw “Isaiah 51:12” I got up from my prayer time to find the verse:
I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass;
Wow, what was that saying to me? Was I trusting in man’s words and doom around me or was I trusting in the supernatural powerful hand of the Lord Almighty? Why should I put my trust in the words people say? The news I read? Or the worries of this world? They will all disappear. The Lord comforts me and He tells us over and over again NOT TO WORRY but to be strong and courageous in all you do, doing all you do as if you are doing it for the Lord.
- Deuteronomy 31:6 So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you
- Joshua 1:9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go
- 1 Corinthians 16:13 Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong
- Don’t complain: Numbers 11:1 [ Fire From the Lord ] Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp and Numbers 14:27 “How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites
God will give you the strength you need
Feeling discouraged? Feeling down? The Lord is your strength. Ask Him for help. Consider Isaiah 41;30 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint
The Lord is always right beside you, but you need to reach out for His help. Call on Him and He will answer. Trust Him and He will carry you through. He can strengthen you when you feel week, He will lift you up when you fall and He is never too far way, but always beside us. Try and see, the Lord is good and His Promises never fail.
We walk by faith, and not by sight
Keep your heart protected so you don’t speak words of faithlessness
If I let my thoughts run away into negative and wrong things, soon they slip out of my mouth into the hearts of those around me. That’s no good! I said something this weekend to my youngest daughter I wish I wouldn’t have said. I had thought it for a while and oops! There it came out of my mouth into her ears and she heard it. Ugh! I need to shut out anything negative and keep my children protected also Prov 4:23
Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.
Avoid all perverse talk;
stay away from corrupt speech.
Look straight ahead,
and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
Mark out a straight path for your feet;
stay on the safe path.
Don’t get sidetracked;
keep your feet from following evil.
I know! I’m always quoting this verse – but it’s key and it’s connected like a puzzle to many things in the bible especially the teachings of Jesus. We need to make sure nothing sinks into the well of our heart unless it undergoes the Philippians 4;8 test.
Are our thoughts really important? Read the verses below. Consider the psalms of David. He would cry out in distress to the Lord and each time David would call on the promises of God in His prayer. He always spoke and prayed in faith even when he was in terrible trouble. Imagine what Abraham was thinking as he marched his son Isaac to the mountain. The only way Abraham got there was by faith and the only way he had faith was by looking straight ahead, not looking to the left or right. He put all his focus on the orders God gave Him and marched on without doubt. He fixed His thoughts. We see the same thing with Esther when she went before the King and many other people of the bible.
- Matthew 6:25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
- Matthew 6:27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
- Matthew 6:28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
- Matthew 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
- Matthew 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof
- Psalm 139:2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off
- Proverbs 12:5 The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit
- Proverbs 21:5 The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want
- 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you
Beware of the Devil’s lies that cause doubt and discouragment
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints Ephesians 6
You also need discernment as you step out in faith and walk on the water. The Lord explained discernment to me by allowing me to see the fiery darts that the devil sends. They are just like arrows and they are aimed straight for your head. The arrows are full of wrong thoughts, blasphemy, discouragement, doubt and everything against Jesus and the Lord. Discernment is knowing what to allow yourself to think and ponder and what to throw out and refuse to think about.
- 1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned
- Ecclesiastes 8:5 Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment.
- Ezekiel 44:23 And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean
What is of the Lord and what is not? You see, the devil tries to plant a poisonous lie into your thoughts so it sinks down into your heart and soon becomes a part of your every day life. That is just one of his tactics. You don’t have to think about everything that comes into your mind. Keep your eyes and your thoughts fixed on the prize-Salvation in Jesus Christ.
- James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
- 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour
Whatsoever you do, do it for the Glory of God
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favorites Col 3:23
Not with eye service, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. Eph 6:7-8
In everything you do, do it as if you are doing it for the Lord. Run the race to win. I started this race and I will finish. Don’t give up if you are struggling with doubt or discouragement. Lift your head up and keep going.
Persistance is key!
- Luke 18:1[ The Parable of the Persistent Widow ] Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
- Romans 2:7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.
Persistance is a running theme through scripture. David didn’t give up! Noah didn’t give up! They all had difficult times yet they pursued through them. Isaiah, Zechariah, Jeremiah, Esther, Mordecai, the Shumanite woman, Rahab, Abraham, Jesus! Peter, Paul, Stephen – their lives weren’t perfect, they had struggles yet each one had persistence and endured to the end victorious.
I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me
From day one I can sense the darts of defeat and discouragement coming out me, but I don’t allow them to enter my mind. I remind myself that I started this race and I will finish this race and I run to win. Each day throws new challenges and new obstacles in my way, but I know with God I can do anything. With God I can jump the highest mountains, with God I can win the race. Now my 5-8 hours of bible study a day has gone down to 2-3 hours as I relearn biology, World History, Spanish and Algebra. I can see God’s handiwork in each of these subjects I am teaching my daughter. I remember these verses and they keep me going:
If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small Proverbs 24:10
If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan? Jeremiah 12:5
If I faint in times of adversity, how can I race against the strong? So each day I keep on and each day I see God’s miraculous hand on my life and my steps. Trust Him in all your ways and He will direct your paths.
Did Jesus promise the walk to be easy?
No, but He did promise to walk with us. He did promise to always help us. He did promise that we are overcomers in Christ Jesus and though Him, all His promises are yes, true and amen.
Why did I make this decision?
My 15 year old has never been taught grammar in the public school. She can’t figure out multiplication because the way she was taught was so confusing. The kids are expected to type all their papers but no one has been taught how to type. The students hen peck at 10-20wpm and they cannot read or write cursive. How can they attend 4 years of college hen pecking the keyboard and using bubble baby print for note taking as they listen to their college professor? How are they going to calculate statistics if they have to draw boxes to figure out a simple math problem? I am ready to pull my second grader out as well. The math they teach is confusing. They try to teach logic without foundation. You need foundation first and then logic comes. An example of the new math is 436 + 249, instead of lining them up and adding them, the children are told to draw out 6 hundred boxes, then 7 ten lines, then 15 small circles for the ones, then they have to count the boxes, the lines and the ones, finally they must line up all those numbers and add them all up. Calculators are encouraged, homework and class time are spent playing games on computers to “tutor”. God is far away and non existent in the schools. “English 1” is 6 months of learning and studying all the greek gods, their offspring, and perverted affairs – for middle and high school- without grammar knowledge or writing skills. Who is behind this? Why are they dumbing down our kids? Why aren’t they teaching history? Why aren’t they encouraging students to read biographies ,autobiographies or something intelligent? The scholastic book bulletin just came out and 80% of the books are about magic. As I prepare for SAT teaching , I read that 22% of the biology exam is proving and acknowledging the evidence of evolution and patterns of evolution. Isn’t that a violation of my religious rights?
My daughter now has more social interaction than she did in school. She is able to join in at youth groups, drama groups, learn guitar and volunteer at a local ministry. These are all things she was unable to do when she was going to school. She is a different person, I can see her joy. She has always wanted to be in the famous Fort Lauderdale Christmas Pageant but homework made that impossible. Now she is able to be a part of this cast. She practices for hours every week. God is truly good and surely has taken care of my daughter because she belongs to Him.
Do you want to walk on water? Has God called you to a specific task and you think it’s impossible for you?
- Trust God, not man
- Fix your thoughts
- Refuse to worry
- Don’t let doubt and discouragement entertain your thoughts
- Call on God for Strength
- Watch your words- begin by guarding your heart
- Be wise to the devil’s lies and pray for discernment
- Stay Grounded in Gods word which gives discernment
- In all you do, do as if you are doing it for the Lord
- Don’t think it a strange thing when you run into trials
- Run the race to win
- See you at the finish line!
John 10:34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?
37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.
38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.