Sunday, February 28, 2010

Here Is The Good News!


                   What must we believe, or do, to be saved? There is so many different doctrines by so many people and by so many churches that it could be very confusing as what to believe. We have people telling us to be saved we must be a part of a certain denomination, we are told, by some, that we must be baptized in water, or we must be baptized in the Holy Ghost, and a number of other things. This reminds me of the Jews demanding and saying the law must be kept, in addition to believing in Jesus, to be saved, when in fact it was not so and these other church doctrines and ordinances are not so today. What must I Do to be saved. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved. How simple is that? Now, to make things even more clear, a mental or a psychological acceptance will not do it, because it must be a genuine heartfelt transaction of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. We must be sincere, truthful, and honest when we come to Jesus, Just like the man who said: “Lord I believe, Help my unbelief.”
clip_image003He who believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he who believeth not shall be damned. (Mark 16:16) He who believes, in other words he who accepts The Lord Jesus Christ will be saved. A single scripture that is found in John 3:16 summarizes the Gospel, For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. In the gospel of Mark Jesus said this: He who believes and is baptized shall be saved. The word believe used here in this verse, in the Greek, has a very strong meaning. It is more than just being in agreement or accepting something. It implies total commitment to Christ. We are to seek him with our whole heart and to strive only to please Him. There is a reference to baptism made here. I want to bring it to your attention that it does not say that if you are not baptized you shall be damned. Condemnation rest on disbelief and our salvation rest on belief, not baptism. When a person believes and trust in Jesus he is saved. Baptism becomes a physical conformation of our new life but it is not the means of securing it.
Water baptism is extremely important. We should get baptized soon as possible after we are saved just to have a good conscience before God, but the fact still remains water baptism is just a representation of a new life. It does not save us. Much is argued about water baptism as a part of our salvation, in other words it is also what saves us. When we take our salvation away from the Blood of Jesus Christ and the Cross and put it in the hands of a preacher that baptizes us in water we are in fact creating another Gospel. It is just like the Jews in the Book of Acts that wanted to add the law to salvation. What can wash away our sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. The most simplest expression of Salvation found in the Bible says it all: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved." While following the Lord's model of water baptism is an example of a christians submission, the water itself does not save a person. A person is saved by his belief and damned by his disbelief. When we believe, it is a life changing commitment that we are trusting in Jesus as our all in all. When a person is saved he should be baptized so as possible. He should partake of the Lord's Supper whenever it is offered, both of which should be done in obedience to His Word, but there is only one thing that will save you: The Blood that Jesus spilled on the Cross, believing on Him.
I remember the night that I was saved and when I got up from that alter I knew that there was a difference. I knew in my heart that I was saved. There was a difference in me. "Oh What a difference!" Just like the thief on the cross, My sins were forgiven and I was on my way to heaven. I can clearly remember the day I was baptized in water. It was a month later, with a lot of other people that were saved, in a old mill pond. I wanted to be baptized in water to show the world that a inward work was already done in me. That water did not save me but it was done to be in obedience to God's Word.
Jesus Christ said, "He who believes in Me has everlasting life" (John 6:47)  He also said, "He who lives and believes in Me will never die."  Eternal life is eternal. Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the whole world (John 1:29).  He has removed the sin barrier which separated us from God.  We must simply believe in Jesus and what He did at the Cross for it.  There are no strings attached.  Our eternal salvation has been paid for by the Blood of Jesus. Simply believe in what Jesus did at the cross and He guarantees you will never die spiritually.  You will go to heaven when you die, and spend eternity in God's kingdom.  It really is that simple.  That's why it's called “The Good News.”



Friday, February 26, 2010

Each Step I Take


Every step that we take in this life is already known by God and he has an explanation and the reason for all the hard to do things in our life, and for everything that happens to us. Our Lord understands what we are going through, as we deal with everyday problems in our walk of faith. We might be surprised when we unexpectedly have problems that just jump out at us, but God is not. He has everything under control. The difficulty that the circumstance in our life might bring us is there to test us and get us ready for other things that might happen to us in this life. It is much easier to trust God with thousands of dollars in our bank account and having a great job than to have to wait on the Lord for our needs. God uses all types of ways to get His abundant supply of resources to us. He will never forsake us. It may be through a job, or through the body of Christ, or a friend or family member that knows your struggle and just wants to help. Where ever the help comes from the Lord is there and He is a part of it . Of course it we have to be a little more open and let people know what we are facing, but in the end God gets the glory. Sometimes the answer comes without a word ever spoken. I have found that when I received help from an individual in the body of Christ, that they were being blessed by helping me. God was refining in them a spirit of giving and graciousness that allowed them to understand and identify with my situation. This is a beautiful thing because it shows the love of Christ. In the beginning it was hard for me to accept, because I had always been the person able to help someone in need. It made no difference what the problem was I was always there to help. With money, food, a way to go, prayer, lodging, and many other things. Then I became that person in need. How that hurt me. My pride had to submit to that process and it hurt. But what God so wonderfully showed me is that my dependence had been in the resource he’d blessed me to obtain and not in the giver of the blessing. When we understand that God takes us through difficult times in our lives to bring us closer in relationship with him, we will stop resisting the process. This process builds in us a dependence on God that isn’t shaken by any circumstance that we may encounter. His plan is to teach us this so that we faithfully follow him wherever our lives may take us, through thick or thin, on the mountain top, or down in the valley. In the end, this helps us to be better servants for the Lord's work. When that hard and challenging period in our life has passed, we will finally realize that the Lord has developed inside of us an vital dependency and trust in him. Each step that we take is just a little closer home!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

To Be Completely Broken


clip_image001And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. (Mark 14:3)

This is the story of how Jesus was anointed before His crucifixion. If you are a Christian it will touch you deeply. Although I have read this passage numerous times this time there was something that stood out to me about these scriptures as I read them. (You will always glean more and see more light on scriptures the more you read them and the more that you meditate on them.)

The alabaster box was a beautiful hand carved vase that was very costly and the spikenard that was inside was also very costly. The Lord was not anointed with ointment until the seal of the box of alabaster was “broken”! The meaning for the word brake in the above verse is: To crush completely, to shatter, to brake into pieces, to be broken into shivers, and to bruise. This is similar to the same way that we must be broken before the Lord so that His anointing can be poured out upon us so that we can touch others!
We should never be ashamed to be broken. God will never deny, or look down on, a broken heart and a contrite spirit! God’s anointing on us is always the greatest when we are humble and broken; because we are feel less proud or convinced of own importance. It is when we do not have an exaggerated opinion of personal worth or abilities that the Lord can use us. To The Lord we are like the spikenard oil, we are of great value! When we humble ourselves in His sight and place our self-importance and pride on the altar of sacrifice, is when the anointing will be the greatest in our lives. When we are weak we are strong. The Holy Spirit will pour out of us like the ointment from that alabaster box, and we will be used greatly for His kingdom!
All of us need to seek and ask the Lord to break us where we need to be broken so that we might be anointed fully to do the great things He's called us to do! The Lord needs to mold us and make us into what we ought to be.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Twelfth Disciple


clip_image004For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. (Acts 1:20)

After Judas betrayed the Lord for 30 pieces of silver he went out and falling head first, his body split open and his intestines spilled out. He was buried in the field that Judas purchased and it was called the field of blood. This left only eleven disciples and Peter wanted to choose a replacement to fulfill the position of the 12th disciple. So two men were picked, to be voted on and after they cast lots Matthias was selected to be the 12th disciple. There is not anything else said about Matthias or his ministry in the rest of the New Testament.

Did you ever stop to think why he was not heard of any more in the Bible? I always wondered about that. We know that he was one of the seventy and had to be a good man, saved, and full of the Holy Ghost, because he would have never been considered for the position by the other disciples. He was for all intent and purposes a follower and believer in the Lord.. But my question is this: Was Matthias ready the man that the Lord wanted for Judas’ replacement. I say this because he is never again mentioned in the Bible. He never wrote any books of the Bible, We know nothing about his ministry, how he died, or anything else about him. The scriptures are silent.

After reading several commentaries and book about the twelve disciples I found myself asking this question: Should the 12th disciple have been Paul. I say this because not long after Matthias was picked and after the Holy Ghost was given at Pentecost, the Lord selected and named Paul to be an apostle. It was not man’s choice but God’s choice. Man had nothing to do with it. He was not picked by lots, but God spoke. In his commentary, The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians, Dr. Oliver B. Green, who was a well-known Baptist radio evangelist, said this; “When God named Paul to be an apostle, it was not man’s choice, but it was an outright call, commission, and ordination by Christ. Paul was ordained of God for the office of apostleship. Paul, an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, …………….(Galatians 1-1)

There is nowhere in the scriptures where Peter, the disciples, or the people that were waiting there for the promise were told by Jesus to pick another disciple. What they were told was this: To “WAIT” for the Promise. In other words they were to do nothing until something happened. But like it is in some churches today the flesh took over and two men were picked for lots to be cast so that one of the two could be chosen to be the twelfth disciple. I know that some of you are going to say they asked the Lord to pick which one of the two he wanted and you are right, they did. But just because the lot fell to Matthias does not mean that the Lord picked him. Matthias and Justus were handpicked by the disciples and the other people that were there and it did not really make any difference to them which one of the two the Lord would have picked or the lots feel on. Their choices were already made. Was there really a choice for the Lord? Why could not they have asked the Lord to pick from all the people that were there or ask Him to send who He wanted? No it was a fleshly choice made by the people, and not a choice made by the Spirit. It is the same way today in a lot of churches and denominations. The pastor has been picked, for the office, before he is ever voted on. This is not saying anything against either of these two men. I’m sure that they both loved the Lord with all their hearts and were good followers of Christ. The problem that I see here is the flesh got ahead of the Spirit as it still does in some, if not most of our churches today.

As we read the New Testament we see that the 12 disciples were chosen by Jesus personally, when he started His earthly ministry, to be apostles, and so was Paul, just a few days after Matthias was chosen as an apostle by the people. Flesh had nothing to do with Paul being chosen as an apostle, just like flesh had nothing to do with the choosing of the original twelve disciples. Jesus did the calling of the 12 disciples the same as He did with Paul on Damascus Road and Paul answered that call. The Lord also said in {Acts 9:15} that Paul was his chosen vessel. {Go, for he is a chosen vessel of mine to bear My Name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.} His apostleship carried him across the Roman Empire. The lives that Paul touched were changed and challenged by meeting the Lord through him. No person, except Jesus himself, shaped the history of Christianity like the apostle Paul. We will never know if Paul was truly meant to be the 12th disciple or not, because the scripture does not say so in a direct way, but if we read and piece together there is a good chance that Paul was to be the 12th disciple.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Caleb’s Faith

Give Me This Mountain
And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. (Numbers 13:30)

If you read the great story of the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land we see in the story there is an account of one man that should move, motivate, and inspire all Christians. His name was Caleb. What a man of God he was! Shortly after Moses led Israel out of bondage from Egypt, he sent twelve men to search out the Promised Land and to bring back word about living conditions there. Caleb and Joshua were among the group. After spending forty days on their mission, the twelve men returned. They brought back figs and pomegranates and a cluster of grapes so large it took two men to carry it between them on a pole. Most of the search party gave a very discouraging report on the Promised Land and its inhabitants. Although they found a land that was beautiful and desirable and flowing with milk and honey, they also found that the cities were walled and formidable and that the people, “looked like giants”. The Israelite scouts said that they felt like grasshoppers in comparison. Caleb, however, saw things a lot differently, with what the Lord called “another spirit.” Caleb’s account of the journey and the spy’s account were quite different. He said, “Let us go up at once, and possess [their land]; for we are well able to overcome it” (Num. 13:30).

What was Caleb saying? He was saying this; I agree with the majority of the spies as far as the land is very fruitful and I also agree with the report about the strength of the walled city and how big these people are that live there, but I do not agree that we do not have the ability to go against these giants. We must go up at once and possess the land because we are more than able to overcome anything. Caleb had faith in God for His help to help the people to possess the land, while the majority of the spies let God out of their decision making. Caleb had it in his heart to follow the Lord with all his heart. Years later at the age of 85 he was still ready to take that mountain.

Remember Caleb's words in {Joshua 14-12} Caleb’s words in this verse speaks out to all Christians, “Now therefore give me this mountain.” This should be the cry of all Christians as it regards the spiritual victories in our life. This mountain was given to Caleb because of one single act of obedience. He trusted God and gave a good report. He had fully obeyed God in one particular instance and it secured for him a reward that would not be denied to him though it did not come to him for forty-five long years. Like Caleb we must have faith in God. Many of the blessings that we now enjoy are the rewards of certain acts of obedience that we fulfilled in the past. What we may think are insignificant little acts of obedience we do from day to day may be what governs the outcome of important matters in the future. This was the case when Abraham offered Isaac on the altar. Once that trail and test was done it never had to be done again. Abraham passed the test and the blessing was pronounced that would never be taken back. You may be right on the verge of entering into blessings that are rewards for some act of obedience completed years ago, or you may be in a test today that will yield benefits later, maybe even years later, if you will trust and obey now. You can take that mountain in your life. It just takes faith in the Lord. Is God asking for your faith and obedience today?  What has God given you that you still need to lay claim to?  Stand up and take that mountain!

From Caleb’s example we can learn very important lessons. Just as Caleb had to struggle and remain true and faithful to gain his inheritance, so we must remember that, while the Lord has promised us a place in His kingdom, we must strive constantly and faithfully so as to be worthy to receive the reward. There are great challenges ahead for all Christians to be met and dealt with. We should welcome that prospect and to say to the Lord, humbly, “Give me this mountain,” then have faith that He will give us that mountain. We must be like Caleb, be faithful in our walk from start to finish, throughout our whole lives. We all have giants in our lives and we all have to fight them. Sometimes we can feel so small {like the grasshoppers} but we must realize as Caleb did: the battle is the Lord’s. We win or lose taking the mountain, in our life, according to our faith in Christ. Remember faith moves mountains no matter if it was the mountain in Caleb’s life or it is the mountain in our life.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

It Is Finished!

During my life time I have sat in more than one Pentecost church, as well as many Baptist and independent churches. I have heard the word of God preached under the anointing of The Holy Ghost many many times and it has blessed my soul. I have read the Bible through many times and study the words between those sacred pages. The Bible has truly has been a light for me to travel this life’s road. The words from that book have brought joy to my soul many times. It has showed me the way to go and how to solve the many problems that have come up in my life.  I have seen in my lifetime many many people saved. I have seen the deliverance of many people from drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and many other things. I have seen the sick healed, broken marriages put back together and many other things. All this happen because of the anointing in those churches. It was the anointing that broke the yoke. I did not have to send anyone, as John did, to ask: “Are you the one”? I knew Jesus was the one because I saw with my own eyes the wonderful works that was done by the Holy Spirit and on many occasions it was on this humble servant that those wonderful works was done. I did not have to send some one to ask because I was there and I saw and I believed. Many times I could feel the presents of the Lord and I was, oh, so glad, and still am,  that He is still working on me. Yes that is right! After all this time I’m still a work in progress. He is still working on me, to make me what I ought to be and I want to be what He wants me to be.

I have said all that to say this: Most of the fundamental  churches of today no longer have that anointing. they no longer can, or will, rightly divide the Word of God. It is gone and it has been replaced by a new way and that is called psychology. I can understand how most modern churches can sign on and go along with this, because there was never no anointing, in the first place and the power of God was denied. Let me ask you this: Would you go to a hospital for a sickness or injury and there was no doctors there to give you the medicine you need, no nurses there to comfort you, no beds for you to rest in, no medicine for you to overcome your sickness. Do you feel better and are you on the road to recovery when you leave that hospital. What is your answer to that? The answer should be: It would make no sense in going to that hospital. The same question  should be ask when you enter a church! Is there a man of God there who can diagnose my problem? Is there people there that will comfort me and help me? Can I find a place of rest here and will I hear the words that will give me strength to be a over comer? Do you feel better and refreshed when you leave that church?

I will never understand why the Pentecostals, Baptist, Wesleyan, and other fundamental churches can go along with this doctrine of  psychology which is the scientific study of the human mind and mental states, of human and their behavior. Let the world do that! Churches today must claim all the victories that comes to us by the way of the cross. What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! and that is the same treatment for all our problems today. The Blood of Jesus, The Cross where that Blood was shed, that is where you will find peace for your soul and the victory that only Jesus can give. It is not treatment by a psychologist that man needs for his or her sinful condition, it is DELIVERANCE and that comes by what Jesus did at the cross! Remember there is power, wonder working power in the precious blood of the lamb.

It is a sin for The church of the Living God to ignore the teachings of the Bible and offer psychology as the solution for man’s problem. A church, or man himself, can not serve two masters and that is what the Christian is doing by coming to church and claiming to be a Christian and yet seeking a psychologist for help. When the church and its people goes the way of psychology they are missing the mark because they do not understand that man’s problem is sin which requires deliverance and not treatment. Man’s fallen condition, no matter what it is, is from his sin nature. Every sin, no matter what it is, was addressed and taken care of at the cross when our Lord was crucified. Just as the Catholic priest can not forgive you or talk away your sins, the psychologist can not give you deliverance. It is only by Jesus dying and shedding His blood on that cross at Calvary we have perfect peace. It is a peace that passes all understanding.  The preaching of the cross, in our churches, will set the captive free. We must as God’s children and His followers go back to our first Love. Who are we that to a Old Rugged Cross He would go. Who are we that a King should bleed and died for.

Just as we do not need psychology in our churches, we do not need to depend on a priest, a dead saint, Mary the mother of Jesus, the Pope, or any church denomination for a go between or to take the place of our Savior. It is Christ alone who died for us and it was a finished work when He died on that cross. He said it His self: “IT IS FINISHED”.  He paid the price. The great truth of the matter is, and always will be, Putting our trust in Jesus and what He did at the cross is so simple that a small child can understand it. The sad fact is that some Christians do not really know everything about the cross. They just assume that they know everything. They think that Jesus died on the cross for us so that we could go to heaven and that is it, but that is only part of it.  The tragedy of it all is most of the church world, today, has chosen everything accept the message of the Cross. How can we escape if we neglect so great of a salvation?