“That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving...” Psalm 26:7
Vol. 19, No. 12 December 2010
Pro 18:10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.
If we haven’t already, we better start running. Run into the Lord to find your safety and protection. The hordes of hell are at war against the Church of Christ. The spiritual attacks are mounting, but My God is stronger, greater, higher than any other and He can do what He wants. And He wants a victorious church that rises above the evil and deception that has infiltrated the Body of Christ.
This has been a remarkable year,
but I have never seen so many hurting people. My heart cries out in agony over the spiritual sickness of the Body. I long to see God pour forth His Mercies to restore and release a people into His loving arms once again. The hardships and difficulties oppress and keep us from the fullness of the promises of God. But God will be God. He will reveal Himself and show the world that there is no one else like Him. He will reveal His power and glory to the hurts of mankind. And the Church will arise again from the ashes because the Lord is returning for a glorious church without spot or wrinkle.
So in spite of what we see or experience the Church is still alive and well and we are a part of it if we remain obedient and faithful to the call. Don’t let your personal agenda remove you from the most precious gift you have ever received. The gift of the Holy Spirit to cause you to live for Him!
Rev 21:7 (KJV) He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
In society we have what are called amateur and professional. The same thing exists in the church. The amateur Christians talk about Christ and lead casual church lives, while the professional Christians struggle night and day to seek Christ. It takes all the determination we possess to keep up with the Holy Spirit as He prepares us to be joined to Christ.
A person who plants grass is not necessarily a farmer. People who cook dinner are not necessarily chefs. Those who administer first aid does not make them a doctor.
All of us can do many things. But the professional is someone whose life is focused on becoming an expert in his field. They will spend countless hours to discipline themselves. Christians should not be any different. The amateur Christian will attend church and sing songs and talk about Christianity. But when the word of conviction comes to their hearts they will talk it away or challenge the necessity for it. These are the amateur Christians, because these things are secondary in their hearts.
Those committed to Jesus first and foremost will forget what lies behind. They will press forward even in the bad weather or bad times or difficult circumstances. They will continually pray to the Lord about everything. They will keep the word of the Lord in the forefront of their mind. They will know their rewards are yet to come.
The amateur Christian believes in spite of their lukewarm commitment they will still be arrayed in royal splendor and live in mansions and have all the comforts of what they believe is a heavenly home. The problem with that mentality is believing materialism to be the answer to this life and the next.
Then there are those who are willing to forsake all in order to have Christ as the center of their life no matter what the cost.
The amateur may be spared hell, but they will never experience the wealth of God that is promised to the overcomer. So the professional will struggle continually while most Christians will pursue the fleshly appetites.
There is a third type of person in the world that we must contend with: Wicked people. One of the worst people we can think about is King Herod. He was so afraid he would lose his throne he had all the babies killed and he gave no thought about the mothers. “Never mind what happens to other people as long as I can have what I want.”
Adolf Hitler was another who killed the people he did not like. The same problem was that he wanted what he wanted without the concern for other people.
Are these people really any different than most? One of the characteristics of the adamic nature is insistence on seeking ones satisfaction even at the expense of others. The world is building up to the greatest conflict of the ages. We hear it every day – with people in verbal conflicts to have what they want at the expense of other people.
One of the main differences between the professional Christian and others is the degree a person is willing to suffer loss if necessary to benefit another. If we must be pleased no matter how other people are affected we do not understand why we are here on the earth.
The Lord Jesus laid down His life that we might be set free from sin. Now it is our turn to lay down our lives that other people may be benefited:
Joh 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
As true Christias we must become like Jesus. While many Christians are not sure whether they should drink beer, go to movies, smoke cigarettes or take drugs; a true Christian is trying to gain more of Christ. We are not trying to escape hell. We are trying to be Christ-like. What does that mean?
What was a Nazarite? Someone of his own free will chose to make a vow of holiness to the Lord. During certain times of his life he would vow not to eat, drink or do certain things from cutting his hair to going to funerals.
We are so accustomed today of judging everything in terms of our own comfort (we even judge what is God based on our comfort), that we are missing the actual desires that God has for us. We are proud and haughty Christians that think we know all about God and Christ and actually know nothing at all. We have God all figured out from Genesis to Revelation. We say we are not under law but under grace and forget how to look on other people and how to walk in the law of the Spirit of life, we neglect coming into the rest of God where our entire personality becomes part of the will of God.
This time for the church is to gain the understanding of the Kingdom of God. The Divine judgment that is beginning to fall on America is going to change our lifestyle and the way we think about God and life. We must continually be practicing the presence of God in our life.
There are wonderful days ahead for the person who is no longer amateur in their faith and walk. Those who try to keep one foot in the gospel and the other in the world will be hung between heaven and earth like Absalom, until they are pierced through with the Antichrist spirit.
The closer we draw to God, the more we desire to draw even closer. Holiness is a calling. The Nazarite chose to take a vow of holiness in life and in actions. We did not choose Christ, He chose us. But now He wants us to come even closer so we can be chosen of the Father to be sons.
No person can believe in Christ and be saved apart from the direction of God. It seems like we are making the decision: Phi 2:13 But it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.
I have heard it said recently there are no saints today. I believe there are Saints. They are the called out ones who will be holy and close to God.
Zec 2:5 For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.
Holiness is addictive. Once we get a taste of what it means to be part of God and His holiness, we will crave more and more and more. 1Pe 1:15-16 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; (16) Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
Are you an amateur Christian or a Professional one? He that overcomes shall become a son of God!
. . . My calling as a pastor
Pastor’s Journal 2009
Dec 3: Grace to obey…
Dec. 4: Sow to the Spirit and you will reap the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, and peace.
Dec. 5: “For those He did predestinate He called. And for those He called, He justified. And for those He justified He is glorifying us. What can I say then, if God be for us who can be against us!” (Rom 8:30-31)
Dec. 8: Embrace the sufferings of Christ, and it will change you into His image.
Dec. 12: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
Dec. 14: Deception is like gravel in your mouth. (Pro. 20:17)
Dec. 17: “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show himself strong in behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward him…” ( 2Chr. 16:9)
Dec. 19: Be a living sacrifice and worship God above all else.
Dec. 21: It is not what I have or what I do. It is what I am that pleases Him.
Dec. 25: It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matt 4:4) Live off my body and blood and nothing shall be impossible to you.
Dec. 26: And if we know that he hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
Dec. 28: Blessed are the gentle for they shall inherit the earth.
Dec. 30: The only way we can bear witness of Christ is through His suffering that is the Spirit-filled life.
What is Church?
In the book of Revelation, the Bible describes the Churches as separate geographically located groups of Christian believers that were under the care of an overseer, and-or messenger. The Lord addresses His message to the church through the angel of the church. Easton’s Bible Dictionary definition for the word “Angel” signifies, both in the Hebrew and Greek, a “messenger,” and hence employed to denote any agent God sends forth to execute his purposes.
The churches mentioned in the book of Revelations are: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. There are other churches mentioned in the writings of Paul and Timothy, such as the Churches of Ephesus; and Corinth, and Rome, and Galatia; and each had messengers from the Lord. Though the church building is nothing without the people, still the church is also more than just a gathering place for those who believe in God. Church is divinely appointed as a gathering place for believers to give to God, and receive from God. It is a place where Christians gather to give God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ corporate worship, and pay tithe and offerings. Church is a place where the Presence of the Lord can be found in a profound way, and lives can be changed. Church is a place where the people of God can receive direction and encouragement in the unity of the faith.
Heb 10:21-25 (KJV) “And having an high priest over the house of God; (22) 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. (23) Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) (24) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: (25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
Church is a place where God can speak too, and even touch, the things in us that concern His Kingdom in us. Christians need to be able to understand the will of God for their lives, and to be anointed to complete it.
Rev 3:1-6 (KJV) “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. (2) Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. (3) Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. (4) Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. (5) He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (6) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
We all need to personally hear from God on a daily basis, but we must never despise nor forsake the gathering together of ourselves in the church lest we be fragmented and disunity begins to reign.
Matthew Henry Commentary: Rev 3:1-6 “The Lord Jesus is He that hath the Holy Spirit with all his powers, graces, and operations. Hypocrisy, and lamentable decay in religion, are sins charged upon Sardis, by One who knew that church well, and all her works. Outward things appeared well to men, but there was only the form of godliness, not the power; a name to live, not a principle of life. There was great deadness in their souls, and in their services; numbers were wholly hypocrites, others were in a disordered and lifeless state. Our Lord called upon them to be watchful against their enemies, and to be active and earnest in their duties; and to endeavour, in dependence on the grace of the Holy Spirit, to revive and strengthen the faith and spiritual affections of those yet alive to God, though in a declining state. Whenever we are off our watch, we lose ground. Thy works are hollow and empty; prayers are not filled up with holy desires, alms-deeds not filled up with true charity, Sabbaths not filled up with suitable devotion of soul to God. There are not inward affections suitable to outward acts and expressions; when the spirit is wanting, the form cannot long remain. In seeking a revival in our own souls, or the souls of others, it is needful to compare what we profess with the manner in which we go on, that we may be humbled and quickened to hold fast that which remains. Christ enforces his counsel with a dreadful threatening if it should be despised. Yet our blessed Lord does not leave this sinful people without some encouragement. He makes honourable mention of the faithful remnant in Sardis, he makes a gracious promise to them. He that overcometh shall be clothed in white raiment; the purity of grace shall be rewarded with the perfect purity of glory. Christ has his book of life, a register of all who shall inherit eternal life; the book of remembrance of all who live to God, and keep up the life and power of godliness in evil times. Christ will bring forward this book of life, and show the names of the faithful, before God, and all the angels, at the great day.”
Next course from Christian Life Educators Network Richmond Center:
Stress Management by Dr. Michael Ronsisvalle
This course is designed to provide an overview of how to minimize the effects of stress in the life of ministry leaders, ministry teams , and lay people. Emphasis is given to a biblical understanding of stress and to well researched strategies of stress management, including relaxation, cognitive restructuring, stress reducing lifestyle choices and change. This course is highly interactive and includes lecture as well as hands-on practice with new stress management technique.
January 13-15, 2011