Monday, September 1, 2008

SEPTEMBER NEWSLETTER 2008

Living Word

Christian Fellowship

“That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving...” Psalm 26:7

Vol. 17, No. 9 September 2008


Most people cannot take much more of the politics in America. No one can be trusted and no one wants to tell the truth and get to the facts. We are in some troublesome times and judgment is at the door.
God has been very merciful to us. I really don’t know why He delays, but thank the Lord He does. If only God’s people would take a stand for truth, maybe the tides would turn.
I recently was in my devotions when I came across this verse: Zec 5:4 “I will bring it forth, saith the LORD of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof.”
What is “it”? In verse 3 the Lord tells us it is a curse that goes forth over the face of the whole earth. The thief and the liar are cursed and it is going to bring them down to nothing. Lord, please help us to speak truth and stop taking from others. When will we have enough? When will we care more about others than about ourselves?
I long to see God’s people prosper not like it is today where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, but rather, when we all have “everything in common.” When this happens people won’t have to work themselves until they drop. The weariness is overwhelming today. It is increasingly difficult to serve the Lord, to worship the Lord, and to give to the Lord because of the mental battles.
Please don’t forget what God’s Word tells us: Heb 6:10-12 “For God [is] not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. (11) And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: (12) That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

God is Faithful!

Pr. Steve

The Blood: What Does It Do?


Lev 17:11 “For the life of the flesh [is] in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it [is] the blood [that] maketh an atonement for the soul.”
How do we attempt to use the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus? Today the majority of believers are using the blood to avoid the judgment of God on our sins. We are using the blood as an alternative to being delivered from sin or as an alternative to righteous living or as a result of not coming into the image of Christ. DO YOU THINK THE LORD JESUS INTENDS FOR US TO USE HIS BLOOD AS A MEANS OF LIVING AN UNHOLY LIFE? Yet this is what is taking place in the body of Christ.
Think of it this way. Do we use soap to cover up our dirt or to wash it away? Similarly, is the blood supposed to cover our sins or remove them? When we fail to understand God’s Word we will manipulate the way we handle it. There is no biblical scripture that leads us to believe that the sin offering is one that covers or hides our actions from God. Rather, the blood of the sin offering is a redemption payment that cancels the debt we owe God because of our sin.
“The soul that sins shall die.” (Eze.18:20)
The blood of the cross appeases the wrath of God for our sin and pays the debt we owe. But it does not cover us so that God does not see our rebellious attitudes and actions.
Today we try to use the blood of the cross to hide our sins: (Ezekiel 8:12). I believe the Lord tells us in Rev.3:15 that He certainly does see what we have been doing: “I know what you are doing…” DON’T EVER USE THE BLOOD OF THE CROSS AS AN EXCUSE FOR EVIL WORKS.
Rom 8:13 “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”
What does this verse say to Christians? The contrast is between life and death – i.e. spiritual life and spiritual death. We are told specifically how the law of the Spirit of life sets us free from sinning. This is our redemption. Here, Paul tells us if we keep sinning according to our carnal nature we will die spiritually. The righteousness of Christ is ascribed to us only as long as we reject sin and live by the Spirit of God (Rom.8:4).
Some teach that God cannot see “through the blood.” If that is true, then it doesn’t matter how we live. If we commit adultery, then God doesn’t notice. If we lie, then God doesn’t notice. When we refuse to carry our cross and go off on our own agenda, God doesn’t see because “we are under the blood.” Stealing from God is considered an Old Testament concept, but even when you do, we are “covered under the blood. When we walk in disobedience and rebellion against the laws of God it doesn’t matter because He only sees us “through the blood.” We don’t need to be concerned about the Judgment seat because we are “under the blood of Christ.” Who in the world wouldn’t accept Christ on that basis? Yet that is the message of today.
The basis of the blood of Christ is to forgive us of our sins so we can be washed and cleansed from all unrighteousness and so we can be changed into godly people. His blood brings forth a righteous creation that God is looking for in the new covenant.
How are we washed in the blood? By confessing our sins and fiercely turning away from them with the help of God. We do this by remaining faithful to what and where God has called us.
It is completely true that because of the blood of Christ God keeps forgiving us. But this on the condition that we keep walking in the light and keep His commandments as revealed to us by His Word.
It is not true that God keeps on forgiving the sins of careless Christians who do not present their bodies as living sacrifices and who do not carry their cross and deny themselves.
Nowhere in scripture are we told that those who make a profession of faith in Christ are continually forgiven. In fact, as a result of worldliness, this nation is coming under condemnation. There is neither faithfulness nor fervency in prayer, no pushing ahead in God. There is, instead, a looking for a new word to heal without confessing our sins. People can’t escape being lied to by the enemy who convinces them they can live their own way.
In the Old Testament, Jews were forgiven as they offered animals. However, they did not live under the blood of animals. They were not covered by the blood of animals. We know that God did not see the Jews through the blood of animals because He brought severe punishment upon them when they disobeyed.
GOD SEES EVERY ONE OF OUR SINS AND REBELLIOUS ACTS AND HE IS CALLING US TO REPENT SO WE CAN LIVE IN HIS PRESENCE!
Today we don’t put the blood of the Passover on our door posts. We drink the blood of our Passover because the new covenant is an inner covenant. Every time we reject sin and accept the Lord’s direction we are given to eat His flesh and drink His blood. This is our resurrection. We are empowered by His Spirit – this is the oil that fills our inner man. If we live by the blood, then the Spirit of God makes us alive and ready at His coming.
We have become schizophrenic in our walk: Let’s throw out being changed into the image of Christ; the ten virgins; the parable of the talents; “I never knew you, depart from me you who do iniquity”; the great falling away; we can’t neglect our salvation because we are covered with the blood so what is there to neglect; there is no drawing back to destruction so why press forward; there is nothing to overcome, Christ did it all for us. Why pray? Why repent? Let’s just eat, drink and be merry because we have already confessed the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s just throw a party and drink kool-aid!!!
The blood of the cross is the center of our salvation, enabling us to walk before God without condemnation, provided we are obeying the law of the Spirit of Life and overcoming evil.
3-Things to adjust in our thinking:
We are not under the blood.
We are not covered by the blood.
God does see us through the blood.
What we need to be concerned with in this hour is to drive sin from us and become acceptable and honorable to our Lord. Don’t avoid unpleasant difficulties; let them drive you into Christ. Don’t flee from where the Lord has you; He is keeping you from spiritual harm. Don’t compromise your integrity just so you can have your own way for awhile. Don’t break God’s laws just so you can by happy and enjoy what the world has. We are in a war for our souls and the souls of mankind.
We have underestimated the enemy once again. It is not that Christians are trying to be wrong; it is that we have been deceived by an enemy that is very crafty. The spiritual pressures of our time leave no place for untested teachings and traditions. We must follow the Word of Truth and examine what we know. But you must decide for yourself if you believe that truth.
God is clearly identifying for us what it is we need and what it is we are to do to find Him. What does the blood do? It cleanses us from all sin and stain! If we can come to this belief, we will hold ourselves accountable before God and men. We will recognize the craftiness of Satan and flee from His devices.

-Pr. Steve

I am going to be sharing with you thoughts from my journal over the past few years. This is to show you how the Lord has brought about His Word in my life to minister to you and to show you how real this walk can be. Please read and understand by the Spirit about ...

. . . My calling as a pastor


Pastor’s Journal 2007
Sep. 3: “I will be treated as holy by those who are near to Me.”
Sep. 4: “You have looked down long enough, stop being fearful of what is beneath your feet. Look up and behold My Glory and you will soar with Me.”
Sep. 14: Sometimes we don’t recognize how much stress we endure when it mounts a little at a time, day after day. Our bodies endure much pain and suffering and who knows the damage, but then something breaks and we come back into the awesome rest and peace and contentment of Your presence and joy. Thank You for this glory. May it increase more and more until we are consumed with Your majesty in all things all the time.
Sep. 15: Obedience not only shows a walk of faith but it also shows the holiness of God. Remember the waters of Meribah? Moses could not go into Canaan land because he did not show God’s holiness in his actions.
Sep. 18: “Hide in Me and take refuge. As the darkness passes over, you are safe in Me. I have you in My hand and the enemy cannot touch you. Keep yourself in My holiness for the enemy seeks whom he may devour, but those who are in Me are safe. Holiness is the key.”
Sep. 20: “You are not waiting alone. I am waiting with you.”
Sep. 22: “Keep looking up. When you are downcast you feel defeat and not able to endure, but when you look up to Me and keep watching, you can rise up and soar in the realm of My Glory and goodness.”
Sep. 23: “You are coming into a new season. This season will be one of understanding and an increase of wisdom to know what to do and how to do it according to what I am doing in My Kingdom. It will increase your stature in Me, enabling you to be strengthened with a spiritual might to be victorious and stronger in the work I am giving you to do.”
Sep. 25: “Endurance is the exercise that enables you to go through more than you think you are able to go through. It makes you stronger in relying upon Me.”

Are You Listening?


Many Christians still insist that they cannot hear from God. The big question really is: “Are you listening?” Maybe understanding some of the ways that God speaks will help. Here are a few:
1. Through prayer.
2. Through the Bible.
3. Through the right books, other types of literature, and multimedia.
4. Through wise counsel (other people).
5. Through circumstances and opportunities.
6. Through fellowship.
7. Through prophecy.
8. Through visionary leadings (including visions).
9. Through dreams.
10. Through inner peace.
11. Through fasting.
12. Through testimonies (past experiences - ours and others’).
13. Through inborn (natural) abilities or gifts and personality attributes.
14. Through new-birth (spiritual) gifts.
15. Through an authoritative voice.
16. Through an inner voice and affirmation.
Even when we do hear from God there is also a need to gain the proper interpretation and understanding of what we hear. In fact that is the greatest difference between hearing and really listening. We must not assume anything. We must pray for understanding. We must not throw away what we hear because we cannot receive it at that instant. Remember this: God’s ways and His thoughts are higher than ours. We must also be aware that our hearing impediments are not always a result of our humanity; many times we cannot receive the things God is saying because our hearts have not been kept in the right condition.
Mat 13:19-23 (KJV) “When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth [it] not, then cometh the wicked [one], and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. (20) But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; (21) Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. (22) He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. (23) But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth [it]; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
We can, and will, bear that fruit if we are willing to hear God and seek to gain the understanding of His will for our lives. The new life that is found in following Christ is a life of obedience to a new Master. The old life that we lived, as well as our being subject to natural desires and thus our being made slaves to sin, must be taken to the cross daily.
Rom 6:16-19 (KJV) “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (17) But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. (18) Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. (19) I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.”
Listen now! The things that we hear God speak to us will increase our faith, but if we are disobedient and walk in unbelief, we will not bring forth the fruit of the faith that we foolishly abandon. Are you listening?

-Kurt Thurston


Selah


“In the Irish Revival of 1859, people became so weak that they could not get back to their homes. Men and women would fall by the wayside and would be found hours later pleading with God to save their souls. They felt that they were slipping into hell and that nothing else in life mattered but to get right with God. To them eternity meant everything. Nothing else was of any consequence. They felt that if God did not have mercy on them and save them, they were doomed for all time to come.”

-Oswald Smith

“In every generation the number of the righteous is small. Be sure you are among them.”

-AW Tozer

“The self-righteous never apologize.”

-Leonard Ravenhill




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