Prison Ministry

Matthew 25:34-40
Hebrews 13:13

There are so many needs and so few to help!
However, what makes our service to the Lord so special? We can’t be spread too thin, or do everything in a mediocre way! Whatever we do must be according to His will. It must be done in love. And our actions must be sincere, based on gratitude for God’s grace towards us! Each is a special calling. With all that said, let me introduce you:
http://www.mercyandgrace.org/home.html

Angelic Help!

What happens to people who don’t have a relationship with God, but find themselves in an emergency? This is a few years old, but still worth the watch!

Strategic Notes

Moses sent spies for reconnaissance (Numbers 13:13) as did Joshua (Joshua 2:1). What are we to make of that? Here are some observations from a recent meeting that I attended.

Stand firm, repossess spiritual territory, wrestling against principalities and powers (cities have territorial spirits).

Intercession and Prayer:
When you’re ready – you’ll receive (according to God’s will/timing).
He often answers us in phases.
What we’re asking for ( in the Spirit) is already given!
We need to see exactly what things to pray for so that we can focus on what’s specifically needed.
We don’t “have” the knowledge/understanding for intercessory prayer – until we RECEIVE it (the Holy Spirit reveals).
Smaller problems are usually caused by larger “strongholds” – once identified, they are targets to cast down.
Example: There is a problem manifested. It is through the gift of discernment that the deception, lies, or forces that are being brought to bear that need to be broken – all hindrances removed – before someone can receive what is needed.
Asking the Lord for what He has already given/promised is NOT faith!
Thanking the Lord for revealing what needs to be bound/destroyed is faith in action!
Taking action: reconnaissance, evaluation, gathering forces.
Walking into a situation ill prepared often results in failure – that’s NOT God’s fault! Exercise wisdom and discernment.
Unity in prayer is a military “force multiplier”!

Please take what you need from this.

Peace & Maranatha!

Who’s In Control?

How often have you heard someone relate some bad news, and end their remarks with “Well, God’s in control!”? What exactly does that mean? What exactly is the influence of such a concept upon us?

First, many people are trying to offer some encouragement – I get that.
Would we dare say something like that to those Syrians who are marked for torture AND beheading?! It could be somehow doctrinally factual but, is such a statement really helpful?

I think there’s a huge difference between believing/experiencing the sovereignty of God, versus the “God is in control” comment. First, we know that God is Almighty. We also know that God has granted us free will. We also know that bad things can happen to those of us who follow the Lord (2 Timothy 3:12).

Since we are blessed with the full armor of God, are we not to use it?
And before we “use” it, are we not first to have wisdom, love, and discernment among MANY other “prerequisites” like having our minds daily renewed in the Word, fervent prayer, responsibility, accountability, sincerity, integrity, compassion. . . which have much to do with working out our own salvation (Matthew 7:5 & Philippians 2:12) since we have to be potent examples of godliness, repentance, sincere testimony – that Holy Spirit power to inspire others to follow the Way, Truth, and the Life (Romans 14:10). All else is hypocrisy. Dead works.

So, what is the effect upon our psyche when we hear/say those words: God is in control. I believe that it causes resignation, fatalism, and passivity. Just the exact opposite of what we should be doing – in my opinion! If I suffer some mishap, tragedy, or other offense, and a brother says to me: “Take heart, we serve an Almighty God!” Or, “If God is with us, who can be against us!” Or, “His Grace is sufficient for you!” Or, Through His resurrection, Jesus has put ALL THINGS under His feet, and since the Holy Spirit resides in you, all things are brought under your feet!” Or, “We have the victory through Christ Jesus!” Well, these things communicate something TOTALLY different than just throwing up our hands and saying something about how mysterious God is!

Yes, God is a mystery if we don’t know Jesus! We have, should have, the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). Meaning that even though we hold this treasure in earthen vessels and look through a dark glass, we have the Holy Spirit AND gifts of the Spirit! We are not under confusion, stumbling in darkness!

Jesus came to destroy the works of the evil one (1 John 3:8)! Obviously, we get blisters if our shoes are too tight – that is not the devil’s fault! My point is hopefully not lost here. Since the will of God is also for us to have life (John 10:10) more abundant ( not to be confused with the “prosperity” false Gospel), we very much need discretion, discernment, spiritual knowledge, and wisdom and all that goes with it to sort out the events of this present life. After all, we are one body (1 Corinthians 10:17), and we need to run the race of life, not as spirit filled individuals, but rather, as one Spirit filled/led team” (1 Corinthians 9:24).

We have the victorious outcome through Jesus Christ! How we arrive there is how we participate with the Lord!

Peace & Maranatha!

Our Father’s Business

Let me make several big assumptions for the sake of discussion:
1) You are already a “born-again” Christian.
2) You are familiar with and regularly read the Scriptures.
3) It feels as though something is somehow missing in your life.

Regardless of your marital or dating status, I’m talking about your
purpose! What is your purpose? I don’t mean to reference the recently
popularized teaching about a “purpose driven life”!

Here are some questions:
A) How would you describe your state of obedience to the Lord?
B) What sense of fulfillment for being alive do you have?
C) Who’s REALLY in charge of your life?
D) Do you see yourself as a participant in God’s grace, or a spectator?

What does this all mean? Well, how many of us are just counting the days for the Lord’s return? Are we insulating ourselves from the collapsing world while we watch the persecution and suffering around us? When the Lord returns, will He find any people exercising their faith?

Peace & Maranatha!

 

The Right Church?

The Right Church?

Many books have been written about which is the “right” or true Church. I am STILL working on my own, and this article may eventually be part of that discussion.
The whole idea of exactly what constitutes THE Church is very interesting. Various influential leaders have, throughout Christian history, attempted to redefine, recreate, or purify their vision for Christianity.

Several effects have resulted from such thinking; most notably 1)violence, 2)confusion, and 3)separation – all for ostensibly noble reasons! ( The road to hell is paved with good intentions.)

If we have the courage to examine the fruit of such contentions which often come in the form of a perceived necessity of some sort, we will come to the painful realization that the evil one is most often the author! OK, easy to say – right?
A most common vilification is that of the Roman Catholic Church. Much of that criticism is rightly deserved. Read your Bible! What REALLY interests me is how those who deem themselves in a position to “correct” such errors, most often labeled as traditions of men, have themselves created a whole train load of traditions of their own! How people miss this is simple – pride.

Let’s take a quick look. Since most who read/follow this Blog have a rather clear understanding of their relationship/experience with the Lord Jesus Christ and His holy Scriptures, I hope no one will be offended, but rather encouraged to pursue the Truth that sets us free. I’m talking about “sacred cows” – that which is generally NEVER questioned in the Church. For example, the words we often use can speak volumes. Have you heard someone utter the word “revival”? Interestingly, it’s not in the Christian vocabulary of the Apostles. It means to bring something “back to life”! Why is it used then? Is the Lord giving birth to sinners ( a new creation – being born again) – yes! Hallelujah! Is the Lord resurrecting dead Christians? At His second coming He is! Hallelujah! Is He giving us life more abundant? Yes, and Amen! Is He renewing our minds through feeding on the Scriptures? Glory to God – yes!

So, what’s being “revived”? Resuscitated, perhaps. But that just doesn’t sound very good in English. I suppose the word ” revival” has more of an emotional impact. Too bad it confuses Biblical truth!

Next:

We all want to help the unsaved so how can a sinner’s prayer be wrong? Well first, it’s not in the Scriptures as such. Sure, people mean well, but creating a “formula” AND a requirement sounds like what? Oh yeah, Catholicism! Should those accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior pray, of course! Creating the formula/requirement opens a door – the wrong door!
Hey, what about an “altar call”? Obviously, we want to invite those to Christ and pray with/for them. However, once this “procedure” became formalized, it began to take on a life/tradition of its own!

Now, I recently read the description of a large ministry. Much of it was filled with controversy, defending and attacking various doctrines. One of those doctrines is called “cessationism” where they believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased after the Apostolic period! This has caused another huge divide! In Greek, one of the names for the evil one is “diabolos”, meaning the divider! Do we have the strength to follow 1 John 4:1 and test the spirits? To do otherwise is to throw the baby out with the bath water! The problem is that if we follow that Scriptural admonition, it requires us to be responsible! And we should know by now that most “denominations” have tried to get us to relinquish some or all of our responsibility!

How about this one: slain in the Spirit. I’ve heard this one for most of my life. It’s also not in the Scriptures. The experience is often part of a church “service” of some type. People almost universally fall backwards, and manifest a wide range of characteristics – some according to godly purposes, many others not!
Again, once something like this becomes “institutionalized”, it often becomes a man made tradition with its unique prerequisites and expectations. God help us! The evil one has had much fun counterfeiting the genuine gifts of the Spirit!

1 Corinthians 14:28 reads that if there is no one to interpret someone speaking in a language (tongue), then that person should keep silent! That is a very polite way of saying “shut up”! I remember being at a spiritual assembly one time where, at one point, people were encouraged to go into their “prayer language” and it was like watching popped corn! I mean they were really going off! Problem? No interpreters. I mean NOBODY!

Here’s a side note about me. I speak three languages – not all of them fluently. I can easily recognize at least 14 others! Really! At that meeting, I didn’t hear a single word of any language I knew. I did hear lots of weird noises, sounds, and especially repetition! If you were so inclined, you could eventually recognize various preferred sounds that certain individuals uttered. Even those didn’t strike me as particularly grammatical. All of these observations from someone (me) who acknowledges and has experienced genuine spiritual gifts! What is one to make of all this? One thing I know is that all this causes SERIOUS divisions!

Is the Church a bunch of divisions that make up one body? Or are there Christians in various denominations that make up one body? Can all denominations, or most denominations be right? Especially when they renounce salvation through any other?

Romans 12:5 … We are one body in Christ
1 Corinthians 12:27

We have a promise from our Lord that the evil one will sow his weeds in the wheat field! Matthew 13:24!

All these denominations are a witness of exactly what? Confusion?
1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is NOT the author of confusion but of peace,
as in ALL the churches of the saints!

Conclusion: Hmmmmm.
1 Corinthians 15:2 Hold fast to the word…
Hebrews 4:14 Hold fast our confession…
Revelations 3:3 Hold fast and repent…
Revelations 3:11 Behold I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.

Peace and Maranatha!